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Polis

From Academic Kids

A polis (πολις) — plural: poleis (πολεις) — is a city, or a city-state. The word originates from the ancient Greek city-states, which developed during the Hellenic period and survived (though with decreasing influence) well into Roman times.

The territory of an ancient polis centered around a citadel, called the acropolis, and would of necessity also have an agora (market) and a gymnasion. Most people lived in the countryside, but only a short journey away from the civic center. The Greeks did not regard the polis as a territorial unit so much as a religious and political association. Each city was composed of several tribes or demes, which were in turn composed of phratries and finally gentes. Metics (resident foreigners) and slaves lay outside this organization. Birth typically determined citizenship. Each polis also had a number of protecting gods and its own particular festivals and customs.


Derived words

Derivatives of polis are common in many modern European languages. This is indicative of the influence of the polis-centred Hellenic world view. Derivative words in English include policy, polity, police and politics.

A number of words have a suffix "-polis". Usually they refer to a special kind of city. Some examples are:

  • Acropolis - upper part of a town.
  • Astropolis - star-scaled city/industry area; complex space station; a european star-related festival.
  • Cosmopolis - a large urban centre with a population comprised of many different cultural backgrounds; a novel authored by Don DeLillo.
  • Ecumenopolis - a city that covers an entire planet, usually seen in science fiction
  • Megapolis, megalopolis - an urban area resulted by merging several cities and their suburbs.
  • Metropolis - a major urban population centre.
  • Necropolis - a graveyard; city of the dead.
  • Technopolis - city with high-tech industry; room full of computers; The Internet.

Names

Names of a number of places and enterprises contain the suffix "-polis" or "-pol":

See also

de:Polis el:Πόλις-κράτος es:Polis fr:Polis he:פוליס (עיר מדינה) ja:ポリス nl:Polis (stad) pl:Polis

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