Athens Vs. Sparta Essay

1142 words - 5 pages

Athens Vs. Sparta Athens and Sparta were both City-states in Greece in ancient times, yet they had no social similarities. They were constantly at war, and at one time at a stalemate. They existed in the same time and place, but had totally different views on life and lifestyles. There were differences in the family life of people and paradigm of Athenians and Spartans.Sparta was Drastically unlike Athens and all other city-states in this aspect. In Sparta the men were full time soldiers. Even though there were few Spartans, there well-trained warriors were feared by other city-states. The way Spartans should act was based on keeping the slaves (also known as serfs or heliots) from revolting becuase heliots vastly outnumbered Spartans. Citizens were taught to think alike to keep from fighting because this might encourage heliots to attack. Boys lived in barracks and had the same education. As well, drunken soldiers would make it easier for heliots to revolt so prohibition was practiced in Sparta. Family Life was almost nonexistent. Sparta resembled more an army camp. Males of all ages were kept together and spent a lot of time with each other. This was meant to make them grow similar in character as well as devoted to each other so they would be an efficient fighting force. Family life would breed diversity and the Spartans believed in unity to be more important than families. At a very young age boys were taken from the home to train together. Girls might sleep at home, but during the day they worked and exercised together, spending less time with their families than most Greek girls. Men could marry young but were not allowed to spend time with their wives until the age of thirty. Most married couples met in secret. The Spartans knew of these secret meetings, but did not care. They wanted them to take place so the couples could breed more Spartans. These meetings, however, were not allowed to be too frequent because then soldier might become more interested in his wife than his army. This shows very much what family meant to Spartans. Family was a man and wife getting together to breed children, but to have a functional family setting was hurtful to the army and was not practiced. Women in Sparta were given more freedom and held more responsible than women in Athens. Men were either at war or training most of their lives leaving women free to go out and spend time with each other. They had much more freedom and wealth than women in Athens. When men went to war women were left to make decisions for the community-- women in Athens would never have been left alone to do this. Mothers of Spartan soldiers were very harsh towards their sons. If a soldier throws their shield down it is to run away from battle like a coward.. To come home on a shield means the soldier is dead. Spartan mothers would send their sons with these words: " Come home with a shield or on one." This meant if you lost your shield don't bother coming home. In conclusion, Spartans...

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