The Greek Hoplite Warrior seems to have international appeal and encapsulates the beginnings of early European cultural determination and sense of galvanizing order out of chaos. School children or adults who may or may not have been exposed to literature of the Illiad, Odysseus or Alexander the Great can easily identify with this imagery and instantly recognize the symbolism of Greek struggle for independence and freedom.
Citizenship ( Πoλιτης ) OplithV ! Victor Hanson asserts, that "Western Warfare starts out with the Classical Greeks as an ethical practice to preserve society". The Hoplite Citizen was revered by his society, both as it's protector and a living expression of democracy in action. Military duty was viewed as a direct reflection of the political right's enjoyed by the states citizens. The ever vigilant citizen hoplite who alone in the Mediterranean had clear legal rights to land tenure, property inheritance and his own arms, was as Plato describes, "Engaged in a permanent undeclared war with every other state". Warfare pervaded all spheres of Greek Culture, in tragedies and comedies, art, philosophy, politics and integral to their religion, the Pythian, Isthmian, Nemean and Olympic Games. Written constitutions appeared in the great majority of city states and their colonies, ensuring the spread of government by consensus of landed peers.The Polis was the definitive Greek form of the state; The Greek imagination was full of such instantaneous foundings of cities, and as from the beginning nothing happened of itself, the whole life of the polis was governed by necessity.The Greek idea of the State, with it's total subordination of the individual to the general, had at the same time developed a strong tendency to encourage individuality. The theory was that freedom and subordination ought to have been harmoniously fused into a unity. Yet since, in good times all that was highest and noblest in the life of the Greeks was centered upon the polis, then fundametally the polis was their religion. The worship of the God's found it's strongest support against alien religions, philosophies and other undermining forces in it's importance for the particular city, which had to maintain this worship exactly and in full, and the main cults were mainly the direct concern of the state. So while the polis was itself a religion, it contained the rest of religion within itself as well, and the communal nature of the sacrifices and festivals formed a very strong bond among the citizens, quite apart from the laws, the constitution and public life they shared. Because all this is offered by the state and only by the state, it is perfectly clear why the Greek needs no church, why, in order to show piety in his own way, he need only be a good citizen; why there is no question of hierarchic rivalries, why the highest cult official in Athens, the Archon Basileus, is a state official, and why, finally, it is an offence not only against the duties of a citizen, but also against loyalty to the faith, to worship the God's in any rites but those recognized by the state. The achievements and legacy of Greek civilization can be assessed under many heads, and yet, the most significant contribution was probably an attitude of the mind and political life rather than works of art and literature. However, Ancient Greece was the most literate of all Ancient Cultures, from epic and lyric poetry, public and private, on themes of state, war, humour and love. It remains true that no other ancient people exhibited such a wide range of genius or left such a vigorous legacy.