The ancient Greeks shared a common language, culture, and religion. They considered anyone who did not speak Greek a barbarian. Although the Greek people had much in common, they were also very independent of each other. They took great pride in what city-state (also known as a polis) they belonged to. A city-state was an independently ruled city with its own laws, customs, money, and army. A Greek citizen’s loyalty was directed to his city-state. These city-states often made alliances with other cities, forming into leagues, confederations, or federations while maintaining an independent identity. When the very rocky landscape around a city no longer supported the growing population, they sent people to start colonies in other areas along the Mediterranean Sea.
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