The Roles of Individuals in their Communities in Ancient Greece

1854 Words 8 Pages
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
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Without these specific jobs, Athens would not have had the opportunity to grow intellectually and could not sustain itself as well. Because certain people did the practical jobs that were necessary for survival, like farming for food and construction for housing, there was extra time for the development of other aspects of Athens such as art, philosophy, and military. Artwork on a vase from Ancient Athens, which is now at the Getty Villa, shows many men, each performing a certain job in a bronze foundry. This illustrates the fact that jobs became extremely specialized in Classical Athens, and it is symbolic of the compliance that was needed to complete the task. The factory could not produce their goods unless each person did their job well, just as Athens could not function unless each person fulfilled the specific role that he or she had in the community. An efficient and well-maintained society was beneficial for the individual as well as the community, because when the state thrived economically, there were more resources available to each person, and when it thrived intellectually, there was more knowledge available as well. A majority of the citizens had a strong sense of loyalty and duty towards their state. Aristotle once said that each citizen did not only hold responsibilities for himself, but also for his

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