Ancient Sparta was not as sophisticated as Athens, did not create arts and crafts and has not left us any written masterpiece. It was though the city that stayed in history due to the bravery of its citizens, and its immense role in the Persian Wars. Sparta was actually the complete opposite of Athens and other major cities in ancient Greece, provoking feelings of admiration and fear because of the spirit, virtue and valor of its citizens.
The later Archaic periods The rise of the tyrants Dealings with opulent Asian civilizations were bound to produce disparities in wealth, and hence social conflicts, within the aristocracies of Greece.
One function of institutions such as guest-friendship was no doubt to ensure the maintenance of the charmed circle of social and economic privilege. This system, however, presupposed a certain stability, whereas the rapid escalation of overseas activity in and after the 8th century was surely disruptive in that it gave a chance, or at least a grievance, to outsiders with the right go-getting skills and motivation.
Not that one should imagine concentration of wealth taking place in the form most familiar to the 21st century—namely, coined money.
Since the date of the earliest coinage has been fairly securely fixed at about bce; the crucial discovery was the excavation and scientific examination of the foundation deposit of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus in Anatolia. The first objects recognizably similar to coined money were found there at levels most scholars there are a few doubters accept as securely dated.
Coinage did not arrive in Greece proper until well into the 6th century. There were, however, other ways of accumulating precious metals besides collecting it in coined form. Gold and silver can be worked into cups, plates, and vases or just held as bar or bullion.
There is no getting round the clear implication of two poems of Solon early 6th century that, first, gold and silver were familiar metals and, second, wealth was now in the hands of arrivistes.
The decline of the aristocracy The first state in which the old aristocratic order began to break up was Corinth. Like Chalciswhich supervised sea traffic between southern Greece and Macedonia but also had close links with Boeotia and AtticaCorinth controlled both a north-south route the Isthmus of Corinthin modern times pierced by the Corinth Canal and an east-west route.
This second route was exploited in a special way. The diolkos, which was excavated in the s, was a line of grooved paving-stones across which goods could be dragged for transshipment probably not the merchant ships themselves, though there is some evidence that warships, which were lighter, were so moved in emergencies.
There is explicit information that the Bacchiadae had profited hugely from the harbour dues. As the Greek world expanded its mental and financial horizons, other Corinthian families grew envious.
The result was the first firmly datable and well-authenticated Greek tyrannyor one-man rule by a usurper. This was the tyranny of Cypseluswho was only a partial Bacchiad. Aristotlein the 4th century, was to say that tyrannies arise when oligarchies disagree internally, and that analysis makes good sense in the Corinthian context.
Precisely what factor in made possible the success of the partial outsider Cypselus is obscure; no Bacchiad foreign policy failure can be dated earlier than No doubt this oracle was fabricated after the event, but it is interesting as showing that nobody regretted the passing of the Bacchiadae.
One much-favoured explanation is military, but it must be said straightaway that the specific evidence for support of Cypselus by a newly emergent military class is virtually nonexistent. The background to military change, a change whose reality is undoubted, needs a word.
Aristocratic warfare, as described in the Homeric epics, puts much emphasis on individual prowess. Great warriors used chariots almost as a kind of taxi service to transport themselves to and from the battlefield, where they fought on foot with their social peers. The winner gained absolute power over the person and possessions of the vanquished, including the right to carry out ritual acts of corpse mutilation.
There is some force in that objection and in the converse and related objection that in Archaic and Classical hoplite fighting individual duels were more prevalent than is allowed by scholars anxious to stress the collective character of hoplite combat.
Still, a change in methods of fighting undoubtedly occurred in the course of the 7th century. This last feature produced a consequence commented on by Thucydides —namely, a tendency of the sword bearer to drift to the right in the direction of the protection offered by his neighbour.
For this reason the best troops were posted on the far right to act as anchor-men. The system, whose introduction is not commented on by any literary source, is depicted on vases in the course of the 7th century, though it is not possible to say whether it was a sudden technological revolution or something that evolved over decades.
The second view seems preferable since the discovery in the s of a fine bronze suit of heavy armour at Argos in a late 8th-century context. Clearly, the change has social and political implications.
Even when one acknowledges some continuation of individual skirmishing, much nonetheless depended on neighbours in the battle line standing their ground. This helps to explain the strong ritual elements in a hoplite battle, which typically began with a sacrifice and taking of omens and ended with victory dedications, often of bronze suits of armour, in some appropriate sanctuary.
It is above all the heavily armed troops, not the lightly armed or the sailors in the fleet nor even the cavalrywho were thought of as in a special sense representing the Classical polis.
Thus at Classical Athens the tribe citizen system determined the organization of the hoplite army but is much less important in the manning of the fleet. Insofar as both phenomena represent reactions against aristocratic rule, it is reasonable loosely to associate the two, but it is important to realize that the theory, however seductive, is in its strict form a modern construction.
In the first place, the connection is never made by intelligent ancient writers interested both in the mechanics and psychology of hoplite warfare on the one hand and in tyranny on the other. Thucydides, for instance, a military historian if ever there was one, saw tyranny primarily in economic terms.
Aristotle does indeed say that the extension of the military base of a state is liable to produce a widening of the political franchise, but this comment has nothing specifically to do with tyranny. He explains tyranny elsewhere either as resulting from splits within oligarchies or by an anachronistic 4th-century reference to demagogic leadership, which, when combined with generalship, is liable to turn into tyranny there he is surely thinking above all of Dionysius I of Syracuse.
In the second place, it is discouraging for the hoplite theory that there is so little support for it in the best-attested case, that of Cypselid Corinth. Attempts have indeed been made to get around the natural implication of the evidence, but they are not convincing.
For instance, the ancient statement that Cypselus had no bodyguard ought to be given its natural meaning, which is a denial of the military factor; it ought not to be ingeniously twisted so as to imply that he did not need a bodyguard because it is argued he had the support of identifiable army groups.There was a drastic difference in the cultures of the two cities.
Sparta became a military stronghold by emphasizing only on expanding their power and gaining control over other kingdoms, while the Athenians grew in the fields of infrastructure and culture.
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Ancient Greece: a Comparison of Athens and Sparta. Report abuse. Transcript of Ancient Greece: a Comparison of Athens and Sparta. Ancient Greece by Kaylah and Asha Sparta Athens What are the Effects of Political and Social Factors on Human Growth and Development One of the world oldest cities, established approx 7, .