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Classical Athens Lecture Jan 27.docx

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Victoria Wohl

CLA 160 January 27, 2014 ClassicalAthens ClassicalAthens (480-323 BCE) • Origin of the first western democracy • Artistic accomplishments (poetry, literature, art) • Rise of the poleis leads to change in every aspect of life • Artistic innovations reflect and are precipitated by the invention of democracy ArchaicAthens • Conflict between the elite and the demos o Demos means “the people” • Athens had bad conflict because the region thatAthens was in had monopolized the land by the elite • Situation got so bad that both sides elected a mediator – Solon • Solon o Established eleutheros (eleutheria) o Every citizen should have a role in the poleis o Principle of universal participation o But continuing inequality of wealth confirmed the power of the elite o In times of conflict, each person had to choose a side, and if you didn’t then you weren’t a good citizen • Democracy was began fully developing 2 centuries later Demokratia • Kratos of the demos • “The power of the people” • The demos rules the poleis • Radical/direct democracy • Every member of the demos IS the government • Every personal was directly and personally involved in running the state • Truly a government that was run for the people o No politicians • Rotation of office o Most offices were held for 1 year and at the end at the year, the person in office would rotate out o Increase the odds that every single citizen will have a chance to serve o Chance of lifetime office is diminished, prevents the elite from expending their power o No tyrannies o Share power among all of the citizens o Means that no one is ever subordinated to the power of anyone else o Civic participation, everyone will contribute • Sortition (selection by lot) o Equal participation in the poleis o Every citizen is equally capable of serving office o Office holders were average individuals who were like every single one of us o Alot of confidence in the average citizen to have the honesty to serve the state as an administrator o Devices to prevent the consolidation of power in the hands of the few elite individuals • Archons (magistrates) o Position that solon held when he was instituting his reforms o Regulated weights and measures, oversaw the games and festivals, inspected exports/imports o Anything that went on in the city was handled by a magistrate that was chosen by lot • Strategos (general) o This was the only position that was not chosen by lot o Needed to be intelligent o Only elected office inAthens o At the end of his term of service had to undergo an audit by the demos o If the demos didn’t like his policies then they could remove him o Pericles was strategos, elected by the people • Boule (Council of 500) o It decided which issues would be presented to the full assembly o Researching issues, analyzing, meeting with foreign ambassadors o Made up of 500 people from all across Attica o Each person served for 1 year, you can only serve on the Boule twice during your lifetime o Primary experience of democracy, shaping the laws, debating with other councilors o Poleis in miniature, hands on experience with governance o Bills were passed on the Ekklesia • Ekklesia (Assembly) o Met once a month and was an assembly of the whole citizen body o All 40-50k people could vote o Met on The Pnyx, hillside of the acropolis o Minimum number to hold an assembly was 6,000 people o War vs. peace, raising taxes, most important laws that would go into effect o Any citizen no matter rich or poor could get up and address the assembly o Every assembly meeting started with a herald screaming “who wishes to speak” o Direct democracy: if you didn’t like something then you can get up in front of the assembly and let people know o Ultimate decision rested with the demo • Potential threats to democracy o Poor, in practice, would be unable to particip
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