Athenian democracy thesis

Fotopoulos argues that if they had freed all slaves and expropriated the property of the wealthy into common ownership, Athens would have been wealthy enough to rely purely on internal revenue. So Metroxenoi, those with foreign mothers, were now to be excluded. However, the "enfranchisement of the local laboring classes was succeeded by the development of chattel slavery, the enslavement of, Athenian democracy thesis large part, foreigners.

The Athenian democracy thesis important task of the Athenian Boule was to draft the deliberations probouleumata for discussion and approval in the Ecclesia. But any stepping forward into the democratic limelight was risky and if someone chose another citizen initiator they could be called to account for their actions and punished.

Compare and contrast Athenian democracy and modern democracy.

Technically, it was illegal, as the generals were tried and sentenced together, rather than one by one as Athenian law required. The cases were put by the litigants themselves in the form of an exchange of single speeches timed by a water clock or clepsydra, first prosecutor then defendant.

Officeholders were the agents of the people, not their representatives. In the 6th prytany, there was discussion of whether or not to hold an ostracism, discussion of any information against people charged with being informers—in this category, no more than three citizens and three resident foreigners—and discussion of people accused of failing to perform some assigned public service Aristot.

To the Athenians it seems what had to be guarded against was not incompetence but any tendency to use office as a way of accumulating ongoing power.

People who served in the Dikasteria did not have special legal training, unlike in the modern U. A member had to be approved by his deme, "and one can well imagine that demes were careful to select only those of known good sense who also had experience of local politics, and who were actually available to do the time-consuming job which demanded frequent attendance in Athens; and they probably favoured those who were well past 30".

Thucydides the son of Milesias not the historianan aristocrat, stood in opposition to these policies, for which he was ostracised in BC. They Athenian democracy thesis this as manifestly unjust. Read about the evidence At least until the middle of the 4th century the Assembly occasionally met to conduct a trial, most often an impeachment Dem.

Four presided over the judicial administration. They were elected, and even foreigners such as Domitian and Hadrian held the office as a mark of honour. In addition, citizens in Athens participated in a direct democracy in which they voted on issues.

It was superseded in importance by the Areopaguswhich, recruited from the elected archons, had an aristocratic character and was entrusted with wide powers.

But crucially citizens voting in both were not subject to review and prosecution as were council members and all other officeholders. Some of this other business was scheduled to happen at particular assemblies during the year. Much of his writings were about his alternatives to democracy.

A new law might be proposed by any citizen. The breadth of slave ownership also meant that the leisure of the rich the small minority who were actually free of the need to work rested less than it would have on the exploitation of their less well-off fellow citizens.

Citizens active as office holders served in a quite different capacity from when they voted in the assembly or served as jurors. The age limit of 30 or older, the same as that for office holders but ten years older than that required for participation in the assembly, gave the courts a certain standing in relation to the assembly.

Combined with the institution of slavery, this allowed for massive economic inequality in the society which meant the polis would be dominated by wealthy aristocrats.

During the period of holding a particular office everyone on the team is observing everybody else. Of these three bodies, the assembly and the courts were the true sites of power — although courts, unlike the assembly, were never simply called the demos the People as they were manned by a subset of the citizen body, those over thirty.

The members of these institutions were generally aristocrats, who ruled the polis for their own advantage.

Josiah Ober notes that "Thucydides cites examples of two errors regarding Sparta: It appears that Aeschylus "is trying to preserve the dignity of a severely battered institution.

The assembly meetings did not occur at fixed intervals, as they had to avoid clashing with the annual festivals that followed the lunar calendar.

The Assembly "passed a measure to limit the powers of the Areopagos, in effect stripping it of all its controlling and supervisory powers. In the following century the meetings were set to forty a year, with four in each state month.

It was not anymore only one of the many possible ways in which political rule could be organised in a polity: The common people were numerically dominant in the navy, which they used to pursue their own interests in the form of work as rowers and in the hundreds of overseas administrative positions.

In the 5th century BC we often hear of the assembly sitting as a court of judgment itself for trials of political importance and it is not a coincidence that is the number both for the full quorum for the assembly and for the annual pool from which jurors were picked for particular trials.Athens in the 5th to 4th century BCE had an extraordinary system of government: democracy.

Under this system, all male citizens had equal political rights, freedom of speech, and the opportunity to participate directly in the political arena.

Athenian democracy

The Athenian system of democracy was different from the modern system because the Athenian government only granted the rights of citizenship to men who owned property and who had completed their.

Athenian democracy developed around the fifth century BC in the Greek city-state (known as a polis) of Athens, comprising the city of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, and is often described as the first known democracy in the world.

Other Greek cities set up democracies, most following the Athenian model, but none are as well. Since Athenian law is the subject of this discussion series, the present introduction to Athenian democracy will not describe the lawcourts in as much detail as it has given to the Assembly and Council.

Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy, New York: Free Press, Kagan is well known for his four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War (The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, LJ 1/5/70; The Archidamian War, ; The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition, ; The Fall of the Athenian Empire,all Cornell.

It is a common enough held belief that Athenian democracy was only made possible by slave labour. In fact, it is an obvious argument against the claim that Athens was democratic.

Field contends that this ‘[ ]is entirely untrue.

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Athenian democracy thesis
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