Front Page Titles (by Subject) 6.: The Phoenicians as the Earliest Creators of πóλεις ( Polis ) - Judgments on History and Historians
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6.: The Phoenicians as the Earliest Creators of πóλεις ( Polis ) - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
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The Phoenicians as the Earliest Creators of πóλεις (Polis)
Egypt and Old Babylon were great despotisms with sacred laws and universal obedience, Egypt, in addition, having a functioning caste system. Their outer life was spent in wars, marauding expeditions, the defection and subjugation of outlying countries.
The Phoenician cities were the first polities, constitutional states with city areas, community life, albeit under kings; some formed self- perpetuating aristocracies which not only had to be consulted, but must have had direct control of the most important matters. All of them later became republics. Their constitution balanced the claims of many. Did perhaps the patriarchal tribal constitution of the nomads serve as a model? This polis has the power of multiplication; while despotism can only deport, forcibly transplant peoples, and at best found military states, the polis creates genuine colonies and becomes a metropolis for many. The joint founding of Tripolis by Sidon, Tyre, and Arados is a voluntary action of higher intelligence.
To such a fatherland a real patriotism could at last attach itself, one that went beyond the dull Egyptian national arrogance and in the wide world outside was not a fish out of water, but bestirred itself all the more.
Whether the later Greek polis owes anything to the Phoenicians as models may remain quite uncertain. Ordinarily something like the polis does not come into being merely through imitation. Nevertheless, the Phoenician influence must have been inestimable. In any case, the Phoenicians are assured of chronological priority, and this fact redounds to their eternal glory.
To be sure, as early as Homeric times the Phoenicians were regarded by the Greeks only as land thieves, τρώχτης [greedy rascals]. Carthage, too, even before the contact with Rome appears in unpleasant political and military guise.