- Category: Ancient Civilisations Workshops
- Published Date
- Written by Graham Kirby
This is a workshop which introduces Athenian democracy and history, and enables the children to use imagination and acting skills to stage an assembly to discuss important matters and to vote!
You will need... a voting urn, strips of paper.
Athens and Sparta
In ancient times, Greece as a country did not exist. It was made up of lots of city states. The two most important were Athens and Sparta. They were great rivals.
Athens invented a new form of government called ‘democracy’; the Spartans were a warrior race governed by two kings.
Every Athenian citizen (only males, free born) had a vote in the Assembly. A smaller group – The Council - chosen by lot decided day to day matter as the Assemby could not meet everyday as people had to work.
Their rivalry went back many years. When the Persians invaded, all the Greek cities united to see off the Persian army. Athens and Sparta lead the Greeks at that time. But soon afterwards they became bitter rivals when Athens form a protective league against the Persians in the Aegean Sea.
At first the league gave ships to defend Greece and the Aegean sea from the Persians. But soon, as the threat from the Persians lessened, the tribute of ships became a tribute of money. Athens spent this money on their own city not on defending Greece from the Persians: they rebuilt the Acropolis and the Parthenon which had been destroyed by the Persians. No Athenians had to pay taxes at all. Sparta began to fear that the League was in fact an empire and threatened her allies and her in the Peloponnese. Many of the Greeks were angry with Athens and asked Sparta to help stop the Athenians…
Explore the concept of voting using... The Democracy Game
You will see a series of situations, and in each one, the class has to pretend to be the Athenian assembly, and vote on crucial decisions which the actual Athenian assembly voted on during the war. You will need to select actors to address the assembly – the words of address are here. Good luck!