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Athens Research Paper

Athens research papers illustrate that Athens held an important place in world history and the history of the Greeks.

It is a good idea to begin a research paper on Athens by describing the geography of Athens. Athens is a Greek City state on the central plains of Attica. There are four major mountain regions surrounding Athens:

  • The Aegaleo to the west
  • Parnitha to the north
  • Penteli in the northeast corner
  • Hymettus in the east

Relying largely on the tourist industry, Athens depends on their innovated transportation system and their beautiful surroundings to attract visitors from all over the world.


Athens's Heritage

Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world and has a rich heritage of culture, ethnicity and pride in its tradition of leading the world in the creation of political systems and philosophy. Your research paper may want to report that Athens was named after the Greek goddess Athena and was built in 2500 BC as a cultural center. In 431 BC, Spartans destroyed Athens and Christianity drove out the tradition of the worship of Greek Gods. In Andromache, Euripides puts his grief for the imminent destruction of Athens into the mouth of the title character:

Ah me! my sorrows! Woe for my hapless country! How cruel my fate! […] Yet why do I mourn the past, and o'er the present never shed a tear or compute its griefs? […] What pleasure then has life for me? Whither am I to turn my gaze? To the present or the past? […] Ah! yes, his children are to every man as his own soul; and whoso sneers at this through inexperience, though he suffers less anguish, yet tastes the bitter in his cup of bliss.

Thucydides reports that while the Athenians were preparing to invade Sicily, the Spartans (Lacedaemonians) marched into Argive territory, ravaged some of the land, took some oxen and corn, and exiled a few Argive citizens to Orneae. Compare this to the Athenian expedition to Melos, in which the Athenians killed all of the men, and enslaved all of the women and children.

Athens and the Hellenic World

During this war, the Athenians were out for blood. The Spartans were more interested in preventing an Athenian takeover of the entire Hellenic world. There were too many factions within Athenian politics vying for power, each one undermining the other so that from the beginning the Sicilian expedition was doomed. In the end, when Sparta defeated Athens, it was for the best. Sparta acted out of a sense of need for security. Athens was not the stunning city of artistic and intellectual pursuit, but a sea of petty would-be conquerors and bloody tyrants.

The Spartan system may appear extreme to us today, but without their rigorous code of conduct, we may only remember the Athenians for their misguided military policies and atrocities. In the 20th century, Sparta has been held up as an ideal counterpoint to capitalism, and has its critics who view its regime as extreme. Athens is usually held up in opposition to Sparta. Athens was the birthplace of democracy, and the epicenter of art, philosophy and literature. But by the time of the Peloponnesian War, Athens was morally bankrupt.

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