5.2 - Athens And Sparta

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Some tidbits on ancient Athens and Sparta.

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5.2 - Athens And Sparta

  1. 1. Athens and Sparta
  2. 2. <ul><li>Athens and Sparta were both poleis (that’s the plural of ‘polis.’) </li></ul><ul><li>These were city-states, each independent with their own sub-culture and form of governance. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What kinds of governments were there? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>There was no “capital city” of Greece </li></ul><ul><li>While you were Greek, and proud of it, your primary allegiance and loyalty were towards your city-state </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Squabbling among the Greeks almost did them in on several occasions when they fought the Persians </li></ul></ul><ul><li>There were a number of city-states both in Greece and elsewhere. We talk about Athens and Sparta the most because they emerged as the most powerful ones. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Some important places - Athens Sparta Corinth Thebes Olympia Troy Ephesus
  4. 4. <ul><li>What do these mean: </li></ul><ul><li>Monarchy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rule by a king </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Oligarchy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rule by a small group of people. Usually elites bound together by interests and wealth. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Aristocracy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rule by a small group of people, but in the classical definition, they’re chosen for their virtue and wise rule (though this wasn’t always the case). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tyranny </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rule by a individual with absolute power who took power by force, sometimes with popular support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sword of Damocles </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Acropolis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Center and citadel of city-state. Literally means “high city” or “city at the top.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Usually refers to the one in Athens nowadays </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Agora </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An open public area acting as a center of public life and also the marketplace </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Helot </li></ul><ul><li>Land-bound serfs that worked Spartan land (if all the citizens are going to be soldiers, somebody’s gotta be the farmers). </li></ul><ul><li>Were from the surrounding land of Laconia and Messenia that they conquered. </li></ul><ul><li>Owned by the state and not individual masters and the masters couldn’t sell them </li></ul><ul><li>Sparta got half of the helot’s crops </li></ul><ul><li>Significantly outnumbered the citizens. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The potential threat they presented was another reason why the Spartans had such a potent army (gotta keep ‘em down) and the Spartans were reluctant to fight too far from Sparta lest the helots act up </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Sparta It was here:
  8. 9. Here’s a map of the Spartan region: (Sorry, it’s in French)
  9. 10. <ul><li>In Greek, they’re known as the Lacedaemonians </li></ul><ul><li>Lacedaemon was the name of the city-state while Sparta was the ancient town, but we just call it all Sparta. </li></ul><ul><li>According to legend, it was founded by Lacedaemon, the son of Zeus and Taygete (a nymph) </li></ul><ul><li>They controlled most of the southern Peloponnese (or effectively controlled it as Sparta was the dominant power) </li></ul><ul><li>Argos and Arcadia were it’s main rivals on the Pelopennese </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Sparta was a military culture </li></ul><ul><li>The entire Spartan culture went towards developing and fielding a strong army </li></ul><ul><li>This was to preserve itself as well as to keep down the helots </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>Spartan military </li></ul><ul><li>Children were taught at home until they were seven and they began their training </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exercises for them and all ages were always done in the nude… and oiled up </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At 13, they were dropped off in the woods in groups with nothing and had to survive (without theft) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><ul><li>Engaged in pederasty (what we would now call pedophilia). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Older men were expected to have erotic loving relationships with boys (and were fined if they didn’t). This was also a mentor relationship. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>With the Spartans, it was a “chaste” pederasty – actual coitus was not allowed, but other behavior was. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Even in this, self-control was paramount. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Many other city-states engaged in pederasty of some form or another and those forms also changed over time. They were all officially stamped out by the Roman emperor Justinian </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 14. <ul><li>Began military service at 20 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Soldiers were not allowed to trade or hold non-military occupations. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>These were done by a class called the periokoi, free non-citizen inhabitants of Sparta. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exercised full rights and duties of citizens at 30. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weren’t free from military service until 60. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To help ensure the physical superiority of their people, babies were bathed in wine shortly after birth. If they survived, they were taken to elders. If the elders deemed the baby unfit, it was left exposed to die on a hillside (other city-states practiced exposure). </li></ul>
  14. 15. <ul><li>Government </li></ul><ul><li>Two hereditary kings, five ephors, the gerousia, and the apella </li></ul><ul><li>The two kings were equal in power (hypothetically) and exercised various duties. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They eventually became less powerful and important, and were primarily generals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The five ephors were a council elected for one year by the apella. All citizens were eligible. </li></ul><ul><li>The gerousia was like a Senate – a council of 30 elders (they had to be over 60) and were elected for life by the apella. Could veto the apella. </li></ul><ul><li>The apella was like a lower legislative body. Every citizen over 30 could attend. Votes were taken by shouts. </li></ul>
  15. 16. <ul><li>Women </li></ul><ul><li>Were more independent than in other city-states. </li></ul><ul><li>Learned reading and writing and girls were also given similar harsh physical training to the boys (many domestic tasks were left to the helots and periokoi) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Girls also received same amount and quality of food as boys, which wasn’t the case everywhere. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Could own and control property and could overtake husband’s property while he was at war. Were expected to defend it too and to put down revolts. </li></ul><ul><li>Were not rushed into sex and bearing children and were not forced or compelled to marry men considerably older than them. </li></ul><ul><li>Husbands also allowed other men to bed their wives and produce children. May have practiced polyandry. </li></ul>
  16. 17. Athens It’s here:
  17. 18. <ul><li>Athens is famous for being the primary basis of western civilization. </li></ul><ul><li>Especially in its democracy, although its democracy wasn’t always constant, and its form is slightly different than what we’re familiar with. </li></ul>
  18. 19. <ul><li>Athens was originally a kingdom which morphed into more of an aristocracy that became unstable, partially due to laws being oral and arbitrary </li></ul><ul><li>In 621 BC, Draco was appointed to codify the laws </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This wound up being an unpopular move because the laws (both as they already existed and were codified by Draco, but also most especially as designed by Draco) were extremely harsh. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Death was the penalty for even minor crimes, like stealing vegetables. Draco claimed that this was an appropriate punishment and if something even worse were found, he would have applied to greater crimes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different classes were also treated differently – debtors could be sold into slavery if in debt to a higher class. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 20. <ul><ul><li>An upside is that murder was punished by the state instead of by blood-feud vendettas. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is from Draco that the term ‘draconian’ derives. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 21. <ul><li>Solon </li></ul><ul><li>The Athenian lawmaker that first established the basis of civil democracy </li></ul><ul><li>Draco’s constitution wasn’t working out too well and in 594 BC, Solon revised it (almost completely). </li></ul><ul><li>He threw out all of Draco’s laws except those concerning homicide. </li></ul><ul><li>He had to strike a balance between the concerns of the aristocracy and those of the poor. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The poor were disgruntled at the possibility of they and their families being sold into slavery if they were in debt to an aristocrat. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The aristocrats wanted to prevent a revolution and keep their wealth (and their skin). </li></ul></ul>
  21. 22. <ul><li>Some reforms: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Debt-slavery was abolished. Anybody who had been sold into slavery due to debt was liberated. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All outstanding debts at the time were abolished. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Death penalty only for murder. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Classes were based on income, not birth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pentakosiomedimnoi: Those whose land produced 500 bushels per annum </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hippeis: Those who were worth 300 bushels </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Zeugitai: Those who were worth 200 bushels </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Thetes: Manual laborers. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Move was important because it helped break the power of hereditary aristocracy </li></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 23. <ul><ul><li>Introduced trial by jury </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set up new system of government that included not just the top two classes (in the Areopagus), but also the third class in the Boule (council of 400 – 100 from each of the four tribes) and the assembly for the thetes. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>After the new laws were published and made official, he left Athens for 10 years lest he be tempted to make himself a tyrant (though he was effectively one in making the laws). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Went touring. Interesting story concerning Croesus of Sardis. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Neither the poor nor the rich of Athens were particularly jazzed about the new laws at first (the aristocrats had debts to them abolished and the poor didn’t get more wealth), but they liked them over time. </li></ul>
  23. 24. <ul><li>Peisistratus </li></ul><ul><li>Hippocrates’s son </li></ul><ul><li>Was the pederast mentee of Solon </li></ul><ul><li>Became leader of Athens’ poor in 565 BC </li></ul><ul><li>Made attempts at seizing control of Athens, but either failed or was overthrown. He first seized power in 560 BC finally made it stick in 546 BC and became a tyrant. </li></ul><ul><li>Made popular reforms. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduced taxation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduced festivals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased trade and commerce </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Produced coin money </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Beautified the city </li></ul></ul>
  24. 25. <ul><ul><li>Had official copies of the Iliad and Odyssey written down </li></ul></ul><ul><li>He helped the poor and gave them jobs through public works, so they were satisfied and supported him. </li></ul><ul><li>While he preserved the democratic institutions, he loaded the upper bodies with family and cronies. </li></ul><ul><li>When he first took power in 560 BC, it was through cunning deception. Did it again later. </li></ul><ul><li>Solon urged the Athenians to resist Pisastratus, but they were too cowardly and Pisastratus too powerful. Solon himself openly opposed Pisastratus. </li></ul>
  25. 26. <ul><li>Cleisthenes </li></ul><ul><li>Took power with Spartan help after Pisastratus’s son Hippias was exiled </li></ul><ul><li>Reformed the government </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Previously, there were multiple tribes and there was conflict among the city folk, hill folk, and plain folk. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cleisthenes organized ten entirely new tribes each composed of people from the three regions and of different family tribes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The broke old tribal or class loyalties and reoriented people towards the state. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Solon’s council of 400 became the Council of 500, 50 people from each new tribe. </li></ul></ul>
  26. 27. <ul><ul><ul><li>This assembly became the main governing body of Athens and dealt with day to day affairs. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Anybody was eligible to serve for one year and it was expected that all male citizens would serve eventually. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Also served as a supreme court / jury, except for murder cases and religious matters (those remained to the Areopagus) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>With the establishment of the assembly, Athens became a representative democracy. The citizens themselves ran it. </li></ul>
  27. 28. <ul><li>Women </li></ul><ul><li>Women didn’t have the same rights as in Sparta </li></ul><ul><li>Expected to take care of the home </li></ul><ul><li>Boys were taught reading and writing and girls were taught domestic skills, like spinning and sewing, by slaves </li></ul><ul><li>Not allowed out of the house except maybe for the near locality </li></ul><ul><li>Main purpose was to produce healthy children </li></ul><ul><li>Odd treatment considering that women played an important role in some religious rites and the city’s patron goddess was Athena </li></ul>
  28. 29. <ul><li>Women could be educated if they were Hetaerae </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A bit like Japanese geishas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They were educated so that they could entertain men with good conversations at parties, the symposia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Also learned physical talents, like dancing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes acted as prostitutes (and had a similar social status) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Despite public social status, they and their opinions were often respected by men </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pericles’s mistress Aspasia was a hetaera (we’ll talk about them later) </li></ul></ul>
  29. 30. <ul><li>Slavery </li></ul><ul><li>Practiced existed throughout Greece and in Athens, although the rules governing it differed from city-state to city-state. </li></ul><ul><li>Slaves were usually barbarians, typically captured in war. Others were born slaves or their free parents sold them into slavery for money. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It was considered by some an abomination to enslave a fellow Greek. Greeks could be slaves, but many free Greeks didn’t like the idea. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t think of this in terms of the American experience with slavery – only some of them were African and the treatment was different. </li></ul>
  30. 31. <ul><li>Relatively well-treated in Athens when compared with other places. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Couldn’t slap a slave because you might inadvertently hit a citizen instead. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A master could beat his slave, though. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Testimony was taken only under torture. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Could buy their freedom or earn through fighting in war. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Masters could free their slaves. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Even then, though, they couldn’t be citizens and there were still conditions on them. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>In other city-states, the treatment was much, much worse. </li></ul>

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