The Early Development of the Polis: Boundaries, Balance, and Unification

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dc.contributor.advisor Walker, Cheryl Villet, Justin 2011-05-25T13:53:40Z 2011-05-25T13:53:40Z 2011
dc.description.abstract The polis is a unique ancient entity which most scholars argue about. What is it? How can we define it? How did it start? What sources are valid? Is it constant in different time periods? The polis, a newer and larger version of the oikos, is a settlement structure that is not fixed in its government or size. There are hundreds of poleis and they are located all over ancient Greece. The creation of the polis did not rely, as some scholars might argue, on any one factor but stability between many. The one thing that remains a constant between all poleis is “balance”. The polis represents a figurative and literal (in the case of physical structures) fulcrum that balances external and internal influences in order to facilitate growth and development. Physical structures, such as walls, extra-urban and urban sanctuaries, and harbors, create protection for the polis and its citizenry while also connecting them to local and foreign entities. Procedural laws, which were public and formal, create an equality between different levels of the citizenry while maintaining power for wealthy families. Early poetry of the Archaic period, archaeological surveys of the Bronze Age to the Classical period, Classical histories, and linguistic theories describe how the polis first began, what ideologies were initially emphasized, and how the polis, both physically and theoretically, interacted with other ancient entities. There are four types of poleis which corresponded to different time periods and definitions: “Homeric”, Archaic, Classical, and Aristotelian. Case studies of Athens, Corinth, Thebes, and Sparta illustrate a similar early development, but each maintains different governments. \t The polis is a textual, linguistic, physical and philosophical entity which has intrigued scholars for decades. It is only through a better understanding of its early development and concept of “balance,” as well as a comprehensive discussion of contemporary scholarship, that we will be able to fully comprehend and define a polis.
dc.description.sponsorship Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Brandeis University
dc.relation.ispartofseries Brandeis University Theses and Dissertations
dc.rights Copyright by Justin Villet 2011
dc.subject ancient Greece
dc.subject development
dc.subject boundaries
dc.subject balance
dc.subject Greece
dc.subject polis
dc.title The Early Development of the Polis: Boundaries, Balance, and Unification
dc.type Thesis
dc.contributor.department Department of Classical Studies MA Masters Classical Studies Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

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