Archive for Ancient Greece

The Monuments of Ancient Athens


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The beginning of the Athens government was a monarchy that developed in an aristocracy, or rule by a land holding elite.  Merchants and soliders did not like the aristocracy.  They thought they deserved more rights.  Foreign artisans, who made crafts for Athens to trade, didn’t like that they couldn’t be citizens.  Farmers had to sell their land to nobles, and also had to sell themsevles into slavery to pay for debt.  Athens began to slowly move into democracy.  Solon started this reform when he became the chief official.  He outlawed slavery for debt, and freed some of the farmers who became slaves for debt.  He gave wealthy citizens high office positons, and granted few foreigners citizenships.  He also encouraged the export of wine and olive oil, which increased the demand for merchants and farmers.  Although he created some freedom for the people it wasn’t enough.

Tyrants started to dominate.  Pisistratus weakened aristocracy.  He gave farmers loans and land.  He also gave the poor jobs in building projects.  Then came Cleisthenes, he setup the Council of 500, which was made of regular citizens.  This was the first legislature.  The Council of 500 only consisted of males over the age of thirty.  Democracy was still limited; many Athenians were still enslaved.  The slaves gave officials time to work on the government, and not to worry about their homes.  Women had no part in public life.  They were in a secluded existence, and managed the household.  They spun, wove, cared for the children, and made food at home.  The boys went to school if the family could afford it.  They studied music, poems, math, reading, public speaking, and had military training.  They kept their bodies healthy by participating in athletic contests.  Athens more or less encourage knowledge instead or strength, unlike Sparta.

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     Spartians were Dorlans that conquered the Loconia. After they invaded them and took control the Spartians they tunred them into slaves. They made the slaves work on the land. Sparta was isolated from all the other Greek. They also looked down on trade and wealth, they didnt want any of their citizens to travel. They had little use for ideas and art. Most other peopl looked up to their military but they didnt like the way the live. They said “Spartian are willing to die for thier city because they have no reason to live.”
     In thier government they had two kings and a council of elders who advised the monarchs. The citizens were native born male of thirty years old. They elected five ephors, officials who held the real power and ran day-to-day affairs.
     The women in thier country were expected to have a healthy son for the army. In order to have strong son the strengthened thier own bodies, no other Greek women did it. If thier son was weak it was left to be killed. They also had to obey thier fathers and husband. Women had the right to inhert property since the men were usually in the military. They were alos in charge of running thier family.
     Kids were sent to the army when they were seven years old. They had to get prepared for the army ahead of time. If they were sick when they were born they were left to die. They had to move to barracks to live in when they were in the military. They had a coarse diet, hard exercises, and rigid disipline.  At the age of 20 a man can get married but they still had to live in the barracks another 10 years and eat there for another 40 years.

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