Ancient Greece Sparta Athens: Life in ancient city-states of Athens and Sparta was very different. Though they had a common Greek background, their ways of living and ideologies were poles apart.

Today, Ancient Greece Sparta Athens is known for its bravery and its army while Athens is known for its rich literature. This bifurcation has been evident today because of the varied cultures of the two city-states in the ancient period.

Ancient Greece Sparta Athens


Life in Sparta was anything but easy. Every citizen had to undergo rigorous training. Young boys in Sparta were taught at home until the age of 6-7 years after which they had to join military schools.

Sparta was a city-state with an authoritarian rule and hence their basic idea of education was to create soldier-citizens who were well disciplined and fit to serve the army. Boys in Sparta had to undergo training till they turned 18 years old.

spartan in greek

They became army cadets at the age of 18 and learned different arts of war. Between the age of 18-20 years, Spartan males had to pass a test for fitness, military abilities, and leadership skills. Those who passed this test became full citizens of Sparta and were considered soldiers who joined the state militia.


Men who failed the test became Perioikos, people of the middle class who could own property, earn money but were not considered citizens of Sparta and had no political rights. Soldiers of Sparta had to serve the army until the age of 60, after which they could retire and stay with their family. Till they turned 60 they had to stay in the army barracks and keep training hard even if they were married.

Spartan hoplite

Girls in Sparta also were made to train hard. They had similar training camps like the boys and were made to learn running, jumping, wrestling and throwing the javelin and discus. In Sparta, it was believed that a strong woman would give birth to strong babies.

Even girls in Sparta had to give the fitness and abilities test at the age of 18. Those who passed were given husbands and could return home while those who failed became Perioikos. Women in Sparta enjoyed some freedom as they could move around out of the house as their husbands did not stay with them most of the times.


Athens followed an ideology very different from that of Sparta. Life in the city-state of Athens was much simpler. Athens is believed to be the place where democracy was born. The basic idea of people participating in the functioning of the government is credited to the early Athenians.

The idea of education in Athens was to create citizens trained in arts and who understood both peace and war. Athens had private schools but the fees were very less and hence even poor people sent their boys to school.

Ancient Greece Sparta Athens

Girls in Athens

Girls in Athens were given domestic education but were not sent to schools. Boys went to school from the age of 6-7 till they turned 13-14, after which most poor boys stopped studying and started working. Boys were given a lot of physical education but literature was the heart of Athenian education system.

They were also taught reading, writing and singing. It was mandatory for an Athenian male to have military education for two years at the age of 18.

Ancient Greece Sparta Athens

Athens followed a democratic government. Men had political rights and had to participate in the political decisions and the functioning of the government, unlike democracy of today. Women had no political rights and weren’t even allowed to vote. Ancient Sparta Athens has given the world many great philosophers, thinkers, scientists, and mathematicians some of whom are Plato, Socrates, Aristotle etc.

Ancient Greece Sparta Athens

Hence, such as the varying life in two of the most famous ancient Greece city-states.

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