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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).

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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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
(36) Although Neal Peirce "sees public participation as vital to the development of regional citistates," his version of regionalism would actually hinder such personal lobbying--"among the most participatory features of the American polity." (37) Such a result represents a high price for residents of any suburban town to pay for tax base attrition in an entirely different political subdivision.
The governance prescriptions in the policy paradigm advocated by citistate activists assume the persistence of federal institutions but prescribe significant devolution of authority to the regional levels.
The mission of the regional government would be to create a more cohesive and efficient citistate, define a new model for public decision making, and also recommend a qualified organization to keep on measuring and assisting the region's governments.
Neal Peirce, a syndicated columnist who writes about urban issues, asks in Citistates: How America Can Prosper in a Competitive World whether American cities can compete successfully in a global economy while also becoming more decent places to live and do business.
citistates must vault to be competitive in the international economy: the "deep socioeconomic gulf between poor cities and affluent suburbs," physical sprawl and the inability to create "effective systems of coordinated governance." Central to the book are the in-depth analyses the authors prepared from 1987 to 1991 for the leading metropolitan newspapers in six regions of the country: Phoenix, Arizona; Seattle, Washington; Baltimore, Maryland; Owensboro-Daviess County, Kentucky; Dallas, Texas; and St.
In the emerging global economy, communities must compete as whole economic regions or what journalist-author Neal Peirce has called "citistates":
So we laid out the idea of creating, for the Philadelphia citistate, the world's highest-quality, high-tech, user-friendly information system - one introducing the region to itself and to the world.
If America's citistates are to succeed, they must "undergird governance with a strong civic organization." The purpose of this region-wide organization would be to work "for the shared and common good over pressure from special interests and the parochial positions of fragmented local governments." These organizations would provide the forums for addressing the governance issues of regions, fostering the partnerships necessary for success and engaging regional citizens in the collective concerns of citistates.
And if that's so, it follows that there could be massive payoff, benefiting all Americans, if the federal government would become an engaged, active partner with the metro regions-our "citistates" in the modern global economy, as I've long preferred to call them.
Our Citistates editorial team, preparing a series for the San Antonio Express-News, expected to find San Antonio's future defined by its ties to high-tech Austin, Texas, just to the north.
It defines cities--and citistate regions--as arenas to realize "community, civility and citizenship--the common values that all human beings share," including a "balance of rights and responsibilities" and peoples' sense of "belonging to a larger whole."
One of today's closest of all sister city relationships is between San Diego and Tijuana -- a single citistate divided by an international border.