CLAB01 - Chapter 3: Archaic Greece (C. 700-480 BC).docx

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Classical Studies
Vichi Ciocani

CLAB01 Chapter 3: Archaic Greece (C. 700-480 BC) Greece continued to accelerate in pace; popln increased, more colonies, trade dispersed goods beyond the limits of the Bronze Age The Panhellenic shrines, festivals, and oracles grew in number and importance fostering Greek identity The Archaic period also saw new forms of literary, artistic and intellectual expression o It did have its dark side, wars were more frequent, warfare was more lethal; leaders wrangled among themselves over power sharing; poorer citizens fought for economic relief and civic rights o All of this took place in a new social and political framework, the city state, by 700 BC that had replaced the old chieftain system in many parts of the Greek world. THE FORMATION OF THE CITY-STATE (POLIS) City-states are ancient political formations, dating back to Early Bronze Age o it is a defined geographical area compromising a central city and its adjacent territory, which together make up a single, self-governing political unit o the Greeks termed this arrangement a polis, which gives us political o the essential elements of the city states were already in place during the later Dark Age o the territorial community, the demos in its joint sense as the land and the people appears fully evolved in the Homeric epics, as the two primary govnt organs of the Greek city state, the assembly of men fighting age and the council of elders all that was lacking to make demos communities into polis-states were: formal political unification of the demos and the creation of a central govnt Political Unification (Synoecism) city state is the focal point of the state; those who live outside have a lower civic or social status then city dwellers all male-inhabitants, regardless of where they lived, were called politai (members of the polis) as if they all lived together in the polis (city) synoecism- the process by which a demos became unified vast majority of city-states were small consisting of single main town and adjacent plain o political identities was a simple matter in these cases o Polis (the state) and polis (the town) were nearly identical entities; ppl lived within a few miles of e.o Political unification of regional territories that contained several important towns beside the central polis was more complex and is not well understood, o It appears the synoecism was a drawn out process o Regional unification appears for the most part to have been voluntary and peaceful o There is evidence that force or intimidation was used to integrate reluctant towns into a political union i.e in the region of Laconia, where the 4 original villages of Sparta absorbed the village of Amyclar into the Spartan polis against its will. Synoecism was also incomplete in some places, i.e. Argos, never fully succeeded unifying the whole of the large region of Argolis By early 17 c. dozens of independent city states had been established all across the Mediterranean; however not all Greeks lived in city-states Ethnos, consisted of ppl and its territory (demos) but w.o a capital polis, or a central govt, or formal political union 1 o These towns were independent and autonomous, yet they had a strong sense of common identity: the Aetolians o They were united in religious cult and they had institutions for reaching common decisions and unified action i.e. in case of attack of outsiders GOVERNMENT IN THE EARLY CITY-STATES Political union could not occur unless the local basileis, the leaders of the districts, wished it Aristocracy- were the planners and architects of the new centralized govnt of the emerging city-states o Key decision: to eliminate the position of the paramount basileis and rule collectively, as the paramount chief had little power over the other chiefs to begin with The govntal structure differed in specifics but followed a similar pattern: o 1) the office of paramount basileis was either abolished completely or was greatly reduced in power o 2) the various leadership roles of the basileus were distributed among several officials drawn from the elite o 3) the importance of the council of aristocratic elders increased, and that of the assembly of the people decreased The new complex systems of organization and social control that arose in the city states were necessary responses for the changing conditions: sustained popln growth, increasing productivity nd trade, more complicating relationships with neighbouring states. o Esp the need for ways to mobilize manpower and resources during warfare, for the popln increased and land became scarcer ppl were fighting over territory o The new system was thus good for the polis as a whole, but it was esp. good for the large landowners who made up the govnt and were motivated to maintain their economic and political power The basileus didnt disappear completely; some traditions stayed i.e. limits on the paramount leaders power, which continued throughout this period. o The Spartans retained the chieftain system the longest with 2 hereditary lifelong basileis ruling as equals dual kingship exercised authority esp in military sphere o Their power was curbed by 5 annually elected magistrates, called ephori (overseers) which made sure the rulers did their duty lawfully In most poleis the title basileus became just the name for one of a number of officials who made up the collective leadership of a city-state o Families divided up the spheres of authority: administrative, military, religious, judicial o Later this was referred to as government oligarchy or rule by few Positions of authority cannot be inherited and tenure was brief and could not be held again until a certain amount of yrs later This way, power of any single magistrate was checked and honours were shared among the aristocratic community; e/ city-state developed its own system of magistracies There was no hierarchy among the major offices although many had a chief Supervision of religious activities fell to another magistrate or a board of magistrates which judged crimes to do w/ religion, homicides etc The real center of power in early city-states = council of elders o The boule in the archaic poleis had even more power than the boule in Homeric society o It met more frequently and they made policies and drafted laws for the polis o Members were normally recruited from the highest magistrates who entered the council after their terms office 2o Membership was LT or for life As the authority of council increased, the limited power of the old assembly of adult male citizens to influence policy was further reduced in the oligarchic citystate Some states excluded the poorest citizens from membership in the assembly by imposing a property qualification, some restricted the number of assembly meetings The sovereignty of the aristocratic council was short-lived; as time passed, the authority of the assembly to decide policy would increase THE COLONIZING MOVEMENT Widespread emigration of Greeks from Aegan homelands had begun and continued for more than 2 centuries The expansion was driven by two needs: to satisfy the Greeks growing appetite for important goods, esp scare metals, and to provide citizens of the motherland enough fertile land to live a good life in their new poleis Process of founding a colony: the mother polis had to choose a site, obtain divine approval, plan out the new settlement, choose its founder (oikist) The oikist was responsible for leading out the colonies (defences, sanctuaries) If his leadship proved successful, he would become the guardian hero of the new polis after his death colony would remain linked to its metropolis by bonds of kinship and cult The colonizing movement had 2 phases e/ lasting a little over a century th o 1- beginning in mid-18 c, was directed to Italy and the Mediterranean Pioneeres in the colonization of italy were Eubeans who established a trading colony on the island of Pithecusae that as well suited to exploit the iron deposits; Toward the end of the century, the SParatans established t
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