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The Greek Polis - Paper Example

3 pages
600 words
Carnegie Mellon University
Type of paper: 
Course work
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The ancient Greeks are known for many accomplishments they made in different aspects of life such as intellectual aspects, cultural, religion, military, and science among many others. The Greeks were also had sophisticated cities and urban systems one of them being the Greek polis. Looking deeper at this Greek polis, I believe it presents the earliest emergence of a city-state where individuals lived in an organized manner. The polis as such is one of the first formal organizations where individuals lived following a type of political organization, which provided the organization.

Additionally, I have learned that the polis represented a complex hierarchical society whereby individuals lived as citizens thus being the first idea of citizenship. Within a polis, thousands of independent households existed. This was an organized structure which had never been witnessed before thus is said to have started with the Greeks. However, I believe that, even though the polis represented a form of government, the residents in these households did not pay dues to the centralized structure. Every household had a share of the polis as they all contributed to the development of the structure and organization of resources within the city.

My definition of an ideal polis would be one based on community and justice. What I mean by this is that the polis must be a partnership with its citizens. The polis should aim to help the citizens, and in return, the citizens must aim to help the polis creating a stronger and self-sufficient city. The ideal polis should have one goal, to create a city that is strong because of its citizens, and to thrive due to its citizens. The central or main feature in the polis was the existence of an urban center as individuals came close to these centers for trade and formation of alliances. These structures were not present in other regions. However, although different policies existed, they were all independent of each other.

When it comes to the city in ancient Greek, which an ideal polis should be positioned, I think Athens would be better as compared to Sparta. This is because Athens created democracy, which is where everyone is deemed as equal and have equal rights. I also believe that Athens had this one goal for their city to thrive and took in the different aspects of how to make their city thrive. Also, I think an ideal polis would have a bond with its citizens that would show all citizens as equal and would have one goal of helping the city to thrive. Therefore Athens is a far more ideal polis than Sparta.

Additionally, I find The Greek polis having a significant impact on social stratification. The progression of art demonstrates the impact of the polis system on Greek social stratification through the Geometric, Orientalizing, and Early Archaic periods. Influences from the near east and Egypt along with military improvements affected the development of the Greek polis and social structure. The art of each time illustrates the development of defined social classes within the structure of the polis through grave markers, military advancements, and private statues.

The rise of the Greek polis is one thing that I find interesting. One factor that I believe is responsible for the growth of polis is the clump of villages during the dark ages formed together. Within this clump, one village emerges as the strongest, generally by military means. A citadel- (a fortification used during a time of refuge) develops from this big village. This period was not friendly, villages often feuded, and people from surrounding countryside would retreat to a citadel.


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