Presentation on theme: "Origins and Development Ancient Greek Polis From Warrior to Citizen."— Presentation transcript:
Origins and Development Ancient Greek Polis From Warrior to Citizen
What is a Polis? “Without a clear conception of what the polis was, and what it meant to the Greeks, it is quite impossible to understand properly Greek history, the Greek mind, or the Greek achievement.” ~H.D.F. Kitto, The Greeks Poleis may have peculiar calendars, deities, foundation myths, magistrates, currency, etc.
Some Ancient Views And because people need many things, and because one person calls on a second out of one need and on a third out of a different need, many people gather in a single place to live together as partners and helpers. And such a settlement is called a polis. Isn’t that so? ~ Plato, Republic, 369 b-c I think…that they should let it [the state] grow so long as in its growth it consents to remain a unity, but no further. ~ Plato, Republic, 423 b [A] polis could not consist of ten men, and one composed of 100,000 men would no longer be a polis. ~ Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1170 b 31
Dark Age (1150-700 BCE) Oikoi to Archaic Age Poleis (700-500 BCE) Homeric hero (basileus) controls extended oikos (household); becomes leader of coalitions of oikoi Tension: Achilles/Hector. A.W. Adkins’ “competitive excellences of the warrior” vs. “communal excellences of the citizen” Tensions between classes: Hesiod, Works and Days (“gift- devouring basileis”) Formation of the Polis (ca. 800-750 BCE): synoikismos (synoecism)
Homeric Chieftain Hut Kleros: “Shares of Land” (Oikos) Basileis: Greater Kleros (and Temenos) Shift from Pasturage to Agricultural Lots Land Hunger
“Glaucus, why is it you and I are honored before others with pride of place, choice meats and filled wine cups in Lycia, and all men look at us as if we were gods, and we are given a large tract of land by the banks of the Xanthos river, good land, orchard and vineyard, and ploughland for planting wheat? It is our duty to stand in the front-line of the Lycians, and bear our part in raging battle, so that a man of the close-armored Lycians may say of us: ‘Indeed, these are not ignoble men who are Lycia’s lords, these basileis of ours, who feed on the fat sheep and drink the best sweet wine, since they have the strength of valor, since they fight in the front-line of the Lycians’.” Homer, Iliad 12.310-321: Homeric Aristocratic Arete
Inadequacy of Term “City-State” Ideal Population around 5,000 Sparta, Athens, Syracuse, and Acragas as “Abnormal States”--populations exceeding 20,000 Ideal of Autonomy and Sovereignty of Polis in International Relations
Embryonic Greek Polis Old Smyrna in Asia Minor (ca. 850 BCE): circuit of mud-wall and brick; bottom courses of stone; houses on rectangular plan Geography of Mainland Greece: Greek Polis Overdetermined? Homer’s Cities (“Shield of Achilles”): “On it he wrought in all their beauty two cities of mortal men…there were marriages in one, and festivals….around the other city were lying forces of armed men shining in their war gear” (Iliad, 18, lines 490-510) Economic Base for the Development of the Greek Polis: Adoption of coinage ca. 600 BCE at latest (stamped with symbol and sometimes the name of the polis)
Physical Characteristics of Polis Quickened Pace of Architectural Development in the Sixth Century BCE (with parallel developments at religious sanctuaries--e.g. Temple of Apollo at Corinth, Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Temple of Aphaia at Aegina, Temple of Hera at Samos Assembly Place, Market (Agora), Temple, Acropolis, Gymnasium
Spiritual Universe of Polis Variety of Constitutional Forms: Limited Monarchy (Sparta); Aristocracy (Corinth); Radical Democracy (Athens) Some Degree of Participatory Self-Government J.P. Vernant: community over individual (es to meson); cf. idiotes, with P. Rahe, American Historical Review 89 (1984) pp. 265-93 Hoplite Revolution
Thucydides, Histories, 2.40 Here each individual is interested not only in his own affairs but in the affairs of the state as well: even those who are mostly occupied with their own business are extremely well informed on general politics…we do not say that a man who takes no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business; we say that he has no business here at all.
Greek Poleis and International Relations Inter-polis warfare endemic Polis as atomistic unit Ceaseless struggles for Power and Security Absence of effective International Peace-Keeping Agencies Attempts at Conflict Resolutions usually ineffective From Multipolarity to Bipolarity (Athens/Sparta)
Greek Poleis and “Realist” Perspective: Homeric Legacy? “Zero-Sum” Competition Power as Final Arbiter International “System” of Anarchy “The problem is this: how to conceive of an order without an orderer and of organizational effects where formal organization is lacking.” (Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics (89))