CLA230H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Peltast, Dreros, Sicyon

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3 Feb 2013

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CLA230 Lecture 7 Notes
Archaic Greece
- considered to be 750-480 B.C.
- some say period starts in 776 B.. – the date of the first Olympiad
- sources
later prose history (oral traditions, oral history)
poetry (contemporary)
- mainstream Greek history – actual historical sources – many are later prose
- tell of past events – no Archaic versions of Herodotus
- historians deal with early poetry as well as oral tradition and history
- contemporary poets – other than Homer – poets who are almost certainly
historical figures – talk about contemporary problems, not the heroic past
- not as many inscriptions – mainly Classical and Hellenistic Periods
- dominant political form in Greece – city-state
- small communities that dominate Greek history
- three characteristics
astu – urban center
Mantineia - around it is territory
urban center – where everything happens
chora – territory – surrounding city
physical terms – urban center (city) with territory surrounding it
true in modern Greece as well
Greeks live very close together with open area around – tightly
packed centers
for larger poleis – Athens, etc. – people live in outlying towns
political community – defined by peers – males – citizens
defining characteristic is the citizens – adult males
quote by Thucydides: “Men make the polis and not walls or ships
without men in them”
Features of the Polis
- small
outliers are Sparta, Athens
“average” polis: 230-910 male citizens on 25-100 square km of land
Aristotle’s ideal polis: 500-1000 households on 130 square km of land
communities are small – the largest having about 5000 people
- politically autonomous
in theory – make their own decisions, have a council
in practice – bigger cities can sometimes exert authority
no political unification in Greece unless forced from outer areas – i.e.
Macedon, conquers Greece
- tightly knit community
individuals identify themselves with their polis
identify with name, given name, father, and polis
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city defines identity
- defined by adult male citizens
- quote by Aristotle: “He who is a citizen in a democracy will often not be a
citizen in an oligarchy.”
- can – but required
- requirements/rights given to adult males who have citizenship
- fight in militia – must provide for his own arms
- right to vote in assembly – differs with each polis
- in Sparta – vote by acclimation
- account by Thucydides – in deciding whether to fight Athens – cannot figure
out which response is louder – divide into two to see
- hold office – depends – different citizens can hold different kinds of office –
differs by polis
- own land – there is often a requirement – only citizens in some cases
- basic things that citizens do
- differs by constitutions of each polis
Institutions of the Polis
- assembly – ekklesia
meeting of all citizens
different rules per polis
democracy – all citizens can speak/propose
more oligarchical poleis – citizens can only vote yes or no
in Athens – can bring forward proposals – can speak
some poleis have decisions to meet at certain times
unclear how much political power there is in assembly – differs with
each polis
- temporary magistrates
usually/always temporary, with fixed terms
specific duties
limited power
chose by election or in cases of extreme democracy, by sortation
different from Homer – chiefs that do whatever they can get away with
- council – boule
often ex-magistrates
can set agendas for assembly
enforcers of the law
can punish
in oligarchy – the boule is where the power is – control magistrates and
set assembly where citizens can only vote yes/no
in democracy – more power in assembly
Dreros Law Code
- one of the earliest law codes
- created in the second half of the 7th century B.C.
- city of Dreros, on the island of Crete
- created 650-600 B.C.
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