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Lecture 8

Classical Studies 1000 Lecture 8: Classical Studies Lecture November 10 2015


Department
Classical Studies
Course Code
CS 1000
Professor
David Lamari
Lecture
8

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NOVEMBER 10 2015 LECUTRE
ATHENIAN DEMOCRACY
Radical Democracy
Isonomia to Democracy (509 to 458 BC)
oMaking decisions based solely on the facts that applied to the situation
Equality before the law
10 Archons chosen by lot
oShould be chosen at random instead of being elected by the people based
on their ability
o500 names would be put forth from each tribe and one random person
would be chosen
oThis group would change each year
oWould be assigned a random post
Council of Areopagus vs Council of 500
o50 people from each tribe
oThey were the ones who would pick the important things that the people
had to vote on at the next meeting
They would not make the decisions, only decide on what the people
had to decide on
oThe Council of Areopagus
Used to make the decisions on all things
They were chosen from certain aristocratic families
Some of was then given to the Council of 500 and most of it was
given to the people
40 meetings/year
oIt was in this meetings that people would vote to end up at a final decision
oDecisions were taken out of the hands of the politicians and given to the
people
oAll male citizens over 18 years of age could go to Athenians during this
time to cast their vote
oIt lasted this way for about a century
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NOVEMBER 10 2015 LECUTRE
This attempt to give the people access to complete power led to people swaying
the minds of others a certain way
Control of the powerful (OSTRACISM)
oInvented this as they were so concerned about having people dominate
the decision making period
oOnce a year, they would ask the voters if there was a person thought to be
a threat to democracy
oIf the answer was yes, people would be given a piece of pottery at the
next meeting so they could write the name of the person on it
The person whose name showed up the most would be kicked out
of the polis
This could happen to people both popular and those that
were trying to control the vote
Drawbacks
oA new set of people carrying out the every year
oA new set of people proposing the law every year
oGoing to Athens 40 times a year to vote
oOnly when the military archon was being chosen did someone have to
specialize but all other leaders were essentially amateurs
Rhetors and Sophists
oRhetors mean speakers
Term given to people who can persuade others by the way that
they speak
oSophists means people that have some connection to wisdom
Related to rhetors
Said that they could make others wise
Claimed that they could make someone an effective rhetor
Plato felt that they were only able to teach people to appear wise
but that they didn’t have the ability to make people truly wise
Greek (Athenian) Law
The decision to settle a dispute about two citizens was done by random jury
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