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Lecture

Ps-Xenophon: Constitution of the Athenians

2 Pages
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Department
Classics
Course Code
CLA232H1
Professor
Victoria Wohl

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CLA232 March 21/11
Solon (continued from last class)
-lived approx. 640-560 BCE
-laid groundwork for Athenian democracy, but also responsible for its weaknesses
(his economic reforms reinforced economic inequality)
-few people actually owned land, he mitigated this problem by prohibiting a man
from selling himself into slavery, no matter how poor he was
-banned conspicuous consumption (flaunting your wealth in public) eg. funerals,
huge dowries, no baskets more than 18” high. This reduced the Poor’s resentment
of the Rich
-Although all Athenians were supposedly autochthonous, some weremore
noble”, everyone was elite by thysis but some were more elite by birth or
economically
-Tension grew between equality and genealogy
-People with more wealth had more opportunities
-Power came from ability to talk in front of assembly
-If the wealthy became disenfranchised = revolt
-Political inequality was impossible without economic equality
-Not everyone was happy with Solon’s seisachtheia (the rich lost money and the
poor think they didn’t lose enough)
Lecture
-Aristophanes’ ‘Assembly women’- there was communism of wealth, politics and
women. If a man wanted to sleep with a pretty woman, he had to sleep with an
ugly woman first
-Rotation of office = every office rotates every year
-sortition = selection by lot (rests on and guarantees idea of political equality)
-Athens under Solon wasn’t a radical democracy, but rights were divided by tax
bracket: 500 bushelmen, horsemen, zeugitai, thetes: each class could only run for
certain offices
-There was a law that anyone could prosecute being injured (if you saw someone
get attacked). This makes every citizen responsible for upholding the law and
taking an active role in the political theater
-stasis = civil war; if you don’t have an opinion/vote, you don’t deserve civil rights
-There were no official political parties because you couldn’t guarantee that your
candidate would be picked for office
-there were 700+ magistracies that changed every year; very bureaucratic
-archons = overseers of the entire state and chief administer of the polis (like
Prime Minister), 9 of them by lot. Duties: naval yards, taxes, festivals, reviewed
laws, weights and measures
-The office not chosen by lot was strategoi because war generals obviously needed
experience (Athenians committed to democratic principles, but they weren’t
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Description
CLA232 March 2111 Solon (continued from last class) - lived approx. 640-560 BCE - laid groundwork for Athenian democracy, but also responsible for its weaknesses (his economic reforms reinforced economic inequality) - few people actually owned land, he mitigated this problem by prohibiting a man from selling himself into slavery, no matter how poor he was - banned conspicuous consumption (flaunting your wealth in public) eg. funerals, huge dowries, no baskets more than 18 high. This reduced the Poors resentment of the Rich - Although all Athenians were supposedly autochthonous, some were more noble, everyone was elite by thysis but some were more elite by birth or economically - Tension grew between equality and genealogy - People with more wealth had more opportunities - Power came from ability to talk in front of assembly - If the wealthy became disenfranchised = revolt - Political inequality was impossible without economic equality - Not everyone was happy with Solons seisachtheia (the rich lost money and the poor think they didnt lose enough) Lecture - Aristophanes Assembly women- there was communism of wealth, politics and women. If a man wanted to sleep
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