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date: 30 November 2022

federal stateslocked

federal stateslocked

  • Jakob Aall Ottesen Larsen
  •  and P. J. Rhodes


Federal states are found in the Greek world from the late 6th cent. bce. The term is used of those organizations in which the separate city states (see polis) of a geographical and ethnic region were combined to form a single entity at any rate for purposes of foreign policy, while for local purposes retaining their separate identity as city states and their separate citizenship. Thus *Boeotia was a federal state in which the individual communities were still regarded as cities, whereas *Attica formed the city-state of Athens and the *demes did not have the degree of *autonomy appropriate to cities. Tribal states in the less urbanized parts of Greece were like federal states in that the tribal organization comprised units with a considerable degree of local autonomy. There is no ancient Greek term which precisely denotes a federal state: the words most often used are koinon (‘commonwealth’) and ethnos (‘nation’; see ethnicity).


  • Greek History and Historiography

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