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Thursday, May 16, 2013
Early Greek states beyond the 'polis'
The Greek polis, as a political and territorial entity, is a remarkable social organisation that emerged in the Greek world after the collapse of the Mycenaean palace system and the “transition” period that followed. Because of its very distinctive character within the ancient world, the city-state dominates the study of Greek history. But how did this start and how can it be recorded?
Lefkandi on the island of Euboea and was extensively occupied since the Early Bronze Age (roughly 2100 BC) to the end of the Geometric period (ca 700 BC) [Credit: ULB]
Scholars often link the polis with communal rites and feasting in sacred or public spaces and they consider that these activities were a means to enhance the territory or group cohesion. Earlier literature has discussed cult and burial practices for periods earlier than the formation of the polis. However, what is missing is an up-to-date study of collective ceremonies from the Post Palatial period (ca 12th-11th c. BC) to the Archaic period (6th c. BC) where complex communal practices would be examined within a wider social context and, more importantly, beyond the structure of the Greek polis. Read the rest of this article...