Rule & Order in Greek City-States

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Warring City States 750 B.C.

  • Why it matters now?
  • Many political systems in today’s world evolved in Greece.

Rule & Order in Greek City-States

  • What is a Polis?
  • The basic political unit (city & countryside)
  • Who ruled them?
  • Monarchy- King
  • Aristocracy- small group of nobles
  • Oligarchy- ruled by few powerful men

A New Kind of Army

  • At first only bronze weapons
  • Only rich could afford them
  • Steel made weapons cheaper & affordable
  • This allowed all citizens to purchase weapons
  • Result- The Hoplite Phalanx
  • It was the most powerful fighting force in the ancient world


  • Spartans valued –duty , strength, & duty
  • “Return Victorious or on your shield”
  • It develops a military state
  • Conquered Messenians(helots) are their slaves
  • Two kings ruled with a council of elders
  • Spartan education – Rough life
  • Women- Public life- Ran wrestled & played sports


  • Athens avoids civil war by developing a democracy
  • Solon Reforms the legal system, the assembly , trade, but neglected the peasants
  • Cleisthenes reforms the assembly
  • He creates the Council of 500(citizens) to balance power against the nobles
  • Women –Girly life out of site.

The Persian Wars 490 B.C.- 479 B.C.

  • Battle of Marathon-10,000 Greeks Vs 25,000 Persian, Phalanx destroys Persians
  • 6400 dead Persians to 192 Greeks
  • Pheidippides- ran from Marathon to Athens to report the win & not give up the city
  • Battle of Thermopylae- Xerxes of Persia brings an enormous invasion force
  • 300 Spartans make a stand to allow for a retreat
  • Held of the entire army for 3 days before dying


  • Battle of Salamis (Naval Battle)
  • Surprise attack by Greeks destroys 1/3 of Xerxes fleet
  • He watches in horror from a chair on a cliff
  • Battle of Plataea- Final defeat of Xerxes
  • This begins the Greece Golden Age


  • Write an essay- Would you rather be an Athenian or Spartan?
  • Why?

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