Individual and Community: The Rise of the Polis, 800-500 B. C.

Overview


During the three centuries from 800 to 500 B.C., the Greek world evolved from a primitive society--both culturally and economically--to one whose artistic products dominated all Mediterranean markets, supported by a wide overseas trade. In the following two centuries came the literary, philosophical, and artistic masterpieces of the classic area. Vital to this advance was the development of the polis, a collective institution in which citizens had rights as well as duties under the rule of law, a system hitherto...
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Overview


During the three centuries from 800 to 500 B.C., the Greek world evolved from a primitive society--both culturally and economically--to one whose artistic products dominated all Mediterranean markets, supported by a wide overseas trade. In the following two centuries came the literary, philosophical, and artistic masterpieces of the classic area. Vital to this advance was the development of the polis, a collective institution in which citizens had rights as well as duties under the rule of law, a system hitherto unknown in human history. In this study, the first systematic exploration of the forces that created the political framework of Greek civilization, Chester Starr shows how the Greeks emerged form a Homeric world of individuals to the polis of 500 B.C. The age-old conflict between the self-serving demands of human beings and the less vocally-expressed needs of the community serves as the backbone of Starr's interdisciplinary analysis of the rise of the polis.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A concise attempt to pin down the historical development of the Greek polis from its 'initial crystallization' in the eighth century to the attainment of its classic form in 500....for graduate students and serious undergraduates the book is an ideal vademecum through the dim, formative period of the early city-state."--The Classical World

"An admirable essay...The book is a useful guide to what has been done on the history of the polis and raises issues suitable for investigation in seminars or individual research."--Religious Studies Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195039719
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/28/1986
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Michigan (Emeritus)
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Table of Contents

I Land, Sea, and Sun 3
Geography and Climate 4
A Rural World 6
The Shining Sea 9
Rise and Fall of the Early Aegean World 10
II An Age of Chieftains 15
Tribes and Chieftains 16
Political Procedures in the Iliad 18
The Power of the Basileus 21
The Beginnings of Change: The Odyssey and Hesiod 24
Social Structure and Values 27
III Crystallization of the Polis 34
Appearance of the Polis 35
The Physical Evidence 37
Anthropological Models 42
The Early Polis 46
IV Patriotism and Divisiveness 52
The Demands of War 53
Consolidation of Government 55
The Aristocratic Way of Life 59
Aristocratic Search for Wealth 63
V Upheaval and Reform 67
Cities, Coins and Thinkers 69
Reforms: Sparta and Athens 74
Tyrants 80
VI The Polis World in 500 B.C. 87
Athenian Democracy 89
Greek Oligarchies 93
The Perfected Polis 97
Notes 101
Bibliography 127
Index 131
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