The Greek Polis Essay

Is it possible to define the Greek polis, and to identify its main characteristics? Was the polis the building block of Greek civilization? The polis was defined by its citizens rather than its physical structures. Each city state was an amalgamation of many key components. The polis was the building block of Greek civilization and the growth of its great empire. It could have survived without it, however it would have remained a scattered society of independent villages and not have amounted to its great and successful empire.

The main heartsickness of a Greek polis was; the city itself and those that inhabited it; the citizens, their wives/families, foreigners and slaves. The polis was an integral part of Greek life as through its hierarchical structure it defined a way in which its inhabitants lived. The polis itself was surrounded by farms and agricultural lands, with the city in the centre. The most significant parts of the polis were the residences or Kiosk’s, the marketplace or Agar, the theatre, and the Acropolis.

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The Acropolis held the most important buildings of the polis; as it had the treasury, main temple, arrack’s, and assembly area for the governing bodies within it. L The agar was not only the market place, but also the social hub of the polis as it was here, where citizens met to exchange gossip and news.  The Acropolis was originally built as a defensive structure on the highest ground.

However later on it became the centre of the polis. The Acropolis later still served as a defensive structure/safe haven in times of conflict or siege. The polis as opposed to the less formal life of the deems provided a structured life for the majority of the polis. Athens was not the typical Greek polis, as it was the richest and largest of polis that was the head of the Ionian league. Its only rivals were those of the mighty Sparta and the wealthy trading polis Corinth, the leading powers of the Peloponnesus league. It was the centre of all economic, military, political, cultural, and social activity.

‘Introduction: Alternatives to the Democratic Polis’, in Alternatives to Athens: Varieties of Political Organization and Community in Ancient Greece, deeds R. Brock & S. Hoodwinks, Oxford University Press, 2002, up. 1-32. 8 Morris, l. 1990, ‘The early polis as city and state’, in City and Country in the Ancient World, deeds J. Rich &A. Wallace-Hadrian, Rutledge, London, 1990, up. 24-57. 9 Richardson, NJ. 1992 “Phenylalanine Cults and Phenylalanine Poets”.

The Cambridge ancient nelsons. Volume v I nee Tint century B. C. D. M. Less Cambridge University Press, 1992. up. 223-244 10 n Etalon camouflage: Greece, deeds R. Brock & S. Hoodwinks, Oxford University Press, 2002, up. 1-32. 11 Richardson, N. J. 1992 “Phenylalanine Cults and Phenylalanine Poets”. The Cambridge ancient history. Volume V. The fifth century B. C. D. M. Lewis. 2nd Edition Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. up. 223-244 12 64-79. 13 14 Aristotle. POI. AAA 2-3 in Dillon & Garland Ancient Greece, chapter 10: The Polis: the Greek Cityscape, p. 294.

Independent city state. Citizens rather than being Greek were Athenian, Spartan or a Corinthian. Being fiercely autonomous meant that if another polis tried to interfere n the governing of their polis, a vicious conflict was likely to ensue. 16 The citizens were the elite of society, they were the governing body, the craftsman, the producers, and the army. They did not do the work alone as they had their wives and children to help them, and if they were wealthy enough they also had slaves to produce their wares. The roles of being present in the assembly was exclusive to a citizen.

They cherished the opportunity and were expected to make the Journey to the polis four times a year to vote. 17 Only on very rare occasions was anyone other than a citizen bled to be a hoppled (Greek soldier) in times of war and conflict. The two main systems of government in a Greek polis were firstly an assembly and secondly, the law courts. 18 Any citizen over the age of 18 was a member of the assembly. Any and all Greeks were supposed to have a burning vigor for political work and interest in public life so that they could improve their polis. They were expected and able to take part in the governing of their local polis.

All citizens in the region were expected to serve in the assembly at some point in their life and thus they were able to put forward their Ideas Ana give tenet pollens. I Nils meant Tanat In essence ten democratic system was essentially very equal to all citizens, rich and poor alike. Those from Athens prided themselves on their democracy and constitution. It is possible to define the Greek polis, and that of its main characteristics. The polis was the building block of the Greek civilization. The polis was the centre of Greek life and allowed them to become a well established civilization.

Greeks could have survived without the polis, however they would not have become the powerful and widespread empire that we think of very time we hear ancient Greeks.


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