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Lecture 8

CLA 101-Lecture 8 - Oct 27th.docx

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Andrew Graham

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Lecture 8 - Oct 27th
Lecture Title: Periclean Athens
The Athenian polis
- common components that typical polis had (throughout the 8th and 9th century):
1. Assembly of adult males
2. Aristocratic council
3. Annually elected Magistrates
Physical Characteristics:
Acropolis: religious focus
Agora: open space for judicial and government
Fortification wall: constructed in a very intricate design, connecting Athens to the
sea, allowing for prolonged sieges
Community Cemeteries
Political Organization:
-Originally Monarchy
-Paramount Basileus (king) replaced by 3 Archons (c. 683 BCE) aka
Law givers, split duties of king amongst themselves:
Archon Basileus-> judge over religious matters, presided over cults
of polis
Archon Polemarchos-> judge over non-citizen matters, leader of the
Archon Eponymos-> judge over the council and assembly and non-
religious cases, overall supervision of public affairs
-would mark year by who was Eponymous Archon (the archonship of
Solon, etc.)
- 6 additional archons added to the mix: Thesmothetai to assist with judicial affairs
of the growing pop.
Thesmothetai-> layer down of the rules
Eupatrids-> well-fathered ones
-9 Archons elected annually from aristocratic families Eupatrids “ well-fathered ones”
-As pop grew, polis was able to adjust to changes and to adjust effectively (A
characteristic of Athenian polis was flexibility)

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-Areopagus- Aristocratic council that would pass the directives of the Archons-had
-Average citizens' role probably not large
-Social stresses within society increased
-aristocracy controlled the area and encouraged debt-slavery on the poor
-non aristocrats becoming richer (farmers) than aristocrats (the middle
class began to develop)
-middle class wanted more control - input
-Main textual source for understanding of this time comes from Aristotle's "Athenian
Laws of Draco (620 BC)
-Tenant of democracy-openness and transparency
-First major event in democratization of polis-writing down of laws
The importance of these laws can be summarized by the following:
-Dealt with transgressions severely - death, a common punishment
-Laws were to be written down (earlier laws were oral and could be
easily manipulated)
-Laws were not restricted to any one class within society
> theoretically to be applied equally to all classes
-Laws placed in area where people could see (the agora) by Draco
-Only certain people can be in the agora- marked by boundary stones ("Horos")
-Draconian laws were important because society was more organized when laws
made public
-to make Athens a polis ruled by laws and not by men, or groups of men
-Laws didn‟t go far enough to help the poor class in terms of 'debt
slavery' (obligation to who you owe to)
Constitution of Solon
594 BCE, Solon was appointed Eponymous Archon with dictatorial
-to relive social stresses
-Draconian laws not working enough to make things equal

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-not a tyranny
-Solon implemented some reforms
Four Main Results of Solon's Reform
1. Emancipation of the peasantry
-all previous debts were canceled
-personal bondage (debt slavery) abolished
-land was not redistributed across the pop., but limits were put in
place to control the size of land holdings any one individual could
directly control
2. Curtailment of Aristocratic Power
-citizens divided into 4 classes:
1. Pentakosiomedimnoi: Owned land producing at least 500 bushels
of grain/yr
2. Hippeis: Owned land producing 300-500 bushels of grain/yr
3. Zuegitai: Served in the army (hoplites)
4. Thetes: Owned nothing (majority of population)
-'timocracy' = rule by those who owned property
3. Economic reform and stimulus package
-revised weights and measures to facilitate trade-common
mechanism of exchange
-encouraged domestic production of grain, and prohibited export to
ensure they had enough (self-sufficient)
-offered citizenship to artisans to encourage immigration
-encouraged citizens to acquire a trade and punished those who
were not self-sufficient
4. Codification of the Law
-each citizen entitled to bring his case publicly to court (aeropagus)
Two Basic Principles of Solon's Reform
1. Emancipation of the individual
-kinship/clan ties no longer valid-be a member of the polis
-allowed childless men to name an heir who was not necessarily a
blood relation
2. Promotion of trade and crafts
-economic engine on level above agriculture
-Popular assembly elected Archons and Keeper of Treasury--but only
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