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What was the Greek polis?

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treybengals | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted August 25, 2012 at 1:21 AM via web

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What was the Greek polis?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 25, 2012 at 1:36 AM (Answer #1)

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The Greek polis was what we today call a "city-state."  The polis was an autonomous political unit that was the basic unit of political life in ancient Greece.  

In ancient Greece, there was no overall state that controlled all of the territory.  Instead, the territory that is now Greece was made up of a number of poleis (the plural of polis).  They could be small, measuring a few square miles, or very big, comprising a few hundred square miles.  These cities were independent and sovereign within their own territory.  The polis was the center of political, social, and religious life for all of its people.


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