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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 ?
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.
Citistates will be at a disadvantage, Peirce writes, echoing Anthony Downs, unless they curb unnecessary land consumption, locate home and workplaces closer to each other, and improve mass transit.
The entire citistate ought to be pressing the state legislature for substantial, targeted aid for the fiscally distraught inner city.
In short, we suggested that the Philadelphia citistate should try to be as user-friendly, accessible, and customer-oriented as the most progressive corporation, thus enhancing its image across the globe.
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.
No part of a citistate can really win in a full and sustainable way, he argues, unless all classes and communities gain too.
Even merging lots of cities and counties would hardly solve the kind of tough, region-wide problems that Hertzberg has asked his commission to look at -- building affordable housing, preserving open space, relieving traffic congestion, making California citistates competitive in the new global economy.
Check new alliances forming in citistate regions across the country and the Henton thesis rings true.
Not in Brisbane--with 950,000 citizens, the heart of Australia's second-largest citistate.
What happens to a world-famed, smoothly functioning citistate when the nations around it fall victim to economic convulsion, and political upheaval?
Indeed, Henton argues, corporations large and small, seeking efficiency, competing for knowledge workers, will seek out those towns, cities and whole citistate regions that offer beckoning, vital centers, learning environments, and friendly pedestrian environments.