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Archaic Greece

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Dimitri Nakassis

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Wednesday, October 5/11
Introduction to Greek History
D. Nakassis
Archaic Greece
750 - 480 BC
Dated from the first Olympiad in 776 BC
1) Later prose history
Oral traditions and history
2) Poetry
Authored by particular individuals
The Polis
Made of:
1) An urban centre (astu)
This is negotiable, could have been a cluster of villages
2) A territory (chora)
Together these two constitute a political community
Not referred to a state, but the people within
I.e., the Athenians, not Athens, the Torontonians, not the city of Toronto
The average polis was small
230-910 male citizens on 25-50 sq. km
Aristotle’s ideal polis had 500-1000 households on 50 sq. km
Poleis were politically autonomous
A tightly knit community
Every citizen had to fight in the army
Provided their own arms
Citizens had the right to vote and hold office according to their station
Sometimes owning land was a stipulation
The Assembly (Ekklesia)
Meeting of all the citizens for voting
Different assemblies have different rules
Any citizen can speak or bring forward an issue
Regular meetings
Generally the more democratic, the more meetings
He is upset that the kakoi are now considered more noble than some agathoi and the poorer
agathoi are now considered wretches
Poverty destroys agathos
Even if you are noble, if you’re not wealthy you have no voice
The poorer you are the less of an influence on the community you have
Money is now more important than good birth
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