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Roots of Western culture

Roots of Western culture
Using your lecture notes on Sparta and Athens, the D2L handouts on the governments of Sparta and Athens, and the D2L reading of Lycurgus as your guide, answer the following two questions:
1. What do you see as potential weaknesses in the Spartan system of government? Why? (10 points)
2. What do you see as potential weaknesses in the Athenian democratic system of government created by Cleisthenes? Why? (10 points)
NOTE: Your answer to each question should be 1-2 paragraphs in length

Material for Sparta government:
Elements of Oligarchy, Monarchy and Democracy
Two kings= heads of state= monarchy element
1. From two families only
a. Hereditary
2. Military, religious, judicial powers
3. One commander-in-chief of military
4. Considered descendants of Zeus through Herakles
a. Chief priests
5. Expected to serve as moral exemplifies

Gerousia (Council of Elders)= oligarchy element
Composed of 28 males all past age 60
Served for life
All male citizens eligible
Highest honor attainable
Elected by acclamation of assembly
Crucial right of legislation
–No bill brought before assembly until approved by this council

Ephors =oligarchy element
1. 5 elected every year
–By acclamation from candidates over age 30
2. Supervised kings
— Shared some powers of kings
3. Represented principle of the law
— Judicial watchdogs
4. Empowered to impeach kings
–Two always accompanied king on campaign
5. Presided over the Gerousia (council)
6. Dealt with foreign embassies
7. Exercised judicial power in civic matters
8. Total control of education

Assembly= democracy element
Included all male citizens over age of 30
Met once a month
No debate in the assembly
Listened to proposal of council and voted without discussion

Spartan Education (Boys)
Designed to encourage conformity, obedience, group solidarity, and military skills.

Spartan Girls
Taught reading and writing
Expected to be able to protect themselves
Girls competed in athletic events
Owned and controlled their own property

Material for Athenian Democracy:
Development of Athenian Democracy

Social organizations in the Archaic Period
— Individual households

Household grouped into larger associations

Every citizen belonged to one of four tribes and to another smaller group within the tribe called a phratrie.

Athens in the 7th century BCE
Athenian government = aristocratic (rule of the wealthy)

Archons = chief office
Selected on basis of wealth and birth
Duties = military, religious, civic duties
— Jurisdiction in legal matters
Served for one year

Council of the Aeropagus
Most significant political force
Membership = wealthiest class (ex-archons)
Members for life
Power =
Oversight of the laws
Debated issues of constitution and public policy
Appointed magistrates
Assembly (ekklesia)

Popular assembly
Excluded lowest (poorest) class of citizens
No formal political power
–Sounding board for competing views
–Arena for aristocratic competition

Wealthy farmers getting wealthier
— Grew olives/ grapes
— Traded for grain
Average farmer deep in debt to wealthy
— Grew grain
Price and production falls
Pay debt to wealthy = sold children, wives, and even themselves into (limited) slavery

Who controlled the government?

Reforms of Solon
594 BCE: Athenians give power to one man
Dismissed all outstanding debts
Freed Athenians from virtual slavery
Encouraged development of olive and wine production

Social Reforms
Athenian citizens divided into four classes
Pentakosoimedimnoi = “500 measure men”
Hippeis = “horsemen” (cavalry)
Zeugitai =”yokemen” (team of oxen)
Thetes = farmers and landless workers

Government Reforms

Created a council of 400
100 members from each class
Appears to have had no real political power

Pentakosoimedimnoi (500 measure men)

Archons, aeropagus, council of 400, assembly, jurnor
Hippies (horsemen)
Archons, aeropagus, council of 400, assembly, jurors
Zeugitai (yokemen)
Aerppagus, council of 400, assembly, jurors
Assembly, jurors

Law Courts
Opened up to the lowest classes
Codified the law
Anyone could bring suit against anyone else
— Not just the victim or victim’s relative
Right to appeal
Gave the poor protection against the rich

Athenian military
Pentakosiomedimnoi =leaders
Hippeis =cavalry
Zeugitai = hoplites
Thetes = oarsmen for fleet, or archers on land

“To the people I gave us much power as was sufficient,
Neither taking from their honor nor giving them excess;
As for those who held power and ere envied for their wealth,
I saw that they too should have nothing improper.
I stood there casting my sturdy…”
Tyranny of Peisistratus
Athens divided into three factions:
Aristocrats: dissatisfied because of their financial loss when solon cancelled debts.
Solon supporters: led by Megacles (of the Alcmeonid family), core of radical thetes (lowest class) who demanded land redistribution
Mostly thetes: wanted land reform in their favor. Peisistratus became their leader.
Peisistratus seizes control three times (560- 546 BCE)
Exiled aristocrats who opposed him
Offered land/ loans to the needy
–Encouraged cultivation of olives and grapes
Large and stable revenue built up
–Tax on land produce
–Exploitation of the mines in Thrace and Laurion
— New coinage – uniform silver currency
Encouraged trade
Peaceful foreign policy
Colonization by Black sea
Many building projects
Introduced new religious festival

What were the benefits/advantages of Peisistratus’s tyranny?

Power passes to his son Hippias
Hippias’s brother(Hipparchus)murdered
Wealthy families not happy-especially the Alcmaeonids(they had been exiled)
–Spartans–help us!
510 BCE:Hippias and children exiled
Spartans install handpicked Athenian to run government –Isogoras
—Rival of the Alcmaeonids

Reforms of Cleisthenes
508-502 BCE=major reform
Citizens=all free men living in Athens and Attica

Established 10 tribes
-Divided Attica into 3 geographic regions-city,shore, inland
-Divided each of these regions into10
-Took one from each area and put them together=10 tribes
Each tribe had rich and poor members

Creates a “direct democracy”
Nine elected annually
Chosen by lot from citizens who put themselves forward
Held accountable to all citizens for their acts in office
Only hold office once
-Administrative duties
-One archon gave his name to the year
-One archon presided over the council and assembly
-Others were judges
Council of 500=chief arm of government
Executive and administrative control
Every citizen over the age of 30 was eligible
One ear position
Chosen by lot
Supervision of the council
Each tribe in charge for 1/10 of the year
Order chosen by lot
Every day one selected by lot to serve for 24 hours as chairman
Board of 10 generals (strategoi)
Elected yearly-not chosen by lot
Reliable, excellent military abilities
Re-elected as many times as they liked
One general never appointed commander-in-chief of a given expedition
-led by consensus
All male citizens over 18
Speak and vote on all matters
Agenda posted four days before meeting
After the speeches, final decision=whole Assembly
Served as a law court
-Any decision made in a court of law could be appealed to the Assembly
Military reorganized
Each tribe elected an infantry commander, cavalry commander and chief general(strategos)
Serve as many terms as wanted



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