What are the major differences between the Greek polis and the Roman Empire and out of all of them which one is the most significant?

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Perhaps the most significant difference was size. The Greek poleis (plural of polis ) were small city-states consisting of a central urban area and surrounding agricultural lands, whereas at its height under Trajan, the Roman Empire covered an area of approximately five million square kilometers, including what would now be...

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Perhaps the most significant difference was size. The Greek poleis (plural of polis) were small city-states consisting of a central urban area and surrounding agricultural lands, whereas at its height under Trajan, the Roman Empire covered an area of approximately five million square kilometers, including what would now be the countries of Spain, Italy, Greece, France, England, Turkey, and Egypt, along with most of North Africa, and several other areas of the Balkans and the Near and Middle East.

The Greek poleis tended to be linguistically and ethnically uniform, while the Roman Empire, although administered in Greek and Latin, was linguistically and ethnically diverse. Although slavery was universally accepted in both cultures, and conquered foreigners were regularly enslaved, there were paths to Roman citizenship for residents of conquered territories and even freed slaves, whereas Greek city states tended to be quite insular.

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This is a good, but broad question. Not all Greek poleis (plural for polis) were the same. In fact, there were great differences between them. For example, Sparta was very different than Athens. Athens was a democracy and Sparta had two kings, a counsel of elders and ephors, who watched over the kings. So, it is hard to make generalizations about Greek cities. With that said, it is still possible to talk about the Roman Empire and how it was different. I would say that the Roman Empire was different from the poleis of the classical Greek world in two main ways.

First, the Romans had a vast empire. The Greek had small city states. In light of this, the Romans had a government that was able to control a vast amount of land. They had provincial governors and other officials that enabled them to rule in distant places. Second, the Roman culture was one that assimilated other cultures very easily. The Roman even gave citizenship easily to others. The Greeks, on the other hand, were very insular and rarely assimilated others. The second point, in my opinion, was the most important.

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