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Importance Of The Polis On Ancient Greek Life

Decent Essays
Midterm
Prompt 1

Discuss the importance of the polis in ancient Greek life, using Athens as an example. Trace the development of democracy in ancient Athens.

“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. The city of Athens is at the center of Ancient Greece. Most of what we know of ancient Greek culture depends on records from this principal polis. Athens is the birthplace of democracy and has been called the cradle of western civilization. The polis of Athens included about 2500 square kilometers of territory. Surrounding poleis ranged somewhere in the 250 square kilometer region, making Athens the largest. The
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