Ancient Greece Essay, Research Paper
Ancient Greece (Athens)
In prehistoric times Attica was a region that contained many tiny independent villages. Much later, in the great days of Athens, stories were told of the legendary King Theseus who, it was said, had united all the villages into one state. It s capital was Athens. It s citizens still mostly country dwellers were all Athenians.
The focus of the unified state was the great rock of Athens- the Akropoli (high-city). From the were splendid views over land and sea. But the Athenians did not value the views for the same reason the tourists do today. They needed the views to tell them when an enemy was approaching.
In every Greek State, so Aristotle tells us, there were a few rich people and a large number of the poor. Rich and poor usually plotted against each other. Sometimes they even fought in a civil war. Greek called this quarrel stasis. Many states were weekend by it.
The Athenians, pleased with the system that gave every citizen a place in the government, did their best to make their plan work. The old quarrels began to be forgotten, and the experiment was a success. Cleisthenes invented democracy.
Athens had moved with amazing speed. All the charges, from Draco s harsh laws to the new democracy, had been made in less than two years. But there were some things that remained the same, and one of them was slavery. Prisoners of war, especially barbarians, were sold as slaves in every Greek City. There were many of them in Athens- a few on the farms, some in the mines, and the rest in the city. In some cities, slaves were treated with savage cruelty, but in Athens they had a better time of it, and there were laws to curb the harshness of bad tempered masters. The Spartans said the when you meet a slave and it master one could not tell who is what. The Athenians however, knew that there was a difference. A slave was a man that had so little pride that he let himself be captured, giving up his honor to save his skin.
No woman could vote, not even if she was a native of Athens. According to old story, women as well as men once belonged to the assembly. Then there was an argument about which of the gods should be the special guardian of the city. Some citizens wanted Athena, a goddess. Others preferred Poseidon, a god who was a man and a warrior. When it came to a vote in the assembly, all the men voted for the god, and all the women voted for the goddess. Since there were more women than men at the meeting, Athena was elected. But the men had their revenge. At the first meeting where they out numbered the women, they voted them out of the assembly altogether.
Then it was time for school. Instead of nursemaid, a pedagogue looked after the boy. A slave who carried his books, guarded him in the streets, and made certain that he got to school on time. Classes began early. The student and his pedagogue left the house at dawn. The Greek system for writing down numbers was awkward, and the boys often used pebbles instead. They called the pebbles calculus, and when they counted with them, the calculated. The youngest boys had lesson s in reading as well as in writing and arithmetic, but reading was only for beginners. Older students learned by discussions and arguments, and by chanting verses from homer and the other great writers.
This democratic system influenced the creation of the American government in several ways. It taught us how to control our society and our people. It gave us the voting system, which to, this day works in our government. Without the peoples consent the government cannot rule anything. This system helped discipline the way we want government to run things. When the government was first created, they needed a way to elect representatives, voting was the best way. Also it taught us education was very important, and that one cannot rule unless he or she is educated.
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