Profiling a *polis*

Profiling a “polis”
The Greek City-State
• Polis – the Greek word for a city-state.
– Started as a fort, the city grew up around it.
• Ancient Greeks were loyal to their polis.
– Represented Greek identity
• Each polis was independent and selfsufficient.
– Competed economically and politically.
The Greek City-State (cont.)
• Characteristics:
– Covered a small area of land
– Most had a population of fewer than 10,000
people (most were slaves)
– Only free adult males had rights (were
– Original fort was built on an acropolis (hill)
• Temples were also built on the acropolis.
– Each city-state had an agora (marketplace).
The Greek City-State (cont.)
• Agora:
– Main public meeting place
– Citizens met to discuss issues here
• Greeks placed great value on
independence for each city-state.
– Own government, laws, calendar, money
and system of weights and measurements.
The Greek City-State (cont.)
• Similarities:
–Spoke same language
–Non-Greeks were barbarians
–Shared same religious ideas, same
holidays and participated in festivals
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