Athenian Democracy: A Sourcebook (Bloomsbury Sources in Ancient History)

Athenian Democracy: A Sourcebook (Bloomsbury Sources in Ancient History)

Luca Asmonti

Language: English

Pages: 264

ISBN: 1441113711

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This volume presents a wide range of literary and epigraphic sources on the history of the world's first democracy, offering a comprehensive survey of the key themes and principles of Athenian democratic culture. Beginning with the mythical origins of Athenian democracy under Theseus and describing the historical development of Athens' democratic institutions through Solon's reforms to the birth of democracy under Cleisthenes, the book addresses the wider cultural and social repercussions of the democratic system, concluding with a survey of Athenian democracy in the Hellenistic and Roman age. All sources are presented in translation with full annotation and commentary and each chapter opens with an introduction to provide background and direction for readers. Sources include material by Aristotle, Homer, Aristophanes, Herodotus, Thucydides, Cicero, Tacitus and many others. The volume also includes an Az of key terms, an annotated bibliography with suggestions for further reading in the primary sources as well as modern critical works on Athenian democracy, and a full index.

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citadel to rival his, and made sacrifices to Ares, who gave the name to this rock: Areopagus. Here, the reverence of the city, and fear, its cognate, will hinder them from committing injustice, by day and by night, provided that the citizens do not pollute the laws with malefic streams: if you stain clear water with filthy mud, you will never have anything to drink. I ask the citizens to support and honour neither anarchy nor tyranny, and never to drive fear completely out of the city. For no

conflict, the outbreak of the pestilence in the overcrowded city could not but deteriorate the situation [b]. The criticism to which Pericles was subject after the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War highlights one of the most important themes in the history of Athenian democracy, namely the difficult balance between the principle of popular sovereignty, demanding that any magistrate be subject to the supreme authority of the ekklesia, and the personal ascendancy of charismatic leaders. Owing to

their once mighty fleet, the Athenians resolved to carry on the fight against the Spartans and their allies. The disaster however had important consequences on the morale of the Athenians and their trust in the democratic constitution. A council of ten probouloi (‘revisors of the laws’) was appointed to draft constitutional reforms. Thuc. 8.1: The Athenians’ reactions to the Sicilian disaster When the news of the disaster came to Athens, the citizens remained for a long while in a state of

populace looked at him with suspicion, owing to his reputation for cleverness. Yet, when asked for advice, he was the single most talented man when it came to lending advice to any man embroiled in a dispute at the law-courts or the assembly. Later on, following the restoration of democracy, when the Four Hundred, having been overthrown, were being severely dealt with by the people, Antiphon, who was under charge of having taken part in this coup, gave the best plea in his defence ever delivered

monarch either because they are still so ruled, or used to be in the past. For people make up the forms of the gods to be like their own, and so do with their lives. The polis comes into existence when a number of villages come together in a single community which is completely or nearly self-sufficient. Therefore we might say that the polis originates to satisfy the basic needs of life and exists to achieve the good life. Equally, since the first forms of society exist by nature, so does the

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