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How did the culture in Athens differ from other Greek city-states?
 Athens
was another
important polis
 It
was 153 miles
northeast of Sparta,
(about a 2-day trip
in those days) high
above a plain
facing the sea.
 The
Athenians were
descendants of the
Athenian men worked as farmers, artisans, and
After finishing work in the mornings, they would often
spend their afternoons exercising at the gymnasium.
Upper-class men spent their evenings eating, drinking,
and discussing philosophy or politics in all male
Athenian women took care of their families and homes.
Girls often married at a young age, sometimes in their
Poor women helped with farm work or sold goods at the
market. Upper-class women often supervised the
servants and spun, dyed, or wove cloth. Most upper-class
women rarely left their houses except to attend funerals
and festivals.
Athenian women were always under the care of a male
family member. Husbands were responsible for their
wives and unmarried daughters. Sons were responsible for
their widowed mothers.
 The
people of Athens believed
in an education that would
produce strong minds and
 In
Athenian schools, boys
studied arithmetic, geometry,
drawing, music, and public
speaking. They also
participated in sports.
 When
the boys finished school
at 18, they were expected to
take part in public affairs.
 Athenian
girls were educated by
their mothers at home.
 They
were taught how to spin,
weave, and to manage their
 Some
wealthy families allowed their
girls to learn to read, write, and play
 Except
for a few women, usually
foreigners, women were not
expected to take part in
 Slavery
was common in ancient
civilizations, often considered to
be a normal part of life, even by
the slaves themselves.
 Most
Athenian households had at
least one enslaved person.
Many wealthy Athenian families
had more.
 Many
of the slaves were
prisoners who had been
captured in battle. They could be
Greek or non-Greek.
 Slaves
worked on farms, in artisan
shops, or at hard labor. Female
slaves were cooks and servants in
wealthy homes. Some slaves even
taught the children of the upperclass.
 Sometimes,
but rarely, slaves could
earn money to buy their freedom.
 Although
they had no rights, slaves
were given some protection by the
Athenian government.
By 600 BCE. most Athenian farmers owed money to the
nobles. Some farmers even sold themselves into
slavery to repay their debts. Athenians began to rebel.
Farmers wanted an end to all debts and asked that
land be given to the poor.
Solon, a respected merchant, poet, and lawmaker led
the reforms, looking to find agreement between the
nobles and farmers. He knew they needed to be able
to work together.
In 594 BCE Solon ended the farmers' debts and freed
those who were enslaved. He opened the assembly
and the law courts to all male citizens.
The Athenian assembly was responsible for passing
laws written by a council of 400 wealthy citizens.
In 560 BCE, a tyrant, and a relative of
Solon's, Peisistratus, took over the
government. He took the reforms even
He divided large estates among farmers
who had no land.
He provided loans to help farmers buy
equipment to work their farms.
He gave citizenship to Athenians who
did not own land.
He built more shrines to different gods,
but encouraged worship of Athena.
The next leader of Athens was Cleisthenes,
(KLYS thuh neez) a nobleman. Cleisthenes valued
the idea of a democracy, and made more reforms
toward that end:
~ made the assembly the city-state’s major
governing body
~ continued to allow all male citizens to participate
in the assembly and vote on laws [assembly
members could now freely discuss issues, hear
legal cases, and appoint army officials]
~ created a new council of 500 citizens to:
` help the assembly
` manage daily government affairs
` introduce laws
` control the treasury
` manage relations with other city states
How do you suppose the Athenians chose the members for this important council?
YES !!
Athenians used a lottery system to
choose their council members
because they believed an election
might unfairly favor the rich, who
would be more well-known.
Every citizen had a chance to be on
the council because each term was
limited to one year, and no one
could serve on the council for more
than two terms.
While Cleisthenes’s reforms made Athens’
government more democratic, many residents
were still excluded from the political process.
Still, it was a large step toward true democracy.