Athens' democracy developed during the sixth and fifth centuries and continued into the fourth; Athens' defeat by Macedon in 322 began a series of alternations between democracy and oligarchy. The democracy was inseparably bound up with the ideals of liberty and equality, the rule of law, and the direct government of the people by the people. Liberty means above all freedom of speech, the right to be heard in the public assembly and the right to speak one's mind in private. Equality meant the equal right of male citizens (perhaps 60,000 in the fifth century, 30,000 in the fourth) to participate in the government of the state and the administration of the law. Disapproved of as a mob rule until the nineteenth century, the institutions of Athenian democracy have become an inspiration for modern democratic politics and political philosophy.
P. J. Rhodes's reader focuses on the political institutions, political activity, history, and nature of Athenian democracy and introduces some of the best British, American, German, and French scholarship on its origins, theory, and practice. Part I is devoted to political institutions: citizenship, the assembly, the law-courts, and capital punishment. Part II explores aspects of political activity: the demagogues and their relationship with the assembly, the maneuverings of the politicians, competitive festivals, and the separation of public from private life. Part III looks at three crucial points in the development of the democracy: the reforms of Solon, Cleisthenes, and Ephialtes. Part IV considers what it was in Greek life that led to the development of democracy. Some of the authors adopt broad-brush approaches to major questions; others analyze a particular body of evidence in detail. Use is made of archeology, comparison with other societies, the location of festivals in their civic context, and the need to penetrate behind what the classical Athenians made of their past.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
PARTI POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS
Introduction to Part I
How Did the Athenian Ecclesia Vote?
13 other sections not shown
Other editions - View all
activity actual allotment ancient archon argues Aristotle assembly Athenian Athens attempt barley called Chapter citizens citizenship classical Cleisthenes competition Constitution Council count courts decision deme democracy democratic demos Demosthenes dikasts discussion doubt eisangelia evidence example fact festival fifth century five fourth century give given Greek hands Hesperia Hundred important individual institutions interest jury kind kleroteria later leaders least less lines majority means officials originally Oxford particular perhaps period person Plut political poor possible practice present Press probably problem procedure proposal punishment question reason references reforms remained Rhodes rooms says seems Solon sources speech suggests taken tickets tribe University vote whole