Warring City States Athens and Sparta
During the 5th century BC, Greece was dominated by two main powers: democratic Athens and the military oligarchy of Sparta. These city-states were very different. Sparta was traditionally the great land power of the Greek world and controlled many neighboring territories whose populations were tied to the land as slaves. Athens' power was based upon its command of the sea, and though it was officially only head of a naval alliance (the Delian League), in practice this amounted to an empire in all but name. This exercise encourages students to compare and contrast Athens and Sparta.
Students will be able to
- locate Sparta and Athens on a map of Greece
- locate information from this Web site and other resources to complete a chart showing differences between Sparta and Athens
- categorize statements about the two city-states into the appropriate category (see blank chart, below)
- determine in which city-state they would rather live in and give reasons why; assess the advantages and disadvantages of the lifestyle and government of each city-state for different social roles.
Extensions, Adaptations, Further Resources
The following sections of this Web site provide further information on these subjects. Check out:
Sparta: Origins (Event Page: c.650: Sparta refounded)
Sparta: Government and classes
Sparta: Famous quotes about Spartan life
The Reforms of Cleisthenes - the tribes
The Reforms of Cleisthenes - the Council of Five Hundred
The Populace of Athens
The Populace of Athens - Slaves
The Populace of Athens - Metics
The Populace of Athens - Women
The Populace of Athens - Freemen
Pericles' Funeral Oration in depth
Greek Women: Marriage and Divorce
Hetaira and Courtesans
Please see the Research Links & Resources page for additional material. The 'Interactive Map of Athens' might also provide additional useful information on the city itself.