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Books > History > Ancient Civilizations > 0226673340
  1. Cults, Territory, and the Origins of the Greek City-State
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  2. Cults, Territory, and the Origins of the Greek City-State

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (3 reviews)
    Price R761.00

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How did the classical Greek city come into being? What role did religion play in its formation? Athens, with its ancient citadel and central religious cult, has traditionally been the model for the emergence of the Greek city-state. But in this original and controversial investigation, Francois de Polignac suggests that the Athenian model was probably the exception, not the rule, in the development of the polis in ancient Greece.

Combining archaeological and textual evidence, de Polignac argues that the eighth-century settlements that would become the city-states of classical Greece were defined as much by the boundaries of "civilized" space as by its urban centers. The city took shape through what de Polignac calls a "religious bipolarity," the cults operating both to organize social space and to articulate social relationships being not only at the heart of the inhabited area, but on the edges of the territory. Together with the urban cults, these sanctuaries "in the wild" identified the polis and its sphere of influence, giving rise to the concept of the state as a territorial unit distinct from its neighbors. Frontier sanctuaries were therefore often the focus of disputes between emerging communities. But in other instances, in particular in Greece's colonizing expeditions, these outer sanctuaries may have facilitated the relations between the indigenous populations and the settlers of the newly founded cities.

Featuring extensive revisions from the original French publication and an updated bibliography, this book is essential for anyone interested in the history and culture of ancient Greece.

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François de Polignac
University Of Chicago Press
University Of Chicago Press
University Of Chicago Press
University Of Chicago Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

A bit too French for my tastes
Examples, examples, examples. Is there anything else that de Polignac can give us... archaeological fact maybe? The author uses archaeological evidence only to refute other scholars theories on the formation of the poleis and their interrelationship with cults in the homeland and at colonies. And what does he do to justify his claims on his own hypotheses? Myths and non-contextualized writings of ancient authors. Alongside these are nothing but his own interpretations of them. For these atrocities, this book should be rated at one star. However, de Polignac's insights on both cult mediation between colonial and indigenous groups and the representation of the hero worship in light of the forming poleis are quite profound. If the purpose of the author was to shed new light upon the formation of the ancient world that is usually blocked away by the umbrella of stubborn scholars then de Polignac has excelled in the highest. It is my opinion that the later is the case and that... Read more
This is an incredibly important book for scholars interested in the formation of the polis. Not everyone will agree with all of de Polignac's conclusions, but his theories on the role of sanctuaries in the development of Greek poleis and the mediation of liminal space are thought-provoking and profound. And contrary to the previous reviewer, "archaeological fact" is often a misnomer; the same archaeological evidence can often be interpreted several different ways by different scholars (as the reviewer's own summation of de Polignac's use of archaeological evidence should demonstrate). De Polignac's ideas are proving to be influential in the world of Classical scholarship, so this book is a must-read.
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