The “Polis” was the Greek form of organization since the Eighth century BC.
The term translates as “city-state” or “state-city” and was a territorial unit, with the city, surrounding land and villages, but the most important element was the human community. In the Greek world there were over 200 such states, which were usually a few thousand inhabitants, only three exceed the figure of 20000: Athens, Syracuse and Agrigento.
After the leadership of Solon for 36 years the power belonged to the tyrants . The last of these was removed in 510 BC by Cleisthenes, whose laws have changed so radically in Solon’s constitution, making him the founder of the Athenian constitution.
The main ideas of Cleisthenes’s reforms were:
1. Replacement of division into tribes, fraternities and families with a territorial division.
2. Division of Attica into three districts and districts – into smaller areas.
3. Citizen’s rights for foreigners living in Attica.
4. Replacement of Solon’s Council of 400 with a Council of 500, introduction of ostracism and Board of Generals.
In general reforms were to diminish the role of aristocracy, eliminate financial differences and mix the society.
The pace of making decisions was critisised (by Plato and Aristotle) because it was of high importance in those turbulent times. In a situation when the state was in danger, despite the existence of the strategist’s office, the most important decisions had to be made in the Assembly which was not always reasonable.