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in ancient Greece, Italy, and Medieval Europe, an independent political unit consisting of a city and surrounding countryside. The first city-states were in Sumer, but they reached their peak in Greece. From the beginning of Greek history to its climax in the 5th and 4th cent. B.C., the Greeks were organized into city-states, of which there were several hundred. The first Italian city-states were Greek colonies. Later Etruscan and native city-states emerged, including Rome. After the fall of the Roman Empire, many Italian cities (e.g., Florence, Genoa, Venice) were city-states until the 19th cent., as were such N German cities as Bremen and Hamburg. The Greek word polis meant both city and city-state. Since the city-state was independent, different states—and the same state at different times—had a variety of governments, ranging from absolute monarchy to pure democracy. Only citizenscitizen,
member of a state, native or naturalized, who owes allegiance to the government of the state and is entitled to certain rights. Citizens may be said to enjoy the most privileged form of nationality; they are at the furthest extreme from nonnational residents of a state
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 participated in the government of the city-state, and citizenship was limited to those born of citizen parents. In the classical era, a large proportion of the city-state's population consisted of slaves. Participation by citizens in government was often limited by class distinctions. The government usually consisted of an assembly and council; the former predominated in democracies, the latter in oligarchies. Although the various city-states combined into religious or military federations, most did not endure for long in Greece, leaving it open to foreign attack by large centralized states to which it eventually submitted.


See G. Glotz, The Greek City and Its Institutions (ed. by N. Mallinson, 1930, repr. 1969); V. Ehrenberg, The Greek State (2d rev. ed. 1969, repr. 1972).


a state consisting of a sovereign city and its dependencies. Among the most famous are the great independent cities of the ancient world, such as Athens, Sparta, Carthage, and Rome
References in periodicals archive ?
Citystate provides personal insurance products and services for auto, home and health, as well as commercial insurance products and services such as workers compensation, to small and mid-sized businesses.
Due to its diverse personal and commercial insurance product portfolio, management expertise, and extensive knowledge of the region's markets, Citystate is the right strategic fit for our growth plans in Southeast Asia," said Ted Kelly, President and CEO of Liberty Mutual.
And all this, too, despite the fact that Europe's countries in many instances only developed as nation-states subsequent to being citystates.
For example, when the Persian empire sought to invade Greece in 300 BCE, the Persian emperor Darius crafted a clever strategic communication plan that sought to divide the Greek citystates and offered reasonably benign terms to any state willing to sign on with the Persians.
These citystates were ruled by patriarchs known as sultans drawn from the ruling upper class.
The traditional Greco-Roman citystates (poleis), not yet fully Christianized in the late fourth century, had taken these benefits away from lepers.
Thus they facilitate social and psychological transition by allowing young men of good family to journey between citystates in search of wives, adventure, or education.
More akin to the English parish than to the Roman basilica, the church has diminished authority in Shakespeare's Italian citystates wherein it is primarily a secular expedient: "Though the church is not a dominating presence in Shakespeare's representation of the Italian urban scene, it is at hand, ready when the city's players are" (145).
At that time, massive citystates were formed, and the characteristic elements of sculpture, cylinder-seals and writing in Mesopotamia appeared.
That same principle applies on a much grander scale to the emergence of "Classic period" citystates in the Maya lowlands between A.