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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The Greek Polis was a unique concept and way of life in the ancient world. It played a huge role when it came to the political concept for Greek history but it also carried some consequences. It also aided in the development of the process of Greek colonization and the concept of democracy.
The Greek society was a direct democracy with people voting on the issues themselves instead of representatives voting on their behalf. Any male citizen over the age of eighteen was allowed to vote. Like the Romans, the Greek government was divided into separate parts. The Greek government consisted of an assembly, council, and courts, with each requiring a different number of voters present. The people all gather and vote on issues by hand, and this is the simplest form of majority rules. The role of the people is extremely important in how the society and state is governed and run. This early form a democracy was detailed by Pericles funeral oration during the Peloponnesian War. Pericles was an eminent Athenian politician who states in regards to the government of Athens, “Its administration favors the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy (Pericles, “Funeral Oration”, pp. 2)”. Here, Pericles states that the people have all the power and their opinion is highly valued. Likewise, the Romans valued the people’s opinions so highly that they entrusted with them rewards and punishments, vital aspects that held the society together. Pericles also states, “…nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, here is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition (Pericles, “Funeral Oration”, pp. 2)”. Here is the essence of democracy, every man no
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.
Athens was the largest polis in Greece. Its population was over five times as great as the other small city-states. Athens stood out from Sparta as well as the other city-states not only because of its immense population but also because it was the commercial leader of Greece and was home to a great navy. The Athenians valued their political freedom and free thought. Like the Spartans they too wanted to protect their state but unlike the Spartans, the Athenians strove for excellence not only in being warriors but also in their everyday lives. Since the Spartans were only concerned with being great warriors, the Athenians became the cultural center of Greece during the Hellenic period. Athens original government was a monarchy ruled by one king, however, the king's influence began to diminish with the changing times and soon Athens was under the rule of an oligarchy.
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.
Athens was located in the region of Attica, a fertile valley and rich in minerals. The city was a cultural powerhouse: the cradle of democracy, the birthplace of many great philosophers, of politics, of architecture and theatre, of history, science and mathematics, with a formidable naval fleet that defeated the Persian army. Athenians had access to education and freedom to pursue their interests in war or business. (Mark, 2011)
Introduction This assignment describes the character of the four ancient governments in order to compare and contrast the five government forms in the Ancient Greek city-states. They are monarchy, aristocracy, tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy.
Furthermore, while Athens had a strong navy, it was more well-known for its culture, such as arts, architecture, drama, literature, philosophy, science, and medicine. To say that Athens was intellectual and democratic was an accurate appraisal. Athens valued culture and education and worked to involve the citizens in the governance of the city-state.
Polis can be translated from Greek to mean city and refers to the Greek city-states(Dictionary.com., 2017).In ancient Greece, during the archaic and classical-era, city-states was how Greece divided itself. A polis was, essentially, " its own small country"(Brand, P. J., n.d.). A polis was independent of their neighboring polis. They answered only to themselves, and no one else.Think of the states within the United States of America. Each has its own capital, a system of government, laws, constitution, natural resources, and approach to dealing with the general public. Now, imagine if there was no federal government, making sure the states do what is right, and keeping the peace between the states. Each state would look
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 between city-states. Their division led to the widespread of language and culture. This is the great story of Ancient Greece and how individualism changed the view Greece had on certain issues. (Bulliet 99) From 1000 B.C.E to 30 B.C.E, Ancient Greece’s view on individualism changed the political system Greece had, over time changed the way individuals thought and made important Intellectual changes, and gradually changed the Economic system such as bartering.
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
“individuation,” of reflection on the connection between social order and social demands and the aims of individuals. It prompted reflection about the means of reconciling the conflict between private and public avenues. Participation in the politics of democratic Greece was an extenuation of the menial status of the people. This held true because the polis expressed not merely the material interests of those who ruled and were ruled, but also their freedom and their nobility. The realization of one’s purposes within the polis demanded that one be an active citizen. Man’s awareness and understanding of himself as an agent is shaped through interaction with the world. Membership of the political community was not merely essential for survival, but also greatly extended the range of ends of which it was possible to pursue. A self-governing community enabled men to act to secure the ends they desired, to express their autonomy, and by its very operation ensured that the