Athenians thought of themselves as the best - in all of ancient . They recognized that other city-states had value and were Greek, but they were the best. Ask any ancient Athenian and they would tell you that Athens had the best , the best , the best , the best - and truly, they were a leading city-state. Many other city-states compared themselves to Athens. You' hear people from other city-states say things like, "Our schools are good as those in Athens." Athens was the measuring stick. There was one exception - the city-state of . No other city-state in was like Sparta. Whereas Athens was famous for their arts and , Sparta was famous for their strength. The ancient believed that each city-state had one or two gods keeping a special eye on that city-state. The god in charge of Athens was , goddess of .

Education was very important in Athens. From their mothers, learned how to cook and sew and run a home, and how to be a good wife and mother. Boys went to . They memorized poetry and learned to play a musical instrument, usually the . They studied and drama and reading and writing. Sons of nobles went to high school - four of learning about the sciences and and and government. Each city-state in ancient Greece had their own form of government. Most city-states were ruled by kings. Some were ruled by councils, a small group of people. But in Athens, for about 100 years, Athens was ruled by direct ! It was an experiment. It didn't last long, but a form of democracy was invented in Athens, one more gift we received from the ancient Greeks. Citizens of Athens had many rights, including the right to stand trial and the right (when Athens was a ) to vote. But not all people in ancient Athens were citizens. Originally, a free male would be a citizen if his father was a citizen. But changed that rule in 450 BCE. The new stated that both father and mother be Athenians for a child to be an Athenian. Out of the Athenians, only men had full . Women had partial citizenship, which basically meant they had few if any rights. Pericles changed this rule to give Athenian women more status. It worked. Even though Athenian women had no power of their own, their status made them more likely to contract a good .


Sparta was a powerful city-state in ancient Greece. Sparta was ruled by a small group of retired warriors. This type of government is called an . The Spartans spoke Greek. They thought of themselves as Greeks. But Sparta was very different from the other Greek city-states. All citizens in ancient Greece were warriors. But the Spartans were the best warriors in all of Greece. There was no argument about that. The city-state of Sparta was basically a well-trained army. In other city-states, children entered military school at age 18. In Sparta, they entered at age 6. The girls were taught how to fight as well. Their school was separate from the boys' school. It was not as brutal, perhaps. But still, the girls learned how to fight and steal and lie and kill - skills that could save their lives in of war. The Spartans were tough. Men and male children, from the age of 6, lived in the soldiers' barracks until they retired from military service. The men were often off fighting. The women were left behind to guard their homes. Perhaps because of this, had a great deal of freedom. They ran businesses. They were free to move around and visit neighbors without asking their husbands permission. But not everyone who lived in Sparta was a citizen of Sparta. To be a citizen with full rights of fair trial, the men had to pay to prove they were the ancestors of the original people who lived in Sparta. If they couldn't prove it, or couldn't afford to pay for the search, they were not citizens. Citizens had many rights like the right to a fair trial and the right to be educated to be a good warrior and to live in the barracks. Non-citizens could be killed for no at all. The other Greek city-states had no desire to be Spartans. Many thought they were military fanatics, but they admired their strength. Most wanted Sparta on their . No incredible works of art were created in Sparta as they were in other Greek city-states. But Spartans were good friends to have in times of war.


Corinth was a powerful city-state. It was located on the coast and was ruled by a king. The Corinthians were problem solvers, possibly the best problem solvers in ancient Greece. For a while, they had a huge problem with unemployment. Their city grew faster than the job market. Some city-states would have ignored this situation. But not Corinth. They solved this problem by creating public works projects. One of the public works projects was to build new aqueducts, the huge pipes that brought fresh water into the city. This put people to work, and solved another problem - the need for enough safe drinking water to provide to their growing population. One of their most clever solutions was to create their own coinage. did that as well. But Corinth took it one step further. They opened places where people could trade their money for Corinthian money so they could pay for goods. This was not a free service. There was a charge for this. Corinth was one of the largest centers of trade in ancient Greece. So the city made a great deal of money from their money exchange program. Corinth felt their schools were as good as those in Athens. They were not as fancy perhaps, but the level of in Corinth was outstanding. All boys went to military school for at least two years after high school. Corinth worked at being a leader in the world, and they were highly respected by other Greek city-states. The people of Corinth were very proud of their city-state.


Megara was a coastal city-state. Megara was highly respected in the ancient Greek world. Megara was similar to Corinth. The people were ruled by a king. They had their own coinage. They had public work programs to keep people employed. Megara had beautiful and open air arenas for plays. Their boys went to school. Their girls learned at home. Like Corinth, there was a great deal of freedom in Megara. You could move there from another city-state and rent a home, or even buy one. Like all the Greek city-states, Megarians loved to establish new . They were great sailors. They sailed around the Mediterranean, trading with other Greek city-states, and looking for places to establish new outposts. One of the they founded was on the coast of . They named it . After a while, Byzantium changed its to . Constantinople was renamed , which is a very famous city in modern day Turkey. Megarians, like all the Greeks, were trained warriors. Spartans might be the best warriors, but all Greek citizens knew how to fight. Megarians would fight if they had to, but they would much rather trade or negotiate. In the ancient Greek world, Megara was famous for its textiles. Everybody wanted their richly colored and beautifully designed fabrics. Sometimes they could talk their way out of trouble simply by trading their glorious textiles.