Difference Between Athens vs Sparta

Difference Between Athens vs Sparta

As an ardent reader of ancient history, you have probably stumbled across the bitter rivalry between Athens and Sparta. Indeed, those cities made the study of history worthwhile back in the day. To date, history helps people understand our world better. However, some people cannot spot the difference between Athens and Sparta because the two ancient cities share so much in common.

If you are one of those who cannot distinguish between them, you have nothing to worry about. One thing is certain; once you are done reading this informative guide, you will have a different story to tell. Now, we will maintain our tradition of starting with definitions.

Definition of Athens

Athens is the current capital of Greece and was a populous and influential ancient city. Well, it has been an important city with many inhabitants for more than 3000 years. Numerous historians consider it the birthplace of today’s civilization.

It also has an appealing Mediterranean climate. In this city, diverse interests have always thrived. For example, it has been home to numerous mathematicians, physicists, warriors, thinkers, writers, historians, philosophers, etc.

With respect to philosophers, it was home to prominent names like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Democritus, and the list is just endless. When it comes to infrastructural designs, the city does not lag behind others as it is home to a countless number of massive buildings sitting on expansive lands.

Those structures are breathtaking and have tastefully designed architecture. Given the architectural sophistication, even the Spartans refused to demolish the city and its artefacts after it successfully captured Athens.

Concerning governance, Athens was shaped by democracy, a type of government where the people provide the leadership. Today, the city’s economy depends on commerce and trading. The current population is about 600,000. In ancient times, it was 140,000. It is located in the region of Attica.

Definition of Sparta

Sparta is a southern Greek city known for many historical battles. Located in the region of Laconia, Sparta is a Greek word that means simple and economical. Well, the word originated from Laconia, and the city is sometimes called Lacedaemon. The Spartan climate is fairly temperate, and the current population is about 100,000. Looking at its ancient tradition, it has military prowess written all over it.

At the time, children were mandated to enlist in the military and would get paid for doing so. This tradition helped the city to build what would become one of the most formidable militaries in Europe and elsewhere in the world. From teens to middle-aged people, everyone would enroll in the military. Interestingly enough, some men older than 60 years served in the robust Spartan army at the time.

The Spartans became involved in several wars, capturing many neighboring cities. However, Sparta met its waterloo when it got into a fierce battle with Thebes in 371 B.C.

Outside of the military, the most common profession was agriculture. Sparta’s leadership style at the time was oligarchic. Now, let us find out the difference between Sparta and Athens.

Main Differences Between Athens vs Sparta

The table offers more insights into Athens vs Sparta.

Basis of ComparisonAthensSparta 
AboutThe current capital of Greece. It was an early center of democracy and philosophy.This is a Greek city that was defined by its militaristic culture. It is sometimes called Lacedaemon.
Current population600,000100,000
ClimateMediterraneanFairly temperate
Ancient economyDepended on trade and agriculture to thriveDepended on agriculture
Military mightLimited military capabilitySecond to none, and children were even compelled to enlist in the army
System of governmentDemocraticOligarchic
Education for girlsNot allowedYes
Known as Home of philosophy and intellectHome of military and wars

Difference Between Athens and Sparta: Conclusion

To summarize this informative guide on Sparta vs Athens, it is important to note that both are cities in Greece. However, while the former is known for military prowess in the past, the latter was home to many of the best philosophers who have walked on the surface of the earth.

Still, Athens is the current capital of Greece whereas Sparta is just like every other city in today’s Greece. Finally, their systems of government differed greatly with democracy in Athens and oligarchy in Sparta.