Ancient Governmental Standards Essay Research Paper Governmental — страница 2

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the world, and that difference unified them. Unfortunately for the Jews, their monotheism also affected their view of government. They looked to Solomon almost as a representative of their God, with his death; they were without their real leader. While he lived the Jews were strong and prosperous; without him they were divided by petty problems. The Hellenic City State Greece was a region that shared similarities with the Hebrews. While the Greeks shared a religion and a language, their tribes, called city-states were even more distinct than the Hebrews. Each city-state developed its own form of government that was specialized to its region and people. Athens The city-state of Athens was characterized by a dependence on the sea. Athens was a merchant state, and thus its societal

structure was very volatile for the era. Theoretically, anyone who could own property could be the richest person, at virtually anytime. As such property owners, or citizens (all Athenian adult males) were essentially all equal in the eyes of the government, there were no real hereditary rulers. Athens had two major ruling bodies: the Assembly, open to all adult male citizens, and the Council of Five Hundred, chosen randomly from the body of citizens. Daily governance was in the hands of the magistrates, another groups of adult male citizens, chosen randomly. The Assembly handled all major acts of state including war, treaties and dispersal of public funds. The Council dealt with ports, military installations and other state owned properties; the Council also set the agenda for

the Assembly. . Strengths and Weaknesses of Athens The social freedom allowed by the democratic process in Athens paved the way for many great cultural advances and made Athens a very wealthy and powerful society. In theory, every citizen was equal, and had an equal say in how their government was run. In reality, a few extremely wealthy citizens essentially controlled the government. The only real effect of this was that Athens was not subject to the periodic bouts of mob rule that often characterizes democracy. Other Hellenic States The other city-states on the Greek peninsula are not as closely examined as Athens. Corinth, Thebes, Thespia and many others are often overlooked, due to their dwindling effects on the ancient world. However, one city-state other than Athens does

deserve some attention, Sparta. If Athens was the major naval power of the ancient world, Sparta was its landbound counterpart. Due to the proportionally large slave population, every Spartan male was a warrior. Their life was harshly disciplined, from the very moment of birth. As soon as a Spartan was born, he was judged as to his physical perfection. If found wanting, the newborn was abandoned by his parents to die of exposure. Two kings led Sparta. This unorthodox arrangement was due to the reality of combat. If one king died while fighting, there was still one king left. The kings? position was very similar to that of a general. The actual governance of the land was left to roving magistrates, who acted as combination policeman and judge. Hellenistic Kingdoms After the death

of Alexander the Great, his empire was divided into three, and later four, successor dynasties. The most powerful of these was the Ptolemaic monarchy, based in Egypt. Ptolemaic Egypt was a merchant power, but due to internal revolts and would-be Seleucid conquerors, the Ptolemaic dynasty lost power by the second century B.C.E. The Seleucid dynasty, based in Persia, emerged as the most powerful kingdom following the conquest of Phoenicia and Palestine. The Antigonid monarchy, from Macedon, took advantage of the Ptolemaic weakness to seize key Ptolemaic properties. Strengths of the Hellenistic Kingdoms None of the Hellenistic Kingdoms stood out as a distinctive political force. They served more as a bridge between the Greek dominated Mediterranean and the Roman dominated world.

While they enjoyed significant cultural cosmopolitanism, the actual political structure of the states was uninspired and ultimately weak. Roman Republic Rome?s roots lay in revolution. At the close of the sixth century B.C.E., wealthy Romans, or patriarchs, expelled the Etruscan controlled king. At first, these patricians controlled Roman government under the guise of an Assembly, a Senate, and two consuls. ?The Centuriate Assembly was a popular assembly but, because of voting procedures, was controlled by the nobility.? (Perry, 119) The Assembly enacted all Roman laws. The Senate, a hereditary body, advised the Assembly, as well as apportioning public funds and dictating foreign policy. By the close of the third century B.C.E. the commoners, or plebians, had won some measure of