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.



















private schools for children.61 More advanced private education of adults might be carried out in connection with the gymnasia, though the latter were principally sports centres.62 In the Archaic and Classical periods gymnasia were outside the city wall,63 but they gradually moved into the city,64 and in the Hellenistic period they came to house the most important public institution of all, the ephebeia, which was the training ground of the young citizens for military and civil activities.65

public sphere, although they never got the right to hold magistracies or take part in political assemblies.6 Non-citizens also became to a greater degree part of the polis, and gradually they got the right to participate in the ephebeia, the most important social institution in the Hellenistic polis, whose primary function was the education of The Hellenistic Polis 133 the young citizens.7 Ephebeia is known from the fourth century bc, primarily as a sort of ‘national service’ in which young

1986–1995 (Amsterdam, 1999) 677–88, with one addendum: RO = P. J. Rhodes and R. Osborne, Greek Historical Inscriptions 403–323 B.C. (Oxford, 2003). Introduction 1. I define a city structurally as a densely built-up area settled with— at least—a four-digit number of inhabitants (infra ch. 9 n. 6) and functionally as a central place which performs a number of specialised tasks in relation to a hinterland (infra ch. 14 n. 12). Politically the inhabitants are organised sometimes as a municipality,

metropolis; see infra 48. 13. Syracuse was founded in 733 by colonists from Corinth, but became itself the metropolis of three other Hellenic colonies: Akrai (founded in 663), Kasmenai (founded in 643) and Kamarina (founded in 598); Thuc. 6.5.2–3; cf. Di Vita (1956). 14. Seibert (1979). At the Olympic Games in 324 Alexander the Great proclaimed that all exiles were free to return to their polis; Diod. 17.109.1; 18.8; Tod, GHI 201–2; cf. RO 101. 15. A free foreigner is in Greek a xenos, in plural

Section’ as a proasteion, see Hansen (2006b) 43. 5. Of the 1,035 poleis, 69 had a fortified akropolis but no (attested) city wall. CPCInv. 137. 6. Thuc. 2.2–6; Hdt. 7.233.2. Hansen (1997c) 27–8. 7. Hansen (2006b) 43. 8. Hoepfner and Schwandner (1994) 190. 9. The household varies in size in the course of a generation; see Gallant (1991) 11–33. In order to keep the population stationary, each woman had to give birth to five or six children, of whom two or three would survive to adulthood. In about a

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