Reflections on the Origins of the Polis
From a beginning of small isolated settlements around 1000 B.C., the city-state (polis) emerged in Greece in the course of four centuries as a political, geographical and judicial unit, with an assembly, council, magistrates and written laws. Using a rational-actor perspective, it is shown how this process was driven by competition among the members of the elite. A crucial ingredient was the gradual consolidation of boundaries, which contributed to population growth, inter-state conflicts, colonisation and competition for power. Variations over time in the conditions for competition explain both the introduction of formal political institutions and their overthrow by tyrants. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006
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