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Greek City-States:
Athens and Sparta
Spartan society
• 3 social groups
• Equals: descended from the invaders,
controlled Sparta
• Half-citizens: free, paid taxes and served
in the army but had no political power,
some farmed but others worked in the
city as traders or artisans
• Helots: slaves, greatly outnumbered the
other groups so Spartans used force to
control them, in large part this is why
Sparta became a military city-state
Spartan Government
• Two kings led Sparta
• 1 king handled military
• 1 king took care of domestic matters
• A council of Elders
• Made up of 28 male citizens over the age of
• Proposed laws and served as a criminal
• An assembly
• Included all male citizens over 30
• Elected 5 ephors
• Made sure the kings stayed within the law
• Elected for a 1 year term
• Controlled the education of Spartans
Sparta’s Military Society
• Goal was to make every male citizen a part of the
military machine
• Military worked to expand Sparta and control the
• A group of officials examined new born babies and
those deemed unhealthy were left to die
• At 7 boys left home to join the barracks
• Mainly military training but they also learned how to read
and write
• From age 18-20 they learned specifically about warfare
• At 20 they could marry but could not live at home until
age 30
• Were available for military service until the age of 60
Sparta’s Military Society (cont’d)
• Spartan women
• Received strict physical training
• Taught to be devoted to the city-state
• Their best value was seen as producing
Spartan soldiers
• Results of military society:
Strong government
Almost unbeatable army
No individual freedom
Created almost no art or literature and
made almost no advances in science
Athenian Society
• 3 class groups
• Citizens: extended to all those born in
Athens, only the men had political
• Metics: born outside Athens, free and
had to pay taxes but had no political
rights and could not own land
• Slaves: captured in war, together with
metics made up more than half of
Athenian society
Early Athenian Government
• After the monarchy ended, an aristocracy took
its place
• All adult male citizens met in an assembly
• Elected generals in time of war
• Elected nine archons (rulers with a 1 year term)
• First written code created around 621
• Solon (archon in 594 B.C.)
• Outlawed selling people into slavery to pay their
• Divided citizens into 4 groups based on wealth:
wealthiest 2 could hold office