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Interaction by Design: The Greek City State

Interaction by Design: The Greek City State

Chapter:
(p.234) Chapter 13 Interaction by Design: The Greek City State
Source:
Archaeology and the Emergence of Greece
Author(s):
Anthony Snodgrass
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623334.003.0013

Peer polity interaction, like many concepts recently under discussion in archaeological circles, is by no means the exclusive property of archaeology. One of the problems on which the model of peer polity interaction could be expected to throw light is that of the origins of the Greek (or any other) form of state. The operations of peer polity interaction are by no means confined to fully fledged states. For the sake of accuracy, it is better to replace the familiar phrase ‘city state’, with the Greek term polis, denoting in its strict sense a polity consisting of a settlement and its territory, politically united with one another, and independent of other polities. The fifth-century polis of Mycenae had become a very small place; yet Thucydides assumes without question that he can use it as a measure of the size and power of Agamemnon's capital, and thus make a fair comparison with contemporary Athens. The case of classical Greece has proved able to furnish a series of fairly concrete instances of the operation of peer polity interaction.

Keywords:   Greece, peer polity interaction, polis, city state, archaeology, Mycenae, Thucydides, Agamemnon, Athens

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