From antiquity until the nineteenth century, there have been two types of state: macro-states, each dotted with a number of cities, and regions broken up into city-states, each consisting of an urban center and its hinterland. A region settled with interacting city-states constituted a city-state culture and Polis opens with a description of the concepts of city, state, city-state, and city-state culture, and a survey of the 37 city-state cultures so far identified.
Mogens Herman Hansen provides a thoroughly accessible introduction to the polis (plural: poleis), or ancient Greek city-state, which represents by far the largest of all city-state cultures. He addresses such topics as the emergence of the polis, its size and population, and its political organization, ranging from famous poleis such as Athens and Sparta through more than 1,000 known examples.
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