How Did Athens Gain Power In Athenian Society

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Imagine a world that, as a woman, your sole purpose in life was to satisfy a husband that was chosen for you by your parents! During the Golden Age (ca. 500s-300s BCE) of ancient Athens this was the harsh reality. Political leaders claimed they had held the members of their society to a higher standard of democracy, equality, and fairness. In reality it was the exact opposite the Athens used military forces to gain power over neutral island nations, the women and children were not equal to the men, and they had and used slaves. Athens used military presence to intimidate other civilizations into joining their political rule. The Melians were colonists of Sparta who refused to submit to the Athens (1). Athens and the Melians negotiated over land, power, and beliefs. Athenian negotiator states “…we have come in the interests of our empire…”(1) showing they believed that there was a clear sense of power in their nation and the Athens had a right to be the sole power of the colony. Melians didn’t want to go to war but would not back down on their beliefs. Both states recognized that if the coercing continued there was a chance all neutral states would become enemies based on the fear that the Athens would someday come for their colonies as well. Contradicting the comfort it…show more content…
Slaves ranked very low in the minds of the Athens “the use… of slaves hardly differs at all from that of domestic animals” (5). This shows they owned slaves but may have treated them with some sense of respect but they were still thought of as property. The use and ownership of slaves shows that social classes (if there was a set class systems) were not at all equal. The Athenians believed that there was a natural ruler and a natural subject, “for rule of free over slave, male over female, man over boy, are all natural…” (7). A slave system means that Athens lacked a true democracy and didn’t hold every society member to
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