Difference Between Athens and Sparta


Main Difference

History is of interest to everyone, and there have been many a civilization which have left a lasting impression on the people of that era and the ones who followed them. Greek Empire was one such era in which so many developments took place that they are still remembered in the modern times. The reforms, buildings, their stories are still part of our modern tales. Many dynamic cities at that point were well known, and two such cities were Athens and Sparta. Both have their own significance, and there were similarities in them but at the same time, they were very different from each other both in the way they were governed and what they brought to the world. The differences between them will be detailed in this paragraph so that a batter understanding can be developed. The first main difference between them was that Athens was more famous for its culture and civilization while Sparta was known for its warrior nature and had a fearsome reputation in those days. They were governed differently too, Athens was ruled under the democratic system, it was actually the first ever city to do so and the democratic governance is still followed all over the globe. Sparta, on the other hand, was governed by two different standards, and it was also one of the first instances where two kings ruled over one city. Expanding more on this factor, Athens was therefore considered a peaceful city but Sparta was always filled with violence and gangs who also ruled and for the kings. Moving on to the location of both towns, Athens was located at an area where the mountain surrounded the city while Sparta was built on top of the mountains which gave it a better and more secure location when it comes to war and attacks. Athens were attacked several times in this ear by Romans, but Greeks always looked towards Sparta as a place which was safe. Both the cities did not get along well, and they can be differentiated on the basis that both prided themselves to be different from each other and were considered as rival cities in those times which competitions taking place between them on a regular basis even in sports. Spartans were considered the braver of the two while people of Athens were known as more educated among them. More differences between them are given at the end of this topic.

Comparison Chart

Athens was the first ever city to introduce the democratic form of governmentSparta was the first ever city that was ruled by two different kings as an oligarchy.
Athens constituted of people who were known as literatePeople of Sparta were illiterate
Athens was surrounded by hills that kept the city safe from attackSparta was situated at the top of the hill
People had the opportunity to decide if they wanted to educate themselves or accede to the military.People had to join the army in Sparta

Definition of Athens

Athens is currently the capital city of Greece and has been having the status of the principal town in the country for several decades. It is also known as one of the most historical cities in the world and has its history going down several centuries. They had a different way of living life and had more opportunities at that time as compared to other cities. It was a developed city which introduced the concept of democratic rule for the first time. There was active politics involved in the city and its laws which always were fighting between them to gain control of the city. People were educated and did not have any obligation to join the Army. It developed the military by paying people from other places and always wanted to take over the whole country by force. Therefore many wars were fought in or around the city.


Definition of Sparta

Sparta is currently known as Laconia was a neighboring city of Athens which was famous for its warriors. They had the benefit of an excellent location which was that they were surrounded by hills. Therefore, no one could invade it. Although the people of this city were trained heavily in Warcraft they did not start wars and conquer other places. Generally, they were considered peaceful and always stayed that way unless they were attacked. They were not much educated, and people were forced to join the army, but one benefit which they had over Athens was that they were ruled by two powerful kings who always provided enough money to keep the city life going. They valued their women immensely and made them a part of their lives. It was also smaller in size, but there weren’t much politics because their affairs were run by gangs.

Differences in a Nutshell

  1. Athens was the first ever city to introduce the democratic form of government while Sparta was the first ever city that was ruled by two different kings as an oligarchy.
  2. Athens was known as a peaceful city while Sparta was referred to as a city filled with gangs who always created unrest among the citizens.
  3. Athens constituted of people who were known as literate while people of Sparta were illiterate.
  4. Athens was surrounded by hills that kept the city safe from attack while Sparta was situated at the top of the hill which gave it an attacking advantage over other cities.
  5. Athens and Sparta were known as rival cities of Greece.
  6. People had to join the army in Sparta while Athenians had the opportunity to decide if they wanted to educate themselves or accede to the military.
  7. People were offered many luxuries in Athens while people of Sparta did not get many leisure living opportunities.
  8. Girls did not have full rights in Athens and were regarded as wasteful beings but in Sparta they took full part in training because that helped them reproduce warriors according to their beliefs.
  9. Athens wanted to expand their territory and invade other lands, Spartans wanted to stay on their own but always replied back with force when someone attacked them.


Many historical cities have passed which had something unique about them, they may belong to the same era and have the same ruler but there still are many differences between them. Athens and Sparta are two such cities, which were competitors even though they were very near to each other. This article lays out the main differences between them to help people understand their uniqueness.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss