Sparta And Athens

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade October 2001

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World Civilization test 1) Compare and contrast the political, social, and economic institutions of Sparta and Athens up to about 500BCE. Why did they have a conflict? Sparta and Athens both had a unique way of life. But both cities also shared much in common. They both sought after the same goal: to conquer Greece and obtain true power.

Because Sparta was becoming vastly populated, the Spartans had no choice but to conquer their neighbors to the west, the Messenians. This became known as the first Messenian war. The Spartans took total control over the Messenians. They renamed them as serfs or helots. Basically the Spartans were using the Helots as slaves. Now that they had obtained a large amount of land, there was no need for the Spartans to tend to the landscapes themselves. But the Helots eventually rebelled against the Spartans and started the second Messenian War.

This war was fought over an extensive period of time. It threatened the existence of the Spartan empire. The Spartans were forced to change their lifestyle immediately. They thus chose to conform to a militaristic society.

Upon birth, the ruling officials of the state designated which child, whether it be male or female, would be physically suitable to survive. At the age of seven, the boys are taken away from their mothers and are turned over to instructors that teach and train them in athletics and military arts. The boys were trained how to survive against pain and to survive on only the bare essentials. Stealing was instilled in them as a necessity. At the age of twenty, the Spartan boys are enrolled in the Spartan Military. They were allowed to marry, but had restrictions to what they were capable to do with their spouse. They young men were...