Political activity and political thinking began in the cities and other states of ancient Greece, and terms such as tyranny, aristocracy, oligarchy, democracy and politics itself are Greek words for concepts first discussed in Greece. Rhodes presents in translation a selection of texts illustrating the formal mechanisms and informal workings of the Greek states in all their variety. From the states described by Homer out of which the classical Greeks believed their states had developed, through the archaic period which saw the rise and fall of tyrants and the gradual broadening of citizen bodies, to the classical period of the fifth and fourth centuries, Rhodes also looks beyond that to the Hellenistic and Roman periods in which the Greeks tried to preserve their way of life in a world of great powers. For this second edition the book has been thoroughly revised and three new chapters added.

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