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Lecture Nov. 20th.docx

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Victoria Wohl

Greek lecture- Mass and Elite Wasps: Table of contents for today:  Hoi polloi and the oligoi in democratic Athens  Athenian law-courts and juries  Comedy and political commentary  Wasps and the democratic law-court Athenian democracy:  Polloi and Oligoi  Political equality, economic inequality  Elite at the mercy of the masses; masses manipulated by the elite o Elite had to balance/”bow-down” to the masses to get what they wanted o Wealthy people couldn’t show their wealth, so they “looked” all equal  Government and law-courts  Isocrates- was a speech writer, he is lamenting this imaging by-gone era, when rich and poor co-existed happily o The statement tells us from this point of view, this wasn’t the case in this period from an aristocratic view (he saw the differences in the rich and poor) Law courts:  Pools of 6000 jurors, 3 obols/day (not bad pay, but not great- its livable): pension of sorts o Why work there, when you can make more money elsewhere? o Pension for those who cant work as much (ex. A young man in a factory-making big$$ vs. Older man making some money)  Elite litigants o Public speaking is difficult, especially when persuading (this takes money to learn to do so) o Speaker makes his claims and draws upon witnesses (they say “yes this is true” or “no”); its either yes or no, so if the speech isn’t fully complete…(they are aiming for an idea to be more “right” than the other guy) o Tricks wealthy speaker would employ, to get people on their side  Present themselves as “sad” or poor, or to say “we are all elite and one, and this person is victimizing me and therefore victimizing all of us”  Imposed new ideology, and got sympathy  Used all the time o Financial risk to bring up a case, and if you accused wrong, it was very expensive o If guilty, the jurors would vote on a penalty  Not everyone was happy with this… o Isocrates- there is an imbalance all can see, and the poor people are jealous and try to punish the elite o This attitude is reflected in the wasps o It is a rhetorical criticism Comedy as political Commentary:  How political could comedy be?  Old oligarch:They do not permit the people to be ill spoken of in comedy, so that they may not have a bad reputation; but if anyone wants to attack private persons, they bid him do so, knowing perfectly well that the person so treated in comedy does not, for the most part, come from the populace and mass of people but is a person of either wealth, high birth, or influence. Some few poor and plebeian types are indeed abused in comedy but only if they have been meddling in others' affairs and trying to rise above their class, so that the people feel no vexation at seeing such persons abused in comedy. Comedy as a political commentary continued:  Comedians couldn’t criticize the demos, but they could criticize elites or po
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