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The Roles of Individuals in their Communities in Ancient Greece Essay

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The Ancient Greeks had many values that made their civilization successful, but one of the most important was their sense of community. The Greeks, especially in Classical Athens, considered their community in the decisions they made, and they were interested in the affairs of the state. It was important to them that their society was functional and productive, and their personal needs often came second to those of the state. Community was a central value in Greek culture, and the individual’s contribution to the community strengthened the state and benefitted each person. Some philosophers disagreed, with this, however, and valued independent thinking over obedience and loyalty to the state.
The government structure reflected the Athenians’ belief that individual contribution is crucial for sustaining a productive society. In the Classical Era, which was from 490-323 BCE, democracy was implemented and resulted in the power over the state lying in each citizen’s hands. Every vote affected the decisions that were made for the community, and every person had a say. The democratic system increased the individual’s involvement and interest in state affairs, therefore making each citizen more aware of what was happening in his community. As Thucydides said in Pericles’ eulogy, “Here each individual is interested not only in his own affairs but in the affairs of the state as well: even those who are mostly occupied with their own business are extremely well-informed on general politics.” By being well informed, the Athenians made better choices for their polis and cared more about what was going on in their city.
The specialization of labor also reflected the Athenian belief that each individual contribution is essential for ...


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