Athens and Sparta were the two leading powers in the Classical Greek world. They represented entirely different systems of social organization: oligarchic conservatism at Sparta versus radical democracy at Athens. There was continuing ideological rivalry, culminating in the Peloponnesian War, a central event in Greek history. This text focuses on the image of rival societies, as Athens and Sparta have been perceived, by contemporaries, by later Greeks, during the Roman period and beyond. The topics covered include education, land-holding, the division of the sexes, the buildings of Athens, the development of Spartan traditional customs to meet the demands of the Roman tourist trade, and the relationship between imperialism and democracy, in antiquity and today. There is also an examination of the way in which the Peloponnesian War was constructed, if not invented, by its historian, Thucydides. The book is part of the "Classical World" series, which explores the culture and achievement of the civilizations of Rome. It is designed for students and teachers of Classical Civilization.