Discuss the political systems of Athens and Sparta. Why was there such a wide difference between the two city-states? How did the treatment of women differ between Athens and Sparta? Which do you believe gave their citizens more freedom and participation in government
Good evening class,
Both Athens and Sparta had very different political views. Athens had the view that they would be a very open and mostly free political system. They believed that Athenians were their own rulers. They debated and made laws based on an assembly or gathering and everyone had a voice or opinion, much like a democracy. The Athenians did have duties, however. They had to serve in the military, pay taxes, obey laws and regulations, and even serve on the jury for legal matters. If an Athenian broke a law, many times they could be ostracized.
The Spartans, however had a different way to run things. Their main goal was to have a strong army, and the way they accomplished this was by forcing every male to join. At birth, babies that were seen as unfit for duty would be left for dead. At age 7, boys would leave home to live in the barracks. During this time, they would train, they would make their own clothes, feed themselves, and learn to really fend for themselves. At age 20, they left for the army. They would most of the time get married at this age as well, although they had to stay in the barracks until age 30, while their wives would stay home and take care of everything. They would then stay in the army until age 60, and when they had to go to battle, they would leave without any question. This made them the fiercest army at that time.
They both also had very different views on how they treated their women. Since the Spartans were gone at war all of the time, the women were in charge of most things. Although they could not vote or hold any kind of office, they could own land and attend court. They owned the majority of land in Sparta and married at 18 years old, which was older than most other Greek women. Spartan women were actually known for standing up to their husbands, and husbands would always obey their wives. The Athenians were the complete opposite though, as women were expected to stay home and cook, clean, and wove cloth. If men had guests over, the women would hide and not be seen. If women left the house, they had to be completely covered up.
I definitely believe that Athenians let their citizens participate in government more and gave them more freedom. Aside from having a strong army, the Spartans were pretty controlled, and their life was known to be bland.