HIST 205- Ancient Mediterranean History-LECTURE 7- Athens

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HIST 205- Ancient Mediterranean History- Lecture 7: Athens
-Democracy in Europe is treated as an intrinsic good.
-Ideal to which all Western civilization would prescribe. Traces its inspiration to
what is “ideal” form of government back to Greece
I. Athens to Attica: To Draco
Early Attica and Athens:
-Mycenaean citadel on the acropolis
-Athenian Kings until c. 11th century (transition from absolute monarchy-
aristocratic rise to power)
-Dominance of the Eupatridae
-Background: gradual synoecism (different communities moving together to live in
one place)
-‘The Well Born’
-Athenian aristocrats, dominant landowners
-Monopoly on government and politics in the city
-Comprised and ruled through the Aeropagus council
Aeropagus: areios + pagos
-Aristocratic Council
-Control all affairs
-Oral law and tradition
Crisis in Athens, 7 th
century BCE:
-Oral law, law only known to select few (if you’re somebody that is not powerful or
in the council, you are screwed when you go to court because they dictate
according to the law, and you don’t know the law)
-Rash of blood feuds and vendetta killings (lot of plan/ tribal conflict, one member
of the family is killed and in revenge the family kills the other family and it’s a
family of revenge and killings)
-Need for a more systematic legal system
622/ 621 BC: Draco the Lawgiver
-First written legal code in Athens
-Charges of homicide, murder (principle to legal violations you can commit in
Athens- most imminent charges because of the blood shedding. The aristocratic
council is responsible for holding the trials but now they have a set of laws to
-Aeropagus judges all trials
-‘Draconian’ punishments- KILL FOR EVERY CRIME COMMITTED
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