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Greek City-States

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GreekCity-States

GreekCity-States MogensHermanHansen TheOxfordHandbookoftheStateintheAncientNearEastandMediterranean

MogensHermanHansen

TheOxfordHandbookoftheStateintheAncientNearEastandMediterranean

EditedbyPeterFibigerBangandWalterScheidel

PrintPublicationDate: Feb2013

OnlinePublicationDate: Jan

2013

Subject: ClassicalStudies,AncientGreekHistory,Socialand EconomicHistory,GreekandRomanLaw DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195188318.013.0010

DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195188318.013.0010 AbstractandKeywords

AbstractandKeywords

Thischapterexaminesthehistoryofcity-statesofpolisinancientGreece.Itexplainsthatapoliswasastrongly

institutionalizedandcentralizedmicro-stateconsistingofonecityanditsimmediatehinterland,andthatithadan

advanceddegreeofurbanizationwherebythemajorityofthepopulationlivedintheurbancenter.Asidefrom

beingthecenterofhabitation,itwasalsothecenterofindustryandtrade,educationandentertainment,political

institutions,anddefense.Thechapterfurthermoreconsiderstherelationbetweenthepoleis.

Keywords:city-states,polis,ancientGreece,micro-state,urbanization,industryandtrade,urbancenter,education,politicalinstitutions

ThePolis

Bothinextentandinpopulation,thelargestofallthecity-stateculturesinworldhistorywasthatoftheGreekpolis (pl.,poleis),whichdominatedtheeasternpartoftheMediterraneanworldintheClassicalandHellenistic periods

(Hansen2006a,7–28).

TherewereGreekpoleisallovertheMediterraneanworld,fromEmporioninthePyreneestoAiKhanoumin Afghanistan,andfromOlbiaatthemouthoftheBugRiverinUkrainetoKyreneinLibya.Almostallthesepoleishad arisenorbeenfoundedintheperiodfrom750to200 BCE,andaslateasthesixthcentury CE someofthemwerestill

city-states,thoughmostwerejustcities.ThustheancientGreekcity-stateculturelastedforsome1,200years,

onlyexceededbythethousandsofyearsofhistoryoftheSumerianandBabyloniancity-states(Mieroop1997,6).

Apoliswasastronglyinstitutionalizedandcentralizedmicrostateconsistingofonecity(polis)anditsimmediate

hinterland(choraorge).Therewereinallapproximately1,500poleis(HansenandNielsen2004).Over600are

attestedinGreeceproper; over400werecoloniesorHellenizedcommunitiesalongthecoastsofthe MediterraneanandtheBlackSea; andinadditiontherewereover300Hellenistic foundationsintheNearEastas farastheIndusRiver(Tscherikower1927; Cohen1995).Buttherewerenever1,500poleisatthesametime.All throughthisperiodtherewerenewpoleisbeingfoundedandoldpoleisdisappearing.Atanygivenpointoftimein theClassicalperiodtherewereatleastathousandpoleis,andthatmakestheancientGreekcity-stateculturethe

biggestinworldhistory(Hansen2006a,31).ThenextbiggestwasthatoftheAztecsincentralAmericainthe

fifteenthcentury CE (Smith2000,591–593).

(p.260) Incontrasttomanyothercity-statecultures,theGreekpoleisdidnotlietogetherinonelargeregionso thatcommunicationbetweenthemcouldtakeplacebyland.InthisrespecttheGreekpoleiswerelikethe PhoenicianandMalayanones: mostArchaic andClassicalGreekpoleiswereonthesea.OnlyintheHellenistic perioddidtheGreeksfoundalongrowofcolonieswellintothePersianEmpireandfarfromthecoastsofthe MediterraneanandtheBlackSea.MostearlyGreekcity-stateswerebytheseaornearthesea“likefrogsrounda

Greek City-States

pond”inPlato’svividphrase(Phaidon109b; cf.Aristotle,Politics1271b34–5).Andhisremarkisborneoutbythe fourthcentury BCE geographerknownasPseudo-Skylax,wholistspoleisintheorderinwhichtheyliealongthe coast.Onlyoccasionallyishislistinterruptedbythestandardcomment,“therearealsosomepoleisinland” (Pseudo-Skylax,Periplous,chapters34–36,etc.; Maps9.1and9.2).

Astheworldlookstodayitisseathatdividesandlandthatbindstogether.butinantiquityitwastheotherway round: communicationwaseasiestbyseaandbylanditwascomplicatedandcostly.TheGreekswereaseafaring people,andnexttothepolisitisthelimen,theharbor,thatisthecommonesttermforsettlementinPseudo-Skylax. WithClassicalSpartaastheonenotoriousexception,theancientGreekcity-statewasanythingbutasocietyof xenophobic stay-at-homes.TheGreekswere,onthecontrary,verymobileandquiteeasygoingaboutletting strangerssettleintheircities.

Population-wisethereisnocity-stateculturethatcanmeasureuptoancientGreece.Whilewedonothaveprecise

figures,acautiousestimateisthatinthefourthcentury BCE thepopulationofallGreekpoleistotaledatleast7.5

millionpeople(Hansen2006b,27–29),andinthetimeoftheRomanEmpiretherewereabout30millionGreek-

speakingpeoplelivinginpoleis(Millar1993,254).

speakingpeoplelivinginpoleis(Millar1993,254). Clicktoviewlarger Map9.1 TheGreekPolisoftheAegeanWorld

Clicktoviewlarger Map9.1 TheGreekPolisoftheAegeanWorld

Inthefourthcentury BCE some800oftheapproximately1,000poleishadaterritoryofatmost200square

kilometerseach.Apoliscovering200squarekilometersseemstohavehadapopulationof,onaverage,about

6,000peopleofwhomnomorethanaround1,000to1,500wereadultmalecitizens.Manypoleiscoveredlessthan

25squarekilometersandhadatotalpopulationofnomorethan1,000inhabitants.Inthese800poleis,allcitizens

wouldknowoneanother,andthepoliswasaface-to-facesocietyoffullcitizens.Butsome100poleispossesseda

territoryofover500squarekilometers.Thesepoleishad,onaverage,apopulationofabout30,000.andagood

numberofthemliveduptotheancientidealthatalargepoliswasamyriandrospolis,namely,apoliswith10,000

adultmalecitizens.Soaltogetherthe800smallpoleisaccommodatednomorethanabout35percentofallthe

ancientGreekswhereasthe100largepoleiscountedforabout40percentofthetotalpopulation(Hansen2006b,

23–24,29–30).LargestofallthepoleiswereAthensandSparta.Athenshadaterritoryof2,500squarekilometers

andapopulationofperhapsover200,000peopleofwhomsome30,000wereadultmalecitizens(Hansen1999,

90–94).IncludingMessenia,Spartacoveredover8,000squarekilometersandhadapopulationthesamesizeas

Athens,butonlyabout8,000ofthesepeoplewerefullcitizensintheearlyfifthcentury,andinthefourthcentury

BCE thenumberofcitizensdroppedtounder1,000(Hodkinson2000,399–400).(p.261) Ofthecoloniessome wereaslargeasorevenlargerthanAthensandSparta,namely,Akragas,Syracuse,Taras,Kyrene,and,inthe

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Hellenistic period,AlexandriaandAntiochia.

Greek City-States Hellenistic period,AlexandriaandAntiochia. Clicktoviewlarger Map9.2 GreekColonization.

Clicktoviewlarger Map9.2 GreekColonization.

Inordertounderstandwhatapoliswaswemustbeginwithaninvestigationofwhatthewordmeans(Hansen1998,

17–34).PolisisthewordtheancientGreeksusedtodescribetheirprincipaltypeofstateandcommunityanditis

the(p.262) (p.263) mostcommonofallnounsinancientGreek(Toner2004).Thereareover11,000 attestationsinArchaic andClassicalsourcesalone.Thewordpolishastwobasic meanings,namely,settlement andcommunity.Asasettlementapolisconsistedofhouses; asacommunityitwasmadeupofhumanbeings.But noteverysettlementandeverycommunitywasapolis.Inthesenseofsettlementapoliswasprimarilyanucleated settlementofsomesize,notjustavillage(kome),andinthesenseofcommunityitwasaself-governing community.Polishastwoprincipalmeanings,“city”and“state.”Thewordisoftenusedinbothsenses simultaneouslysothatanaptrenderingis“city-state.”Ifthefocusisshiftedfromthemeaningofthewordtoits referenceweobserve,onceagain,thatthetwosensesarevirtuallyinseparable: anancientGreekurbancenteris onlycalledapolisifitisalsothepoliticalcenterofapolisstate; and,conversely,apolisinthesenseof“state” almostexclusivelyappliestoasmallpoliticalcommunityconsistingofacity(polis)withitshinterland(chora).Inthe urbansensepolisissometimesusedasthegeneric termforpolis(city)andchora(hinterland).Inthepolitical

sensepoliscanbeappliedtotheentireterritoryincludingtheurbancenter(Hansen2007,13–72).Twoother

politicalkeywordsarederivedfrompolisinthesenseof“state”: polites,“citizen,”andpoliteia,“citizenship.” Politeiaisusedsometimesinaconcretesenseaboutthecitizenryandsometimesinanabstractsenseaboutthe privilegesandobligationsconnectedwithbeingacitizen.Afurtherdevelopmentofthismeaningispoliteiainthe senseof“constitution.”Sincethepoliswasmostlyconceivedasacommunityofcitizens(politai),itisperfectly logicalthattheGreeksusedthewordforcitizenship(politeia)aboutthestructureofthepolisanditspolitical

system(Hansen2006a,56–61,110).

InArchaic sourcespolissometimesmeans“stronghold”or“hilltopsettlement”(equiv.,akropolis),andthat “stronghold”istheoriginalmeaningisapparentfromtheetymologicallinkwithwordsforstrongholdinotherold Indo-Europeanlanguages: purinSanskrit,pilìsinLithuanian,andpelsinLatvian.

Someofthefortifiedhilltopsettlementsofthedarkcenturies(1100–700 BCE),suchasZagoraonAndrosand KoukounarisonParos,mayinfacthavebeenpoleisinthissense.InthecourseoftheArchaic andClassical periodspolisinthesenseof“hilltopsettlement”disappeared,andintheRomanperiodonlylearnedpeoplewould

knowabouttheoriginalmeaning(Hansen2006a,40).

Itisstillmuchdebatedwhetherthepolisinthesenseofcity-stateemergedinHellasbeforethebeginningofthe colonizationperiodcirca750 BCE,orwhetherittookshapeinthecoloniesandthenwascopiedinHellas(Malkin 1987,12; HansenandNielsen2004,19).Thepolisseemstohaveemergedalmostcontemporaneouslyinboth places.Butthecolonistshadtosetupanewself-governingcommunitywithanurbancenterbuiltupfromscratch thatindicatedthatthepolisasbothatypeofcommunityandatypeofurbansettlementmustsoonhavereached itsmatureforminthecolonies,whereasthedevelopmentwasslowerinHellasitself.InHellasthefirstpoleis emergedalongthecoastsoftheAegean,partlyinAsiaMinorwheretheoldestidentifiablepoleisareMiletosand

Smyrna,andpartlyinmainlandGreecewhere,forexample,Eretria,Athens,Argos,andCorinthcanbe(p.264)

tracedbacktotheeighthcentury BCE ThefirstpoleisattestedindatablewrittensourcesareSparta(Tyrtaios,

fragment4.4),Thasos(Archilochos,fragment228),andDrerosinCrete(MeiggsandLewis1989,2.1–2).

Hellasitselfwasdividedintoregionseachpopulatedbyapeople(inGreekcalledanethnos)withitsownidentity (Hall1997; Morgan2003),forinstance,theArkadiansweresettledinArkadia(Nielsen2002),theThessaliansin

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Thessaly,andsoon.Eachregionwassubdividedintopoleis(Morgan2001,93; Hall2007,88–91),apartfromafew regionsinwhichonepolishadsucceededinsubduingtheentireregionandtransformingitintooneoversized polis.AthensandSpartaweresuch“regionalpoleis,”andthatisonereasonfortheirpositionasthetwoGreat

PowersinClassicalGreece(Hansen2009,388).ThepoleisinHellasemergedgradually,startingintheeastand

movingwest.ApartfromsomeearlycoloniesalongthecoastoftheIoniansea,Aitolia(Funke1997,154),

Akarnania(Gehrke1994–95,41–48),andEpeiros(Davies2000,260)wereregionsinwhichpolisformationbegan

lateinthefifthcentury BCE andgatheredmomentumonlyinthefourthcenturyandlater.DuringthelateClassical, Hellenistic,andRomanperiods,poliswasthedominantformofsettlementandcommunityinallregions.Buta citizenofapoliswas,atthesametime,thememberofanethnos.Anethnoswasprimarilyapeople.Itsometimes actedasapoliticalunit,especiallyinregionsorganizedasfederations,buttheethnoswasnotatypeofstateas

thepoliswas(HansenandNielsen2004,4–5).

TheGreekpoleiswereallpartofacity-statecultureinwhichtherewasacleardividebetweenethnic andpolitical identity.GreekslivinginonepolissharedtheirlanguageandculturewithGreekslivinginotherpoleis,andthey recognizedeachotherasbelongingtothesamepeople.TheywereallHellenesandassuchopposedtoallthe surroundingbarbarianpeoples.Attheregionallevel,thecitizensoftheapproximatelyfortypoleisinArkadiawere allArkades.Butpoliticallytheyconsideredthemselvestobecitizensoftheirownpolisasopposedtocitizensof otherpoleis(Hansen2006a,63–64).Thespecific politicalidentityisreflectedinthewaytheynamedthemselves. Whencitizensfromdifferentpoleisweretogethertheyusedanadjectivalformofthenameoftheirpolisasakind ofsurname,whichwasaddedtothecitizen’snameandpatronymic.Thus,thefullnameofthearchitect HippodamoswasHippodamosEuryphantosMilesios,thatis,Hippodamos,thesonofEuryphonofMiletos.The Greeksseemtohavebeentheonlypeopleinhistorytousesurnamesthatwerenotjusthabitationnamesbutat

thesametimeanindicationofpoliticalstatus(HansenandNielsen2004,58–69).

ThePolisasaCity

Asinothercity-stateculturesthedegreeofurbanizationwasfarmoreadvancedthanitwasinotherhistoric

communitiesbeforetheindustrialrevolution(Hansen2000,614).Insmallpoleisthemajorityofthepopulationlived

intheurbancenter,(p.265) whiletheothersweresettledinthehinterlandeithernucleatedinvillagesor dispersedinfarmsteads.Onlyinlargepoleisdidthemajorityofthepopulationliveinthehinterland.Andevenin thelargestpoleisitcanbeconjecturedthatafourthtoathirdofthepopulationlivedbehindthewallsofthepolis

town(Hansen2006a,77–84).Manyofthemwerefarmerswhowentoutdailytotheirfieldsoutsidethecityand

homeagaineacheveningtotheirdwellingsinthecity.Therewasnosharpdividebetweentheurbanandtherural populationandallwerecitizens.InthisrespectthereisamarkeddifferencebetweentheancientGreekpolisand, forinstance,themedievalItaliancity-stateculturewherecitizenshipwasaprerogativeoftheurbanpopulation

(Hansen2000,32).

Asatownthepoliswasfirstofallacenterofhabitationand,accordingtohowpolistownsemerged,wecan distinguishbetweenfourdifferenttypes: (a)asmallsettlement,oftenplacedonafortifiedrockyhilltop(akropolis), wasextendeddownhillandgrewtobecomeapropertownenclosedbyanewwall; (b)aclusterofcloselyset villageswereeventuallymergedintoaconurbationwithadefensecircuitenclosingtheentiresettlement (Snodgrass1987–1989,56–64); (c)byaformalactofmigration,calledasynoikismos,peoplelivinginanumberof nucleatedsettlementsweregatheredtogetherinoneofthesettlementsormovedtoacentralplacewherea propercitywasbuiltfromscratch(Moggi1976; HansenandNielsen2004,115–119); (d)anumberofcolonists wentabroadtofoundacolonyinvariablycenteredonanucleatedsettlementthatrapidlygrewtobecomeapolis

(Tsetskhladze2006,xlii–xlvii).Regardlessoftheiroriginmanypoleishadanakropolissometimesreservedfor

templesandotherpublic buildings,butsometimesusedforhabitationaswell.

Everypoliswasdividedintopubliclyownedquarters,usedforwalls,streets,harbors,marketsandallkindsof monumentalarchitecture,asagainstprivatelyownedhabitationquarters,usedfor(mostly)fairlysimplefamily houses(Jameson1990; Hölscher1998).MansionsandpalaceswerevirtuallyunknownbeforethelateClassical andHellenistic periods,andthatgoesevenforpoleisgovernedbyatyrant(HansenandFischer-Hansen1994,25– 30).Onlycitizenswereentitledtoownahouse; metics(i.e.,guestworkers)andotherforeignershadtorenttheir homesfromcitizens.

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Thehouseswereoriginallybuiltwithoutaplanandtheywereeitherscatteredorplacedalongcrookedstreets,but alreadyintheArchaic periodanastonishingnumberoftownsadoptedacentralizedplanningofstreetsand

habitationquarters.Rectangularblockswereframedbythestreetsandsubdividedintolotsofequalsize,mostly8,

10,or12lotsperblock,andoftenstandardizedterracehouseswereconstructedonthelots.Afamousexampleof

thisformofgrid-planningwasPiraeus,theportofAthens,builtaround450 BCE byHippodamosofMiletos.Fromhim thisformoftownplanningisoftencalled“Hippodamian,”althoughonSicily,forexample,itcanbetracedbackto circa700 BCE (HoepfnerandSchwandner1994; Shipley2005).

Themosturgentneedofthepolisasahabitationcenterwasasufficientsupplyoffreshwater,andasaspecific typeofpublic monumentalarchitecturemanypoleiswereadornedwithoneormorefountainhouseswherethe inhabitants(p.266) couldsupplementthewaterdrawnfromwellsinprivatehouses(Wycherley1967,198–209).

Apartfrombeingacenterofhabitation,thepoliswasacenterof(a)politicalinstitutions,(b)cults,(c)defense,(d)

industryandtrade,and(e)educationandentertainment.

1. Re(a).Asapoliticalcenterthepolisaccommodatedallthecentralpoliticalinstitutionsandthebuildingsin whichtheyresided: firstvirtuallyeverypolisseemstohavehadaprytaneion(ceremonialbuilding)witha diningroominwhichthechiefmagistratesofthepolishostedprominentguests,andwithaneternalflame burningonthealtarofHestia(thegoddessofthehearth)andsymbolizingtheeternallifeofthepolis. Secondlytherewasatownhall(bouleuterion),inwhichthecouncil(boule)helditsmeetings,andthirdlya numberofarcheia,thatis,officesforthevariousboardsofmagistrates.Forsomeunknownreasonspecific lawcourts(dikasteria)areonlyexceptionallymentionedinoursourceswhereasitisnotinfrequently recordedthatvariouspublic buildingserectedforotherpurposescouldbeusedaslawcourts.Similarly,only afewpoleishadaseparatemeetingplace(ekklesiasterion)forthepeople’sassembly(ekklesia),whereas therearequiteafewreferencestoassembliesofthepeoplebeingheldinthetheater.IntheArchaic and Classicalperiodsthepublic politicalbuildingsweresmallandundistinguishedand,apartfromthecitywalls, monumentalpoliticalarchitecturebegantoappearonlyinthefourthcentury.Furthermore,theagorawasno longerseenastheinstitutionalizedpoliticalcenterofthepoliswhereassemblieswereheldbutratherasthe socialandeconomic centerofthetown(Martin1974,253–286; HansenandFischer-Hansen1994).

2. Re(b).Asacenterofpublic cultthepolis,andespeciallyitsakropolis,housedanumberofsanctuaries, somewithmonumentalbuildingssuchastemplesandtheaters.Butmanysanctuarieswereeithersuburban

orextraurban(Coldstream1993).Thesuburbansanctuarieswereplacedintheimmediatevicinityofthe

town; theextraurbanwereoftensituatedrightontheborderofthepolis,almostasademarcationofthe territory(Polignac 1995).Astimewentonnewcitieshadtheirurbansanctuariesinterspersedbetweenthe habitationblocksandnolongererectedontheakropolis.SanctuariesofAthene,Apollon,andAphroditeare typicallyfoundinsidethewallswhereassanctuariesofZeus,Demeter,Hera,andPoseidonareoftensituated

inthehinterland(Schachter1992).

3. Re(c).Asacenterofdefensethepoliswasatownwhosewallscouldprotectitsinhabitants,andinsidethe wallswasenoughopenspacetoaccommodatetheruralpopulationforaslongastheenemyoccupiedand

pillagedthecountryside(Hansen2006b,38–45).Townswithanakropolisoftenhadadoubledefense

system: onewallprotectingtheakropolis,andonethelowercity.Inthefourthcenturyalmosteverypolis hadatown(p.267) wall(teichos),oratleastawalledakropolis; andadefensecircuithadbecomean essentialaspectofthetownjustasitwasintheMiddleAges(Camp2000; Hansen2006b,16–17).Butthere isanimportantdifferenceinthefunction: inthemedievaltownthesharpdivisionbetweencityandcountry beganatthegates.Theywereguardedallthetimeandclosedduringthenight.Furthermore,customswere oftenexactedonallgoodsthatpassedthegates.IntheancientGreekcitywallswereerectedfordefense purposesonly; thegateswereguardedintimeofwar,butinpeacetimepeoplecouldgetinandouteven duringthenight.Thus,incontradistinctiontowhathappenedintheMiddleAges,thewallsaroundanancient

Greekpolisdidnotbecomeabarrierbetweenthetownanditscountryside(HansenandNielsen2004,137).

Ontheotherhandtheybecamegraduallyanessentialfeatureofthepolis,andifthefocusisthepolisofthe Classicalperioditisnotmisleadingtotakethewallstobeoneoftheelementsoftheidealtype(Ducrey

1995,253–254).

4. Re(d).Asaneconomic associationthecentersofthepoliswerethemarketplace(agora)(Kenzler1999) andtheharbor(limen).Everypolishadanagora,whichinArchaic andearlyClassicaltownswasjustan opensquaremarkedoffwithboundarystones(horoi).Apolismighthaveanemporion,thatis,amarket

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reservedforforeigntrade(Hansen2006c).FromtheClassicalperiodonwardtheagorawasoftenadorned

withastoa(aroofedcolonnade).Especiallyinpoleiswithagridplan,theagorawasflankedwithtwooreven threestoai,someofwhichwereusedforshopsandothersasofficesofmagistrates.

5. Theeconomyofapolistownwascharacterizedbyaconsiderabledegreeofdivisionoflabor,andthe inhabitantshadtosatisfyanessentialpartoftheirdailyneedsbybuyinggoodsthattheyhadeither producedthemselvesorboughtfromothersforthepurposeofsaleinthemarket.Manycitydwellerswere farmerswhohadtheirplotsoflandwithinwalkingdistancefromtheirhomesinthecitybuttheywerenotjust subsistencefarmers; probably,theyproducedsomeoftheircropsforthemarket.Withafewexceptions, notablySparta,thepoliswasnotaSombartianconsumptioncityinwhichasmallgroupofabsentee landownersderivedtheirmaintenancefromtaxesandrentsexactedfromamuchlargerruralpopulation (Hansen2004; contra: Finley1981).

6. Re(e).Asacenterofeducationandentertainmentthepoliswastheplacewheretheprivatelyowned

schoolsforchildrenwerefound(Harris1989,96–102).Themoreadvancededucationofadultswasoften

connectedwiththepublic gymnasia,which,however,wereprimarilycentersforsportsandmilitarytraining. IntheArchaic andearlyClassicalperiodsgymnasiawereusuallyplacedoutsidethepolis,butinthecourse ofthelateClassicalandHellenistic periodsthegymnasionwasmovedinsidethewallsandbecameperhaps themostimportantpublic buildinghousingwhatwasnowthemostimportantinstitutioninthepolis,the

ephebeia,thatis,theeducationandmilitarytrainingofyoungcitizens(Gauthier1995).

(p.268) Ofentertainments,oftenconnectedwiththemajorreligiousfestivals,thetwomostspectaculartypes werecompetitionsinsports,conductedinapalaistra(awrestling-hall),astadion,orahippodromos,often connectedwithagymnasion(Delorme1960); anddramacompetitions,performedinatheaterthatwasusually placedinasanctuaryconsecratedtoDionysos(Isler1994).IntheArchaic andearlyClassicalperiodsboththe gymnasion(withpalaistra,stadion,andhippodromos)andthetheaterweresimpleconstructionsthatinmost poleishaveleftnotraceswhatsoever,butallthreetypesofbuildingbecamemonumentalizedinthecourseofthe latefifthandfourthcenturies BCE.

ThePolisasaState

Likethemodernstateapoliscanbedescribedasacentralizedsystemofpoliticalinstitutionsinpossessionofthe necessarymeansofcoercionbywhichthelegalordercanbeenforcedwithinaterritoryoverapeople.Also,a three-digitnumberofsourcesshowsthattheGreeksoftensawthepolisasanabstractpublic poweraboveboth rulerandruled,thatis,asanagentthatpassedlaws,inflictedapunishment,foundedacolony,wenttowar,took upaloan,andsoon.Indemocratic poleisandinsomeoligarchic poleisaswell,thelawsofthepoliswerepassed byallcitizensinassemblybutwereenforcedbyboardsofmagistrateseitherelectedorselectedbylotforashort period.Ineverypolissomewererulersandsomewereruled,butthecitizenstookturns.Rotationinofficewasa principleappliedinallthepoleisweknowabout.Intheadministrationofjusticeprosecutionwasusuallyleftto privatecitizens—asitwasinallEuropeanstatesuntilthenineteenthcentury.Andself-helpwasallowedagainst adulterers,robbers,andsometypesofburglar,aswasthecaseinallEuropeanstatesoftheearlymodernperiod (Hansen2002; contra: Berent1996; 2000).Butthereareofcoursedifferencesbetweenthepolisandthemodern state.Oneisthatthemodernstateisprimarilyidentifiedwiththegovernmentortheterritory,whereasthepolis,first ofall,wasidentifiedwiththepeople,thatis,thecitizens.Apoliswasthecommunityofadultmalecitizens(politai), andthenameofthestatewasnotthenameofthecountrybutthepeople.Weusethetoponym“Athens”about theAtheniancity-state; itsancientnamewashoiAthenaioi(theAthenians)orAthenaionhodemos(theAthenian people).LouisXIVofFranceissupposedtohavesaid,“l’état,c’estmoi”; theAthenianscould,withevengreater

justice,havesaid,“Thepolisisus”(Hansen1998,117–123).

Animportantdifferencebetweenthepolisasatownandasastateconcernedmembershipofthegroup.The populationofapoliswasdividedintothree“orders”: citizens(politai),freeforeigners(oftencalledmetoikoi),and slaves(douloi).Thepolistownwithitshinterlandwasaneconomic andsocialcommunityofallhouseholds(oikoi), thoseofthemeticsaswellasthoseofthecitizens.Thecommunitycomprisedallmembersofthehousehold,free aswellasslavesofboth(p.269) sexesandallages.Asastatethepoliswasthecommunityofcitizenswith respecttotheirpoliticalinstitutions,andactivemembershipwasrestrictedtoadultmalecitizensnomatterwhether theylivedinthetownorinitshinterland.Butthecitizens’wivesandchildrenaswellasfreeforeignersandslaves wereexcluded.Femalecitizenspossessedcitizenstatusandtransmittedcitizenstatustotheirchildren,butthey

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didnotthemselvespossesscitizenshipinthefunctionalsense(Hansen1999,86–88).

Inpracticecitizenshipwasdefinedasbeingbornfromcitizenswhereas,functionally,thecitizenswerethosewho participatedintherunningofthepoliticalinstitutionsofone’spolis.Thepoliticalorganizationvariedfrompolisto polisaccordingtowhethertheconstitutionwasmonarchical,oligarchical,ordemocratic.Inademocracythetwo definitionsofcitizenshipcoincided; inanoligarchycitizenshipwasrestrictedtothosenatural-borncitizenswho alsofulfilledacensusqualification; andinamonarchy,inthestrictsenseoftheterm,themonarchwastheonly personwhowasacitizeninthefunctionalsense.Sinceapoliswasprincipallyacommunityofcitizens,thepolis parexcellencewasthedemocraticallygovernedpolis,andfromthefourthcentury BCE andonwardthereisan undeniabletrendtoassociatetheconceptofpoliswiththeconceptofdemocracy.

However,mostoligarchic poleishadapopularassemblywithrestrictedpowers.Itwasusuallyopentoallcitizens sothatitwastheholdingof(major)officesonlythatwasrestrictedtothosewhopassedthecensusqualification. Similarly,tyrantsoftenconvenedallcitizenstoameetingoftheassembly,andinmanycasestheirpowerlastedno longerthantheycouldrelyontheacclamationofthepeople.Conversely,evendemocraciescouldimpose restrictionsonaccesstooffices.Thus,irrespectiveofitstypeofpoliteia,thetypicalpolishadatleastsomepolitical institutionsinwhichallcitizenswereentitledtoparticipatewhereasnoncitizenswereexcluded.Withvariations, mostpoleishadroughlysimilarpoliticalinstitutions,namely,apopularassembly(ekklesia),acouncil(boule),a senate(gerousia),boardsofmagistrates(archai),andspecific lawcourts(dikasteria),tobefoundespeciallyin

poleisinwhichtheadministrationofjusticewasnotlefttothearchai(Hansen2006a,111–113).Theseinstitutions

areattestedinlawsanddecreespassedbypoleisfromallpartsoftheGreekworld(Rhodes1997).Oneexampleis

themoderateoligarchic constitutionofKyrene.Itwasinscribedin,probably,322 BCE andhappenstobetheoldest survivingwrittenconstitutionintheworld.Thesectionsaboutthepoliticalinstitutionsprescribethatthecitizensare allthosebornfromcitizensinKyreneandinthedependentpoleisfoundedbyKyrene.Fullcitizenrights,however, arerestrictedtoabodypolitic (politeuma)of10,000politaiwhofulfillacensusrequirementof2,000drachms.The basic politicalinstitutionsare: apopularassemblytowhichall10,000politaihaveaccess; acouncil(boule) mannedwith500citizensselectedbylotfortwoyears; asenate(gerousia)mannedwith101citizenselectedfor lifebytheekklesia; variousboardsofofficialsofwhichthemostimportantisaboardoffivegenerals(strategoi) electedbytheassemblytoassisttherulerofEgypt,Ptolemaios,whoisstrategosforlife; andcouncilors,senators, andofficialswhoaretobeoverfiftyyearsofage.Administrationofjusticeincapitalcases(p.270) restswiththe

boule,thegerousia,and1,500citizensselectedbylotfromamongthe10,000(Supplementumepigraphicum

graecumvol.9,no.1).

IntheArchaic periodtheconstitutionofapoliswaseithermonarchical(kingshiportyranny)oroligarchical (aristocracyoroligarchy).Inthecourseofthesixthcentury BCE democracygrewupasanalternativeformof

government(Robinson1997),inthecourseofthefifthandfourthcenturiesitbecamethedominantformof

constitution(HansenandNielsen2004,80–86),andintheHellenistic perioddowntothemid-secondcentury BCE almostallpoleisweredemocraciesthathadtheirautonomia(nolongerindependence,butjustself-government)

confirmedbyroyaldecree(Carlsson2005).InthecourseoftheRomanperioddemocracywas,onceagain,

replacedbyoligarchy: thecouncil(boule)eclipsedtheassembly(ekklesia)astheimportantdecision-makingbody ofgovernment,andthepoleiswerenowgovernedbyanupperclassthatmonopolizedallimportantmagistracies

(Jones1940,113–115,120–121).

Onereasonforthedevelopmentfrommonarchyandoligarchytowarddemocracyseemstobethatintheancient Greekpolisworlddemocracywasastrongandefficientformofgovernment.Todayitisacommonbeliefthatit mustbeimpossibletoconductaconsistentlineofpolicyinastateinwhichallmajordecisionsaretakendirectly bythepeopleinassembly.Suchdecisionswillbemadeonthespurofthemoment,andthestatewillfollowa zigzagcourseindomestic aswellasinforeignpolicy.Ifallstatesweredirectdemocracies,directpopularrule mightbefeasible,butadirectdemocracywillalwaysbeunabletoassertitselfagainstitsmuchmoreefficiently governedneighborsinwhichpowerrestswithasingleruleroragovernment.InClassicalHellas,abouthalfthe poleisweremonarchiesoroligarchies,andhalfweredemocracies,mostofthemdirectdemocraciesofthe

Atheniantype(HansenandNielsen2004,80–86).Ifitweretruethatadirectdemocracyisanunwiseand

inefficientformofgovernmentcomparedwitholigarchiesruledbyanelectedelite,ormonarchiesruledbyastrong

leader,thenitfollowsthatthemanyhundredancientGreekdemocracieswouldsoonhavesuccumbedtothe

oligarchiesandmonarchies,anddemocracieswouldhavebeencrushedandeliminatedfromthepoliticalmapin

thecourseofthemanycenturiesthepoleisexisted.Butthatdidnothappen.Onthecontrary,ifwejudgethe

Greek City-States

Atheniandemocracybytheconsistencyandefficacyofitspolicy,wehavetonotethatdemocratic Athenswas muchmoreefficientandmuchstrongerthanitsoligarchic neighbors,thoughtheseneighborswereaspopulousas Athens.LikeAthens,Thebeswasstrongest,infactthestrongestpolisinHellasinthefourthcentury,whenitwas democraticallygoverned.Again,bothinthefifthandinthefourthcenturies,thereislittleevidencethatthe

Atheniansfollowedazigzagcourseintheirforeignpolicy(Harding1995).Onemajorreasonfortheopposite

developmentinthelaterHellenistic periodistheRomanconquestoftheeasternMediterraneanworld.

Whenwemovefromtheinstitutionstothetaskstheyperformed,thedifferencesinthepoleisbecomeapparentand wecandistinguishamongseveraltypes.Inapolisthatwasadependencyofanotherpolisoramemberofa federation,(p.271) foreignpolicyanddefensewasusuallylefttothehegemonic polisorafederalgovernment, andtheself-governmentofthepoliswasrestrictedtodomestic policy(HansenandNielsen2004,87–94). Furthermore,thedegreetowhicheconomic andsociallifewasregulatedbythecommunityvariedconsiderably frompolistopolis.Indemocraticallygovernedpoleisadifferencebetweenapublic andaprivatespherewas emphasized,andtheidealwasthat,intheprivatesphere,everycitizenshouldbeallowedtoliveashepleased.In suchpoleiseconomic,social,andeducationalissueswereperipheraltowhatwasregulatedbythepolis.Inother city-statesthepolisinstitutionsinterferedwithallaspectsofhumanlife,andtherewasnoprivatesphereinthe propersense.AthensandSpartawereseenasthetwomodelpoleisrepresentingeachtype,andsinceantiquityit

hasbeendebatedwhetherthemajorityoftheotherapproximately1,498poleiswereorganizedlikeAthensor

Sparta(Hansen1998,84–106).

Apartfromlegislationconcerningcitizenshipandthepoliticalinstitutionsthemselves,therewerethreemajorfields ofactivity,whichinallpoleiswereregulatedbythecommunity: (a)defense,(b)cult,and(c)finance.

a.Defense.Everypolishaditsownarmy,andarmiesmobilizedbyleaguesorfederationswerecomposedof contingentsfromtheindividualpoleis.Thecoreofacity’sarmedforceswastheheavy-armedinfantry,thehoplites (Schwartz 2009).Theconnectionbetweenthehopliteandthecitizenwassoclosethatinsomepoleiscitizenship wasrestrictedtothosewhoservedashoplitesinthearmy.Insomeofthesepoleiscitizenshipwasevenrestricted tocitizensofmilitaryagesothatacitizenlosthispoliticalrightswhen,probablyattheageofsixty,hehadtoleave

thearmy.Inotherpoleis,however,theveteranswereallowedtoretaintheirpoliticalrights(Hansen2006a,116).

Spartaseemstohavebeenapolisofthistype(Murray1993,159–180).Ithasoftenbeensuggestedthatthe

emergenceofthehoplitephalanx—nowdatedtocirca750 BCE—wascloselyconnectedwiththeemergenceofthe polis,andthatthedevelopmentofmassfightingincloseformationwenthandinhandwiththedevelopmentofa

politicalcommunityruledbyadecision-makingcitizenbodyofhoplitefarmers(Raaflaub1997,53–57).Inthe

Classicaldemocratic polisnotonlyhoplitesbutalsolight-armedsoldiersandrowersinthefleetbecamecitizensin thepoliticalsenseoftheterm.Alsomiddle-classmeticshadtoserveashoplitesinthephalanxsidebysidewith

thecitizensoldiers.Thus,theidentificationofhopliteswithcitizensgraduallylapsed(Hansen2006a,117).Anda

furtherdissociationofthemilitaryandthepoliticalaspectofthepolistookplaceinthecourseoftheClassicaland Hellenistic periodswhencitizenarmieswereincreasinglysupplementedwithorevenreplacedbymercenaries

(McKechnie1989,79–100).

b.Cult.Itissometimesstatedthatreligionwasthedominantaspectofcommunitylife(Sourvinou-Inwood1990,295,

322).And“polisreligion”isoftenusedasatechnicaltermforancientGreekreligioningeneral(Sourvinou-Inwood

1990).Religionwasindeedextremelyimportant,butitconstitutedoneaspectofpolislifeonlyandnotnecessarily

thefocalone,whichwasthepolisasacommunity(p.272) ofpolitai.Bothasapoliticalandasamilitary

organizationthepoliswasamalesocietyfromwhichwomenwereexcluded(Vidal-Naquet1983,26).Religionwas

different.Herewomentookpartintheritesandcultsofboththeirhouseholdandthepolisitself.Thereweresome cultsfromwhichwomenwereexcluded; butsimilarly,therewerecultsfromwhichmenwereexcluded,suchasthe

Thesmophoria(Parker2005,270–289).Mostgoddesseswereservedbypriestessesratherthanbypriests

(Holderman1985).Inreligionwomenwereinsiders; theyjoinedintheperformanceofmanyrituals,andeven

possessedanofficialstatus(Parker2005,218–219).

Polisreligionwasreligion(a)usedbythepolisitself,(b)organizedbythepolis,or(c)directlycreatedbyand

relatedtothepolisanditsinstitutions(Burkert1995,202).Infact,“polisreligion”hasconvenientlybeensubsumed

underthosethreeheadings: (rea)Everycommunalactivitywasaccompaniedbyreligiousacts; thusameetingof thepeople’sassemblyinAthenswasopenedwithasacrifice,aprayer,andacurse.(reb)Bothgodsandheroes wereworshippedpubliclybythewholecommunityinconnectionwiththelargefestivals,whichwereorganizedby

Greek City-States

thepolisandusuallyattendedbyallthepolis’sinhabitants(notjustthecitizens).(rec)Asthepolisdeveloped, newpoliticalcultsweresetup: mostpoleishadaspecific patrongodorgoddess(Cole1995); manyofthepolis’s symbolswereconnectedwithitstutelarydeity; andtheannualfestivalforthepatrondeitywasoneofthe grandest.Inthecouncilhousetherewas,typically,acultforZeusorAthenawiththeepithetBoulaios(-aia). Similarly,abstractpoliticalconceptsweresometimesdeified: inAthensthedemocratic constitutionwas

representedasagoddess,Demokratia,towhomthestrategoimadeannualsacrifices(Alexandri-Tzahou1986).

Homonoia,Concord,wasanotherpersonifieddeityworshipedinmanypoleis,especiallyintheHellenistic and

Romanperiods(Thériault1996).Deificationofthepolisitself,however,isveryrareandattestedintheHellenistic

periodonly.

c.Finance.Conceivedasacommunityofcitizensthepoliswasonlytoasmallextentaneconomic organization.

Therighttoownlandedpropertywasconfinedtocitizens(Hennig1999,592–596).Andyet,withtheexceptionof

Spartaandperhapssomeotherpoleis,foreignersandslavestookpartintradeandcraftssidebysidewithcitizens andoftenonthesamefooting.Toalargeextentthepolisinvolveditselfintheeconomic lifeofthepeopleonlyto collecttaxesfromthemandtoensurethatacitizencouldgethisdailybreadatamanageableprice.Inthisrespect therewasafundamentaldifferencebetweenancientGreeceand,forexample,theItaliancity-statesoftheMiddle Ages.Inthelattertherighttoworkatacraftortradewasapoliticalrightreservedtothecitizensjustasmuchas therighttoparticipateinpolitics,andthepoliticalinstitutionswerebuiltdirectlyupontheeconomic organizationof

theguildsandassociations(Hansen2000,169–170).

Fromamodernpointofviewthepoliticalinstitutionsareoftenseenasaframeworkthroughwhichthestate regulatescommunitylife.TheGreekstookadifferentviewoftheirpolis.Theytookparticipationinpoliticallifetobe avalueinitself,andthepoliticalinstitutionswerenotseenasaframeofthepolisbutasthecoreofthepolis (Murray1990,19–22; Hansen2006a,115).

(p.273) CivilWar(Stasis)

Ideallythecity-statewasacommunityofcitizenswhoregardedthepolisastheirfatherlandandwerewillingto

sacrificelifeandpossessionsforit(Nielsen2004).Butveryfewpoleisweresocietiesinharmonywholivedupto

theideal.Mostpoleisweresplitintotworivalpoleis,oneoftherich,whosupportedoligarchy,andoneofthepoor, whopreferreddemocracy.Therivalpartiescouldalsobedifferentethnic groupslivingsidebysideinthesame polis,asituationtypicalofpoleisfoundedbycolonistsfromseveraldifferentcity-states.Orthecommunitycouldbe polarizedabouttworivalgroupsofrichcontendingforpower.Theresultwasalmostconstantpoliticaltensionthat oftenledtocivilwar,inwhicheverygroupwasreadytoworkhandinhandwithalike-mindedgroupina neighboringcityorinoneofthepowerfulcitiesthatledtheshiftingalliancesofpoleis.Themembersofbothgroups werethereforepreparedtosacrificetheindependenceandautonomyoftheircityif,inreturn,theycouldkeepor winpowerinthepolis.Suchagroupwascalledastasis,andthewordwasalsousedasthetermforthecivilwar

itselfthatoftenresultedfromthesplittingofrivalgroups(Gehrke1985).

TheRelationbetweenPoleis

Politically,thepoliswasaself-governingbutnotnecessarilyanindependentstate.TheGreeksdistinguished betweenpoleiswithandwithoutautonomia,whichintheClassicalperioddenotedindependencebutinthe Hellenistic periodjustself-government.EverywhereintheMediterraneanworldGreekpoleisformedcomplicated hierarchicalnetworksofhegemonic poleis,independentpoleis,anddependentpoleis.TheSpartanpolisdominated somescoreofperioikic poleisscatteredoverLakedaimonandMessenia.ThebeswastheleaderoftheBoiotian federationwhoseothermemberswerehalfascoreofdependentpoleis.Inthesecondhalfofthefifthcentury BCE

almostalltheapproximately330membersoftheDelianLeagueweredependentcity-states(hypekooipoleis)that

hadbeendeprivedoftheirautonomiabyAthens.SyracusecametoruleallpoleisineasternSicily,andsoon (Hansen1995; HansenandNielsen2004,87–94).

Warbetweenpoleiswasendemic,andformostpoleiswarwasthenormandpeacetheexception.Longerperiods ofpeacewereonlyexperiencedundertheRomanprincipate.Duringthefirstthreecenturies CE theHellenic poleis, exceptsomenearthefrontiers,enjoyedthePaxRomanaandaccordinglycouldaffordtoneglecttheirwallsand defenses.Manywarswerefoughtbetweenneighboringpoleis,suchasthearch-enemiesSpartaandArgos,and

Greek City-States

othersbetweenalliancesofpoleis,suchasthePeloponnesianWar(431–404 BCE)betweentheDelianLeagueled byAthensandthePeloponnesianLeagueledbySparta.Theconstantwars(p.274) oftenresultedinthe annihilationofpoleis,sometimesphysicallybyrazingthecitytotheground,killingallmenandenslavingthe womenandchildren.TheGreekscalleditandrapodismos(enslaving).OneexampleisthedestructionofMelosby theAtheniansin416 BCE (HansenandNielsen2004,120–123).Inothercasesaconqueredpoliswasdeprivedof itsself-governmentandreducedtobeingacivic subdivisionoftheconqueringpolis; thusMykenai,Tiryns,Orneai, Midea,andHysiaiwereallconqueredbyArgosintheperiod468–416 BCE andtransformedfrompoleisintokomai

(villages)(Piérart2004,599).Butoftentheconqueredcity-stateswereallowedtoretaintheirstatusofpoleisand

becamedependencies(poleishypekooi)insteadofmeremunicipalities.Examplesofdependentpoleisofthistype aretheperioikic poleisinLakedaimondominatedbySparta(Shipley1997),andallthepoleisinAsiaMinor,which wereunderLydianandPersianruleinthelateArchaic period,thenunderPersianruleonceagainintheperiod 386–334 BCE andlaterruledbyHellenistic monarchsuntil,eventually,theybecamepoleisintheRomanprovinceof

Asia(Rubinstein2004,1057–1058).Othertypesofdependentpoleisweretheresultofalliancesandfederations.

Majoralliancesoftendevelopedinto“empires”dominatedbythehegemonic polis(seeMorris,chapter10).The DelianLeague,forexample,wasformedin479/478 BCE asanallianceofautonomouspoleisledbyAthens,butwas transformedintoanorganizationofdependentpoleisunderAthenianrule.ThePeloponnesianLeagueunderwenta similardevelopment,especiallyintheperiod404–371 BCE,andevenThebesbecameaSpartandependencyinthe years382–379 BCE

Fromcirca500 BCE onwardaconstantlyincreasingnumberofpoleisunitedtoformfederations(seeMackil,chapter

11).Allpoleisinaregion,suchasPhokisorAchaia,setupakoinon,acommunitywithakindoffederal

governmentresponsiblefordefenseandforeignpolicy,whereasallothermattersrestedwiththeindividualpoleis. Themembersofthefederationwerestillpoleis,butnolongerindependentpoleis.Somefederationswere dominatedbyahegemonic polis,whichalmostinvariablytriedtointerferewithdomestic policyinallthemember poleis.Thus,thesmallBoiotianpoleisweredominatedbyThebes,andtheChalkidianpoleisbyOlynthos.The oldestknownfederationsaretheLokrianandPhokian,bothattestedcirca500 BCE Inthefourthcentury BCE atleast athirdofallpoleisinHellashadbecomememberstatesofoneoftheregionalfederations(Larsen1968; Beck

1997).Thesubjugationofpoleisduetoconquest,theformationofalliancesandfederations,aswellasthecreation

ofthelargeHellenistic monarchieshadtheresultthat,intheHellenistic andRomanperiods,almostallpoleiswere dependentpoleis.

Diplomatic relationsbetweenpoleiswerenotmaintainedbypermanentambassadorsbutbyenvoys(presbeis)

sentout,wheneverneeded,tonegotiate,forexample,atruceoranalliance(AdcockandMosley1975).Inaddition

tothesending-outofenvoys,awholenetworkofpersonalrelationsbetweenprominentpersonsinthevarious

poleiswasdevelopedthroughinstitutionalizedguest-friendship(xenia)(Herman1987),laterconnectedwiththe

politicalstructurethroughtheinstitutioncalledproxenia: thecityofEretria,forexample,wouldpassadecree whereby(p.275) acitizenofTarasbecametheproxenos(hostandprotector)ofanyEretriancitizenwho happenedtovisitTaras(MeiggsandLewis1989: 82; Marek1984).

Inconclusion,frombeginningtoendthepoleisdidnotformanetworkofindependentpeerpolities,butrathera complicatedhierarchyofself-governingcommunitieswithothertypesofpermanentpoliticalcommunitiesboth aboveandbelowpolislevel.Abovethepoliswere,firstofall,thefederationseachnormallyembracingallthe poleiswithinaregion.Belowthepoliswasanetworkofcivic subdivisions: phylai(tribes),demoiandkomai (municipalities),andphratriaiandgene(brotherhoodsandclans,originallykinshipgroupsbutlaterjustartificial subdivisionsofthebodypolitic; Jones1987).

AncientGreekcivilizationremainedacity-statecultureandtheGreeksnevertriedtouniteallpoleisintoonelarge

territorialstate,liketheGreececreatedin1830–1832.Allattemptstoformlargerpoliticalunitstooktheformof

alliancesandfederations,undoubtedlybecausebothtypesofassociationwerecompatiblewiththepreservationof thepolisasthebasic politicalunit.Insomeregionssmallpoleiswereswallowedupbythelargerones; butwhen thathappenedtheresultwasstillalargecity-stateandnotalargeterritorialunitarystate.Toformsucha communitywasasforeigntoGreekmentalityandcultureas,forinstance,theabolitionofslavery.

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MogensHermanHansen

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