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During the early centuries prior to the birth of Christ Athens and Sparta were the two most well-known Greek city-states Since both Athens and Sparta resided in Greece one could come to the conclusion that their societies and the culture of their city-states might be largely similar Surprisingly enough this is not the case Though certain aspects of their cultures were alike on the whole their cultures were unexpectedly unalike Before the Spartan culture can be discussed it is essential for one to have a basic understanding of the history that made the culture what it was following sixth-century BC The eighth-century Mycenaean War was a large determining factor in the way the Spartans ran their city-state Prior to the Mycenaean War Sparta was a monarchy just like all of its neighboring city-states Their population was growing at such an alarming rate that they no longer occupied the land necessary to support their people As a result they formed an army to annex the particularly fertile bordering city-state of the Mycenaeans The annexation was a success and the Spartans found themselves content with their newly-conquered territory Just as the Spartans began to feel comfortable the Mycenaeans got the city-state of Argos to aide them in revolting to get their land back This revolt was nearly successful but the Spartans managed to come out on top But the fight was not over yet for the Spartans as the Mycenaeans had the Spartans outnumbered ten to one it was only a matter of time before the Spartans would no longer have control over the Mycenaeans and the land would be lost Thus the Spartans created for themselves an entirely new political system and made their state tightly organized militaristic and land-based Sherman 34 This massive change that took place in Sparta gave the Spartans the stability that had been threatened during the Mycenaeans revolt The new Spartan way of life was exceptionally different from
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