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Alternatives to AthensVarieties of Political Organization and Community in Ancient Greece$
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Roger Brock and Stephen Hodkinson

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199258109

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199258109.001.0001

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Introduction: Alternatives to the Democratic Polis

Introduction: Alternatives to the Democratic Polis

(p.1) 1 Introduction: Alternatives to the Democratic Polis
Alternatives to Athens



Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter begins with a brief background of the organization of the Leeds–Manchester Greek History Research Seminar, which sought ‘to give the variety and plurality their due by examining alternatives (theoretical and actual) to the polis and/or to democracy in archaic, classical, and early hellenistic Greece’. In short, the goal was to provide a counterbalance to the then current democracy celebrations, to redirect attention to the range of political systems and communities beyond that of the democratic polis, and particularly Athenian dēmokratia, and to encourage a more rounded analysis of Greek political life. The chapter then discusses how Athens was unrepresentative of ancient Greek poleis, the range of constitutions found in classical Greece, and various kinds of communities in Greek antiquity of which the polis was only one form, and amphiktyonies and confederacies.

Keywords:   Greek poleis, Greek political life democracy, Athens

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