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Culture and Technology in Athens and Sparta Essay
1361 Words6 Pages
Culture and Technology in Athens and Sparta
The culture of a society, as determined by its political, social and religious structure, is a major factor in the development of its technology. Even societies that exist in the same time and environment can progress in different directions, depending on the interests and goals of the public. The ancient city-states or poleis (polis-sing.) of Athens and Sparta provide an excellent example of how cultural differences influence the development of technologies.
Athens and Sparta were the main rival poleis in Ancient Greece around 4th century BC. Besides the fact that they were both called polis, the two cities had very little in common. Athens controlled the whole Attic region and could…show more content…
The construction of a city wall was also considered a wasteful display of wealth, which Spartans despised (Pomeroy, p.140).
The different geographic location of Athens and Sparta had a great impact on their military strategy and technologies. Athens was close to the sea, therefore it expanded by conquering nearby islands. This necessitated the construction of ships, which was expensive and required a lot of wood material and cheap labor. Both of those were supplied by Athens' allies; wood was purchased with paid tributes and labor came from conquered slaves (Pomeroy, p.22). Sparta was situated far inland on the Laconian plain and had no access to sea. It directed its military expansion towards the neighboring poleis and relied mostly on its standing army. In return, its allies were expected to provide military support to the Spartan army in an effort to appropriate even more land on the Peloponnesian peninsula.
Athens and Sparta shared the same sources of income, agriculture and slave labor, but they managed them in different manners. The slaves in Sparta were called helots and since they had no rights, they were often treated as tools rather than as human beings. The helots belonged to the state not to their landlord, so they can be considered a part of the agricultural technology. Since Spartans major obligation in life was serving in the army, they left the management of their land to