The slight differences between classical Athens and Sparta are magnified in this lesson because it provides for good issue-based discussion. In reality Athens and Sparta were both fairly militaristic, and at other times both were fairly democratic. Contrary to the way they are commonly portrayed, Athens had a powerful army and navy, and Sparta had an Assembly of elected members.
/// ATHENS /// is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning around 3,400 years. Classical Athens, as a landlocked location was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum
Themistocles was the architect of Athens' navy. He convinced the Athenians to build a serious fleet in 483 B.C. when they had a surplus of funds. Their fleet, in turn, helped save Greece when the Persians invaded in 480. Indeed, Greece would almost certainly have been defeated w/o Athens, which means that classical Athens as we know it--the radical democracy, art, philosophy and literature, the buildings of the Acropolis--would not have happened.
In classical Athens, the punishment for sleeping with another man's wife was to be publicly sodomized with a spicy radish.