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Politeia

πολιτεία). Citizenship, a citizen (πολίτης) being defined by Aristotle as one who is a sharer in the legislative and judicial power (μέτοχος κρίσεως καὶ ἀρχῆς). The character and meaning of citizenship differed in the various States of Greece, and in each State was not always the same. In the Homeric Age the notion of citizenship existed only so far as the condition of slaves and aliens was its negative. In the historical period there was a grand levelling up of the lower ranks, owing to


1.

the overthrow of the monarchy,


2.

the quarrels of the nobles who succeeded to the power of the kings, and


3.

the growth of commerce and of wealth. Among the chief rights of a Greek πολίτης, and which were sometimes granted to πρόξενοι or closely allied aliens, were the right of intermarriage (ἐπιγαμία), the right of acquiring landed property (ἔκτησις), immunity from taxation (ἀτέλεια). These privileges were included under the general name of ἰσοτέλεια or ἰσοπολιτεία, and the non-citizens who obtained them were called ἰσοτελεῖς. The Greeks regarded the State (πόλις) as a definite entity intended to effect some one great end, as liberty (under a democracy), wealth (under an oligarchy), and education and training (under an aristocracy). This unity of purpose was most fully carried out in Sparta, where the one great aim of all the political institutions was to unite and solidify the governing body against the superior numbers of a subject population. (See Helotes; Sparta.) But in all the Greek governments the object was to draw the social bond as close as possible. See Gilbert, Greek Constitutional Antiquities, Eng. trans. (1895); Metoeci; Perioeci; Proxenus.

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