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Characteristics of a synoecism::Synoecism

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Characteristics of a synoecism

Greek and Roman synoecism

The Greek word synoecism is applied by scholarship beyond the limits of the Greek world to all of Europe, which universally practiced it, although not under that name. Any binding union of villages conducted in a definite act of incorporation with all due oaths, sacrifices and other ceremonial invocation of the gods and heroes was a synoecism. The Romans and other Italians used it as anciently as the Greeks; however, the Greek language is slightly more conducive to the formation of an abstract noun in this case. The infinitive, synoikidzein, is in the imperfective aspect, meaning literally "to live continuously in the same house." This meaning is not the single act of union. In order to make it into one, the Greeks formed an abstract noun from the perfective aspect, converted from the imperfective by the aorist tense marker -s-: synoikis-mos. The Roman verb for the same event is already in the perfective aspect: condere, literally "to accomplish the single act of putting together." The Romans used an adjectival construction not conducive to the formation of an English noun, as in the name of Titus Livius' work on Roman history, Ab urbe condita, literally "from the city founded," meaning "from the foundation of the city." That foundation was a formal, ceremonial act uniting formerly distinct villages, a synoecism in every way.

Institution of a commonwealth

Although there were differences between Greek and Roman synoecisms they all had the same general features. Before the union the future population of the commonwealth was distributed to smaller settlements not obligated to each other in any way, or at least not by the contract that was to create the new state. A settlement or bloc of settlements might belong to some other state, from which they were being transferred. Some of the types of settlement incorporated by the Romans were the prefecture (praefectura), a non-autonomous village administered by a prefect; the oppidum, a fortified, autonomous town; the castellum, a small fortified place under or previously under the jurisdiction of the army; the forum, a marketplace; the conciliabulum, a meeting place; the vicus, a small settlement placed on a strictly private basis with no government; the canabae, or settlement of dependents in the vicinity of a base; the pagus, a rural village; the gens, a tribal canton; the saltus, a settlement of coloni (farmers) on a large estate, part of which they were renting or leasing from the conductor, the manager; and the colonia, a settlement of colonists from Rome.{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}}


Synoecism sections
Intro  Characteristics of a synoecism  Interplay between \"demos\" and \"polis\"  Archaeology  See also  References  Bibliography  [[Synoecism?section=External</a>_links|External</a> links]]  

Characteristics of a synoecism
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