clt 3371 9.12 - Religion and Society Polis city state Basic...

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Religion and Society 9/12/2008 Polis “city state” Basic form of community in ancient Greece Begins taking shape during Greek Renaissance (800-700 BCE) Self-governing (not necessarily independent foreign policy) Dimensions o Urban center: market, government, cult, shops, houses o Surrounding countryside: agriculture, hunting, timber, mining o Population: 100s to several hundred thousand people Defining architectural features Walls: surround entire community, publicly financed Temples: open to citizens, publicly financed Agora: public marketplace o Last feature to be constructed in most communities Bronze age (1500-1000): palaces Walls: protected palace only; elaborate, costly construction Probably limited public space (dominance of palaces, priest-kings) Early iron age (1000-800): small, isolated settlements Absence of monumental construction Sacred space relatively undifferentiated Centrality of ruler’s dwellings
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Archaic period (mid-late Geometric to Orientalizing): poleis Monumental construction of public space: walls, temples, agora Sacred space highly differentiated (spatially, temporally, legally) Rulers reside in private dwellings, separate from public space Public space: arena for discussion regardless of government Compare Tiananmen, Red Square, Mall in D.C. Variety of
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clt 3371 9.12 - Religion and Society Polis city state Basic...

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