This chapter examines the history of state formation in ancient Greece during the Bronze Age, providing an overview of the nature of the Minoan states and the extent of control exercised by Mycenaean states. It describes the key features of the states in the Mycenaean period, which include state structure and organization, palatial centers, military organization, economic organization and administration, and systems of communication and representation.
Mogens Herman Hansen
This chapter examines the history of city-states of polis in ancient Greece. It explains that a polis was a strongly institutionalized and centralized micro-state consisting of one city and its immediate hinterland, and that it had an advanced degree of urbanization whereby the majority of the population lived in the urban center. Aside from being the center of habitation, it was also the center of industry and trade, education and entertainment, political institutions, and defense. The chapter furthermore considers the relation between the poleis.
This chapter examines the history of the koinon, a form of regional state in ancient Greece comprised of multiple poleis and in some instances other forms of community, and characterized by the division of sovereignty among the regional government and its constituent communities. It explains that the koinon was a remarkably widespread phenomenon and that almost of mainland Greece and the Peloponnese became part of a koinon. The chapter suggests that the koinon arose amidst a world of poleis against a background of strong group identities and that its nature was profoundly altered in the process of the Roman conquest of Greece in the second century.
This chapter, which explores the history of multi-city states in ancient Greece during the archaic and classical periods, explains that leaders of small city-states were forced to attempt to establish multi-city states because of increasing competition for scarce resources in an age of expanding population and pressures from neighboring cities. It analyzes why these attempts failed, arguing that it is more fruitful to consider state formation as an ongoing process of structural change than as a one-time event.
This chapter, which explores the history of state formation in ancient Greece during the Hellenistic period, describes state power during this period and discusses the narrative, genealogy, and structure of the Hellenistic state. It explains the concepts of basileia and basilikon, and argues that the importance of the Hellenistic empires in the history of the ancient state is linked to several factors. These include the reemergence of a neo-near eastern landscape of kingly polities and the integration of the Greek world of the cities within this world.
In a direct democracy such as that of classical Athens, even the most important political decisions were made as a result of debates conducted in mass meetings attended by ordinary citizens. The ability to speak coherently, engagingly, and persuasively was an important key to political influence. This article examines a related problem by asking how much people really know about ancient rhetoric. It discusses the relationship between the public speeches delivered in classical Athens and the textual remains available today, many of which survived because they were considered, in some respects at least, model speeches. The question here is how much the practice of oratory differed from its theory, and to what extent today's texts display the concerns and abilities of a narrow elite.