chapter  III
8 Pages


THE Roman Empire sprang from a city and had that city for its centre: a strange state of affairs to us moderns, and one which the monarchies of antiquity would not have understood, since their centre of union was always the sovereign; moreover, only incomplete precedents can be found for it in the history of Greece, the Athenian empire being in theory no more than a confederation of allies. Yet it is in Greece that we see the most striking analogies. Greeks and Romans had the same conception of the city, polis or civitas, and scarcely recognized a political organism that differed from it; any other system impressed them as being a merely transitory form of government.1