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Logan Library

Reacting to the Past: Athens

Resource guide for students engaged with the Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 B.C.

Assembly Videos

Socrates

Socrates was born circa 470 BC, in Athens, Greece. We know of his life through the writings of his students, including Plato and Xenophon. His "Socratic method," laid the groundwork for Western systems of logic and philosophy. When the political climate of Greece turned, Socrates was sentenced to death by hemlock poisoning in 399 BC. He accepted this judgment rather than fleeing into exile.

Read the rest of his bio at biography.com.

Also check out historyforkids.org.

"True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us."

Socrates

"The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be."

Socrates

Sparta

Sparta was a warrior society in ancient Greece that reached the height of its power after defeating rival city-state Athens in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.). Spartan culture was centered on loyalty to the state and military service. At age 7, Spartan boys entered a rigorous state-sponsored education, military training and socialization program. Known as the Agoge, the system emphasized duty, discipline and endurance. Although Spartan women were not active in the military, they were educated and enjoyed more status and freedom than other Greek women. Because Spartan men were professional soldiers, all manual labor was done by a slave class, the Helots. Despite their military prowess, the Spartans’ dominance was short-lived: In 371 B.C., they were defeated by Thebes at the Battle of Leuctra, and their empire went into a long period of decline.

Where exactly was Sparta?

The city of Sparta was . . . situated in the southern part of the Peloponnese. The area around the town of Sparta, the Plateau east of the Taygetos mountains, was generally referred as Lakonia which term was sometimes used for all the regions under direct Spartan control, including Messenia.

Interested in Sparta? For more on their culture, history, and modern state, visit sparta.net