Essay Title: 

Western Civilization

March 24, 2016 | Author: | Posted in east european studies, history

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Polis of Ancient Greece

Whereas many ancient nations developed into large states , the peoples of Greece formed a much more unique kind of political organization , that of the polis . The polis were city-states , of which there were many in Ancient Greece , some of the most notable including Athens , Sparta , and Corinth . At the early stages , each polis was ruled over by a monarch though this was changed throughout history

Some of the weaknesses of the polis as a political structure can be immediately recognized . For example , the [banner_entry_middle]

small size of a city-state compared to that of a large nation-state leads to a variety of potential problems . An individual polis could be easily invaded by the army of a nation-state , however as the polis often had alliances with one another this was not usually the case . As a result of their small size , the polis tended to be war oriented , particularly among their neighbors in Greece . This in part led to another weakness the ease in which the ruling government over a polis could be overthrown , a scenario which occurred frequently among the city-states . Often when the citizens became dissatisfied with their ruler , one would rise who would take power . Unfortunately , the new ruler often proved to be a tyrant

However , the polis also had a number of strengths , which is no doubt why their existence continued over several centuries . One strength was based on what has already been designated as a potential weakness – the small size . Small city-states allowed for ample experimentation in the political realm , which is why the polis were ruled over by a variety of governments , including monarchies , tyrannies , oligarchies , and limited democracies . It was through this experimentation that the Greeks developed the idea of a republic , which we have inherited in today ‘s world . As well , the polis spawned the concept of naturalization , in which foreigners could become Greek citizens , which eventually led to the Greek idea of a common universal culture . As well , the polis shared a common language and similar culture which those surrounding city-states , which led Greece to become a strong cultural and political force

Although the polis did have the weaknesses mentioned , it would seem that they were overshadowed with the strengths . For this reason , the polis continued to be the dominant form of Greek government for centuries , and contributed many ideas about government that have been passed on to us in the present… [banner_entry_footer]

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