Its empire began as a small group of city-states, called the Delian League —from the island of Deloson which they kept their treasury—that came together to ensure that the Greco-Persian Wars were truly over. What then ensued was a period, referred to as the Pentecontaetia the name given by Thucydidesin which Athens increasingly became in fact an empire,  carrying out an aggressive war against Persia and increasingly dominating other city-states. Athens proceeded to bring under its control all of Greece except for Sparta and its allies, ushering in a period which is known to history as the Athenian Empire. By the middle of the century, the Persians had been driven from the Aegean and forced to cede control of a vast range of territories to Athens.
Leonidas I of Sparta Leonidas as depicted in the Hollywood movie Leonidas led Spartans in one of historeis greatest last stands. They fought in full body armor, with figure eight shields for protection. They attacked with spears, swords and bows which the Spartans considered cowardly and used basic tactics like the mass charge.
Routed armies were often massacred. Classical Greece proved to be a cauldron of military development and infantry tactics.
The rugged terrain isolated groups and made the use of chariots and cavalry very difficult. This combined with frequent, massive invasions from the Balkans created an early arms race.
In this super heated environment infantry tactics geared up very quickly, driven by the continuous warfare. Ancient Spartan Warfare The ancient Greeks found protection in natural citadels, or poleis, where they could defend themselves from raiding neighbors and pirates.
Soon leaders of the each polis organized efforts to defend their crops and pastures and formed the political bases of the Greek city states. During the 6th and 7th century the Greeks reached their population limits and in an extraordinary event sent their surplus population abroad.
Each polis or several working together sponsored independent colonies, which intern became a trading and cultural extension of the original polis. These Greek colonies where generally welcomed by the indigenous populations and the trade in turn created wealth and a new middle class in Greek society back home.
In Peloponnesia excavations at Pylos and Nichoria have revealed for Messenia's late Bronze Age s BC a bureaucratic, agricultural kingdom ruled by the wanax at Pylos.
The Messenians spoke Mycenaean Greek, and worshipped the Greek gods at local shrines. Later, Greeks believed a body of Dorians under Cresphontes invaded the country from the Northern Greece or Macedonia, establishing control over Peloponnesia.
However, given that the Arcadian language is a direct and conservative descendent of Mycenaean Greek, it is more likely that the Dorians pushed the native Messenians into Arcadia if the invasion happened at all.
The Dorians then merged with the previous inhabitants producing an the Messenian and Spartan tribes, groups that developed a strong national feeling.
However, the relative wealth of Messenia in fertile soil and favourable climate attracted the expansionistic neighbouring Spartans. War broke out, it was said, as a result of the murder of the Spartan king Teleclus by the Messenians - which, in spite of the heroism of King Euphaes and his successor Aristodemus ended in the subjection of Messenia to Sparta c.
Two generations later the Messenians revolted and under the leadership of Aristomenes kept the Spartans at bay for some seventeen years BC— BC. However, the stronghold of Ira Eira fell after a siege of eleven years and the Messenians where placed back under the heal of Sparta.
Servitude was hard, though their plight might have been harder, for they paid to their lords only one-half of the produce of the lands which they tilled. The Spartans vowed to conquer their neighbors, Messenia, no matter how long and how many set backs they suffered.
Messenia, a group of eight polis that had never quite united, had rich soil and that attracted the Spartans. The Spartan attack came as a surprise; however it took two more decades to win the war. Two generations later the Messenians revolted, it took the Spartans took 17 years to bring them back under control, including an eleven year siege on the stronghold of Ira.
However, the Spartans realizing that they were outnumbered four to one, and that the Helots would kill them at the first chance they got, fearful of the Messenians uprising the Spartans created a unique society among the Greeks.
They used the helots as laborers and farmers to free the Spartan men for professional military service. In fact it was the only job available to a Spartan man.Differences and similarities of Athens and Sparta Learn with flashcards, games, and more — for free.
Athens is seen as the birthplace of democracy – where a large number of the population had a say in state affairs and proceedings.
This differed from Sparta’s rule by the few, which allowed for much less say from the people – next to none, in fact. THE GREEKS As citizens of the United States of America, we owe everything to ancient Greece.
Many of the ideals we so highly cherish aren't American; they're Greek. In BC, the long simmering rivalry between the city-states of Athens and Sparta erupted into open warfare, and for more than a generation the two were locked in a life-and-death struggle.
Religion. The ancient Greeks were a deeply religious people. They worshipped many gods whom they believed appeared in human form and yet were endowed with superhuman strength and ageless beauty. Together with Athens, Sparta is one of the best known city-states of ancient Greece, but during the classical period, it was a very different place to Athens.