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The King and His PeopleGreco-Roman Byzantine and MedievalTraditions as They Shaped Europe----- Coming out of the Dark Ages several cultures began to shape Western Europe Greece Rome and Byzantium helped shape the traditions of medieval Europe Each culture developed different political systems that defined the source of the rulers authority and the role of the citizen From city-states to tyrant controlling feudal empires the Western tradition developed a concept of political sovereignty In Greece there was a different kind of development taking place from the resource rich valley and plain civilizations Because of the mountain chains Greece was divided into pockets of agricultural regions There was no center of farming so consequently there was no looking to a central political stronghold The people settled into isolated villages called pollises that proved to be fiercely independent As society became land dependent classes emerged Those owning the most land were the nobles Status also depended on the constant wars between the pollises or city-states A warrior had to supply his own needs The armies were made up of calvery therefore the soldier had to have enough land to support a horse There was a need for constant military leadership so the nobles elected a magistrate to rule for as long it was needed Greece was so small it was quickly over populated Sailors and colonists moved to the Mediterranean and changed the economy with trade and the exchange of new cultural traditions Another major change was the switch from a solely horse carried army to one made up of foot soldiers called hoplites This gave some of the noble power to the farmers who could arm themselves without the need for a horse They became citizens The combination of these economic and military changes really reshaped the government of Greece When the upper class held all the power the government was considered an aristocratic oligarchy With the expansion of the economy and the spreading of power some
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