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Global Culture In Ancient Greece

Athens was the largest city in Greece, located at the Attica peninsula. The name Athens was come from the Goddess of Athena, who is the protector of Athens. Between the mountains were fertile valleys, with many farms. Athens became rich because Attica also had valuable sources of various types of material, which allowed them to trade with other city-states (Ancient Greece:Athens, source 5). As the ancestor of modern democracy, Athenian lower and middle classes had a quite well social status, which shows the equal of human rights.

The education in Athens was well-designed and advanced, that most of their people were able to have education till primary school and they would learn reading, writing, math, philosophy, art, and sport in school. The city was also famous for its art and architecture. They appreciated the beauty of human body which they expressed it with their sculptures and paintings. The most famous building in Athens was the temple called the Parthenon, which stood on the hill of Acropolis. Therefore, Athens is superior than Sparta.

The government in Athens was democratic, which means it was voted by citizens to benefit citizens. Thanks to Solon, Athens was the first democratic city-state in the human history, and they did a decent job on maintaining the order in Athens with democracy. For a long time, he was considered the founder of democracy. According to various sources, it was believed that he had established the property classes, which made Athens more organized. He also did some major changes on the Areopagus, which all the Athenians can vote for Archons(Baker).

There are three points in the constitution of Solon which appear to be its most democratic features: first and most important, the prohibition of loans on the security of the debtor’s person; secondly, the right of every person who so willed to claim redress on behalf of any one to whom wrong was being done; thirdly, the institution of the appeal to the jury courts; and it is to this last, they say, that the masses have owed their strength most of all, since, when the democracy is master of the voting-power, it is master of the constitution. ” (Frederick G. Kenyon, source 2)

Most importantly, the debt slavery was prohibited. This greatly improved the lower classes’ lives in Athens. Athenians would not worry about their freedom due to the money they owe. This helped stabilize the society since there was no more debt slavery, the lower class could live their lives well, that they did not have to steal money or rob people for living or for paying the debt. Moreover, every citizen in Athens would have to right to accuse others, even though they were richer, and more powerful than you. This law was also benefiting the middle and the lower classes.

This shows the equality of human rights no matter how much wealth they had. Last but not least, the jury courts were consisted of people instead of one-man court. This reveal the fairness and democracy of Athens that they would have multiple people on the court to ensure the sentence was fair. Education always plays a significant role in the society. Without good education, the country will not thrive. In ancient Athens, they had modern and advanced education system and goal. In Athens, students would learn reading, writing, poetry, history, geography, ethics and all kinds of sports.

The aim was not to produce athletes, or soldiers like in Sparta, but young men who were graceful, fit, and attractive, and it was hoped they would develop habits of fitness that they took with them their whole lives. ”(What were the objectives of education in Ancient Athens, and how did education prepare students for their roles in society? , source 7) Athenian students were able to learn multiple different subjects. Teachers also was encouraged to added additional information they knew to the school course.

Their education goal was to “produce citizens trained in the arts, to prepare citizens for both peace and war. ”(Education in Athens, source 6) This type of education system allowed children to develop towards full stature, that they were versatile in skill and thoughtful in mind. In Athens, they were never lack of good generals and artists. In the history of Athens, they produced many famous philosopher such as Socrates, and Plato. This reflects that Athenians really valued children education a lot. Sparta, on the contrary, had a very different kind of education, militaristic education.

Their education intention was “formed in such a way in order to create soldiers-citizens. Children in ancient Sparta were taught self-denial, discipline, loyalty in Sparta, simplicity. ”(Ancient Greek Education, source 8) Indeed, scarification, order, and loyalty are good virtues. However, living was not only about blind-following and warfare. If people only know following orders and how to fight, I would rather have a robot army. Looking at Sparta from a whole picture, Sparta barely contributed anything to the world that reserved till today.

People might say Sparta is the greatest militaristic polis of all time, however, they only were the salve to themselves. What Sparta did not have? Art and entertainment. Athens was famous of their art and architecture. Through their masterpieces, they could express their feelings toward a religious myth or an major event. Athenians were able to appreciate the beauty of nature and human body. Venus de Milo, which was created in the second century B. C. E was considered the best sculpture from ancient Athens. This sculpture demonstrated the Greek ideal of beauty.

Their main style of art was painting and sculpture, which reflects their passion in individualism. In Athens, people could go to the theater and enjoy the drama during their spare time. They had dice games, knucklebone for females, and many different games to play. Music was also a fundamental part of their social lives. What Sparta really did not have? The spirit of free will. Spartans were caged in their city while Athenians were traveling the world; Spartans were not only chained by their helots, they were also the slaves of their out-dated thoughts about life.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, human needs can simply be divided into two parts: physical need, which means wealth, safe living, and food, and the spiritual need, which means art, free will and happiness. Even the children in Athens lived a happier and better life than Spartan kids. Great philosopher of Athens, Plato said: “To form the character of the child over three and up to six years old there will be need of games. ” Spartan children did not have a complete life as their character was not built entirely. They didn’t even know how to enjoy life!

If Spartans were at the dead sea of Israel, Athenians were already at the top of the Himalayas, metaphorically. In a nutshell, Athens was a superior state than Sparta because they had more focus on children’s education, which shows they had advanced and modern idea of education. They also had democratic government, which make a peaceful and stable society as every citizens of Athens were free in will and had equal rights. Lastly they had a superior idea of living than Spartan did, since they knew how to enjoyed lives by playing arts and entertaining themselves.

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