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The Parthenon in Athens. Credit: Paolina27/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

Daily life in old Greece varied by city-state. In Athens and also Sparta, people lived according to together contrasting legacies that it nearly seems together though they were from different nations entirely.

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Despite the fact that they common the very same heritage and language, ancient Athens and also Sparta to be wildly different, with clashing lifestyles, cultures, and also values.

Often, the 2 city-states were not constantly on the friendliest that terms.


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The Spartans were warriors, disciplined and strong, and always ready to die for their homeland. For this reason the indigenous “Spartan,” which we usage today, definition someone who resides an austere life, indifferent to pleasures and also luxuries.

Athenians, ~ above the other hand, were educated and those who were not soldiers were philosophers, politicians, authors of tragedies and also comedies, musicians, and sculptors.

Growing up in Sparta: a life the self-denial

The “Vatican Amphora.” Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

Life in Sparta was one of simplicity and also self-denial. Kids were children of the state much more than of your parents. Lock were raised to be soldiers, faithful to the state, strong and self-disciplined.

When a Spartan baby was born, soldiers came to the house and examined it very closely to identify its strength. Castle bathed the infant in wine rather than water, to check out its reaction.


If a infant was weak, the Spartans would throw it off a cliff (the Kaiadas) or take it it far to come to be a servant (helot).

The city-state — not parents — chose the fate the children, and also nurses, who provided their main care, did no coddle the babies at all.

A mother’s softening affect was taken into consideration detrimental come boys’ education, therefore a Spartan boy would certainly be taken indigenous his mom at the age of seven and also soldiers would put him in a dormitory with various other boys come train castle to come to be soldiers.

The boys went with harsh physical training and deprivation to do them strong. They marched without shoes and went there is no food.

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Credit: windy Domain

Boys in Sparta learned the art of battle, come endure pain and survive v their wits. The older guys willingly participated in beating increase the younger guys to do them tough.

Once castle turned 20, young Spartan men had to happen a rigorous check to graduate and also become complete citizens, as only worthy soldiers acquired the aristocratic citizenship.

If lock failed their tests, lock never ended up being citizens but came to be perioeci, the center class.

If the young men passed, they ongoing to live in the barracks and also train as soldiers and were additionally required to marry — in order come produce new young Spartans.

The state gave them a item of floor which to be farmed through slaves. The revenue supported them as permanent soldiers.

At the period of 30, they were enabled to live with their families but they continued to train till the age of 60, when they retirement from army service.


Girls and women were given freedoms in Sparta

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Wounded Amazon. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Girls were likewise taken indigenous their house at seven and also sent to school. Here they learned wrestling, gymnastics, and also fighting.

Spartans thought that solid mothers produced strong children, so females were permitted to exercise and were even given the same sections of food together their masculine counterparts, other unheard of in Athens.

Women in Sparta additionally had to happen the citizenship tests in ~ 18-20. If they did so successfully, they were assigned a husband.

To prepare because that the wedding night, their hair was cut short and also they to be dressed in masculine clothing.

After spending their wedding night together, the Spartan man then went back to his all-male barracks, whereby he often had lovers. Men and women did not live together but met sometimes for procreation.

Since they were living alone most of the time, Spartan women enjoyed a much better freedom and independence than females in other Greek city-states.

They were permitted to walk about in the city and also transact their very own affairs.

Life was not as basic for girl in Athens or the rest of old Greece

In Athens, however, girls and boys were lugged up much differently. While boys went turn off to college at age seven, young girls ongoing to continue to be at home until they were married, rarely ever leaving your house.

Girls were no formally educated, but some mother did teach their daughters to read and write.

Others learned to run or pat an instrument, although a good family did not take into consideration musical tools to be ideal for girls.

A young girl to be to help her mommy in the home. Also, if asked to help, she was forced to work-related in the fields.

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Women weaving and working v fabric, as illustrated on a lekythos through the Amasis painter. Credit: windy Domain

Instructing a young girl on she future role as a mommy was an extremely important. All girls learned domestic jobs such as weaving, working through textiles, taking treatment of children, embroidering, and cooking.

Girls were restricted to your homes, and also often can only leave during particular festivals.

Traditionally, girl in Athens would marry at very young age, by 14 or 15, and also then would live in their husband’s home.

Once married, the young mam would largely live at home, only connecting with the household.

Education in old Athens resembled present schooling

The guys of ancient Athens walk to school at seven. They did their job-related on waxed-covered tablets and a stylus.

Subjects were comparable to those taught this particular day — boys in Athens to be taught math, including fractions, addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication.

They learned the indigenous of Homer and how to read and also write, and also they had music instruction that usually included learning to play the lyre.

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Boxers ~ above a Panathenaic amphora in the metropolitan Museum that Art. Credit: /Wikimedia Commons/

Physical education and also sports had the use of the bow and also arrow and the sling, if competitions in wrestling and swimming were also included. The more wealthy learned come ride horses.

By age 14, guys were supported to one more school for their teenage years. By period 18, all guys were intended to attend armed forces school, indigenous which they graduated at 20.

From the age of 30 and also onward they might participate in politics. The was also around this age that they normally married.


Life in old Athens was various than in the rest of Greece

Men to be the only civilization considered citizens, for this reason they were generally seen around the city conducting their business, in addition to slaves.

Men visited the market, met with friends to comment on politics, and went to holy places to worship. Interestingly, it was men who did every the shopping and also errands outside of the house.

Athenian men had a unique room in the home just for themselves. This room to be for lounging around and entertaining male guests; no women other than for slaves and also entertainers were permitted inside their room.

Contrary come Spartan men, the educated, well-to-do Athenians were really much interested in the arts, philosophy, and also aesthetics.

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Architectural masterpieces choose the Parthenon and also the Erechtheion, and the plenty of statues that Praxiteles and Phidias, stand as proof that Athenian males were more cultivated in their daily life than numerous in old Greece, specifically their Spartan counterparts.


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