The Three Major City-States
In the Archaic Age(700-500 B.C.E.), all of the city-states that existed in that period were different from each other. By examining three leading city-states of Greek civilization, Sparta , Corinth and Athens , the diversity of the Archaic Greece could be understood. The best way to understand this diversity is to approach these three city-states in three different aspects of societies. Examining them by politically, economically and culturally would be appropriate.
First to start with political structures of the cities, all of the city-states, like other Dark Age communities, were ruled by aristocratic clans. These three city-states had the same problems such as population growth, rapidly increasing inequalities between rich and poor people, because of this political structure but the solutions to these same problems were different in each city-state. To solve the problems, first, Corinthians created a new order to solve the problem which was called tyranny. This system had a leader called “tyrants” who were supported and chosen by citizens to meet their demands and solve the problems within the society. Tyrants restructured taxes, construct new structures for enhancing trade in the sea and they also gave rights to their supporters. “Tyranny” was successful for some time in Corinth but as it always happened before, the great weakness of this system arised. When the tyrant of Corinth, Periander, died, new tyrant weren’t supported by the citizens so the system collapsed with it. The system, then, turned into an oligarchic system and continued the tribal and council system established by tyrants and it was remarkably successful(CW , Ch.2 , pg 56). On the other hand, Spartans followed a different path to solve the problems. A unique military system and a rigid social structure were the basis of the Spartans’ political organization. Sparta was ruled by a system consisted of combination of monarchy, oligarchy and democracy....
References: • Civilization in the West 6th Edition ; by Mark Kishlansky, Patrick Geary, Patricia O’Brien; Published by Pearson Longman.
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