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Lecture 7

CLA230 Lecture 7 Notes

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Dimitri Nakassis

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) • inscriptions • archaeology - mainstream Greek history – actual historical sources – many are later prose historians - 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 Polis - 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 • city defines identity Citizenship - 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 (lottery) • 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 7 century B.C. - city of Dreros, on the island of Crete - created 650-600 B.C. - quote from Dreros law: “This is what the city decided. If someone has served as a kosmos, then the same person cannot be kosmos within 10 years. If he is kosmos, then in all cases in which he pronounces a judgment, he should be charged double, he should be without political rights, as long as he lives. However long he has served as kosmos will be nothing. The oath takers are the kosmos, the demioi, and the 20 of the city.” - kosmos – magistracy • ‘mayor’ of Dreros • perhaps means “he who puts things in order”, “order” • decision of the city – the way cities are structured • once serve as kosmos – cannot serve again for ten years • kosmos as a kind of chief judge - demioi – “the people’s people” – representatives from assembly perhaps in some way - the 20 of the city – council of twenty men - perhaps the power of the people keeping the power in check - other interpretation – aristocratic competition – all want a chance to be in power Issues in Archaic Communities - economic • land hunger/pressure – need in increasing demography • changes in distribution of wealth - political • competition between aristocracy – an end in violence • tyrants in Greek cities – perhaps competition aristocrats • law of Dreros – perhaps to allow healthy competition without violence • representation of the people – demos • movement toward more political representation for the common people Theognis of Megara - Archaic poet - around 6 century B.C. - city of Megara – between Athens and Corinth - Megara has a large rivalry with Athens throughout Classical and Archaic Periods - Megara is an ally of Sparta - writes poetry performed at symposia - talks about what he conceives to be political problems - quote: “Cyrnus, this city still is as it was, but the people have changed: those who before knew neither judgments at law nor civic statutes, when the rough hides of goats chafed their flanks and they grazed like deer outside the city's bounds, these now are the agathoi [good, noble], son of Polypas, while those who before were noble now are wretches. Who could endure looking on these things?” - talks about instability – “new money” - quote on poverty: “Poverty, more than anything, destroys a man who is agathos, Cyrnus, even more than palsied gray old age. Flee it at all costs — toss yourself into the deep-hollowed sea or, Cyrnus, off sky-towering cliffs. For a man is broken by poverty, unable to speak or to do anything, and his tongue is bound fast.” - problem with poverty – no influence - all citizens want influence in their polis – money allows them to do that - in capitalist society – more of a drive for money for the sake of money – perhaps not so with polis society - wealth as a way to have influence - kakos – “bad” – morally bad, but also not noble – low birth - all about breeding for Theognis – to be considered “good” - Theognis dislikes this idea of the noble mixing with the ignoble - old money – established money – agathos – “good” - idea that if an aristocrat – must be “better” – more noble – should be ruling the city – more fit to run that the lower classes - lower class rich – “new money” – kakos – “bad” - morality mixing with nobility – all about breeding stock – good and bad - quote about breeding and money: “We search out rams and asses and horses, Cyrnus, that are of noble birth, and each man wishes his stock to be mounted by agathoi. But marriage to a woman who is kakos, and the
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