Greece consisted of many city-states, two of which were Athens and Sparta. Although they were both part of Greece, they had many differences in the types of people and systems of government for each region. Sparta, descendants of the Dorians, were a very war-like city-state. They obtained an over-populated region of Greece, and needed room for agriculture. This is the cause for their war-like mindset. The Spartans were controlled by the Spartan Code, which is a military code that was very strict.
The code had laws that helped to strengthen Sparta’s military such as: “Men could not marry before age 20,” and “‘Defected’ citizens were killed, and the weak were abandoned. ” Sparta was known as a Dual Monarch. It had two kings with veto power over each other. Sparta also had a Senate that included twenty-eight elders, or retired military over 60 years old, as well as the two kings. Sparta’s government system also included a Democratic assembly that was open to 8,000 spartan male citizens, which elected the senate and five Overseers which had the real authority in Spartan government, they carried out the laws.
By contrast the Athenians were known more for their interests in arts, music, and intellectual pursuits. The Athenians were peaceful tribes with a military structure that was based on social or economic status, with the wealthiest being the leaders and the least wealthy being the foot soldiers. The Athenian had a government that consisted of an Aristocratic Council, the different property classes and the Archons, or nine magistrates.
Everybody else, the common folk, were left out of the Athenian government completely. Athens had an extremely strict law code set out by Draco that was not accepted by the Athenians, and almost led to war. Solon, who’s roots came form posidon, made seven reforms to Athenian law which canceled all debts, freed debt slaves, repealed Draco’s Law, legalized private property, divided society into four classes based on wealth, opened law courts to all classes, and devised a uniform system of weights and measures.
In 507 B. C. Cleisthenes instituted a direct democracy in Athens. The council of 500 consisted of thirty years old or older members limited to a two year term, chosen by lottery. The assemblies were divided into ten fifty member groups and had a rotation presiding officer which served a one day term. Because of this, there was no such thing as a professional bureaucrat, each citizen could theoretically hold office for a day.