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The ideological clash of Athens and Sparta

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  1. Introduction.
    1. Athens - eighth century B.C.
    2. Areopagus - indirect reason for the rise of democracy in Athens.
  2. Aristotle's insight on a key difference between democracy and oligarchy.
  3. Ninety years after Solon's beginning in Athenian politics.
  4. The government.
    1. Monuments signifying the wild flourishing of an Athenian culture.
    2. The oath of citizenship for males as they turned 18.
  5. Sparta in 478 B.C.
    1. The development of the Delian League.
  6. Origin of Sparta.
  7. Dual kingship and the Spartan soldiers march over the Taygetus Mountains.
  8. The non-existent figure named Lycurgus and the draft of a constitution.
  9. Spartan children.
  10. The Peloponnesian War.
  11. Conclusion.

At the forefront of Western Civilization stood Ancient Greece and her two most prized City-States, Athens and Sparta. Although the two developed relatively alongside each other, many cultural and ideological differences arose as time spanned itself. While Athens flourished with art, intellectuality, individualism and democracy, Sparta became a stagnant isolationist military society bound to the oligarchical state from birth until death. The differences which existed between the two societies eventually led to a major series of conflicts, the Peloponnesian Wars, and directly led to the downfall of Athens. A study of these differences as a cause of the inevitable clash between Athens and Sparta is essential to understanding in a historical context what happened.

[...] Luxuries were to be no more in the society as dictated by Lycurgus' law which went to lengths as extreme as requiring all citizenry to eat in a common mess hall creating a sense of equality amongst fellow Spartans.17 Sparta's dual kingship eventually dissolved into a figurehead as true power now lied in the hands of a council of elders, much in the way the basileus of Athens had lost power to the Areopagus and eventually to the Assembly of people. [...]


[...] The formation of alliances throughout the areas which were the Delian League were the foundation for the first Peloponnesian War as we shall see, for Sparta had grown a deep concern and suspicion of Athenian motives most notably after its formation of an alliance with Megara; a city-state that lied between the route of Athens and Sparta.14 Sparta has its origins within a group of people named the Dorians. The Dorians originated from Macedonia and Northern Greece and had founded locations in the Peloponnesus as well as the Aegean Sea. [...]


[...] Just as Athens possessed the Delian League and its constellation of allies, Sparta too had a league called the Peloponnesian League which had many allies of its own. Tensions between the two had long been growing increasingly worse and Sparta's own suspicions toward Athenian imperialistic moves led it to the brink of military mobilization when finally the last straw was drawn. Potidaia, a city allied with Athens (but only because it was being sieged by Athens), was invaded in a night raid in 431 B.C. [...]

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