Athenian Democracy

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Transcript of Athenian Democracy

  • Th f h i ( li )The concept of the city (polis)as a political environment

    T H E B I R T H O F D E M O C R A C Y I N A T H E N S

    as a political environment

    T H E B I R T H O F D E M O C R A C Y I N A T H E N S

  • The ancient Greek city-states

    In the ancient times, Greece was not a single Greece was not a single political entity but a collection of some 1500 cities (polis) scattered around the MediterraneanMediterranean.

    They all had different political systemsp y



  • Oligarchy and Monarchy

    Oligarchy = the power effectively rests with a effectively rests with a small elite distinguished by royal, wealth, intellectual, family, military or religious hegemonyhegemony.

    Monarchy = supreme power is absolutely or p ynominally lodged with an individual

  • Governments of the World

  • The birth of Democracy

    Solon 600BC

    H i id d th He is considered the originator of a new radical system of government (democracy)

    He was the one who initiated the constitutional initiated the constitutional reforms that a few decades later led to the first incarnation of democracyincarnation of democracy.



  • The power of the people

    Democracy=demos + kratosThe architects of the first

    It is true that we are called a democracy, for the The architects of the first

    democracies of the modern era, post-revolutionary France and the United States,

    yadministration is in the hands of the many and not of the few. But while the laws secure equal justice to all alike in their claimed a line of descent from

    classical Greek demokratia -'government of the people by the people for the people' as

    justice to all alike in their private disputes, the claim of excellence is also recognized.Pericles 5th c. BCthe people for the people , as

    Abraham Lincoln put it.Direct democracy versus representative democracy


    representative democracyEvery citizen votes on legislation and executive bills in their own right.g

  • Direct Democracy

    To make Athenian Democracy as participatory as possible, most officials and all jurymen were officials and all jurymen were selected by lot. This was thought to be the democratic way, since election favored the rich, famous and powerful over the ordinary and powerful over the ordinary citizen. From the mid fifth century, office holders, jurymen, members of the city's main administrative Council of 500, 5 ,and even Assembly attenderswere paid a small sum from public funds to compensate them for time spent on political service

    f fi ld k haway from field or workshop.

  • Athenian Democracy A Mens club

    Only adult male Athenians citizens who had completed

    "The real difference between democracy and citizens who had completed

    their military training as -eighteen years and over h d th i ht t t i

    between democracy and oligarchy is poverty and wealth. Wherever men rule b f th i lth had the right to vote in


    Birth criterion of double

    by reason of their wealth, whether they be few of many, that is an oligarchy,

    descent - from an Athenian mother as well as father

    Slaves children women

    and where the poor rule, that is democracy".

    AristotleSlaves, children, women and resident foreigners did not have this right.


  • Justice and Democracy

    The courts were also essentially political essentially political spaces, located symbolically right at the centre of the city. Aristotle in his Politicsdefined the democratic defined the democratic citizen as the man 'who has a share in (legal) judgment and office'.

  • Isonomia

    Isonomia = equality in front of the law

    1) It requires offices to be selected by lot.

    2) Magistrates must account) gfor their actions. (At the end of their allotment Athenian officials were required to account for required to account for their actions in office before the people)

    3) Ordinary citizens 3) Ordinary citizens conducted discussions in the public assembly.

  • Isonomia

    Political theorist Hannah Arendtargued that isonomy was equated with political freedom at least with political freedom at least from the time of Herodotus. The word essentially denoted a state of no-rule, in which there was no distinction between rulers and distinction between rulers and ruled. It was "the equality of those who form a body of peers.Arendt goes on to argue that the Greek polis was therefore Greek polis was therefore conceived not as a democracy but as an isonomy. "Democracy" was the term used by opponents of isonomy who claimed that "what so o y o c a ed t at at you say is 'no-rule' is in fact only another kind of rulership...rule by the demos," or majority.

  • The power of the people

    Democracy, which for many centuries was

    Whether it is a matter of art, music or politics, it is y

    condemned as mob rule, came to be seen positively in the 19th century and became the form of

    , p ,only the best men who are capable of true judgment. The true judge must not allow himself to be became the form of

    government in which almost everybody claimed to believe in the 20th

    allow himself to be influenced by the gallery nor intimidated by the clamor of the multitude.

    centuryP. J. Rhodes, Ancient Democracy and Modern Id l

    Nothing must compel him to hand down a verdict that belies his own convictions. It is his duty to teach the Ideology. It is his duty to teach the multitude and not to learn from them.Plato 5th c. BCPlato 5 c. BC

  • Main bodies of governance

    The assembly (in some cases with a quorum of cases with a quorum of 6000), the council of 500 (boule) and the courts (a minimum of 200 people, but running at least on some occasions up to some occasions up to 6000, when Heliaia sited on plenary session)

  • Osctracism

    Osctracism=a procedure under the Athenian democracy in which a prominent citizen could be expelled from the city-state of Athens for ten yearsof Athens for ten years.Osctracism was used also as a way of defusing major confrontations between confrontations between rival politicians (by removing one of them from the scene), neutralizing

    th ht t b someone thought to be a threat to the state, or exiling a potential tyrant.