Two Different Worlds:
A Comparison of Athenian and Spartan Outlook

by Nathan Merritt

Athens and Sparta were two Greek city-states with opposite views on the world. The Athenians believed in education and knowledge while the Spartans valued military training and discipline. In this essay I will try to convince you that the Athenian outlook on life was more beneficial to the peasants and upper class alike.

I think the Athenian outlook on life was better for the people because it stressed education not training and discipline. Since the body of people who lived in Athena were educated, and not disciplined they were more free thinkers. These free thinkers forever changed the way the world looks at certain problems and philosophies.

Athens is also remembered for it's contributions to democracy. These developements happened because of Athen's unique structure of mental freedom and early education. The common person was able to learn more, and so a government of people was possible. Athenians were educated enough as a people to understand what was going on in their city, so the leaders had to be fair in order to maintain support. This system of free thinking gave the world democracy.

The city-state of Sparta is noted for it's discipline and harshness towards weakness. During the Peloponnesian Wars Sparta was able to instantly form a millitary group out of normal citizens. This helped them mobilize quicker so they could be ready for anything. It was also good for the people, constant pressure kept Spartans in better shape than anyone to come before or after them.

Although the Spartans lived extremely healthily, I believe that intelligence and education helped Athens more than brawn helped Sparta. As such, the Athenian outlook on life was more beneficial than the Spartan for the people and for the city-state as a whole. Greater education allowed the Athenians to make better choices and it made it easier for all Athenians to contribute to their city-state. The resulting surge of creative architecture and philosophy distinguished Athens from all the other city-states.