Polis (antiquity)


July 6, 2022

Polis (ancient Greek πόλις, πολιτεία; lat. civitas) is the original social form of the state, consisting of several rural settlements united around one urban center, denoted in Greek by the word "polis" (Greek "city", in lat . - "civitas", "civil community"), a special form of political organization of society (quite often the state). Both words mean, in fact, the same thing: a special form of government - a city-state in which all citizens have certain rights and obligations. Polis as a social form of the ancient urban civil community most fully corresponded to the level of development of ancient society. The economic basis of the policy was the ancient dual form of ownership: on the one hand, it is the property of the civil community for the entire territory and wealth of the policy, and on the other, the individual property of each citizen. Every adult citizen who has the rights of citizenship and owns a private household: "oikos" (house) participated in the civil life of the policy. Their formation dates back to the end of the 8th century BC. e.

Political system

The territory of the policy usually included the actual agora - the urban center and the chora (suburb) - the adjacent agricultural district. The policy was made up of full-fledged citizens - members of the community - each of whom had the right to land ownership and political rights. Part of the population did not belong to the policy and did not have the rights of citizens: meteks, perieks, freedmen, slaves. The state system in the policies was different: oligarchy, democracy, monarchy (the latter was typical for policies in the archaic period), etc.


Both large and small Greek cities minted their own coins. Sometimes the policy is considered as one of the types of "city-state". At its core, the policy is an agricultural community, therefore, the supreme property of the community over the land plots of citizens is one of the most important features of the policy. The polis is not only a political and economic, but also a religious organization in which the spiritual and secular authorities coincided, and the polis priesthood was part of the system of polis magistracies. City-states of Mycenaean Greece