Sparta versus Athens

In the Athenian democracy of theFifth century, decisions were made in an open and public manner.

This was not the case in Sparta, where secrecy was cultivated.

Thucydides (Athenian historian, born around 465 BC) in his eulogy The Peloponnesian War explains thus through Pericles (Athenian statesman – Athens around 495 BC – 429 BC):

“Our city is welcoming to all and never do we expel strangers to prevent certain information from being gathered or certain facts from being witnessed, the disclosure of which might be of service to our enemies.

This quote shows that the Athenian democracy was not only open to all, as a democracy, but that it was embarrassed by expelling people who might have reported all the “secrets”, which were therefore not within the city, to men outside the city.

She also insinuates that this was not the case in Sparta, which expelled people, and was not afraid that they would reveal secrets since the regime remained opaque.

→ Quotes on the Secret

General Knowledge: the Secret <-