Athens: Ancient Greek City State


This article will briefly cover the Ancient Athenian Greek City States timeline, culture, being the birthplace of democracy, the Parthenon, and Modern Athens.

Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece is many people’s favorite area of history to study. With all of the myths and stories, the locations themselves sometimes get lost. Greece was a mixture of various city-states that shared cultural and religious similarities and existed from 1200 – 900 BCE and until 600 Cain one form or another.

These cities would have different aspects that would make each of them Unique. Athens was one of these cities but set itself apart by gaining power, influence, and wealth within Ancient Greece. It promoted many ideas and values we still hold dear in our modern Democracies.


Ancient Athens

Athens was one of ancient Greece’s most prosperous city-states. They were practicing a new form of government called Democracy. As a city, Classical Athens was split into two sections, one being the Acropolis(Upper City) and the Agora (Lower City).

In 480 BCE, King Xerxes burnt the city to the ground. After it was rebuilt, Athens experienced a golden age. Eventually, Athens suffered a significant loss to Sparta during the Peloponnesian war, which saw Classical Athens fall under the control of Sparta. This wouldn’t last because Athens would later become a member of the League of Corinth.

Birthplace of Democracy

Athens is known as the birthplace of Democracy. While democracy today differs from how it was practiced in ancient Athens, we can still trace many Western values back to this early form of democracy. Only full Citizens were able to participate in Athenian-style democracy. In order to be considered a full citizen, one had to be a male and have two Athenian parents, complete their military service, and be over the age of 18.

It’s a common misconception that Athens was the first Democracy. It wasn’t the first and only one. It simply became the most famous and successful. Democracy was an essential force in shaping the values of Classical Athens. Athenian culture would drastically differ if it didn’t develop as a democracy.


Athenian Culture

The culture of Athens played a significant role in shaping our modern-day western society. Art and education were crucial aspects of being a good citizen in Athens. Boys were given a decent education from birth, while girls were not. Many of the ancient techniques and art produced at the time would go on to influence the Renaissance during the 15th century.

The Parthenon

The Parthenon is one of Athen’s most iconic structures and was first constructed in 447 BCE. Initially, it was dedicated to the Goddess Athena. While it was built as a temple, there is a debate about its actual function or if it was ever primarily used for worshiping Athena. Regardless of its use, it played a central role in Athens and was a major point the city would build up around.

The secondary purpose many historians and archaeologists argue is that it was used mainly instead as the city’s treasury. Most of Athen’s wealth would have been stored in the Parthenon, which makes sense based on its location. The Parthenon has been damaged many times throughout history. Luckily, today, archaeologists are working on restoring the building using the same techniques used in its original construction.

The Parthenon ancient Athens birthplace of democracy
Parthenon temple on a bright day. Acropolis in Athens, Greece

Modern Athens

Modern Athens has surpassed the population of its Ancient counterpart, with an estimated 3.1 million people living in or near Athens. It also functions as modern Greece’s capital city and center for economic trade.

It’s also become a tourist hub for Greece. Visitors can easily access many areas of Greece through various day trips from Athens. Greece is such a diverse country that It’s always a great idea to go and see the alternatives alongside, rather than only, the ancient Athenian Ruins surrounding modern-day Athens.


Athens Coinage

Athenian Coinage is perhaps one of the most popular types of ancient Greek coins. One should be careful because these are often faked, so we recommend buying Athenian coins that a reputable grading company has graded. Below is a link to all of the ancient silver Greek coins we currently have in stock.

Ancient Athens silver coin
Ancient Greek coin showing owl and inscription Athens. Old rare money, silver tetradrachm isolated on dark background.

Published by Invest in History Co.

We specialize in high-quality gold and silver coins. Focusing on Middle East, Eastern European, and Ancient coins. We carry Roman, Greek, Parthian, Phoenician, Celtic, Byzantine, Russian, Jewish, Islamic, and many other culture's coins.

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