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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Ancient Greek History - 2140 words
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.. people (Tierney and Scott 44)". Pericles also explains that their government does not copy or imitate any other, but it can be seen as a leading government. Pericles also says that, individuals are not only interested in their own affairs , but the affairs of the government as well. He also explains, that a man who takes no interest in the government should not be in Athens at all.
The people in Athens have much time to enjoy their leisure activities, but when it comes to the government, most respect and following of the law is expected. Athens can be described as a free, classless society. The people were not judged by their class, they were judged by their abilities. Also, wealth and poverty were looked at fairly. No one was considered bad if they were poor as long as they took proper measure to escape it. As for being wealthy, that was nothing to boast about. The city of Athens was also free and open for trade, allowing the people to enjoy foreign goods. Another important topic discussed in Pericles' speech was the military
The Athenian men were not forced into strict training for the military; and the women were not forced into exercising to produce healthy soldiers. This is what makes them different from Sparta. The military was an encouraged option to the people of Athens. Preparing for war did not occur in Athens. The people of Athens were very brave and did not worry about losing in war. They took it as it came. Pericles also states, "Our city is open to the world, and we have no periodical, deportations in order to prevent people observing or finding out secrets which might be of military advantage to the enemy.
(Tierney & Scott 45). Since the military was split into many different groups; the Athenian military never came at full force, unlike the military of Sparta. And when another foreign military defeats part of the Athenian military, they give themselves credit for destroying the whole thing. The Athenian military never lied about their victories or defeats. In conclusion, modern Americans would find most of the characteristics of the Athenian government and societies attractive.
The most appealing would be the government being a democracy. With the Athenian democratic government, the citizens had the right to enjoy leisure activities as long as the law was obeyed. Also the military being optional for one to join was very favorable. The way the government looked at poverty and wealth was very fair. Also the country being open for trade and foreign visitors would be favored since American is a free nation of people whose origins are from all over the world.
An aspect Americans may find negative would be the way women did not yet have as much freedom as they do now in America.2a. In the excerpt, "An Athenian Household," Xenophon discusses the different roles both men and women had in an upper-class household. The roles of women drastically outweigh those of a man. The husband's job in an Athenian household was to basically do any work outdoors. For men are seen to have better fitted bodies and minds to bear cold and heat, travel and military exercises. Women, on the other hand, had many duties.
Their work was primarily done inside the home. The woman's job title can be described as a household administrator. They acted as superintendents of the household's laborers. They were also able to punish servants if they were found transgressing. They also had the job of budgeting and dividing up anything that came into the home.
Women also made proper garments with the wool brought into the home so that they would get the most use. If any of the household servants became sick, the woman had the job of helping them recover. Women trained servants to make them more skillful and valuable in the home. Although women had so much power in the home, if she began to show superiority over her husband, over time she would become less respected within the home. Women were supposed to exercise themselves which would help them take their food with better appetite, enjoy better health and would assume a more truly pleasing complexion.
"A wife's looks are really attractive to a husband when, compared to a slave girl, she seems more pure and healthy, and is dressed more becomingly, and especially because she gratifies her husband willingly and, not because she is compelled to do so (Tierney & Scott 83.)". In my opinion, the role "love" does not come into play in this selection by Xenophon. The marriages in upper class Athenian households are usually arranged, and in this case, it was. The husband and wife don't know each other too well, and it seems as if the husband is ordering his new wife around. She takes care of almost everything. She is like a high positioned slave because she does just as much work as the slaves do.
Another thing I found to be unfair, was that the husband had control over the issue of his wife wearing cosmetics; and also the way she dressed. The Spartan government had one main focus, and that was the military. Women's duties in Sparta differed much from those in Athens. Because of the absence of their husbands who spent most of their lives in war, women took great liberties and assumed superiority. They were treated with much respect, and often called by the title of lady or queen.
While their husbands were away, women could conduct public and private business, as well as vote their husband's proxy. Although women were treated so highly, they were still ordered to exercise themselves in the form of wrestling, running, throwing the quolt and casting the dart. This would help them be able to produce healthy soldiers.2b. In Plato's Platonic Utopianism, women are described to be able to take on the same roles in society as men. Plato states, "Are dogs divided into he's and she's, or do they both share equally in hunting and in keeping watch and in the other duties of dogs (Tierney & Scott 77)?" The only obvious difference between men and women was that men were stronger. Although men were stronger, women still could practice the same duties as men. If a woman wanted to be treated equal to men, they must have the same nurture and education.
Women must practice gymnastics and music, as well as the art of war. Plato also said, "Women must then exercise naked with men; and this is the most ridiculous part". He also states, "Men and women alike possess the qualities which make a guardian (Tierney & Scott 77)." In all of this, I feel that Plato does not distinguish the ideal from reality in his assessment of the role of women in Greek society. Women in Greece generally could not serve in the military. Also, women usually received a different form of education.
This example that Plato describes is definitely ideal in the time this work was produced.Part III1a. In 509 B.C., the Romans made a transformation from a monarchy government to a tripartite republic. The new government consisted of three major branches. The first major branch was the assembly. Although the Roman Republic possessed many popular assemblies, they all shared the same characteristics.
The assemblies were made up of all males of age. Their major purposes were to make laws, declare war and peace and to elect officials. The assembly was also allowed to vote. Voting was done in blocks. Each block was called a century; where each century got one vote. The centuries were divided up amongst the Patricians, the Equites and the Plebians.
The second branch of Roman government was the Magistrates. They were basically any elected or appointed officials. The Magistrates were split up into four groups and had to go through the curses honorum process. The curses honorum was a course of honor, in which one must start at the bottom and work himself to the top notch job, making sure the person at the top has had much experience in all the lower jobs. The lowest of the four groups of magistrates were the Aediles.
They would be described as commissioners; men that oversaw day-to-day running of the town. Aediles oversaw almost everything in the town from parks, to sewer systems. The next group going from lowest to highest were the Quaestors. Quaestors were always elected in groups of two. Their two functions were to be treasurers and they were also the military equivalent to a supply master. The next group were Praetors who could simply be described as judges.
And last of the Magistrates were the Consuls. Consuls were the most powerful of all the positions. They were always elected in pairs so that no one person could become too powerful. They ran for one-year terms and once their term was over, they had to wait ten years to run again. The functions of the consuls were like those of an American president.
They also served as generals in the military, which meant they had much authority. The third branch of the new government was the Senate. The Senate consisted of about three hundred members. The position of a Senate was hereditary. Also retired Consuls could be part of the Senate.
The Senate basically set the agenda for the Roman republic. The social class system was also important with the new Roman republic. The social structure was divided into two parts. "The Patricians class in Rome consisted of those families who were descended from the original senators appointed during the period of the kings. The Patrician wealth gave them much prominence, giving them certain religious privileges that let them control the government (Spielvogel 119)".
Only Patricians could be consuls; others magistrates and senators. They also controlled the Centuriate assembly and many other facets of Roman life. The Plebians on the other hand, had less privileges. They can best be described as independent, unprivileged, and vulnerable men. Also, they were poorer, owned less land, were smaller farmers and merchants.1b. According to Polybius, the Roman republic government was considered strong.
Polybius thought that the royal government would fall and lead to a king taking full power over the Roman people. But in this excerpt, he explains that the new government's power was divided up in an equal manner causing it to hold up well. First Polybius introduces the consuls. The consuls were important members of this government. They brought forth proposals to the senate.
They also had absolute power over the military, meaning they made up roles for soldiers which best suited them. Censors also expended as much public money as they chose. They also had absolute power to punish anyone who worked under them. The next branch that was important to the government was the senate. The senate had the job of controlling the treasury by issuing receipts and disembursements. Their largest and most important job is to grant money to the censors to repair or construct public buildings.
The senate also investigated crimes.The last role, which Polybius says is most important, is that of the people. Polybius states, "For the people is the sole fountain of honour and of punishment; and it is by these two things and these alone that dynasties and constitutions and, in word, human society are held together (Tierney & Scott 102)." Men have the most important role in government; and that is to vote. It is the men in the society that decide on the most important issues passed. Also, it is the men who run to hold office. They also pass and repeal laws.
Last, it is the state that holds the constitution. It is the strong basis on which all of these positions of government stand. He ends his excerpt by stating, "Even when these external alarms are past, and the people are enjoying their good fortune and fruits of their victories, and, as usually happens, growing corrupted by flattery and idleness, show a tendency to violence and arrogance, it is in these circumstances, more than ever, that the constitution is seen to possess within itself the power of correcting abuses (Tierney & Scott 103.)"ReferencesHomer. "The Iliad," Trans. Richmond Lattimore, in Tierney and Scott, Western Societies: A Documentary History.Plato.
"The Republic," Trans. B. Jowett, in Tierney and Scott, Western Societies: A Documentary History.Plutarch. "Life of Lycurgus," Trans. A.H.
Clough, in Tierney and Scott, Western Societies: A Documentary History.Polybius. "The Histories of Polybius," Trans. E.S. Shuckburgh, in Tierney and Scott, Western Societies: A Documentary History.Spielvogel, Jackson. Western Civilization to 1715., West Publ.
Co, Inc., St. Paul: 1999 (4th Ed.)Thucydides. "History of the Peloponesian War," Trans. B. Jowett, in Tierney and Scott, Western Societies: A Documentary History.Xenophon. "Oconomics," Trans.
J.S. Watson, in Tierney and Scott, Western Societies: A Documentary History.
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