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CLAB05H3 (17)
Lecture 3

Week 3: Sparta and Athens

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Classical Studies
Janet Mowat

Week 3-CHAPTER 10: SPARTA AND ATHENS Spartan Government -Four main political institutions -Kings, the Council of Elders, the Council of Ephors (“overseers”) and the Assembly -Greatest honor in Sparta = being an Elder -No written laws -Kings controlled war + religion -Elders controlled law -The Ephors ensured fair play -The Assembly made the final decisions -Political power was in the hands of tiny elite -Drastic change = difficult, constitution = stable -Backroom deals, favoritism, betrayal = common -Never had a tyrant -For a while, Spartan was the greatest military power in Greece -Peloponnesian League = a Spartan alliance that is named by modern historians -The alliance swore to share the same friends and enemies + to follow Spartans -Hence no Greek state dared challenge Sparta directly Athens -Both Athenians + Spartans defined citizens + equal differently -Both faced similar problems, responded differently -Both had equal male citizenship th The 7 century Crisis -Both Sparta and Athens = more mouth to feed -First step for failing farmers = ask relative, friends, neighbors for help -Instead of going someone equally poor, someone richer may ask for land etc, until payment is made -No payment = debt-slave -Sparta maintained cohesion + reorganized society and their triumphant hoplite army -Athen’s ruling elite = Eupatridai (“well-born ones”) fell apart -Cyclon = young Olympic victor -When he failed, Athenians massacred his followers -The Athenian Assembly laid a curse on the important Alcmaeonid family for its part in murdering the suppliants -Dracon was empowered to set up a new law code -Death for virtually every crime Solon -Athens = lost their territory, aristocracy racked by feuds, class warfare was breaking out -The Eupatridai chose Solon, to work out a compromise with the rebellious poor -He made a new law code -He saw the ideal society as brothers -Redefined property rights in order to reorganize the existing economy + society -No one could own another freeborn Athenian -All current debt-bondsmen = freed -Athenians called Solon’s reforms the seisasachtheia or “shaking off of burdens” -Solon banned the export of grain from Attica -Increased prosperity after Solon -Athens flourished Solon’s Four Census Classes (Based on wealth) 1. Pentakosiomedimnoi = “five hundred-measures” -500 medimnoi -All political offices in state 2. Hippeis, “horsemen” -300-499 medimnoi -All political offices except treasurer 3. Zeugitai, yokemen -200-299 medimnoi -All lower political offices except treasurer or leader (“archon”) 4. Thetes = “poor” -Less than 200 medimnoi -No political offices but attended the Assembly/served as jurors -Nearly every Athenian was a thete -Nine archons = elected/year -A man could be archon only once, after he belong as a life-member of the council, “Aeropagus” (Stake of Ares) -Saw to lawsuits especially murder -Solon created juries manned by citizens of all classes to hear appeals -Solon created a “Council of 400” -Men chosen from the 4 tribes (poor were not allowed) -Drew up the agenda for the Assembly meetings -Solon wanted to create a balance btw rich + poor -He limited dowries to reduce men marrying for $ -Solon regulated women’s behavior + travel restricted them to the domestic sphere under male control Pisistratus + The Consequence of Solon’s Reforms -Solon’s cancellation of debt profited some and ruined others -Importing foreign slave had been made available -Cheap slaves allowed rich Athenians to stay rich without sending the poor into serfdom -Freedom and slavery depended on each other -Pisistratus, power aristocrat launched a bloodless coup + established a tyranny in Athens -Became popular by recapturing the island of Salamis from Athens’s rival Megara -Two Athenian rivals, Megac;es and Lycurgus pushed Pisi
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