Athens vs. Sparta

How and why did life in Sparta differ from life in Athens?

Before Class:

Secondary Source:

1. Use the links provided to answer the following questions:

How did the Spartans respond to problems of over-population?
What were effects of prolonged warfare upon the Spartan people?
What were the roles of men and women in Spartan society?
How did Athenian democracy evolve? What was the role of the reformers in bringing about Athenian democracy: Solon, Pisistratus, Cleisthenes? Evolution of Athens


  1. Read the following primary and secondary source documents (Click on hyperlinks).  Use the following marking strategy :
    1. Highlight main ideas in each section.
    2. Underline two (2) of the supporting details in each section.
    3. Write a question mark (?) in the margins where you are confused.
    4. Circle words you do not know and look them up in the dictionary - write definition in the margin!






Ancient Greek Education (includes Sparta as well)

Ancient Greek Education (includes Athens as well)


1.   The Women of Athens

2.   On a Good Wife, c. 330 BCE

1.   The Women of Sparta

2.   Spartan Women


3. Review the above documents (you may also use  Athens vs. Sparta Background information) for evidence to support the guiding question: How were the Athenian and Spartan city-states expressions of the Greek Ideals? 





























In Class:


  1. In groups, use the readings above to create a Venn Diagram that shows the similarities and differences between the ancient city-states Athens and Sparta.

    Use as many direct quotes from the documents to support your conclusions. To achieve full credit, your Venn diagram must reflect a thorough understanding of the documents.


Venn Diagram Refresher:

A Venn Diagram consists of two intersecting circles.  Label one circle Athens and the other Sparta.  Characteristics unique to each city-state should be written in the non-intersecting portions of the circles.  Characteristics that apply to both Athens and Sparta should be written in the intersection of the circles.


                                                          Athens           Sparta


Rubric: Venn Diagram







Topics covered include women, education, government, and origin.

Every topic is supported by relevant references/quotes from the documents. Identify docs in paranthisis.


Easy to read, neat, clear, colorful.

All team members participate fully.  Evidence of note-taking, group input, and shared roles.


Most topics covered (see above).

Most topics are supported by references from the documents.


Fairly easy to read, messy at times, few colors used.

Most team members participate.  Not as much evidence of note-taking, group input, and shared roles.


Topics are loosely covered, if at all.

Topics lack adequate support.

Hard to read, messy, not colorful.

Work is not divided equally.  Team members lack appropriate participation.


Adapted from lessons created by Rebecca Levine, history teacher for Westport public schools.