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''Polis'' (, ; grc-gre, πόλις, ), plural ''poleis'' (, , ), literally means "
city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be def ...
" in Greek. In
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, classical antiquity ( AD 600), th ...
, it originally referred to an administrative and religious city center, as distinct from the rest of the city. Later, it also came to mean the body of citizens under a city's jurisdiction. In modern historiography, the term is normally used to refer to the ancient Greek city-states, such as Classical Athens and its contemporaries, and thus is often translated as "
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign city which serves as the center of political, economic, and cultural life over its contiguous territory. They have existed in many parts of the world since the dawn of history, including cities such as ...
". The ''poleis'' were not like other primordial ancient city-states like Tyre or Sidon, which were ruled by a king or a small
oligarchy Oligarchy (; ) is a conceptual form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people. These people may or may not be distinguished by one or several characteristics, such as nobility, fame, wealth, education, or corporate, r ...
; rather, they were political entities ruled by their bodies of citizens. The Ancient Greek ''poleis'' developed during the Archaic period as the ancestor of the Ancient Greek city, state and citizenship and persisted (though with decreasing influence) well into Roman times, when the equivalent
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through the power of the ...
word was '' civitas'', also meaning "citizenhood", while ''
municipium In ancient Rome, the Latin term (pl. ) referred to a town or city. Etymologically, the was a social contract among ("duty holders"), or citizens of the town. The duties () were a communal obligation assumed by the in exchange for the priv ...
'' in Latin meant a non-sovereign town or city. The term changed with the development of the governance centre in the city to mean "state" (which included the city's surrounding villages). Finally, with the emergence of a notion of citizenship among landowners, it came to describe the entire body of citizens under the city's jurisdiction. The body of citizens came to be the most important meaning of the term ''polis'' in ancient Greece. The Ancient Greek term that specifically meant the totality of ''urban'' buildings and spaces is ''
asty Asty ( gr, ἄστυ; ) is an ancient Greek word denoting the physical space of a city or town, especially as opposed to the political concept of a '' polis'', which encompassed the entire territory and citizen body of a city-state. In Classic ...
'' (). The Ancient Greek ''poleis'' consisted of an ''asty'' built on an acropolis or harbour and controlling surrounding territories of land ( '' khôra''). The traditional view of archaeologists that the appearance of
urbanisation Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from rural to urban areas, the corresponding decrease in the proportion of people living in rural areas, and the ways in which societies adapt to this change. It is predominantly the ...
at excavation sites could be read as a sufficient index for the development of a ''poli'' was criticised by French historian François Polignac in 1984 and has not been taken for granted in recent decades: the ''polis'' of
Sparta Sparta ( Doric Greek: Σπάρτα, ''Spártā''; Attic Greek: Σπάρτη, ''Spártē'') was a prominent city-state in Laconia, in ancient Greece. In antiquity, the city-state was known as Lacedaemon (, ), while the name Sparta referre ...
, for example, was established in a network of villages. The Ancient Greeks did not always refer to
Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is both the capital and largest city of Greece. With a population close to four million, it is also the seventh largest city in the European Union. Athens dominates ...
, Sparta, Thebes, and other ''poleis'' as such; they often spoke instead of the Athenians,
Lacedaemonians Sparta (Doric Greek: Σπάρτα, ''Spártā''; Attic Greek: Σπάρτη, ''Spártē'') was a prominent city-state in Laconia, in ancient Greece. In antiquity, the city-state was known as Lacedaemon (, ), while the name Sparta referred ...
, Thebans and so on.


''Polis'' in Ancient Greek philosophy

Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was a Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. He founded the Platonist school of thought and the Academy, the first institution ...
analyzes the ''polis'' in the ''Republic'', whose Greek title, Πολιτεία ( Politeia), itself derives from the word ''polis''. The best form of government of the ''polis'' for Plato is the one that leads to the common good. The philosopher king is the best ruler because, as a philosopher, he is acquainted with the
Form of the Good "Form of the Good", or more literally "the idea of the good" () is a concept in the philosophy of Plato. The definition of the Good is a perfect, eternal, and changeless Form, existing outside space and time. It is a Platonic ideal. Uses in '' ...
. In Plato's analogy of the
ship of state The Ship of State is an ancient and oft-cited metaphor, famously expounded by Plato in the '' Republic'' (Book 6, 488a–489d), which likens the governance of a city-state to the command of a vessel. Plato expands the established metaphor and u ...
, the philosopher king steers the ''polis'', as if it were a ship, in the best direction. Books II–IV of ''The Republic'' are concerned with Plato addressing the makeup of an ideal ''polis''. In ''The Republic'', Socrates is concerned with the two underlying principles of any society: mutual needs and differences in aptitude. Starting from these two principles, Socrates deals with the economic structure of an ideal ''polis''. According to Plato, there are five main economic classes of any ''polis'': producers, merchants, sailors/shipowners, retail traders, and wage earners. Along with the two principles and five economic classes, there are four virtues. The four virtues of a "just city" include wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice. With all of these principles, classes, and virtues, it was believed that a "just city" (''polis'') would exist.


Archaic and classical ''poleis''

The basic and indicating elements of a ''polis ''are: * Self-governance, autonomy, and independence (city-state) * Agora: the social hub and financial marketplace, on and around a centrally located, large open space * Acropolis: the citadel, inside which a temple had replaced the erstwhile Mycenaean ''anáktoron'' ( palace) or ''mégaron'' (hall) * Greek urban planning and architecture, public, religious, and private (see
Hippodamian plan Hippodamus of Miletus (; Greek: Ἱππόδαμος ὁ Μιλήσιος, ''Hippodamos ho Milesios''; 498 – 408 BC) was an ancient Greek architect, urban planner, physician, mathematician, meteorologist and philosopher, who is considered to b ...
) * Temples,
altar An altar is a table or platform for the presentation of religious offerings, for sacrifices, or for other ritualistic purposes. Altars are found at shrines, temples, churches, and other places of worship. They are used particularly in paga ...
s, and sacred precincts: one or more are dedicated to the ''poliouchos'', the patron deity of the city; each ''polis'' kept its own particular
festival A festival is an event ordinarily celebrated by a community and centering on some characteristic aspect or aspects of that community and its religion or cultures. It is often marked as a local or national holiday, mela, or eid. A festival ...
s and customs ('' Political religion'', as opposed to the individualized religion of later antiquity). Priests and priestesses, although often drawn from certain families by tradition, did not form a separate collegiality or class; they were ordinary citizens who on certain occasions were called to perform certain functions. * Gymnasia *
Theatres Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The perform ...
* Walls: used for protection from invaders *
Coins A coin is a small, flat (usually depending on the country or value), round piece of metal or plastic used primarily as a medium of exchange or legal tender. They are standardized in weight, and produced in large quantities at a mint in order t ...
: minted by the city, and bearing its symbols * Colonies being founded by the oikistes of the
metropolis A metropolis () is a large city or conurbation which is a significant economic, political, and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for regional or international connections, commerce, and communications. A big ci ...
* Political life: it revolved around the sovereign Ekklesia (the assembly of all adult male citizens for deliberation and voting), the standing boule and other civic or judicial councils, the archons and other officials or magistrates elected either by vote or by lot, clubs, etc., and sometimes punctuated by stasis (civil strife between parties, factions or socioeconomic classes, e.g., aristocrats, oligarchs, democrats, tyrants, the wealthy, the poor, large, or small landowners, etc.). They practised direct democracy. * Publication of state functions: laws, decrees, and major fiscal accounts were published, and criminal and civil trials were also held in public. *
Synoecism Synoecism or synecism ( ; grc, συνοικισμóς, ''sunoikismos'', ), also spelled synoikism ( ), was originally the amalgamation of villages in Ancient Greece into ''poleis'', or city-states. Etymologically the word means "dwelling toge ...
, conurbation: Absorption of nearby villages and countryside, and the incorporation of their tribes into the substructure of the ''polis''. Many of a ''polis''' citizens lived in the suburbs or countryside. The Greeks regarded the ''polis'' less as a territorial grouping than as a religious and political association: while the ''polis'' would control territory and colonies beyond the city itself, the ''polis'' would not simply consist of a geographical area. Most cities were composed of several
tribe The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human social group. The predominant worldwide usage of the term in English is in the discipline of anthropology. This definition is contested, in part due to confli ...
s or ''
phylai ''Phyle'' ( gr, φυλή, phulē, "tribe, clan"; pl. ''phylai'', φυλαί; derived from ancient Greek φύεσθαι "to descend, to originate") is an ancient Greek term for tribe or clan. Members of the same ''phyle'' were known as ''symphylet ...
'', which were in turn composed of '' phratries'' (common-ancestry lineages), and finally '' ''génea'''' (extended families). *
Social classes A social class is a grouping of people into a set of hierarchical social categories, the most common being the upper, middle and lower classes. Membership in a social class can for example be dependent on education, wealth, occupation, inco ...
and citizenship: Dwellers of the ''polis'' were generally divided into four types of inhabitants, with status typically determined by birth: ** Citizens with full legal and political rights: that is, free adult men born legitimately of citizen parents. They had the right to vote, be elected into office, and
bear arms The right to keep and bear arms (often referred to as the right to bear arms) is a right for people to possess weapons (arms) for the preservation of life, liberty, and property. The purpose of gun rights is for self-defense, including securi ...
, and the obligation to serve when at war. ***
Ephebos ''Ephebos'' (ἔφηβος) (often in the plural ''epheboi''), also anglicised as ''ephebe'' (plural: ''ephebes'') or archaically ''ephebus'' (plural: ''ephebi''), is a Greek term for a male adolescent, or for a social status reserved for that ...
** Citizens without formal political rights but with full legal rights: the citizens' female relatives and underage children, whose political rights and interests were meant to be represented by their adult male relatives. ** Citizens of other ''poleis'' who chose to reside elsewhere (the
metic In ancient Greece, a metic (Ancient Greek: , : from , , indicating change, and , 'dwelling') was a foreign resident of Athens, one who did not have citizen rights in their Greek city-state (''polis'') of residence. Origin The history of foreign m ...
s, μέτοικοι, ''métoikoi'', literally "transdwellers"): though free-born and possessing full rights in their place of origin, they had full legal rights but no political rights in their place of residence. Metics could not vote or be elected to office. A liberated slave was likewise given a metic's status if he chose to remain in the polis, at least that was the case in Athens. They otherwise had full personal and property rights, albeit subject to taxation. ** Slaves: chattel in full possession of their owner, and with no privileges other than those that their owner would grant (or revoke) at will.


Polis during Hellenistic and Roman times

During the
Hellenistic period In Classical antiquity, the Hellenistic period covers the time in Mediterranean history after Classical Greece, between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in ...
, which marks the decline of the classical ''polis'', the following cities remained independent:
Sparta Sparta ( Doric Greek: Σπάρτα, ''Spártā''; Attic Greek: Σπάρτη, ''Spártē'') was a prominent city-state in Laconia, in ancient Greece. In antiquity, the city-state was known as Lacedaemon (, ), while the name Sparta referre ...
until 195 BC after the
War against Nabis The Laconian War of 195 BC was fought between the Greek city-state of Sparta and a coalition composed of Rome, the Achaean League, Pergamum, Rhodes, and Macedon. During the Second Macedonian War (200–196 BC), Macedon had given Sparta contr ...
.
Achaean League The Achaean League ( Greek: , ''Koinon ton Akhaion'' "League of Achaeans") was a Hellenistic-era confederation of Greek city states on the northern and central Peloponnese. The league was named after the region of Achaea in the northwestern P ...
is the last example of original Greek city-state federations (dissolved after the
Battle of Corinth (146 BC) The Battle of Corinth of 146 BC, also known as the Battle of Leucapetra or the Battle of Lefkopetra, was a decisive engagement fought between the Roman Republic and the Greek city-state of Corinth and its allies in the Achaean League. The ba ...
). The Cretan city-states continued to be independent (except
Itanus Itanus or Itanos ( grc, Ἴτανος) was a Greek city and port on the northeast coast of ancient Crete, on the promontory which the Romans called Itanum, the neuter form of Itanus, Latin for Greek Itanos. The base of the tripartite northeast ...
and Arsinoe, which lay under Ptolemaic influence) until the conquest of Crete in 69 BC by Rome. The cities of Magna Graecia, with the notable examples of Syracuse and Tarentum, were conquered by Rome in the late 3rd century BC. There are also some cities with recurring independence like
Samos Samos (, also ; el, Σάμος ) is a Greece, Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off the coast of western Turkey, from which it is separated by the -wide Mycale Strait. It is also a se ...
,
Priene Priene ( grc, Πριήνη, Priēnē; tr, Prien) was an ancient Greek city of Ionia (and member of the Ionian League) located at the base of an escarpment of Mycale, about north of what was then the course of the Maeander River (now called th ...
, Miletus, and
Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is both the capital and largest city of Greece. With a population close to four million, it is also the seventh largest city in the European Union. Athens dominates ...
. A remarkable example of a city-state that flourished during this era is
Rhodes Rhodes (; el, Ρόδος , translit=Ródos ) is the largest and the historical capital of the Dodecanese islands of Greece. Administratively, the island forms a separate municipality within the Rhodes regional unit, which is part of the S ...
, through its merchant navy, until 43 BC and the Roman conquest. The Hellenistic colonies and cities of the era retain some basic characteristics of a ''polis'', except the status of independence (
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign city which serves as the center of political, economic, and cultural life over its contiguous territory. They have existed in many parts of the world since the dawn of history, including cities such as ...
) and the political life. There is self-governance (like the new Macedonian title
politarch Politarch ( el, πολιτάρχης, ''politarches''; plural πολιτάρχαι, ''politarchai'') was a Hellenistic and Roman-era Macedonian title for an elected governor (''archon'') of a city (''polis''). The term had been already attested in ...
), but under a ruler and king. The political life of the classical era was transformed into an individualized religious and philosophical view of life (see Hellenistic philosophy and
religion Religion is usually defined as a social- cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that generally relates humanity to supernatural, ...
). Demographic decline forced the cities to abolish the status of
metic In ancient Greece, a metic (Ancient Greek: , : from , , indicating change, and , 'dwelling') was a foreign resident of Athens, one who did not have citizen rights in their Greek city-state (''polis'') of residence. Origin The history of foreign m ...
and bestow citizenship; in 228 BC, Miletus enfranchised over 1,000 Cretans. Dyme sold its citizenship for one talent, payable in two installments. The foreign residents in a city are now called
paroikoi ''Paroikoi'' (plural of Greek πάροικος, ''paroikos'', the etymological origin of parish and parochial) is the term that replaced " metic" in the Hellenistic and Roman period to designate foreign residents. In the Byzantine Empire, ''paroiko ...
. In an age when most political establishments in Asia are kingdoms, the Chrysaorian League in Caria was a Hellenistic federation of ''poleis''. During the Roman era, some cities were granted the status of a ''polis'', or free city, self-governed under the Roman Empire.. The last institution commemorating the old Greek ''poleis'' was the
Panhellenion The Panhellenion ( el, Πανελλήνιον) or Panhellenium was a league of Greek city-states established in the year 131–132 AD by the Roman Emperor Hadrian while he was touring the Roman Greece, Roman provinces of Greece. Hadrian was Philh ...
, established by Hadrian.


Derived words and names


Common nouns

Derivatives of ''polis'' are common in many modern
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a subcontinent of Eurasia and it is located entirel ...
an languages. This is indicative of the influence of the ''polis''-centred Hellenic world view. Derivative words in English include
policy Policy is a deliberate system of guidelines to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes. A policy is a statement of intent and is implemented as a procedure or protocol. Policies are generally adopted by a governance body within an orga ...
, polity,
police The police are a constituted body of persons empowered by a state, with the aim to enforce the law, to ensure the safety, health and possessions of citizens, and to prevent crime and civil disorder. Their lawful powers include arrest and th ...
, and
politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of social science that stud ...
. In
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
, words deriving from ''polis'' include ''politēs'' and ''politismos'', whose exact equivalents in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through the power of the ...
,
Romance Romance (from Vulgar Latin , "in the Roman language", i.e., "Latin") may refer to: Common meanings * Romance (love), emotional attraction towards another person and the courtship behaviors undertaken to express the feelings * Romance languages, ...
, and other European languages, respectively ''civis'' ("citizen"), ''civilisatio'' ("civilisation"), etc., are similarly derived. A number of other common nouns end in ''-polis''. Most refer to a special kind of city or state. Examples include: * Acropolis ("high city"),
Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is both the capital and largest city of Greece. With a population close to four million, it is also the seventh largest city in the European Union. Athens dominates ...
,
Greece Greece,, or , romanized: ', officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the southern tip of the Balkans, and is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Greece shares land borders ...
– although not a city-polis by itself, but a fortified citadel that consisted of functional buildings and the Temple in honor of the city-sponsoring god or goddess. The Athenian acropolis was the most famous of all acropoleis in the ancient Greek World and its main temple was the Parthenon, in honor of Athena Parthenos (Athena the Virgin). More generally, Acropolis has been used to describe the upper part of a ''polis'', often a citadel or the site of major temples * Astropolis – a star-scaled city/industry area; a complex space station; a European star-related festival * Cosmopolis – a large urban centre with a population of many different cultural backgrounds; a novel written by
Don DeLillo Donald Richard DeLillo (born November 20, 1936) is an American novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenwriter and essayist. His works have covered subjects as diverse as television, nuclear war, sports, the complexities of language, perf ...
*
Ecumenopolis Ecumenopolis (from el, οἰκουμένη '' oecumene'' 'world', and ''polis'' 'city', thus 'a world city'; plural ''ecumenopolises'' or ''ecumenopoleis'') is the hypothetical concept of a planetwide city. Description The word was invented in ...
– a city that covers an entire
planet A planet is a large, rounded astronomical body that is neither a star nor its remnant. The best available theory of planet formation is the nebular hypothesis, which posits that an interstellar cloud collapses out of a nebula to create a you ...
, usually seen in
science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to Sci-Fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, parallel uni ...
*
Megalopolis A megalopolis () or a supercity, also called a megaregion, is a group of metropolitan areas which are perceived as a continuous urban area through common systems of transport, economy, resources, ecology, and so on. They are integrated enoug ...
– created by the merging of several cities and their suburbs *
Metropolis A metropolis () is a large city or conurbation which is a significant economic, political, and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for regional or international connections, commerce, and communications. A big ci ...
– the mother city of a colony; the see of a metropolitan archbishop; a metropolitan area (major urban population centre) * Necropolis ("city of the dead") – a
graveyard A cemetery, burial ground, gravesite or graveyard is a place where the remains of dead people are buried or otherwise interred. The word ''cemetery'' (from Greek , "sleeping place") implies that the land is specifically designated as a buri ...
* Technopolis – a city with high-tech industry; a room of computers; the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a '' network of networks'' that consists of private, pub ...


City names with numbers

Others refer to part of a city or a group of cities, such as: 1. Polis, or Polis Chrysochous ( el, Πόλις Χρυσοχούς), located on the northwest coast of
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country located south of the Anatolian Peninsula in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Its continental position is disputed; while it is ge ...
within the Paphos District and on the edge of the Akamas peninsula. During the Cypro-Classical period, Polis became one of the most important ancient Cypriot city-kingdoms on the island, with important commercial relations with the eastern Aegean Islands,
Attica Attica ( el, Αττική, Ancient Greek ''Attikḗ'' or , or ), or the Attic Peninsula, is a historical region that encompasses the city of Athens, the capital of Greece and its countryside. It is a peninsula projecting into the Aegean S ...
, and
Corinth Corinth ( ; el, Κόρινθος, Kórinthos, ) is the successor to an ancient city, and is a former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese (region), Peloponnese, which is located in south-central Greece. Since the 2011 local government refor ...
. The town is also well known due to its mythological history, including the site of the Baths of
Aphrodite Aphrodite ( ; grc-gre, Ἀφροδίτη, Aphrodítē; , , ) is an ancient Greek goddess associated with love, lust, beauty, pleasure, passion, and procreation. She was syncretized with the Roman goddess . Aphrodite's major symbols inclu ...
. 3. Tripolis – a group of three cities, retained in the names of
Tripoli, Libya Tripoli (; ar, طرابلس الغرب, translit= Ṭarābulus al-Gharb , translation=Western Tripoli) is the capital city, capital and largest city of Libya, with a population of about 1.1 million people in 2019. It is located in the northwe ...
,
Tripoli, Greece Tripoli ( el, Τρίπολη, ''Trípoli'', formerly , ''Trípolis''; earlier ''Tripolitsá'') is a city in the central part of the Peloponnese, in Greece. It is the capital of the Peloponnese region as well as of the regional unit of Arcadia ...
, and
Tripoli, Lebanon Tripoli ( ar, طرابلس/ ALA-LC: ''Ṭarābulus'', Lebanese Arabic: ''Ṭrablus'') is the largest city in northern Lebanon and the second-largest city in the country. Situated north of the capital Beirut, it is the capital of the North Gove ...
4. Tetrapolis 5. Pentapolis – a group of five cities 6. Hexapolis 7. Heptapolis, Middle Egypt 8. Octapolis, in ancient Caria or Lycia 10.
Decapolis The Decapolis (Greek: grc, Δεκάπολις, Dekápolis, Ten Cities, label=none) was a group of ten Hellenistic cities on the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire in the Southern Levant in the first centuries BCE and CE. They formed a group ...
, a group of ten cities in the
Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, which is in use today in archaeology and other cultural contexts, it is ...
12. Dodecapolis – a group of twelve cities


Descriptive names

The names of several other towns and cities in
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a subcontinent of Eurasia and it is located entirel ...
and the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233: ) is a geopolitical region commonly encompassing Arabia (including the Arabian Peninsula and Bahrain), Asia Minor (Asian part of Turkey except Hatay Province), East Thrace (Europ ...
have contained the suffix ''-polis'' since antiquity or currently feature modernized spellings, such as ''-pol''. Notable examples include: * Adrianopolis or Adrianople (" Hadrian's city"), present-day
Edirne Edirne (, ), formerly known as Adrianople or Hadrianopolis ( Greek: Άδριανούπολις), is a city in Turkey, in the northwestern part of the province of Edirne in Eastern Thrace. Situated from the Greek and from the Bulgarian borders ...
,
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Türkiye ( tr, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, links=no ), is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia, with a small portion on the Balkan Peninsula in ...
* Alexandropol (" Alexandra's city"), currently Gyumri,
Armenia Armenia (), , group=pron officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country in the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.The UNbr>classification of world regions places Armenia in Western Asia; the CIA World Factbook , , and ' ...
*
Alexandroupoli Alexandroupolis ( el, Αλεξανδρούπολη, ), Alexandroupoli, or Alexandrople is a city in Greece and the capital of the Evros regional unit. It is the largest city in Western Thrace and the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. It h ...
s ("
Alexander Alexander is a male given name. The most prominent bearer of the name is Alexander the Great, the king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia who created one of the largest empires in ancient history. Variants listed here are Aleksandar, Al ...
's city"),
Greece Greece,, or , romanized: ', officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the southern tip of the Balkans, and is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Greece shares land borders ...
* Antipolis ("the city across"), the former name for Antibes,
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Its metropolitan area ...
*
Constantinopolis la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse), Tsargrad (Slavs, Slavic), Qustantiniya (Arabic), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopo ...
or Constantinople (" Constantine's city"), the former name for
Istanbul ) , postal_code_type = Postal code , postal_code = 34000 to 34990 , area_code = +90 212 (European side) +90 216 (Asian side) , registration_plate = 34 , blank_name_sec2 = GeoTLD , blank_i ...
, Turkey. * Gallipoli ("beautiful city") * Heliopolis ("
Sun The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is a nearly perfect ball of hot plasma, heated to incandescence by nuclear fusion reactions in its core. The Sun radiates this energy mainly as light, ultraviolet, and infrared radi ...
city") in
ancient Ancient history is a time period from the beginning of writing and recorded human history to as far as late antiquity. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, beginning with the Sumerian cuneiform script. Ancient history cov ...
and
modern Egypt According to most scholars the history of modern Egypt dates from the start of Muhammad Ali's rule in 1805 and his launching of Egypt's modernization project that involved building a new army and suggesting a new map for the country, though the ...
,
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon () or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is located between Syria to Lebanon–Syria border, the north and east and Israel to Blue ...
, and
Greece Greece,, or , romanized: ', officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the southern tip of the Balkans, and is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Greece shares land borders ...
* Heracleopolis ("
Hercules Hercules (, ) is the Roman equivalent of the Greek divine hero Heracles, son of Jupiter and the mortal Alcmena. In classical mythology, Hercules is famous for his strength and for his numerous far-ranging adventures. The Romans adapted the ...
' city"), Egypt * Hermopolis ("
Hermes Hermes (; grc-gre, wikt:Ἑρμῆς, Ἑρμῆς) is an Olympian deity in ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, mythology. Hermes is considered the herald of the gods. He is also considered the protector of human heralds, travelle ...
' city"), several cities in Egypt and on Siros Island * Hierakonpolis ("Hawk city"),
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مصر , ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia via a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. It is bordered by the Medit ...
* Hieropolis ("Sacred city"), several cities in the Hellenistic world, in particular Hierapolis in southwestern Turkey *
Istanbul ) , postal_code_type = Postal code , postal_code = 34000 to 34990 , area_code = +90 212 (European side) +90 216 (Asian side) , registration_plate = 34 , blank_name_sec2 = GeoTLD , blank_i ...
(derived from the Greek phrase "εἰς τὴν Πόλιν" meaning "to the city"), Turkey. * Istropolis, currently Bratislava,
Slovakia Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the s ...
. *
Lithopolis Lithopolis is a village in Fairfield and Franklin counties in the U.S. state of Ohio. The population was 2,134 at the 2020 census. History Lithopolis was originally called Centerville, and under the latter name was laid out in 1815. The city ...
("Stone city"), Latin name for Kamnik,
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the southeast, an ...
* Mariupol ("Marios' City"), Ukraine (Greek: Μαριούπολης, ''Marioupolis'') *
Megalopolis A megalopolis () or a supercity, also called a megaregion, is a group of metropolitan areas which are perceived as a continuous urban area through common systems of transport, economy, resources, ecology, and so on. They are integrated enoug ...
("Great city"), Greece * Neapolis ("New city"), several, including the modern cities of Nablus and
Naples Naples (; it, Napoli ; nap, Napule ), from grc, Νεάπολις, Neápolis, lit=new city. is the regional capital of Campania and the third-largest city of Italy, after Rome and Milan, with a population of 909,048 within the city's adminis ...
( it, Napoli), and the adjective Neapolitan *
Nicopolis Nicopolis ( grc-gre, Νικόπολις, Nikópolis, City of Victory) or Actia Nicopolis was the capital city of the Roman province of Epirus Vetus. It was located in the western part of the modern state of Greece. The city was founded in 29  ...
("Victory city"), Emmaus in Israel *
Persepolis , native_name_lang = , alternate_name = , image = Gate of All Nations, Persepolis.jpg , image_size = , alt = , caption = Ruins of the Gate of All Nations, Persepolis. , map = , map_type ...
("city of the Persians"),
Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
* Philippopolis (" Philip's city"), the former name for Plovdiv, Bulgaria. *
Seuthopolis Seuthopolis (Ancient Greek: Σευθόπολις) was an ancient hellenistic-type city founded by the Thracian king Seuthes III between 325–315 BC and the capital of the Odrysian kingdom. Its ruins are now located at the bottom of the Koprinka ...
(" Seuthes' city"),
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria,, ) is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the eastern flank of the Balkans, and is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and North Macedo ...
*
Sevastopol Sevastopol (; uk, Севасто́поль, Sevastópolʹ, ; gkm, Σεβαστούπολις, Sevastoúpolis, ; crh, Акъя́р, Aqyár, ), sometimes written Sebastopol, is the largest city in Crimea, and a major port on the Black Sea ...
("Venerable city"),
Crimea Crimea, crh, Къырым, Qırım, grc, Κιμμερία / Ταυρική, translit=Kimmería / Taurikḗ ( ) is a peninsula in Ukraine, on the northern coast of the Black Sea, that has been occupied by Russia since 2014. It has a pop ...
,
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the second-largest European country after Russia, which it borders to the east and northeast. Ukraine covers approximately . Prior to the ongoing Russian inv ...
* Simferopol ("city of common good"),
Crimea Crimea, crh, Къырым, Qırım, grc, Κιμμερία / Ταυρική, translit=Kimmería / Taurikḗ ( ) is a peninsula in Ukraine, on the northern coast of the Black Sea, that has been occupied by Russia since 2014. It has a pop ...
,
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the second-largest European country after Russia, which it borders to the east and northeast. Ukraine covers approximately . Prior to the ongoing Russian inv ...
*
Sozopol Sozopol ( bg, Созопол , el, Σωζόπολη, translit=Sozopoli) is an ancient seaside town located 35 km south of Burgas on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Today it is one of the major seaside resorts in the country, known for th ...
("Salvaged city"), Bulgaria *
Stavropol Stavropol (; rus, Ставрополь, p=ˈstavrəpəlʲ) is a city and the administrative centre of Stavropol Krai, Russia. As of the 2021 Census, its population was 547,820, making it one of Russia's fastest growing cities. It was known as ...
("city of the cross"),
Russia Russia (, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the largest country in the world, with its internationally recognised territory covering , and encompassing one-eig ...
*
Tiraspol Tiraspol or Tirișpolea ( ro, Tiraspol, Moldovan Cyrillic: Тираспол, ; russian: Тира́споль, ; uk, Тирасполь, Tyraspol') is the capital of Transnistria (''de facto''), a breakaway state of Moldova, where it is the th ...
(" Tiras' city"),
Moldova Moldova ( , ; ), officially the Republic of Moldova ( ro, Republica Moldova), is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east, and south. The unrecognised state of Transnistr ...


Modern cities

The names of other cities were also given the suffix ''-polis'' after antiquity, either referring to ancient names or unrelated: * Anápolis,
Goiás Goiás () is a Brazilian state located in the Center-West region. Goiás borders the Federal District and the states of (from north clockwise) Tocantins, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso. The state capital is Goi ...
,
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At and with over 217 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area ...
* Annapolis,
Maryland Maryland ( ) is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It shares borders with Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware and the Atlantic Ocean to ...
,
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territori ...
* Augustinópolis, Tocantins, Brazil * Biopolis,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign island country and city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...
* Borrazópolis, Parana, Brazil * Cambysopolis, Turkey * Cassopolis,
Michigan Michigan () is a U.S. state, state in the Great Lakes region, Great Lakes region of the Upper Midwest, upper Midwestern United States. With a population of nearly 10.12 million and an area of nearly , Michigan is the List of U.S. states and ...
, United States * Christianopel, Sweden * Copperopolis,
California California is a state in the Western United States, located along the Pacific Coast. With nearly 39.2million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the most populous U.S. state and the 3rd largest by area. It is also the m ...
, United States * Coraopolis,
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania (; ( Pennsylvania Dutch: )), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state spanning the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, Appalachian, and Great Lakes regions of the United States. It borders Delaware to its southeast, ...
, United States *
Demopolis Demopolis is the largest city in Marengo County, in west-central Alabama. The population was 7,162 at the time of the 2020 United States census, down from 7,483 at the 2010 census. The city lies at the confluence of the Black Warrior River and T ...
,
Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg , seat = Montgomery , LargestCity = Huntsville , LargestCounty = Baldwin County , LargestMetro = Greater Birmingham , area_total_km2 = 135,765 ...
, United States * Dianópolis, Tocantins, Brazil *
Divinópolis Divinópolis is a municipality in the centre-west of Minas Gerais state, Brazil. The estimated population in 2020 was 240,408 inhabitants. The total area of the municipality is 709 km2 and the elevation is 712 metres. It is 120 km from s ...
,
Minas Gerais Minas Gerais () is a state in Southeastern Brazil. It ranks as the second most populous, the third by gross domestic product (GDP), and the fourth largest by area in the country. The state's capital and largest city, Belo Horizonte (literally ...
, Brazil * Eunápolis, Bahia, Brazil * Florianópolis (" Floriano's city"), Santa Catarina, Brazil * Gallipolis,
Ohio Ohio () is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. Of the fifty U.S. states, it is the 34th-largest by area, and with a population of nearly 11.8 million, is the seventh-most populous and tenth-most densely populated. The sta ...
, United States * Indianapolis,
Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States. It is the 38th-largest by area and the 17th-most populous of the 50 States. Its capital and largest city is Indianapolis. Indiana was admitted to the United States as the 19th s ...
, United States * Kannapolis,
North Carolina North Carolina () is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States. The state is the 28th largest and 9th-most populous of the United States. It is bordered by Virginia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Georgia and ...
, United States *
Lithopolis Lithopolis is a village in Fairfield and Franklin counties in the U.S. state of Ohio. The population was 2,134 at the 2020 census. History Lithopolis was originally called Centerville, and under the latter name was laid out in 1815. The city ...
, Ohio, United States *
Marijampolė Marijampolė (; also known by several other names) is a cultural and industrial city and the capital of the Marijampolė County in the south of Lithuania, bordering Poland and Russian Kaliningrad Oblast, and Lake Vištytis. The population of Mar ...
, Lithuania *
Metropolis A metropolis () is a large city or conurbation which is a significant economic, political, and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for regional or international connections, commerce, and communications. A big ci ...
, Illinois, United States *
Minneapolis Minneapolis () is the largest city in Minnesota, United States, and the county seat of Hennepin County. The city is abundant in water, with thirteen lakes, wetlands, the Mississippi River, creeks and waterfalls. Minneapolis has its origins ...
,
Minnesota Minnesota () is a state in the upper midwestern region of the United States. It is the 12th largest U.S. state in area and the 22nd most populous, with over 5.75 million residents. Minnesota is home to western prairies, now given over to ...
, United States * Opolis,
Kansas Kansas () is a state in the Midwestern United States. Its capital is Topeka, and its largest city is Wichita. Kansas is a landlocked state bordered by Nebraska to the north; Missouri to the east; Oklahoma to the south; and Colorado to th ...
, United States *
Penápolis Penápolis is a Municipalities of Brazil, municipality in the state of São Paulo (state), São Paulo, Brazil. The population is of 63,757 inhabitants (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, IBGE/2020). The city has an area of 710.8&nbs ...
,
São Paulo São Paulo (, ; Portuguese for ' Saint Paul') is the most populous city in Brazil, and is the capital of the state of São Paulo, the most populous and wealthiest Brazilian state, located in the country's Southeast Region. Listed by the Ga ...
, Brazil * Petrópolis ("
Pedro Pedro is a masculine given name. Pedro is the Spanish, Portuguese, and Galician name for '' Peter''. Its French equivalent is Pierre while its English and Germanic form is Peter. The counterpart patronymic surname of the name Pedro, mean ...
's city"),
Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro ( , , ; literally 'River of January'), or simply Rio, is the capital of the state of the same name, Brazil's third-most populous state, and the second-most populous city in Brazil, after São Paulo. Listed by the GaWC as a ...
, Brazil * Piopolis,
Quebec Quebec ( ; )According to the Canadian government, ''Québec'' (with the acute accent) is the official name in Canadian French and ''Quebec'' (without the accent) is the province's official name in Canadian English is one of the thirtee ...
, Canada * Pirenópolis,
Goiás Goiás () is a Brazilian state located in the Center-West region. Goiás borders the Federal District and the states of (from north clockwise) Tocantins, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso. The state capital is Goi ...
, Brazil * Quirinópolis,
Goiás Goiás () is a Brazilian state located in the Center-West region. Goiás borders the Federal District and the states of (from north clockwise) Tocantins, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso. The state capital is Goi ...
, Brazil *
Rondonópolis Rondonópolis (formerly known as Rio Vermelho (Red River)) is the third-largest municipality in Mato Grosso, Brazil. It is located around from Cuiabá, the capital of the state. The city is named for military officer and explorer Cândido Rondon ...
, Mato Grosso, Brazil *
Rorainópolis Rorainópolis () is a municipality located in the southernmost point of the state of Roraima in Brazil. Its population is 30,782 (as of 2020) and its area is 33,594 km². The municipality is crossed by the equator. History In the 1970s, the ...
, Roraima, Brazil *
Salinópolis Salinópolis is a municipality in the state of Pará in the Northern region of Brazil. Climate Salinópolis has a tropical monsoon climate An area of tropical monsoon climate (occasionally known as a sub-equatorial, tropical wet climate or a tro ...
, Pará, Brazil *
Sebastopol Sevastopol (; uk, Севасто́поль, Sevastópolʹ, ; gkm, Σεβαστούπολις, Sevastoúpolis, ; crh, Акъя́р, Aqyár, ), sometimes written Sebastopol, is the largest city in Crimea, and a major port on the Black Sea ...
, California, United States *
Sophia-Antipolis (wisdom), gr, (Ἀντίπολις, antipolis) ("opposite city" from its position on the opposite side of the Var estuary from Nice, also former name of Antibes, part of the technology park) , postal_code = 06220 (Vallauris), 06250 (Mo ...
, France *
Teresópolis Teresópolis (, , , ) is a Brazilian municipality located in the state of Rio de Janeiro, in a mountainous region known as ''Região Serrana''. The Serra dos Órgãos National Park lies partly within the city limits. The city is known as the hom ...
("
Teresa Teresa (also Theresa, Therese; french: Thérèse) is a feminine given name. It originates in the Iberian Peninsula in late antiquity. Its derivation is uncertain, it may be derived from Greek θερίζω (''therízō'') "to harvest or re ...
's city"), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil * Teutopolis,
Illinois Illinois ( ) is a state in the Midwestern United States. Its largest metropolitan areas include the Chicago metropolitan area, and the Metro East section, of Greater St. Louis. Other smaller metropolitan areas include, Peoria and Rockf ...
, United States * Thermopolis,
Wyoming Wyoming () is a state in the Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. It is bordered by Montana to the north and northwest, South Dakota and Nebraska to the east, Idaho to the west, Utah to the southwest, and Colorado to the s ...
, United States * Uniopolis, Ohio, United States


See also

*
Synoecism Synoecism or synecism ( ; grc, συνοικισμóς, ''sunoikismos'', ), also spelled synoikism ( ), was originally the amalgamation of villages in Ancient Greece into ''poleis'', or city-states. Etymologically the word means "dwelling toge ...
* '' The Other Greeks'' * List of ancient Greek cities


Notes


References


Further reading

* Ando, Clifford. 1999. "Was Rome a Polis?". ''Classical Antiquity'' 18.1: 5–34. * Brock, R., and S. Hodkinson, eds. 2000. ''Alternatives to Athens: Varieties of Political Organisation and Community in Ancient Greece.'' Oxford: Oxford University Press. * Davies, J. K. 1977–1978. "Athenian Citizenship: The Descent Group and the Alternatives." ''Classical Journal'' 73.2: 105–121. * Hall, J. M. 2007. "Polis, Community and Ethnic Identity." In ''The Cambridge Companion to Archaic Greece.'' Edited by H. A. Shapiro, 40–60. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. * Hansen, M. H., and T. H. Nielsen, eds. 2004. ''An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis''. Oxford: Oxford University Press. * Hansen, M. H. 2006. ''Polis: An Introduction to the Ancient Greek City-State''. Oxford: Oxford University Press. * Hansen, M. H., ed. 1993. ''The Ancient Greek City-State: Symposium on the Occasion of the 250th Anniversary of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, July 1–4, 1992''. Copenhagen: Royal Danish Academy. * Hansen, M. H. 1999. ''The Athenian Democracy in the age of Demosthenes: Structure, Principles and Ideology''. 2nd ed. London: Bristol Classical Press. * Hansen, M. H., ed. 1997. ''The Polis as an Urban Centre and Political Community''. Copenhagen: Royal Danish Academy. * Jones, N. F. 1987. ''Public Organization in Ancient Greece: A Documentary Study''. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society. * Kraay, C. M. 1976. ''Archaic and Classical Greek Coins''. Berkeley: University of California Press. * Millar, F. G. B. 1993. "The Greek City in the Roman Period". In ''The Ancient Greek City-State: Symposium on the Occasion of the 250th Anniversary of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, July 1–4, 1992''. Edited by M. H. Hansen, 232–260. Copenhagen: Royal Danish Academy. * Osborne, R. 2009. ''Greece in the Making''. 2nd ed. London:
Routledge Routledge () is a British multinational publisher. It was founded in 1836 by George Routledge, and specialises in providing academic books, journals and online resources in the fields of the humanities, behavioural science, education, law ...
. * Polignac, F. de. 1995. ''Cults, Territory, and the Origins of the Greek City-State''. Translated by J. Lloyd. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. * van der Vliet, E. 2012. "The Durability and Decline of Democracy in Hellenistic Poleis". ''Mnemosyne'' 65.4–5: 771–786.


External links

*
The Copenhagen Polis Center
{{Authority control * * City-states