Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spirited: Ian Morris on the Formation of the Polis

Burial and Ancient Society: The Rise of the Greek City-State 
During an exam I was proctoring today, I set out once again to read Ian Morris' Burial and Ancient Society, which traces the evolution of the polis through burial monuments and other means. Morris is brilliant. One of the pieces I found most fascinating was a brief mention of Plato in the introduction. Morris argues that Plato is one of the few instances in history of extreme introspective political analysis directly after a regime change. Ian Morris contends that the reason for this is that the polis is the first truly political system: one based solely on political relationships and specifically on the context of citizenship. This makes a lot of sense to me based on Plato's analysis. More to come...

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