The Greek city-state or polis
From these sources, it seems pretty clear that the polis
The episode of the Persian constitutional debate is taken by all historians as a fantasy. This conversation that never took place is intriguing for what it tells us about our own expectations of cultural roles. The Persians can not possibly have discussed politics in this way, only the Greeks knew political thought. Herodotos had no problems imagining Persian noblemen discuss politics like in Greece
The Archaic age was not only a time of war and conquest. The Phoenician city states of the Levant
The political economy of the Mycenaean Late Bronze Age palace
An internal development of the polis
In order to understand ancient societies beyond the Early State model, scholars have started to discuss the concept of a duality of the so called corporative and elitist strategies for social integration in ancient societies. The elitist strategy is characterized by exclusive access to prestige goods, a patrimonial view of society, divine rulership, and imperialism
Thus, the change from palace
There is sufficient evidence to argue that the Greek polis
The division into two fundamentally different interpretations of collective power in ancient societies goes back to the essays of Thorkild Jacobsen (1943) and Geoffrey Evans (1958) on “primitive democracy
The rise of kingship
As will be seen, councils and assemblies of Near Eastern city-states
In the Ancient Near Eastern city-states
The judiciary capacity of institutions at the gate is reflected in Ugaritic
A council of elders passing sentences in the city-gates (baša‘ar) is found in the Old Testament, for example, the Book of Ruth where Boas goes to the elders to solve a problem of inheritance of land (Ruth 4.1–4). Though this is a rather late source (perhaps fifth–fourth century BCE), the institutions they describe are probably ancient. The function of the council of elders is to witness an agreement, and this is done in a public space, in the city-gates. There are many instances of courts being seated in the gates, which also served as the market place. In the Old Testament, appeals go out not to tread on the wretched in the city-gates (Pr. 22.22; Amos 5.7, 12–15), which is a warning against denying justice to the poor.
In the Greek polis
In Archaic Greece
It has been argued that the Greek polis
The two different assessments of collective means of decision making in Near Eastern and Greek traditions rest on two assumptions. The first is that of an Early State in Mesopotamia with no place for corporative power strategies; thus, assemblies and councils can only be explained as primitive and tribal
The Greek polis
The Late Bronze Age society of Greece
An influential model for Ancient Near Eastern city-states
The two-sector model has been attacked recently and from two sides. One line of criticism argues that the model is nothing but a variety of the Marxist term Asiatic despotism
It may be argued that both the two-sector economy and the patrimonial household model are varieties of the Early State model that emphasize the divide between rulers and ruled. Elizabeth C. Stone argues for the use of the term “consensual society” in analyzing ancient polities, and points out that the Greek polis
The only literary sources to Mycenaean society are the Linear B
The wa-na-ka or wanax
Mycenaean society has been interpreted as polarized into a central palace
There is more information available for other Late Bronze Age polities. For Ugarit
Of course, the Aegeans did not sit on the beach and wait for sailors from Ugarit
In the Iron Age, after the fall of the palaces, the polis
Around 1200, the complex societies of the Eastern Mediterranean
The written sources to the Levant
From the letters of the Syrian
The structure of power in Byblos
The Phoenicians act as traffickers and travellers in the Homeric eighth century. They are encountered a couple of times by Odysseus
The negative view of the Phoenicians soon became the predominant one, and after the Persian wars, the Phoenicians were thrown in with the other cowardly Asians. Thukydides
The negative Greek view of the Phoenicians belies the Near Eastern background for much of Greek culture. The Archaic period saw the adaption of the Phoenician alphabet
Arguably, a corporate strategy of power was prevalent in Levantine city-states
The Phoenician city-states had kings and collective institutions of decision making. Likewise, some Greek poleis had kings or tyrants
The nature of Greek interaction with the Ancient Near East has been much debated. Walter Burkert (1992) coined the process the Orientalizing revolution, and placed most of the action in the Archaic period. Itinerant craftsmen are the main suspects in bringing new impulses to the Greeks. Some place the Near Eastern influences on Greek culture earlier. Martin Bernal (1991) has tried to breathe life into Greek myths about Egyptian
No doubt the elite were not alone on their travels. Settlement abroad in the period of Greek colonization from the eighth to the sixth century BCE brought heterogeneous groups of Greek settlers into contacts with other cultures. The culture of the indigenous population of Sicily, as analyzed by Peter van Dommelen, is an example of hybridization (Dommelen 1997). The Greek colonists may have been influenced by similar experiences, not only in encounters with the indigenous population, but also in their meetings with traders like the Phoenicians, who established stations abroad.
From the end of the Archaic to the Classical period, there is a contrast between Herodotos
The polis has several origins. There is a continuity of Greek culture from Mycenaean times to the Archaic period, although much of what happened in the Dark Age is unknown. The Late Bronze Age world of the Ahhiyawa
The indigenous Greek contribution to the polis
The developments of the Archaic Greek world were in part the results of Greek contacts with Near Eastern peoples, of which the Phoenicians are the prime example. The adaption of the Phoenician alphabet
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Table of Contents
Introduction to Melammu: Early Globalization
M. J. Geller
2 Global Monotheism:
The Contribution of the Israelite Prophets
Baruch A. Levine
6 Gilgamesh’s Plant of Rejuvenation and Qāṭīne’s Sīsīsāmbur
7 Some Observations about “Foreigners” in Babylonia
during the VI Century BCE
8 The Religious Reform of Nabonidus: A Sceptical View
9 New Light on George Smith’s Purchase of the
Egibi Archive in 1876 from the Nachlass Mathewson
Strahil V. Panayotov, Cornelia Wunsch
10 Phrygian Bronzes in the Greek World:
Globalization through Cult?
11 Power and Ritual in the Achaemenian Royalty
12 Religious Ontology and Taxonomic Structures in Indo-Iranian Oral Poetry
13 Elements of “Globalization” in Ancient Iranian Numismatics
15 India and World Trade: From the Beginnings to the
16 Ancient Near Eastern Polities and the Greek Polis: Secondary States, Structural Similarities and the Problem of Diffusion
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