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Polis
Polis
(/ˈpɒlɪs/; Greek: πόλις pronounced [pólis]), plural poleis (/ˈpɒleɪz/, πόλεις [póleːs]), literally means city in Greek. It can also mean a body of citizens. In modern historiography, polis is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens
Classical Athens
and its contemporaries, and thus is often translated as "city-state". These cities consisted of a fortified city centre built on an acropolis or harbor and controlled surrounding territories of land (khôra). The Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
city-state developed during the Archaic period as the ancestor of city, state, and citizenship and persisted (though with decreasing influence) well into Roman times, when the equivalent Latin
Latin
word was civitas, also meaning "citizenhood", while municipium applied to a non-sovereign local entity. The term "city-state", which originated in English (alongside the German Stadtstaat), does not fully translate the Greek term. The poleis were not like other primordial ancient city-states like Tyre or Sidon, which were ruled by a king or a small oligarchy, but rather political entities ruled by their bodies of citizens. The traditional view of archaeologists—that the appearance of urbanization at excavation sites could be read as a sufficient index for the development of a polis—was criticised by François Polignac in 1984[1][a] and has not been taken for granted in recent decades: the polis of Sparta, for example, was established in a network of villages. The term polis, which in archaic Greece
Greece
meant "city", changed with the development of the governance center in the city to signify "state" (which included its surrounding villages). Finally, with the emergence of a notion of citizenship among landowners, it came to describe the entire body of citizens. The ancient Greeks did not always refer to Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and other poleis as such; they often spoke instead of the Athenians, Lacedaemonians, Thebans and so on. The body of citizens came to be the most important meaning of the term polis in ancient Greece. The Greek term that specifically meant the totality of urban buildings and spaces is ἄστυ (pronounced [ásty]).

Contents

1 The polis in Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
philosophy 2 Archaic and classical poleis 3 Hellenistic and Roman 4 Derived words

4.1 Names

4.1.1 Polis, Cyprus 4.1.2 Other cities

5 See also 6 Notes 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links

The polis in Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
philosophy[edit] Plato
Plato
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
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. In Plato's analogy of the ship of state, 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
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[edit] 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) Temples, altars, and sacred precincts: one or more are dedicated to the poliouchos, the patron deity of the city; each polis kept its own particular festivals 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 Walls: used for protection from invaders Coins: minted by the city, and bearing its symbols Colonies being founded by the oikistes of the metropolis 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, 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 tribes or phylai, which were in turn composed of phratries (common-ancestry lineages), and finally génea (extended families). Social classes 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, and the obligation to serve when at war. 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 metics, 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.[2] 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.

Hellenistic and Roman[edit] During the Hellenistic period, which marks the decline of the classical polis, the following cities remained independent: Sparta until 195 BC after the War against Nabis. Achaean League
Achaean League
is the last example of original Greek city-state federations (dissolved after the Battle of Corinth
Corinth
(146 BC)). The Cretan
Cretan
city-states continued to be independent (except Itanus
Itanus
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, Priene, Miletus, and Athens.[3] A remarkable example of a city-state that flourished during this era is Rhodes, through its merchant navy,[4] 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) and the political life. There is self-governance (like the new Macedonian title politarch), 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
Hellenistic philosophy
and religion). Demographic decline forced the cities to abolish the status of metic and bestow citizenship; in 228 BC, Miletus
Miletus
enfranchised over 1,000 Cretans.[5] Dyme sold its citizenship for one talent, payable in two installments. The foreign residents in a city are now called paroikoi. 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.[6] The last institution commemorating the old Greek poleis was the Panhellenion, established by Hadrian. Derived words[edit] Derivatives of polis are common in many modern European languages. This is indicative of the influence of the polis-centred Hellenic world view. Derivative words in English include policy, polity, police, and politics. In Greek, words deriving from polis include politēs and politismos, whose exact equivalents in Latin, Romance, and other European languages, respectively civis ("citizen"), civilisatio ("civilization"), etc., are similarly derived. A number of words end in -polis. Most refer to a special kind of city and/or state. Examples include:

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 Ecumenopolis – a city that covers an entire planet, usually seen in science fiction Megalopolis – created by the merging of several cities and their suburbs Metropolis
Metropolis
– the mother city of a colony; the see of a metropolitan archbishop; a metropolitan area (major urban population centre) Necropolis
Necropolis
("city of the dead") – a graveyard Technopolis – a city with high-tech industry; a room of computers; the Internet

Others refer to part of a city or a group of cities, such as:

Acropolis
Acropolis
("high city") – the upper part of a polis, often a citadel and/or the site of major temple(s) Decapolis
Decapolis
– a group of ten cities Dodecapolis – a group of twelve cities Pentapolis
Pentapolis
– a group of five cities Tripolis – a group of three cities, retained in the names of Tripoli in Libya, in Greece, and a namesake in Lebanon

Names[edit] Polis, Cyprus[edit] Located on the northwest coast of Cyprus
Cyprus
is the town of Polis, or Polis
Polis
Chrysochous (Greek: Πόλις Χρυσοχούς), situated within the Paphos District
Paphos District
and on the edge of the Akamas
Akamas
peninsula. During the Cypro-Classical period, Polis
Polis
became one of the most important ancient Cypriot city-kingdoms on the island, with important commercial relations with the eastern Aegean Islands, Attica, and Corinth. The town is also well known due to its mythological history, including the site of the Baths of Aphrodite. Other cities[edit] The names of several other towns and cities in Europe
Europe
and the Middle East have contained the suffix -polis since antiquity or currently feature modernized spellings, such as -pol. Notable examples include:

Acropolis
Acropolis
("high city"), Athens, Greece
Greece
– 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 acropolises in the ancient Greek World and its main temple was the Parthenon, in honor of Athena Parthenos (Athena the Virgin). Adrianopolis
Adrianopolis
or Adrianople ("Hadrian's city"), present-day Edirne, Turkey Alexandroupolis ("Alexander's city"), Greece Alexandropol
Alexandropol
("Alexandra's city"), currently Gyumri, Armenia Antipolis ("the city across"), the former name for Antibes, France Constantinopolis
Constantinopolis
or Constantinople ("Constantine's city"), the former name for Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul
Istanbul
(derived from the Greek phrase "εἰς τὴν Πόλιν" meaning "to the city"), Turkey. Istropolis, currently Bratislava, Slovakia. Heliopolis ("Sun city") in ancient and modern Egypt, Lebanon, and Greece Heracleopolis ("Hercules' city"), Egypt Hermopolis ("Hermes' city"), several cities in Egypt
Egypt
and on Siros Island Hierakonpolis
Hierakonpolis
("Hawk city"), Egypt Hieropolis ("Sacred city"), several cities in the Hellenistic world, in particular Hierapolis
Hierapolis
in southwestern Turkey Megalopolis ("Great city"), Greece Mariupol ("Marios' City"), Ukraine
Ukraine
(Greek: Μαριούπολης, Marioupolis) Neapolis ("New city"), several, including the modern cities of Nablus and Naples
Naples
(Italian: Napoli), and the adjective Neapolitan Nicopolis ("Victory city"), Emmaus in Israel Lithopolis
Lithopolis
("Stone city"), Latin
Latin
name for Kamnik, Slovenia Persepolis
Persepolis
("city of the Persians"), Iran Sevastopol
Sevastopol
("Venerable city"), Crimea, Ukraine Seuthopolis
Seuthopolis
("Seuthes' city"), Bulgaria Simferopol
Simferopol
("city of common good"), Crimea, Ukraine Sozopol
Sozopol
("Salvaged city"), Bulgaria Stavropol
Stavropol
("city of the cross"), Russia Tiraspol
Tiraspol
("Tiras' city"), Moldova

The names of other cities were also given the suffix -polis after antiquity, either referring to ancient names or unrelated:

Anápolis, Goiás, Brazil Annapolis, Maryland, United States Biopolis, Singapore Cambysopolis, Turkey Christianopel, Sweden Cassopolis, Michigan, United States Copperopolis, California, United States Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, United States Florianópolis
Florianópolis
("Floriano's city"), Santa Catarina, Brazil Gallipolis, Ohio, United States Indianapolis, Indiana, United States Kannapolis, North Carolina, United States Lithopolis, Ohio, United States Metropolis, Illinois, United States Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States Opolis, Kansas, United States Petrópolis
Petrópolis
("Pedro's city"), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Penápolis, São Paulo, Brazil Quirinópolis, Goiás, Brazil Sebastopol, California, United States Sophia-Antipolis, France Teresópolis
Teresópolis
("Teresa's city"), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Teutopolis, Illinois, United States Uniopolis, Ohio, United States Thermopolis, Wyoming, United States Borrazópolis, Parana, Brazil

Some cities have also been given nicknames ending with the suffix -polis, usually referring to their characteristics: Cardiff, Wales, UK, once dubbed "Terracottaopolis" due to its fame for buildings faced in terracotta, local red brickwork and ceramics.

Swansea, United Kingdom, once dubbed Copperopolis due to its vast production of the metal Manchester. United Kingdom, nicknamed Cottonopolis
Cottonopolis
during the 19th century due to its status as an industrial centre for cotton spinning Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough
United Kingdom, known as Ironopolis during Victorian times because of the area's production of pig iron Puebla City, Mexico, known as Angelópolis due to its founding legend and profusion of Baroque architecture Gallipoli, city in Apulia, Italy. It probably means "Beautiful City" (from Greek "Καλλίπολις").

See also[edit]

Synoecism The Other Greeks

Notes[edit]

^ An attempt to dissociate urbanization from state formation was undertaken by Morris, I (1991), "The early polis as city and state", in Rich, J; Wallace-Hadrill, A, City
City
and Country in the Ancient World, London, pp. 27–40 

References[edit]

^ Polignac, François (1984), La naissance de la cité grecque (in French), Paris . ^ MacDowell, Douglas Maurice (1986). The Law in Classical Athens. Cornell University Press. p. 82. ISBN 9780801493652.  ^ Dmitriev, Sviatoslav (2005), City
City
government in Hellenistic and Roman Asia minor, p. 68, ISBN 0-19-517042-3 . ^ Wilson, Nigel Guy (2006), Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece, p. 627, ISBN 978-0-415-97334-2, archived from the original on 2015-03-17 . ^ Milet I, 3, pp. 33–38 .[clarification needed] ^ Howgego, Christopher; Heuchert, Volhker; Burnett, Andrew (2007), Coinage and Identity in the Roman Provinces, p. 158, ISBN 0-19-923784-0 .

Further reading[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.  Hansen, Mogens Herman (2006), Polis: An Introduction to the Ancient Greek City-State (hardcover)format= requires url= (help), Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-920849-2 ; paperback, ISBN 0-19-920850-6. Hansen, Mogens Herman, ed. (July 1–4, 1992), "The Ancient Greek City-State", Symposium – the 250th anniversary of The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, Historisk-filosofiske Meddelelser, 1 (67), Copenhagen: The Copenhagen Polis
Polis
Centre . Hansen, Mogens Herman, ed. (August 24–27, 1994), "Sources for The Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
City-State", Acts (symposium), Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, Historisk-filosofiske Meddelelser, 2 (72), Copenhagen: The Copenhagen Polis
Polis
Centre . Hansen, Mogens Herman, ed. (August 23–26, 1995), "Introduction to an Inventory of Poleis", Acts (symposium), Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, Historisk- filosofiske Meddelelser, 3 (74), Copenhagen: The Copenhagen Polis
Polis
Centre . Hansen, Mogens Herman (August 29–31, 1996), "The Polis
Polis
as an Urban Centre and as a Political Community", Acts of the Copenhagen Polis Centre (symposium), Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, Historisk-filosofiske Meddelelser, 4 (75), Copenhagen . Hansen, Mogens Herman, ed. (January 9, 1998), " Polis
Polis
and City-State. An Ancient Concept and its Modern Equivalent", Acts (symposium), Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, Historisk-filosofiske Meddelelser, 5 (76), Copenhagen: The Copenhagen Polis
Polis
Centre . Hansen, Mogens Herman, ed. (January 7–10, 2004), "The imaginary polis. Symposium", Acts, Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, Historisk-filosofiske Meddelelser, 7 (91), Copenhagen: The Copenhagen Polis
Polis
Centre . Mogens Herman Hansen & Kurt Raaflaub (edd), Studies in the Ancient Greek Polis. Papers from the Copenhagen Polis
Polis
Centre 2, Stuttgart: Steiner 1995 (Historia Einzelschriften 95) Mogens Herman Hansen & Kurt Raaflaub (edd), More Studies in the Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Polis. Papers from the Copenhagen Polis
Polis
Centre 3, Stuttgart: Steiner 1996 (Historia Einzelschriften 108) The Copenhagen Polis
Polis
Center Berent Moshe. "Greece: The Stateless Polis
Polis
(11th–4th Centuries B.C.)". In Grinin L. E. et al. (eds.) The Early State, Its Alternatives and Analogues (pp. 364–87). Volgograd, Uchitel, 2004 The early State, Its Alternatives and Analogues ISBN 9785705705474 Vliet, E. van der. Polis. The Problem of Statehood. Social Evolution & History 4(2), September 2005 (pp. 120–50) Polis. The Problem of Statehood

External links[edit]

The dictionary definition of polis a

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