Summary of Ancient Public Administration Practices

Greece and Judea (a Roman province) introduced basic concepts and values on government and public life. Politics, philosophy and law were also first developed here. However, administrative culture was yet to be developed. (1) ? Because of the increase in the complexity of government activity, the administrative culture we associate with our contemporary world emerged in the Alexandrian Era (AD 412, before Byzantine) and in the Roman Empire. 1) ? Homer’s epics Iliad and the Odyssey served as primary source for the education and socialization of successive generations of citizens in Ancient Greece. (1) ? The practice of humility and moderation of the Greeks were learned from the Homer, Pindar and Hesiod, the three great epic poets of pre-Classical Greece. (1) ? Law was inseparable from religion in ancient Greece and Rome. The origins of laws were believed to be the legacy of mythical lawgivers. 1) ? The ancient city-state was a military and religious organization before it took and economic and industrial dimensions. In Rome, the campus martius (most populous area of Rome) and the comitius (had major religious and prophetic significance) were distinguished from the forum (gov’t buildings at the center of the city). In Greece, the agora remained as a political and administrative meeting place long after it became a marketplace. (1) ?

Love of country was paralleled with respect for and obedience to the laws of the city-state both in Greece and Rome. (1) ? Law and administration took very little notice of economic activity. For Plato, business transactions and collection of customs need not require city legislators. Also, Aristotle likened the idea that for an ideal state, an education of gymnastics, rhetoric and music, but not of economics or management. (1) ? In 19th century England before the tide of reforms transformed the administrative system to the road of bureaucratization.

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England has never possessed a formal written constitution; with the result that modern administration is derived from administrative powers granted by the Crown. The Saxon local government (700-1066 AD) divided administrative units known as shires where each were governed by and Ealdorman (Earl). By 1066, the Saxon shire system became less important and replaced by feudal lords. By the early medieval period, each county had its own court system for trials. Due to the growing population and increased mercantile activity, the importance of towns was intensified.

The idea of a town council to run the affairs of an individual town remains an important tenet of local government in England today. (2) ? Indian administration is one of the oldest administrative systems in the world. It initiated from the Harappan (2600-1900BC) and continued up to the beginning of the first millennium till the establishment of the Mughal Empire, a Persianate imperial empire that ruled large parts of the Indian subcontinent from 1526-1707. (3) ?

In Ancient India, village administration gained precedence over administration of the state. Empires were divided into provinces, provinces into districts and districts into villages and urban and rural centers. Coordination was very much present between the departments and the principle of hierarchy had been given a practical shape. (3) SOURCES: (1)Ali Farazmand, Handbook of Comparative and Development Public Administration (2)pages. rediff. com/history-of-local-government-in-england/1226503? (3)Dayanesh Kumar, Short Essay on Kautilya’s Administration

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