Re: AotW: Contest Discussion
I 've been observing this discussion for a while, and I've finally decided to comment myself, because this is clearly getting nowhere.
Regarding the notion of empire: An empire is a state structure that usually consists of a) the (city-)state in power (e.g. Rome) and b) the invaded lands that have financial and trade relations (or even deeper ones) with the state in power. Clearly there is either an individual or a small group of people that leads the state in power, it goes like this:
Greece has never EVER been an empire in the way Rome was, or the way Assyria was. That is because the Greeks were organized since the beginning in city-states which had certain relations but differed greatly in terms of political and social beliefs, and that is why they did not consider themselves natural allies. The only time before Alexander that the Greeks ever cooperated massively was during the Persian attacks, and one could say that back then they cooperated mostly because they had common terrain interests, not because they considered themselves to be of the same nation, and as such natural allies.
Which brings me to my next order of business. There are all kinds of mistakes in this comment of yours. First of all, not even half of the Greek city-states ever accepted the notion of democracy, and we must also take into account the fact that numerous conflicts took place between city-states because they did not agree on political matters, or even in the interior of city-states like Corfu, which suffered a horrible civil war that has been recorded by Thucydides.
Originally Posted by 'Kurapika
Oligarchy was just another form of government that was prefered in many Greek city-states, including Sparta. Oligarchy meant that only few of the male, free citizens of a city-state could participate in political decision-making. Democracy meant that all male, free citizens of a city-state could do so. Of course in both these cases, women, slaves, foreigners and younger men were excluded from the decision-making. However, that does not, by any means, imply that the Democracy of let's say Athens was not democratic. It's a tragic error to consider the Democracy of Athens an oligarchy just because it exclude these groups, because we simply CANNOT compare the beliefs of the present and of such a distant past. It's pointless and it gets us nowhere.
Regarding the leagues, those had the characteristics of a hegemony, which shows a system of states, out of which one is more powerful than the others and is obliged to preserve the balance of the system. A hegemony, however, is NOT an empire. Though there was conflict between parties, it was more of a case of alliance (either wanted or necessitated), than a case of invasion and control of a city-state by another. If anything, an empire doesn't form from one day to another; decades are usually needed to adopt the standard structure of the empire, as it shows quite a number of complications in practice. No actual empire existed in Greece or was created by the Greeks before the time of Alexander, and if anything I am pretty sure that the Ancient Greek civilization we 're talking about here is of the era before the Peloponnesian War. As such, what Alexander did (or tried to) is completely irrelevant to this argument.