“Polis is a term that is used to describe a tight knit small community of Ancient Greek citizens who agreed on certain rules and customs. Usually a polis was centered on a small town and the countryside the surrounded it” (Deering). The polis defined a public and communal space, the Agora, for the purpose of leading public affairs. The affairs of men and affairs were included as these had essentials parts to the entire community’s affairs. The Ancient Greek poleis are among the first recorded democratic governments in the world. The term polis has been translated into city-state as there was typically only one city and because an individual polis was independent from other poleis in terms of political, judicial, legal, religious and social institutions and practices (Cartwright). A polis offered security for its inhabitants and gave organization to government through structure, function and hierarchy.
Introduction In the period known as classical Greece in the years 800-323 BCE, Greece comprised of small city states (poleis) which were considered and operated as independent small countries. Amongst those city states Athens and Sparta were two of the most powerful and considered in Greek history as the most influential states to western civilisation. These two city states shared some common characteristics whilst in some instances they were very different from each other. Sparta and Athens had differences and similarities in the way they governed their city states, in how they established their military forces, how they treated women, their marriage customs and social gatherings
• The most distinctive feature of Greek political culture lay in the extent of popular participation in political life that occurred within the city-states. This participation was based on the unique ideas of “citizenship,” of free people running the affairs of state, and of equality for all citizens before the law. Political participation in Greek city-states was much wider than in Persia, but it varied considerably between city-states and over time. Early in Greek history, only the wealthy and wellborn had the rights of full citizenship, but middle- and lower-class men gradually obtained these rights in some city-states.
The city-state of Athens had a better system of citizenship because they cared more about who became a civilian, everybody who was a citizen had equal rights and the citizens had a democracy. With the population of around 300,000 people, including slaves only 13% were considered citizens. Athenians emphasized citizen responsibility more than citizen rights. In Athens, participating in government and making the city-state work was considered the honorable act to accomplish.
After 800 BC, with the rise of the Polis there was a shift in historical writing. “A city-state is often described as a ‘face-to-face society,’ a society, that is, in which everybody has personal contact with everybody else (at least the adult male citizens).” This represents a fundamental change from what had mainly been seen as an agricultural society in the past to an urban society where the majority of citizens lived within city walls. With that there came a change in the focus of historical writing from not just the heroes, but to also the everyday people and the survival of these city-states. Greek reflection would focus on the fate of the city-states rather than that of the scope of the old history. After
These self-governed city-states were governed by the natural laws of the universe. The polis also had a psychological pull to the point where it was infested into the art, religion, literature and philosophy (Document 1). In a way similar to India though, everyone identified first and foremost with their polis identity, like the Indians did with their caste system (Document 1). The way to gain power in Greece was not though money, but through family names and heritage, but in 330 BC, Cleisthenes created the basis of his reform for Greece: the demes (Document 2). By doing this he takes out the powerful noble families and gives the lower class the power to decide what happens with their government and therefore became more “deme-ocratic.” He did many things to change the structure of Greece to make it fairer. For example he took the original four tribes of Greece and redistributed them into ten different tribes so now the tribes can have more “civic rights.” Another example of what Cleisthenes did to fix things was that he increased the Council members from 400 to 500. Now each tribe was only sending fifty representatives, instead of the original hundred. Finally, one last example is that Cleisthenes divided Greece up into thirty parts. Ten urban and suburban, ten costal and ten inland and each of these contained its own special number of demes. Now, men were to be identified first by their demes name, which is very similar to India’s recognition of their caste name or level (Document
In ancient Greece there were two major polises which allowed the Greek culture to achieve greatness during the 400-500 B.C.E. era. These two polises were Athens and Sparta; both city states differed in many ways before the start of the Persian War. There were low rugged mountains that separated these two city states so communication and travel were difficult. The government of these two city states can be seen as a primary difference between the two. Draco, Solon, Pisistratus, and Cleithenes were four leaders that greatly influenced the political development of Athens. Athens and Sparta differed primarily in their political, social, and economical aspects. But there were other difference that Athens and Sparta share which I will examine in this essay.
How did the geography of Greece affect its development? The geography of Greece affected its development because of the various islands and mountainous ranges there could not have a central government like Rome. They had polis’ or city states. A strategic political organization tool to control the many islands. The Mediterranean sea, mountains, islands, and climate isolated divided Greece into city states, virtually This led to a personal form of government which was an early form of democracy. City states came in various sizes, ranging from a few thousand inhabitants to a size of Athens. Each Polis was each fiercely independent and jealous of each others leading to fighting. But on the other hand the whole greek civilization was created on the Aegean Sea with deep pitted coastlines creating natural harbors. Making trade that much easier. Greece couldn't trade overland so the need to import and export goods oversee was needed. Greece imported metals, woods, and food from all over Cyprus, Egypt, Sicily. etc. Greece
The co-existence of the social class within Greek city-states along with Greek democracy was based on the idea that all people can strive and achieve at the highest level. Even though the city-states were small and underwent many political changes, the Greeks could always seem to learn and create new
In the early fifth century BC, Greece consisted of many city-states allied in various factions or leagues. The alliances between these cities are difficult to understand. The alliances created a patchwork where
?Corinth being at the center of all this trading activity, it is no surprise that the city was consistently a great commercial and cultural center.? A description of Corinth by the ancient author Strabo states, ?Corinth is called wealthy because of its commerce, since it is situated on the Isthmus and is master of two harbors, of which the one leads straight to Asia, and the other to Italy; and it makes it easy the exchange of merchandise from both countries that are so far distant from each other? (Strabo).? In his book Roman Corinth, Donald Engels describes Corinth in similar terms, ?From a small beginning, Corinth grew to become the largest city in Greece by the Second century A.D.? It was both an intellectual and cultural center, as well as a vital link in the commercial network of the eastern Mediterranean? (Engels 8).? It was the Vanity Fair of Greece, having objects of exoticism and luxury finding open markets which were visited by every nation in the civilized world;
After the fall of the Mycenaean Empire many local institutions called poleis took the lead in restoring Greece. Many of these city-states grew independently, adapting to their physical surroundings. The two most famous of these poleis were Athens and Sparta. For example, Athens adapted to its access to the Mediterranean Sea by basing its economy on maritime trade. Sparta on the other hand was founded on a fertile region in center of Peloponnesus, which made them very xenophobic and military based. The geography was a key aspect that affected the Athenian and
In a relatively resource-poor region, a society rose from the access of foreign sources of raw materials and markets abroad. This society came to be known as one of the largest nations in Eurasia. The rise and fall of this great nation has to do with war-fare and the conflict
The article titled “The Polis” described to us certain aspects of ancient cities and how they greatly influenced our urban cities we have today. It began by discussing how even though back then these great cities weren't inhabited by many by todays standards, the people of these cities invented and discovered many amazing things that are still used today. Something that really amazed me was how small the city of Athens was, population wise. I was always under the impression that it was this gigantic place with hundreds of thousands of people but really only had about 700 citizens. And even with such a little population they made amazing advances in math, philosophy, art, etc…and many of these advances inspired the civilization we live in
Very few civilizations have had as profound an influence on the world as those of ancient Greece. The Greeks laid the foundations for fields varying from philosophy to political theory to war tactics. However, this influence was not just due to their intelligence or success, but their widespread presence in the Mediterranean. Greek culture was spread throughout their known world in two distinct manners, the foundation of apoikia in the Archaic Age (8th century to 500 B.C. ) and imperialists by poleis, primarily Athens of the Classical Age (490 - 323 B.C ). Though the culture of a mother city (mētropolis) may have spread through two very different manners of “colonization.” The word is not used in the literal sense, but rather hereafter used to mean “spreading of culture”, as the former can hardly be described using the contemporary definition of colonization and the latter was through Athenian empire-building. These developments had a significant impact on ancient Greece and our modern perception thereof. Like most of the ancient world, we can best analyze these methods of colonialism through extant artifacts. I will analyze an inscription of the foundation oath of Cyrene, which recounts the decision and manner in which the island of Thera sent its citizens to the form a new polis, and the fragments of the Lapis Primus, a marble monolith that documented tributes to Athens when the city was at the peak of its imperial age, evidencing the magnitude of their power and influence in the Greek region.