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The word originates from the ancient Greek city-states, which developed during the period and existed well into Roman times, when the equivalent Latin word was civitas, that means 'citizenhood' as well.
An ancient polis often centered around a citadel, called the acropolis. Nearly always it had an agora (market) and typically one or more temples and a gymnasium. Many citizens of a polis did not live in the central city but in the suburbs or countryside. The Greeks regarded the polis as a religious and political association: while the polis would control territory and colonies beyond the city itself, the polis would not simply consist of a geographical area.
Words coming from "polis"
A number of words end in the word "-polis". Most refer to a special kind of city and/or state. Some examples are:
- Megalopolis, made by adding Greek word for "big" and meaning a conurbation built by merging several cities and their suburbs.
- Metropolis, made by adding the Greek word for "mother" and meaning the mother city of a colony, the see of a metropolitan archbishop, or a Metropolitan area.
Other refer to part of a city or a group of cities, such as:
- Acropolis, 'high city' — upper part of a polis, often citadel and/or site of major temple(s).
- Tripolis, a group of three cities, retained in the names of a Tripoli in Libya and a namesake in Lebanon
The names of several other towns and cities in Europe and the Middle East have contained the suffix "-polis" since antiquity; or currently feature modernized spellings, such as "-pol". Some of the examples are:
The names of other cities were also given the suffix "-polis" after antiquity, either referring to ancient names or simply unrelated:
- Annapolis, Maryland, United States of America
- Indianapolis, Indiana, United States of America
- Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America
- Illiopolis, Illinois, United States of America
- Metropolis, Illinois, United States of America
- Demopolis, Alabama, United States of America
Thermopolis, Wyoming is a town in the United States of America but isn't classified as a city.
- Hansen, Mogens Herman. Polis: An Introduction to the Ancient Greek City-State. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0-19-920849-2; paperback,ISBN 0-19-920850-6).
|This article includes text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica. Please add to the article as needed.|