How did Athens become the leading Greek city-state?

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The rise of Athens in the late 6th century and early 5th century BCE ushered the Classical Age that went on to influence not only the ancient world but also Europe and Western culture in the millennia after its prominence. This rise occurred in large part due to its prominent location and control of key trading routes and leadership in the wars against Persia. While other Greek cities held more powerful armies, such as Sparta, it was Athens' leadership that proved attractive and helped pave the way for its influence.