Q:

What were the similarities between Sparta and Athens?

A:

Quick Answer

Sparta and Athens were both Greek city states that dominated ancient Greece during the fifth century BCE. Each city state had at least a partially elected government and a strong military, and both relied on the labor of slaves.

Continue Reading
What were the similarities between Sparta and Athens?
Credit: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI AFP Getty Images

Full Answer

Sparta and Athens had similar forms of government; both city states were in part governed by elected assemblies. However, the top rulers of Athens were elected, while Sparta's were not. Athens was fundamentally a democracy; Sparta was an oligarchy.

Both Sparta and Athens were militarily strong, though in different ways. Sparta's military strength rested in its army, composed of the best-trained and most powerful warriors of ancient times. In contrast, while the Athenian army was almost as large as the Spartan, the Athenian navy was far more advanced and dominated the Mediterranean Sea.

Both city states had extremely large slave populations, with each home to about 100,000 slaves. However, Sparta had only about 8,000 citizens, while Athens had between 40,000 and 100,000. Slaves were at the bottom of the social order in both cities, and military men were at the top. In Sparta the military professionals were the only ones who had the right to vote; in Athens, the aristocrats were wealthy landowners who were also military leaders.

Learn more about Ancient Greece

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What were the two most powerful city-states in early Greece?

    A:

    Athens and Sparta were the two most powerful city-states in ancient Greece;also known as polis, the ancient Greek city-states were individual, autonomous cities that were self-governing and independent from other governments in their local areas. Because these two powerful city-states were so autonomous, they had many cultural differences and Athenians and Spartans, while having many similarities as Greeks including religion and language, were culturally different as people. For instance, the Spartans were renowned for their fierce warriors and militaristic culture while the Athenians were known for their academic pursuits, creating much of the art and academic enlightenment that is still associated with ancient Greek people as a whole.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why was Athens called "the school of Hellas?"

    A:

    In calling Athens "the school of Hellas" in his funerary speech after the first battles of the Peloponnesian Wars, Pericles was saying that Athens was the school of all of Greece. Hellas means "Greek," and is how the people of Greece refer to their country.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the differences between Athens and Sparta?

    A:

    The primary difference between Sparta and Athens is their differing systems of government. Sparta is considered an oligarchy, meaning ruled by the few, while Athens is believed by historians to have been a democracy. The ancient Greek word "oligos" translates as "few," and "archia" translates as "rule." Thus, the "rule by the few" is what distinguishes Sparta from Athens.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where is Sparta?

    A:

    Sparta is located in Greece, in the prefecture of Lakonia in the Evrotas River Valley. The city is located at the site of the ancient city-state of Sparta. The population of the city as of Greece's 2011 census was 17,408.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore