Civic Institutions

Sara Forsdyke

in The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199286140
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Civic Institutions

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  • Classical Studies
  • Ancient Greek History
  • Classical Philosophy



This article looks at the parallel evolution of civic institutions, all of which culminated in the polis, the ‘city-state’, as the backdrop to the rich cultural legacy of the fifth and fourth centuries. Historians have demonstrated that the formal institutions of the Greek city-state are best understood as emerging from, but still very much embedded within, a much broader range of collective practices and discourses. Nevertheless, it is the dynamic interplay between the institutional structures of the state and these broader practices and discourses that has been the focus of much of the most fruitful scholarship on the ancient Greek city-state over the past thirty years. The discussion then turns to some of the most interesting areas of investigation in current scholarship on the interaction between formal institutions and broader cultural activities and norms in the Greek city-state.

Keywords: polis; civic institutions; city-state; ancient Greece; cultural activities; cultural norms

Article.  6013 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Greek History ; Classical Philosophy

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