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Athenian Democracy

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Dimitri Nakassis

Dec. 6 - Athenian Democracy  Monarchy (constitutionally)/tyranny (unconstitutionally)  Oligarchy- rule of the few  Democracy- rule of the people Aristotle’s definition Offices are: -filled from the whole population -by lot -little to no property requirement -short terms -limitations on number of times one man holds office The assembly has absolute power Pay for participation (assembly, courts, offices) Athens before Solon Archons, elected aristocrats -life terms at first, then 10 years, then 1 year -originally three (basileus, polemarch, archon), six thesmothetai added later Areopagus council, consisting of ex-archons (lifelong term) -guardian of laws, power to punish Assembly, which excluded thetes (poorest people), with little power Solon’s constitutional changes Archons drawn from top two classes (pentekosopmedimoi, hippeis), other offices from top three (+ zeugetai) Assembly ands courts now include thetes Council of 400: to prepare agenda for assembly Cleisthenes 10 tribes (instead of 4) -tribes composed of trittyes from different areas Council of 500 (10 tribes x 50 men chosen by lot) -replaces Solon’s council of 400? 10 generals (strategoi) elected Dêmokratia (Herodotus) Council of 500 Functions: Assembly agenda, foreign affairs, day-to-day business of the city Met daily, normally approved by the demes, then selected by lot -annual turnover -couldn’t serve 2 years in a row, max twice in a lifetime -Thetes excluded -Minimum age of 30 The prytaneis The exclusive committee of the council of 500 ->Rotation through each of the ten tribes through the year Chairmen chosen by lot, has to stay “on duty” for one day and one night (sitting up with all the keys to the city just in case something happened) Ostracism Attributed to Cleisthenes Begins in 487 BC 10 instances known Quorum of 6, 000 Assembly asked once a year Exile of 10 years without losing property or income from that property Ephialtes 462/1 BC: Ephialtes strips power from Areopagus council -charges brought against members of Areopagus -homicide court (and other important trials, like tyranny) -powers allocated to the Council of 500, Assembly, courts Ephialtes assassinated Other Changes in the first half of the 5 century 487/6 BC: archons now selected by lot (from short list of 500 nominees) rather than elected 457/6 BC: -zeugitai admitted to the archonship -pay form public office and jury duty 451/0 BC: Pericles’ citizenship law -both parents must be Athenian for their children to be citizens Demagogues Cleon (rebel rouser) Cleon’s father owned a tannery; a choragus The 400 and the 5000 In 411 BC, an oligarchic revolution -assassinations -assembly of 5000 wealthiest citizens -interim council of 400 -no more pay for of
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