Greek Polis

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Perhaps the greatest political innovation of the ancient Greeks was the establishment of the polis. A Polis Is a city state with a tight knit community. The notable characteristic of the city state was its small size, which allowed for a certain amount of experimentation in its political structure. The time of the city state in Greece is a time of experimentation with political structures and development. This period of experimentation gave the European world most of its available political structures.( Its small size also allowed for democracy, since individual city states were small enough that free male citizens made up a small group that could make decisions relatively easily. The Small size of these poleis gave way to oligarchies. This Form of decision making was very similar to a democratic system. The Main difference was that only the elite and upper class made the decisions almost all of the time, of course their were some exceptions in certain city states. Two prominent small city states in Ancient Greece were Sparta and Athens. Athens was renowned as a center of wisdom and learning. The people of Athens were interested in arts, music, and intellectual pursuits. Sparta, on the other hand, was recognized for its military strength. A Spartan's life was centered on the state, because he lived and died to serve the state. Although the competing city states of Sparta and Athens were individually different as well as governmentally diverse, they both managed to become dominating powers in Ancient Greece. Athenian and Spartan poleis were obviously very different. Most of the time of these two city states existence was spent in competition with each other, being that they were the two most innovative and powerful city states. Although they were different they did share some similarities. Those differences along with similarities will be discussed along with information concerning each poleis political development.

Sparta was located in a fertile...
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