The Strengths And Weaknesses Of Two Cities: Athens And Sparta

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In ancient Greece there were two major city-states, Athens and Sparta, who held most of the power, population and money. Although they were relatively equal in size and might, when it comes to their values and overall life in each city-state, they couldn’t be more different. Their differences were so strong that they each created their own alliances with other Greek city-states, the Delian League and the Peloponnesian League, essentially splitting the country. However, if I had to choose between living in ancient Sparta or ancient Athens, I would choose Athens every time. There are many reasons for me to choose Athens over Sparta as my city-state of choice, some of which only apply to me and some of which apply to everyone. For example, Sparta was extremely strict with its way of life, and gave little in the way of sympathy and empathy. Weakness was not accepted, and if you didn’t contribute to society you were taking away from it, and would probably be killed. In addition, from age 7-60 one was legally obligated to serve in the army, which would very likely result in your death. This essentially means your earliest memories will be of fighting, starving and stealing in hope of becoming a better soldier all so you can earn glory by dying for Sparta. Finally, if you were perceived as weak when you’re born, you would immediately be thrown into the woods to be at the mercy of the wild. 

Even before you could prove your worth, you could be discarded for being too fragile and taking away from the city state. Athens on the other hand, at least for a man, is a shining example of the best that early civilizations had to offer. In Athens, as long as you were free, rich and a man, you were able to be at the forefront of innovation and creativity, Art, science, math, philosophy, music, writing and architecture are just some of the things that Athens created or revolutionized, coming up with things that we take for granted now but was revolutionary back then. 

Moreover, Athens was the first civilization to implement democracy as its form of government, replacing the traditional king or senate and putting the power in the people. With no one that had absolute power, this also essentially created the first society that gave freedom of speech to the people, as there was no need to silence any one. Democracy unlocked many freedoms that had never been seen before, which allowed Athens to turn into the creative powerhouse of the ancient world. As someone that enjoys my life, political freedom and the ability to express myself through creativity as opposed to violence and bloodshed, I believe that Athens would be the best choice for me. Since I am a man, I would be fully able to enjoy everything that Athens has to offer, while in Sparta I would be turned into a heartless killing machine. In Athens I would be able to do as I please, while in Sparta I would be forced to comply to the whims of a strict totalitarian regime. Finally, I am much more likely to die young in glorious battle living in Sparta, as opposed to living in Athens. Overall, Athens is easily the better place to live, and would be where I would live if given the choice between Athens and Sparta.

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