Background Image

Chapter 14 – Archaic Greek Cities, II: Sparta and Athens

Chapter Summary

This chapter is the first of two that focus on Athens from ca. 600 BC to 400 BC. During the Archaic period, a general prosperity among city-states created a balance of strength and influence between regions. That balance would be replaced in the fifth century BC with increasing polarizations, the city-states aligning with either Athens or Sparta. The Peloponnesian War in the final third of the century, a protracted conflict between these two camps, ended in the defeat of Athens. The chapter begins with a brief look at Sparta before turning to Athens.



Study guide

  1. Compare and contrast the information we have about Athens, on the one hand, and Sparta, on the other hand. What lesson does this give us about the importance of material remains in evaluating the significance of a city?

  2. Inspect the multi-period city plan of Athens (Figure 14.1). What are the major sectors, buildings, and features that you have encountered so far (Iron Age and Archaic period)? Describe the appearance and the function of each.

  3.  Describe the techniques and subject matter of decorated pottery of Athens.

  4. Describe the production of sculpture in Archaic Greece: forms, materials, and subject matter. Where would an Athenian have seen sculpture on display?


Useful websites

Book Information / Buy the book