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Survey of Greek Civilization class #6 (3).docx

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Ryerson University
Arts and Contemporary Studies
ACS 103
Ron Babin

Survey of Greek Civilization class #6 Greek Society and Politics  We can assume the other Greek States where the same as Athens with the exception of Sparta  When the Greeks immigrated to what is now Greece it was a very tribal society  The history of the polis is the transformation of the semi-nomadic society into a semi-territoal state  Once they settled they began to define the geographical location as theirs  The establishment of the territorial state leads to the weakening of the famil-kin structure because the larger community is comprised of these groups and other starts to generate its own demands and rules are often in conflict with the kin-tribal based society  The history of the development of the Greek polis is a history of the progressive weakening of the family system.  There’s a correlation between the progression of democracy and the weakening of the kinship group o While autocratic systems tend to promote the kin based system In the Greek world the awareness of individually took another form  One’s individually and status as an individual was determined by others  It was how others determined you. Action ordinated  Stress on competence and success  The orientation is amoral  Goodness is concealed with success  Strong vs. the weak. Strong = goodthweak= bad o This maintained until the 19 century and even still today  This all operates in what is called a “contest system” o Individuals are always striving to be doing better, to be seen as doing better, and thus their family receives all the glory  An Athenian named Alcibiades In the 5 century quite notorious and successful had all the characteristics of a good Athenian good family, athletic, however he was a massive Narcissus. Alcibiades was participating in wrestling at the Olympics he was about to be pinned but bit his opponent, showing he was willing to do anything to win which was considered a good characteristic in Ancient Greece  Citizenship depends on membership of the family you had to be born into an official family  The family was the basis for the material wealth of the state o All the resources in the state were owned by families o The state itself in the early times owned very little o The god or goddess was seen as a resident of the polis just as the humans are o The temple is the god’s house in a very real way o Everything was privately owned in the early Greek polis o As it grew older, public buildings were built for the state  This conception of the independence of the state is relatively new  Nobody owned it  The first ones were meeting houses belonging to none  The concept of the state was always relatively weak  What you get in the Greek polis is a lot of interference in the state whic
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