Within the Greek city-states as they developed in the first millennium B. C . there were several different forms of government, ranging somewhere between the two extremes represented by Sparta and Athens. During the early period of their history the Spartans, who had conquered and reduced to serfdom the Laconians among whom they settled, chose to meet the increasing pressure of population by treating their neighbors to a similar fate, in this way becoming the largest of the city-states. After crushing a long and serious revolt, they turned themselves into a military society in order to maintain control over these subjugated peoples. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "2. Athens: The Polis. Pt. I: Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem: Background of Western Civilization." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 3-9.