Athens was clearly a better city state for many deep and clear reasons. For starters they were the leaders at the time in art, mathematics, architecture, government, and military. For government they invented the direct democracy, and let all men that were citizens have an equal and fair say in the government. They also had a much better military then the Spartans, starting out the Spartans went into warfare each soldier fighting for himself. Where as the Athenians fought as a clean well oiled machine in the phalanx formation.