How Did That Lack of a Central State Work Out for the Greeks?
"The members of the Delphian Federation took an oath neither to destroy to the ground the city of a member polis when they fought among themselves, nor to cut off the water supply in war or peace... Such stipulations… however, should not be optimistically understood as the important beginnings of international organization. It is obviously out of keeping with elementary facts of Greek history if we interpret an agreement between small neighboring cities of the same stock and civilization not to exterminate each other in dispute over an acre of land as a great achievement in international law. There is no cause for enthusiasm when closely related cities agreed to leave a few houses standing and to stop slaughtering when half the population is killed. It is, on the contrary, cause for astonishment that such rules were about the best that could be achieved in the direction of national unification. The federations must be seen against the background of the death struggle that was permanently going on amongst the poleis." -- Eric Voegelin, Order and History: The World of the Polis, p. 123