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Lecture 16

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Victoria Wohl

Lecture 16 – Tyrants & Democrats th Life of Solon by Plutarch & “Political Verses” by Solon March 14 2012 -Internal divisions w/I Greece and Athens – now the other is in the same group…  Class division  Athens vs Sparta  Philosopher vs others -When the alterity is us vs us, it is more problematic because run the risk of losing what unites us (“what makes us, us”) -Athenian culture was defined against many others….there were also those who shared the poleis but NOT cit  Metics  Slaves and tyrant Athenians prided themselves on elutheria and defined it w/i two extremes…  Slaves o Mostly barbarians o Almost everyone had slaves o NO rights at all (could own insignificant amt ) o NO autonomy: couldn’t marry w/o master’s permission, can’t say no to master’s sexual advances etc. o Goes AGAINST elutheria (meaning you own your own body) because slaves were literally the property of the master.  Citizens could bring a court case of hubris if someone hit you, or made it seem like they were better than you. If you assaulted a slave, they couldn’t bring a case against you BUT the slave’s master could bring a case against you. o Regardless, it wasn’t good to beat your slaves -> made you look bad. o Some slaves became quite literate: could read, some slaves had the responsibility of a lot of land. o By PHUSIS they were meant for the use of another person. Aristotle called them “living tool”  Tyrant o The only free person in a tyranny is the tyrant, everyone else is a slave o TOTAL power, eleutheria, pleasure etc (which in a democracy would be owned by solely the tyrant) o Usually associated w/ barbarian BUT many Greek cities were ruled by tyrant Citizens of a democracy were in the middle of these two extremes Overthrow of tyranny….  Pisistraus -> prevailed over the other aristocrates o Wounds himself, claims other ppl did it, asks for body guard, uses body guard to take over the acropolis. His enemies unite kick him out. Pisistraus comes back with a woman acting like Athena who “wanted” Pisistraus to be King. Enemies kick him out eventually then pisstraus comes back again with an army to take over AThens o So seizes power THREE times in illegimate o Unable to extend rule into next generation  His sons: Hippias -> good vs Hipparchus -> bad  Hippa falls in love with Harmodius who was the Aristogeniton who ends up killing Hipparchus in a fit of sexual jealous  This myth shows that Atheniens from the beginning were Tyrant haters. Tyranny is shown via sex: Hippa takes Harmodius even if he is boyfriend if someone else BUT Aristogeniton shows that no one can force an Athenian down  Foundation of Athenian democracy  Their descendents even got tax breaks! -Solon = founder of democracy  laid the laws that eventually became the foundation for Athenian democracy  Athenians projected a lot of mythology onto him  Embodies Greek values as opposed to the Barbarians power and wealth  Anti-tyrannical stance in his politics and his writing  Plutarch describes the political situation when Solon came to power o Violent power struggles + economic inequality  These were the situations that were at had in other Greek cities & they ended up having a tyranny…it was really just luck that Athens didn’t have a tyranny o Appealed to the rich and the poor because he didn’t have a big stake in either
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