The story

Ancient Greece (continued)

Ancient Greece (continued)

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The government in the city states

Greek city states knew most of the existing government systems today. Athens and Sparta, which have always been rivals, can serve as examples to study the types of government that existed in other cities.

The monarchy was the initial political regime in all Greek ponies; all of them were at least initially ruled by kings. In addition to ruling the cities, kings also performed religious functions, acting as priests and representatives of the gods.

In the city of Sparta the government was exercised simultaneously by two kings, and two assemblies participated in it: the Appeal, made up of representatives of the people, and Gerusia, a council of elders. The power of the Spartan kings was limited; magistrates known as ephors watched over their activities.

The laws in Sparta were drafted by Licurgo, the legislator who turned the city into a militaristic state.

Another system known to the Greeks was the oligarchy, where power was divided between people who belonged to the most important families in a city. The term oligarchy means "government of the few."

In some cities, oligarchic governments were overthrown by force. Those who took power next were known as tyrants.

Tyranny — tyrant rule — was established and held in power by force.


Reformer Clistenes implemented a law in Athens that I any citizen who threatened the security of the city could be sentenced to exile for ten years, this was called ostracism. She sought to prevent a tyrant government from being repeated in Athens.

Image of an ostraca, object in which the names of the ostracists were written. This is the oyster on which the name of Themistocles, statesman and Greek general, was written.

The classic period

Athenian democracy reached its peak during the rule of Pericles in the fifth century BC, which marked the beginning of the so-called Classical Period.

However, internal disagreements, land scarcity and the need for trade expansion led the Greek cities, including Athens, to conquer several colonial areas, near or far. The Spartans disliked this territorial expansion of Athens and the dispute over better lands led to the creation of two rival groups: the Peloponnese League, led by Sparta, and the Delos League, under the leadership of Athens.

In the early fifth century BC, the so-called Peloponnese War began, in which Athens was defeated. This event was the beginning of the decline of the ancient Greek city-states.

Greeks against Persians

Between the 6th and 5th centuries BC, the expansion of the Persian Empire threatened the autonomy of Greek city states. Around 500 BC, the Persians dominated several Greek colonies in Asia Minor and their goal was to conquer Greece as well. In the fight against the common enemy, the city states united and managed to defeat the Persians in various battles. This conflict, which lasted several years, became known as the Greco-Persian Wars or Medical Wars, so named because the Greeks called the Persians fears.

Greeks vs. Greeks

The decay of Greek civilization began from the Peloponnese Wars, when the Greeks fought against the Greeks. The origins of the conflict lie in the general discontent, especially of Sparta, over Athenian supremacy.

Sparta was aristocratic and determined to maintain its organization without Athenian interference or influence. Athens, democratic and also powerful warrior, was willing to impose its ideas and principles.

In the first phase of the war, between 431 and 421 BC, there was a certain balance between the parties, with Spartans and Athenians achieving some victories. After this period the two cities made a peace agreement that was supposed to last 50 years.

Between 415 and 413 BC, the truce was broken by the Athenians, who wished to conquer regions dominated by the Spartans. Athens was defeated and lost part of its fleet and military contingent. The following years, from 413 to 404 BC, may be considered offensive to the Spartans. Sparta definitely annihilated Athens, already weakened by previous losses, beginning its hegemony (dominion) over the Greek world.


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