What are the cultural achivements of Athens and Sparta?

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When you think of classical Greece, you probably think of the greatness of the arts, theater, and literature. These qualities can be attributed to the ancient city of Athens. The dramatic arts of Athens were an important contribution to Western Civilization.  Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides all wrote accomplished scripts that became classics. Artists and architects of Athens created works of art that have endured for the centuries, including the Parthenon which is the signature structure in Athens to this day. The great philosophers Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates all had schools in Athens. It was also in Athens where a new concept of politics was created where the citizens made the decisions about the direction of the city-state. The word democracy is Greek for "people rule," and it was established as a functional form of government in this ancient city.  

While Sparta is best known as being centered around the military arts, there were cultural achievements hidden below the surface of this city-state. The Spartans were very gifted builders and architects as evidenced by their temples, monuments, and civic buildings. They were also known to be gifted musicians and dancers. The Spartans were also renowned as poets and the oldest love poem is believed to have been written in Sparta. The Spartans were gifted bronze artists and their bronze sculptures were sought after in the ancient world.

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