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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 ?
Historian Dylan Evans, author of a forthcoming book on free cities, says he found in Honduras that "leftwing romantic ideology is immensely powerful in Latin America still today" and that "the default is to suspect any foreign involvement of being inherently rapacious and exploitative and ruthless capitalist, so unfortunately some of the people who might be best served by alternative legal arrangements are ironically most opposed to those things.
One public relations professional who worked with a free cities company says that when she reached out to everyday Hondurans with presentations about the project, they would sometimes ask point blank: Why are you even talking to us?
The international development community, including such major players as the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has not yet thrown its weight behind free cities.
Giancarlo Ibarguen of the Free Cities Institute thinks it could be a good thing that international development organizations and nongovernmental organizations don't have their hands in the free cities movement, "because they usually bring to developing countries a brilliant idea that ends up being more mercantilism and interventionism.
Much of the media and academic chatter about free cities concentrates on the high-level economic development issues--tariffs, taxes, building regulations, the provision of services such as roads, electricity, and water.
If free cities were noticeably safer, they might attract domestic migrants.
Non-Hondurans involved in the process think the Supreme Court decision was more a matter of internal politics and an expression of opposition to the president of Congress, the free cities supporter Juan Orlando Hernandez, who was (and still is) running for president.