Change and Continuity of Greek City States

Topics: Ancient Greece, Sparta, Classical Athens Pages: 2 (366 words) Published: November 10, 2013
Greek city states changed over time in many ways, including in their unity and their government. They also, however, remained the same in that they were continuously at war with those around them, seeking more land and power throughout the course of history.

City states came about in Greece mainly because of its physical characteristics. Its mountainous terrain caused the population to spread out and create separate city states. Because Greece didn't have many vital resources, they were forced to trade with other areas. Through trade, war, and expansion, Greeks were introduced to other cultures and ways of life. Instead of this causing these states to grow apart, it strengthened Greek culture and unification as they developed the need to preserve their own culture in the face of many others.

The governments of Greek city states were constantly changing, taking on forms such as monarchies, oligarchies, aristocracies, and democracies. In fact, Athens took on all of these forms between 800 and 400 B.C.E. It was originally a monarchy, then transformed into an aristocracy. This turned into an oligarchy, which finally, under a man called Cleisthenes, transformed into the democracy we know so well today. This example mirrors the transformation of government systems in most other city states of Greece.

Despite changing unification and government, the search for land and power remained constant throughout the history of Greek city-states. Examples of this are found as early as the Myceneans, who were constantly at war with others. Conflict continues in later civilizations, such as the battles of Marathon, Thermopylae, and Platea, all part of the Persian Wars. A very famous war between Athens and Sparta is the Peloponnesian War.

The Peloponnesian War weakened Greek city-states, causing them to be vulnerable to the attacks by King Phillip II of Macedonia. King Phillip was able to conquer the city-states one by one, as they could not come together to form an...
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