Polis: An Introduction to the Ancient Greek City-State

Polis: An Introduction to the Ancient Greek City-State

Mogens Herman Hansen

Language: English

Pages: 246


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

From antiquity until the nineteenth century, there have been two types of state: macro-states, each dotted with a number of cities, and regions broken up into city-states, each consisting of an urban center and its hinterland. A region settled with interacting city-states constituted a city-state culture and Polis opens with a description of the concepts of city, state, city-state, and city-state culture, and a survey of the 37 city-state cultures so far identified. Mogens Herman Hansen provides a thoroughly accessible introduction to the polis (plural: poleis), or ancient Greek city-state, which represents by far the largest of all city-state cultures. He addresses such topics as the emergence of the polis, its size and population, and its political organization, ranging from famous poleis such as Athens and Sparta through more than 1,000 known examples.

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comprise all Greek settlements in the whole Mediterranean. Hellas is not just ‘continuous Hellas’, i.e. roughly modern Greece and the west coast of Asia Minor, where all poleis were Hellenic, but is also the whole colonial world, where Hellas is divided up into 34 Chapter 4 little bits, all of them poleis divided from one another by territories inhabited by ‘barbarians’. The division into Hellenic poleis and barbarian poleis,4 and the conception that all Hellenic poleis belong together, is

minor settlements coalesces into a city. A decisive moment in both cases is when the entire city gets surrounded by a wall.10 In poleis of type (A) the akropolis itself was often walled and clearly distinct 102 Chapter 16 from the city below.11 The akropolis might go on being used for settlement,12 but was often reserved for temples and other public buildings.13 However, having an akropolis was not an absolute criterion of type (A). A polis of type (B) might have an akropolis as one of the

6.13.6. Fraser (1995); Hansen (1996b) 176–81. 43. Dittenberger (1907) 15; Hansen (1996b) 191; CPCInv. 63–6. 44. Hansen (1996b) 190; CPCInv. 66–7. Chapter 9: The Polis as City and State 1. I except historians who hold that every polis was a stateless society; see ch. 8 n. 5. 2. Thuc. 5.84–116. 3. CPCInv. no. 493, see infra 69–70. 4. Friedrichs (2000) 13. 5. Ammann (1978) 408; Johanek (2000) 296. 6. For the synonymous use of ‘city’ and ‘town’, and 1,000 inhabitants as the appropriate line of

on the Euphrates; the southernmost was Hama.7 (8) After the collapse of the Kassite monarchy c.1100 bc the countryside of southern Mesopotamia became settled with Aramaic, Chaldean and Arab tribes, while many of the old cities became city-states once again. They formed, as it were, a network of ‘islands’ separated by the tribal communities, and in the ninth to seventh centuries bc they came under Assyrian overlordship.8 (9) c.1175 bc Ramesses III settled Philistines in five city-states in

366). 15. Berger (1992) 34–53. 16. IG I3 14.32 ·. (Erythrai); Meiggs–Lewis, GHI 83 (Thasos); IG XII.9 190 (Eretria); Tod, GHI 191 (Eresos); Syll.3 360 (Chersonesos); I.Ilion 25 (Ilion). 17. Seibert (1979) 353–407; McKechnie (1989) 16–33. 18. IvO 22 (Selinus); IG XII.2 6 (Mytilene); Tod, GHI 192 (Chios); SEG 30 1119 (Nakona); Arist. Ath. Pol. 39 (Athens). Seibert (1979) 401–2. 19. Gehrke (1985) 359; cf. Thuc. 4.86.4–5. 20. Ste Croix (1954–5) 29, countering Ehrenberg’s claim ((1947) 48) that

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