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Government in Barbarian States

Far from the bustling metropoleis of Attica and the Peloponnese, many quasi-Hellenic and semi-barbaric states such as Macedon, Aetolia, Crete and Thrace often clings on to traditional tribal leadership, also being more prone to monarchy than mainstream Greek city-states. Most Greek poleis not only despise these semi-barbaric nations’ customs but also their government-systems: Thukydides expressed Athenian reluctance to accept these systems even in the direst of situations after the failed campaign in Sicily. What is interesting, however, that these backward states survived after the fall of Athens and Sparta, such as in the forms of the Macedonian Empire and the Aetolian League; this can only be partially explained by their lack of participation in disastrous civil wars between other Greek states, though we should not credit their government systems with their survival.

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