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Sparta Vs. Athens

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Poll Question: Which Greek City-State was the greatest?
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  Quote conon394 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Sparta Vs. Athens
    Posted: 11-Feb-2007 at 23:28

I am a man, so I'd rather live in Athens (not to look down on women, but for philosophy, art, learning,etc.). If I was a woman, I would have chosen Sparta, for its better treatment of women. In gender-equality, Sparta was highly sophisticated.

.

 

How? Did women vote, no. Hold any political office nope, provide evidence in public courts no (and oops Sparta didnt have those anyway). But oh yes they did have a nominal right to own property. One should remember the context thought, we are taking about first a minuscule minority of women in Sparta - in effect only the upper class Spartan women not the wives of helots or perioeci or even the Spartans who had been dropped from the status of equals due to poverty. Second that property right was held within the bounds of a totalitarian hermit state, not exactly one that gave free reign to its citizens. Outside of the activities of a few female members of the Spartan royal houses can anyone point to an example of the supposed better status of women in Sparta?

If the question is one of be any randomly selected women in Sparta or Athens I dont see any real choice but to pick Athens; if on the other hand the question is be one of a handful of elite Spartan women in the late 5th of 4th century BC than maybe you have an argument.





Edited by conon394 - 11-Feb-2007 at 23:33
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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Feb-2007 at 06:51
One should remember the context thought, we are taking about first a minuscule minority of women in Sparta

Miniscule for you,great for the Ancients.
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  Quote Joinville Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Feb-2007 at 08:03
Originally posted by conon394

Outside of the activities of a few female members of the Spartan royal houses can anyone point to an example of the supposed better status of women in Sparta?
The trade the Spartiates did was done by their women.
 
Otherwise mainly the fact that the Greek recognised the Spartiate women as the freest and most assertive.
 
The difference in our eyes may have been marginal, but since the women of Athenian citizens lived in what for practical puposes was harems (sequestered indoors, only meeting male relatives) the difference to the Greek was obvious.
 
But it's very true that ancient Greece was generally a rotten place to be a woman, including Sparta.
 
Plutarch around 200 AD or so argued that a man could actually have his wife for a friend and partner.
It was considered one of his more outrageous ideas, along the assertion that one could be a great man and live in a one-whore village in Boiotia, like he did.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Feb-2007 at 08:31
Athens!
 
Yes, Athens was not a modern democracy, as some people think, but a slave based society, similiar perhaps to the Southern United States of the 19th century, but even so, it was a lot better than Sparta. The Aristhocracy of Athens played for the first time with the idea of democracy. Not a popular democracy like today's, but at least it was real for the few that controlled the city-state, and that's great, it was the first step. And the creativity boom in arts, phylosophy and science is something we should not forget.
 
Sparta, I believe, was really the prototype of both the Roman armies and mentality and the Nazi state, with genocide included. Jesus! Sparta could have been very heroic but it was also sterile. A nation of robots.
 
Of both, of course I preffer Athens.
 
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Edited by pinguin - 12-Feb-2007 at 08:31
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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Feb-2007 at 12:51
I am really tired to explain how Sparta was and is different.You continue to watch it from your modern point of view.
It's a very hypocritical stance of some  unintelligent modern day "historians and history lovers" who cannot understand the difference between an Ancient civilization and modern day society.You judge a civilization which you cannot understand.Very scientific.Bravo.
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  Quote Zheng-ru Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Feb-2007 at 16:19
Originally posted by conon394






I am a man, so I'd rather live in <st1:city><st1:place>Athens</st1:place></st1:city>
(not to look down on women, but for philosophy, art, learning,etc.). If I was a
woman, I would have chosen <st1:city><st1:place>Sparta</st1:place></st1:city>,
for its better treatment of women. In gender-equality, <st1:city><st1:place>Sparta</st1:place></st1:city>
was highly sophisticated. <o:p></o:p>



.



<o:p> </o:p>



How? Did women vote, no. Hold any political office nope,
provide evidence in public courts no (and oops <st1:city><st1:place>Sparta</st1:place></st1:city>
didnt have those anyway). But oh yes they did have a nominal right to own
property. One should remember the context thought, we are taking about first a minuscule
minority of women in <st1:city><st1:place>Sparta</st1:place></st1:city> - in
effect only the upper class Spartan women not the wives of helots or perioeci or
even the Spartans who had been dropped from the status of equals due to
poverty. Second that property right was held within the bounds of a
totalitarian hermit state, not exactly one that gave free reign to its citizens.
Outside of the activities of a few female members of the Spartan royal houses
can anyone point to an example of the supposed better status of women in <st1:city><st1:place>Sparta</st1:place></st1:city>?



<p ="Msonormal">If the question is one of be any randomly selected women in
Sparta or Athens I dont see any real choice but to pick Athens; if on the
other hand the question is be one of a handful of elite Spartan women in the
late 5th of 4th century BC than maybe you have an
argument.









Clearly you have stated that many women in Sparta did not have the opportunity to participate in politics and perhaps did not have a very good life (or perhaps only so to modern standards). However this life may have been, it was still better than a woman's life in Athens, comparing within the same status, of course.

- Zheng-ru

By the way, Spartan women competed in sports and studied in school. When would an Athenian do that?

Edited by Zheng-ru - 12-Feb-2007 at 16:21
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Feb-2007 at 03:14
One must always remember that if it wasn't for the Spartans, Athens would have never been able to reach the level they did! The one couldn't coincide without the other one!

They were like Yin and Yang, Black and white!


Edited by Brasidas - 14-Feb-2007 at 03:15
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  Quote pekau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Feb-2007 at 03:28
A city is, in my opinion, should not be considered great due to just a mere military might or naval power. A city is where economy, and trade prosper, where the standard of living is high, where law and order is secured, and where enriched culture and advance education makes the residents to live in civilized, comfortable and safe environment. For instance, we could say that Stalingrad had tons of Russians reserves and was once the centre of Soviet military prior to the Battle of Stalingrad, but very few would call Stalingrad a wonderful city. New York may not be the centre of the military might, but many would see the city as among the best in the world.
 
Hence I vote for Athens, once the centre of the Western world.


Edited by pekau - 19-Feb-2007 at 03:34
     
   
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  Quote Joinville Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Feb-2007 at 03:37
Originally posted by pekau

A city is, in my opinion, should not be considered great due to just a mere military might or naval power. A city is where economy, and trade prosper, where the standard of living is high, where law and order is secured, and where enriched culture and advance education makes the residents to live in civilized, comfortable andsafeenvironment. For instance, we could say that Stalingrad had tons of Russians reserves and was once the centre of Soviet military prior to the Battle of Stalingrad, but very few would call Stalingrad a wonderful city. New York may not be the centre of the military might, but many would see the city as among the best in the world.

And Sparta wouldn't score well by those standard, you mean? No it wouldn't one can agree.

It's only that those weren't the standards of the Greek at the time. If you read Homer you get an idea of what kind of ideals and virtues they were looking for something heroic. And by that count the Spartans outscored every other Greek nation.

But I agree us modern people would probably have hated living in Sparta. Otoh we would likely not have found Athens to our liking either. There's a wide chasm in time and preferences between now and then.
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  Quote pekau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Feb-2007 at 21:45
Rome, even after the military decline, did not collapse for a long time not because of their military, but by their advance culture. After the Huns fled, the barbarians began to rip Rome apart for their's to command. But Rome was not destoryed. In fact, it was the noble barbarians that adopted and was slowly assimilated to Roman culture.
     
   
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Mar-2007 at 10:31
For some reason i as a Macedonian belive that spartans were better... i dunno y... i don't know enought about any of them... but still have a hunch about the spartans... maybe because of their warriors or something... oh yes and the chix...
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  Quote pekau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Mar-2007 at 19:18

For those that watched 300, don't vote. The movie greatly exaggerated the Spartan military.

     
   
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  Quote New User Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2007 at 18:41
Originally posted by Spartakus

I am really tired to explain how Sparta was and is different.You continue to watch it from your modern point of view.
It's a very hypocritical stance of some  unintelligent modern day "historians and history lovers" who cannot understand the difference between an Ancient civilization and modern day society.You judge a civilization which you cannot understand.Very scientific.Bravo.
 
And you seem to content to place everyone in the same boat. You are generalising about the responses to this post! lol
 
How do you know that everyone cannot understand the difference in the civilizations?hehe I think that betrays poor academic methodology does it not?lol
 
So I will say to you in response to you.
 
Very scientific . Bravo.
 
Btw I voted Athens but am swayed by the arguments in Sparta's defence now, oh well.
 
 
(pls do not take offense I am being jovial in my reponse )


Edited by New User - 08-Mar-2007 at 18:43
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Mar-2007 at 08:54
Eh.  My reasons for selecting Athens over Sparta were simple:
-Democracy?  Who cares?  In Athens, control of the demos was more often than not under one man who could bend the people to his will.  It's just that there, the one man had a slightly more unstable spot.  Sparta actually had a more modern constitution in the inception of several different kinds of power: the two kings, the gerousia, and the ephors shared power in a more checks-and-balances type way than the Athenians did.  This, however, all boils down to the point that the average citizen still had less say in the affairs of his state than he or she would today in most democratic or federal states or a republic.  I realize that this was still a good deal of freedom on the whole, but then again it really doesn't matter what the average person in the street thinks about most issues in the grand scheme of things.
-Athens consistently beat Sparta in naval contests, excepting merely some isolated incidents after the Sicilian expedition, which was a failure of Athenian politics, not the military.  On land, Athens could muster more hoplites than Sparta, and her commanders on the whole (Demosthenes, Lamakhos) were more inventive and skilled than the average Spartan commander.  The Spartan ability to maneuver better really wasn't much good at all when the Athenians had peltasts and psiloi to bombard them with missiles and tear apart the phalanx.  In a straight military contest, I'd put my money on Athens, especially if the Athenians were under a more Peisistratid government as opposed to the useless democracy.  (With allies included, though, the situation changes entirely...)
-The period of Spartan dominance (404-371) was entirely founded upon Persian power, as opposed to that of Athens which was founded in opposition to that power.  Sparta only beat Athens with Persian help, and Persia had to keep Sparta alive after that.  (The Peace of Antalkidas was particularly helpful in resuscitating Spartan power.)  Even Thebes could beat the Spartans - by herself!
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  Quote Joinville Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Mar-2007 at 13:22
Originally posted by Herakleios

Even Thebes could beat the Spartans - by herself!
I think you're missing the point of the Theban victories: Leuktra was the first instance since passing the laws of Lycurgus where a Spartan army was defeated on the battlefield. The first...
 
Don't knock the Theban achievement here. Defeating Sparta in battle was absolutely extraordinary, and required innovative tactics for it to work. Tactics then adopted by the Macedonians.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Mar-2007 at 11:50
i think athens is the greatest city.for a very simple and naive reason.you can ask ordinary people about famous persons of greece they told you plato,socrates,aristotle...but they can't give a single known spartan.
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  Quote Flipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Mar-2007 at 13:38
Originally posted by ibrahimsavak

i think athens is the greatest city.for a very simple and naive reason.you can ask ordinary people about famous persons of greece they told you plato,socrates,aristotle...but they can't give a single known spartan.


Aristotle was from Stagira. Anyway, the Spartans had other priorities. They have famous generals.

But in general, anything in the radius of Athens (Ionia, Ionian colonies etc) had wealth and organization allowing such minds to develop. Besides Aristotles city, even though it was a part of Macedonia, it earlier belonged to an Athenian alliance.


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  Quote Praetor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Mar-2007 at 23:31
Originally posted by Joinville

I think you're missing the point of the Theban victories: Leuktra was the first instance since passing the laws of Lycurgus where a Spartan army was defeated on the battlefield. The first...
 
Don't knock the Theban achievement here. Defeating Sparta in battle was absolutely extraordinary, and required innovative tactics for it to work. Tactics then adopted by the Macedonians.


Though the Thebans achievements under Epaminondas were very impressive and though Spartan defeats were RARE, thier was such a thing as a Sparten defeat before Leuctra.

Some examples are the battles of: Olpae, Sphacteria, Lechaeum and Tegyra. All these battles were land battles.

Originally posted by Herakleios

average citizen still had less say in the affairs of his state than he or she would today in most democratic or federal states or a republic.


In Athens (particularly after the reforms of Pericles, but before too) the average citizen had more say then most democracies now, it's just that there were less citizens (not just in numbers but in percentage of population) than in moden democracies. The reason for this is that Athens was a direct democracy and the states we live in are representative democracies. We vote for representatives who decide on laws and how to run the state. The Athenians were thier own representatives, with a direct say on such issues in their equivalent of parliament, senate etc. and because there were far fewer citizens, their votes really did matter.

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  Quote Joinville Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2007 at 19:14
Originally posted by Praetor

Though the Thebans achievements under Epaminondas were very impressive
and though Spartan defeats were RARE, thier was such a thing as a
Sparten defeat before Leuctra.

Some examples are the battles of: Olpae, Sphacteria, Lechaeum and Tegyra. All these battles were land battles.

Well, iirc Olpae wasn't fought by Spartiates, even if the command was Spartan. Sphacteria was hardly a pitched battle, but rather the Spartans placing themselves in an impossible situation (300 of them cut off on an island with no food or water in the high summer and pestered by missile troops). It certainly was a schock to them, but not a test of their battlefield qualities. Lechaeum was again a form of ambush on a small Spartan force. It certainly made waves at the time, but again wasn't seen as reflecting an actual defeat of the Spartan war machine.

Tegyra has the best claim on being a Spartan defeat in a pitched battle, four years prior to Leuctra. It was the up-and-coming Thebans who did it, and the reason in pales compared to Leuctra has to do with scale. Tegyra was small. Leuctra was a massive battle, Sparta in full force taking on Thebes, getting bloodied and for the first time since Lycurgus appraoching the Thebans to ask permissions to remove their dead, i.e. admitting defeat.
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  Quote Praetor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Mar-2007 at 03:28
Originally posted by Joinville


Well, iirc Olpae wasn't fought by Spartiates, even if the command was Spartan. Sphacteria was hardly a pitched battle, but rather the Spartans placing themselves in an impossible situation (300 of them cut off on an island with no food or water in the high summer and pestered by missile troops). It certainly was a schock to them, but not a test of their battlefield qualities. Lechaeum was again a form of ambush on a small Spartan force. It certainly made waves at the time, but again wasn't seen as reflecting an actual defeat of the Spartan war machine.

Tegyra has the best claim on being a Spartan defeat in a pitched battle, four years prior to Leuctra. It was the up-and-coming Thebans who did it, and the reason in pales compared to Leuctra has to do with scale. Tegyra was small. Leuctra was a massive battle, Sparta in full force taking on Thebes, getting bloodied and for the first time since Lycurgus appraoching the Thebans to ask permissions to remove their dead, i.e. admitting defeat.


Yes Leuctra was the most decisive defeat the Spartens ever had and was one of the most brilliant (on the Theban side) battles in the history of ancient greece. But that is largely irrelevant there were sparten defeats "on the battlefield" before and it doesn't matter if it was an ambush or they were facing missile troops or if the battle was small and it also doesn't matter if the Spartens asked permission to collect thier dead (though the point you made about Olpae was legitimate...sorry I didn't have too much time and I just scanned through a few wiki articles). If what you meant by "on the battlefield" was only pitched battles (as far as I'm concerned any field or area were a battle takes place is a battlefield) then thier are still sparten defeats before leuctra like the afor-mentioned Tegyra so it is simply untrue that Leuctra was the first.

However for the purpose of the debate the Sparten army (though not the navy) was indeed superior to the Athenian one and at its height the strongest in greece and the most potent for its size in the world, there is no need to exaggerate thier astounding ability.


Edited by Praetor - 19-Mar-2007 at 03:37
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