Ancient Greece: Benefits of Athens and Sparta

In Ancient Greece, there were many city-states. Two of the most well-known are Athens and Sparta. While these two places were very different, there were many benefits to living in either city states.

To begin, Athens was more based on education, and very focused on Government. In Pericles’ speech to Athens, he said, “The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbor for doing what he likes, or even to indulge in those injurious looks which cannot fail to be offensive, although they inflict no positive penalty.” Pericles is saying that Athens is a free city-state, and in this one can do what one wants. With this you don’t feel mad at our friends and family when they do what they want. There is no need to be jealous at others for getting what they want because you also get to indulge in freedom during your everyday life also.

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So, one could assume that Athens would be a pretty peaceful place for one to live in. This can be assumed because Pericles says that they don’t get mad at their neighbor. That there is no jealously because everyone gets to enjoy freedom. If no one is angry or jealous at others then there are no problems in the city-states. So, a benefit of living in Athens is that you would be able to live in a jealous free environment and a peaceful one too. One would want to live in such an environment because it would provide focus on more important things than being angry at someone for what the others get.

One of the biggest benefits living in Athens is that it would be a peaceful place to live in. Now, in Sparta, they focused less on education and government. Their minds were on training and discipline. As stated in Herodotus: On the Kings of Sparta, c. 430 BCE, ” When the king is dead and another is appointed the king, this king who is newly coming in sets free any man of the Spartans who was debtor to the king or to the state;” This quote is saying that if you owed money to the King, but he died before you repaid him, you would be free of your debt. This is a benefit because then a person wouldn’t just owe forever if he couldn’t afford to pay.

Although rare, it allows for a little forgiveness. According to the article, the kings to of Sparta hold tremendous power. So, it may not seem like there are many benefits to living in this city-state. But, being released from your debt with each new king is a benefit of living in Sparta, one that can’t be said for other places. Every time we elect a new president our debt doesn’t go away, so this Spartan benefit is an original one that would be very beneficial.

Both Athens and Sparta have benefits to living in them, which is why they were two of the most well known city-states in Ancient Greece. Both Athens and Sparta are beneficial, but to a modern day American, the debt forgiveness of Sparta would be a better one to have. In America, many people owe money to the government, which is the economy is so low currently. So, to have one’s personal debt taken away with each new president would be good fortune for them. With Athens, America is already a free country.

So having freedom in everyday lives wouldn’t seem as beneficial. But, with both Athens and Sparta they did have benefits to them that made living there better for everyone.