ancient greek democracy
, Athens was never the only polis in Ancient Greece that instituted a democratic regime. Cleisthenes broke up the unlimited power of the nobility by organizing citizens into ten groups based on where they lived, rather than on their wealth. This allowed Athens to practice the forms of democracy, though Rome ensured that the constitution strengthened the city's aristocracy. Additional meetings might still be called, especially as up until 355 BC there were still political trials that were conducted in the assembly, rather than in court. For example, two men have clashed in the assembly about a proposal put by one of them; it passes, and now the two of them go to court with the loser in the assembly prosecuting both the law and its proposer. Thus, the Founding Fathers of the United States who met in Philadelphia in 1787 did not set up a Council of the Areopagos, but a Senate, that, eventually, met on the Capitol. The word "democracy" (Greek: dēmokratia, δημοκρατία) combines the elements dêmos (δῆμος, which means "people") and krátos (κράτος, which means "force" or "power"), and thus means literally "people power". By the mid-4th century, however, the assembly's judicial functions were largely curtailed, though it always kept a role in the initiation of various kinds of political trial.  For particularly important public suits the jury could be increased by adding in extra allotments of 500. For example, a citizen could only be a member of the Boule in two non-consecutive years in their life. The people really liked it. In the 5th century setup, the ten annually elected generals were often very prominent, but for those who had power, it lay primarily in their frequent speeches and in the respect accorded them in the assembly, rather than their vested powers. , The institutions sketched above – assembly, officeholders, council, courts – are incomplete without the figure that drove the whole system, Ho boulomenos ('he who wishes', or 'anyone who wishes'). By blurring the distinction between the natural and political world, democracy leads the powerful to act immorally and outside their own best interest. Democracy in Ancient Greece is most frequently associated with Athens where a complex system allowed for broad political participation by the free male citizens of the city-state. The Greek City-State Ancient Greece was made up … The first conceptual articulation of the term is generally accepted to be c. 470 BC with Aeschylus' The Suppliants (l. 604) with the line sung by the Chorus: dēmou kratousa cheir (δήμου κρατούσα χειρ). The Father of Democracy. This writer (also called pseudo-Xenophon) produced several comments critical of democracy, such as:, Aristotle also wrote about what he considered to be a better form of government than democracy. Democracy is one of the greatest inventions of the ancient Greeks. However, the word "demarchy" (δημαρχία) had already been taken and meant "mayoralty", the office or rank of a high municipal magistrate. Hesiod, Theogony lines 81–97 And Works And Days lines 213-275. Democracy in Ancient Greece is most frequently associated with Athens where a complex system allowed for broad political participation by the free male citizens of the city-state. However, any stepping forward into the democratic limelight was risky. Later, and until the end of World War Il, democracy became dissociated from its ancient frame of reference. I think ancient Greek democracy can help us in three main ways: by giving us more information about the comparative performance of political regimes; by providing us with a rich store of now novel-seeming ideas for how popular institutions might be organized; and by holding a mirror up to our own democratic practices, helping us reflect both on what aspects of … No office appointed by lot could be held twice by the same individual. Unlike office holders (magistrates), who could be impeached and prosecuted for misconduct, the jurors could not be censured, for they, in effect, were the people and no authority could be higher than that. In 621 BC, Draco replaced the prevailing system of oral law by a written code to be enforced only by a court of law. It was in Greece, and particularly Athens, that democracy was first conceived and used as a primary form of government. No legitimation of that rule was formulated to counter the negative accounts of Plato and Aristotle, who saw it as the rule of the poor, who plundered the rich. Cleisthenes issued reforms in 508 and 507 BC that undermined the domination of the aristocratic families and connected every Athenian to the city's rule. That is to say, the mass meeting of all citizens lost some ground to gatherings of a thousand or so which were under oath, and with more time to focus on just one matter (though never more than a day). The standard format was that of speakers making speeches for and against a position, followed by a general vote (usually by show of hands) of yes or no. The Athenian institutions were later revived, but how close they were to a real democracy is debatable.  Although the legislation was not retrospective, five years later, when a free gift of grain had arrived from the Egyptian king to be distributed among all citizens, many "illegitimate" citizens were removed from the registers.  After the reforms of Cleisthenes, the Athenian Boule was expanded to 500 and was elected by lot every year. , After Rome became an Empire under Augustus, the nominal independence of Athens dissolved and its government converged to the normal type for a Roman municipality, with a Senate of decuriones. The values of freedom of equality include non-citizens more than it should. The word for people in ancient Greek was demos. , The boule also served as an executive committee for the assembly, and oversaw the activities of certain other magistrates. Another tack of criticism is to notice the disquieting links between democracy and a number of less than appealing features of Athenian life. History >> Ancient Greece. Democracy and the ancient Greek theatre Interview with Edith Hall. These officeholders were the agents of the people, not their representatives, so their role was that of administration, rather than governing. Most of the annual magistracies in Athens could only be held once in a lifetime. However, beginning in 403 BC, they were set sharply apart. Covers democracy’s origins, growth and essential nature. They were both simply passed by the assembly. They were mostly chosen by lot, with a much smaller (and more prestigious) group of about 100 elected. , In 88 BC, there was a revolution under the philosopher Athenion, who, as tyrant, forced the Assembly to agree to elect whomever he might ask to office. The government created by Solon was a democracy, where the people ruled the polis. Athenian Democracy . However, the governors, like Demetrius of Phalerum, appointed by Cassander, kept some of the traditional institutions in formal existence, although the Athenian public would consider them to be nothing more than Macedonian puppet dictators. Athenian Democracy Democracy in Ancient Greece was very direct. The word is then completely attested in the works of Herodotus (Histories 6.43.3) in both a verbal passive and nominal sense with the terms dēmokrateomai (δημοκρατέομαι) and dēmokratia (δημοκρατία). Author: Created by pipmoss12. Facts about Ancient Greek Democracy 1: development of ancient Greek democracy. Instead, it became the only possible political system in an egalitarian society. The Ancient Greeks may be most famous for their ideas and philosophies on government and politics. This was generally done as a reward for some service to the state. … Voting was by simple majority. While Ephialtes's opponents were away attempting to assist the Spartans, he persuaded the Assembly to reduce the powers of the Areopagus to a criminal court for cases of homicide and sacrilege. Mar 2, 2018 - Role cards for simulation of Greek democracy. This cannot be adequately explained by simply referring to the immature ‘objective’ conditions, the low development of productive forces and so on—important as may be—because the same objective conditions prevailed at that time in many other places all over the Mediterranean, let alone the rest of Greece, but democracy flourished only in Athens” . , In 594 BC, Solon is said to have created a boule of 400 to guide the work of the assembly. Collectivizing political responsibility lends itself to both dishonest practices and scapegoating individuals when measures become unpopular. The proposal would be considered by the Council, and would be placed on the agenda of the Assembly in the form of a motion.  Following Rousseau (1712–1778), "democracy came to be associated with popular sovereignty instead of popular participation in the exercise of power". History shows that although other cities followed democratic principles in Greece around the same time, they were all modeled after Athens and often not as stable. In a public suit the litigants each had three hours to speak, much less in private suits (though here it was in proportion to the amount of money at stake). , Alexander the Great had led a coalition of the Greek states to war with Persia in 336 BC, but his Greek soldiers were hostages for the behavior of their states as much as allies. , Since the middle of the 20th century, most countries have claimed to be democratic, regardless of the actual composition of their governments. The powers of officials were precisely defined and their capacity for initiative limited. In the 5th century at least, there were scarcely any limits on the power exercised by the assembly.  In 594 BC, Solon, premier archon at the time, issued reforms that defined citizenship in a way that gave each free resident of Attica a political function: Athenian citizens had the right to participate in assembly meetings. The oligarchy endured for only four months before it was replaced by a more democratic government. At that time, it was recognized as Polis. A chairman for each tribe was chosen by lot each day, who was required to stay in the tholos for the next 24 hours, presiding over meetings of the Boule and Assembly. There were three political bodies where citizens gathered in numbers running into the hundreds or thousands. It comes from the two words (demos) 'people' and (kratos) 'power'. Even during his period of office, any officeholder could be impeached and removed from office by the assembly. Developed around 550 B.C., Athenian democracy took root in Athens, Greece. At times the imperialist democracy acted with extreme brutality, as in the decision to execute the entire male population of Melos and sell off its women and children simply for refusing to become subjects of Athens. Democracy in ancient Greece served as one of the first forms of self-rule government in the ancient world. It was superseded in importance by the Areopagus, which, recruited from the elected archons, had an aristocratic character and was entrusted with wide powers. It was an experiment. As a culture (as opposed to a political force), Greek civilization lasted longer still, continuing right to the end of the ancie… One of these was now called the main meeting, kyria ekklesia. Unlike a parliament, the assembly's members were not elected, but attended by right when they chose. It helps students feel how limited Greek democracy … During the 4th century BC, there might well have been some 250,000–300,000 people in Attica. The government in Athens was a democracy; like the one in Australia, only the people voted on all of the laws. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Greek_democracy&oldid=987224225, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 5 November 2020, at 18:18. Homer, Odyssey 2.1–259. They want representative democracy to be added to or even replaced by direct democracy in the Athenian way, perhaps by utilizing electronic democracy. VIII n. 3 - 2015), Interviste; Athens, 472 BC: the tragedian Aeschylus, son of Euphorion, staged a trilogy including the lost Phineus and Glaucus, and a tragedy with a striking title, the Persians. Around 460 BC an individual is known with the name of Democrates, a name possibly coined as a gesture of democratic loyalty; the name can also be found in Aeolian Temnus. Citizens active as officeholders served in a quite different capacity from when they voted in the assembly or served as jurors. For instance, the system of nomothesia was introduced. , The reforms of Cleisthenes meant that the archons were elected by the Assembly, but were still selected from the upper classes. The random assignment of responsibility to individuals who may or may not be competent has obvious risks, but the system included features meant to mitigate possible problems. In situations involving a public figure, the initiator was referred to as a kategoros ('accuser'), a term also used in cases involving homicide, rather than ho diokon ('the one who pursues').. Two examples demonstrate this: While Plato blamed democracy for killing Socrates, his criticisms of the rule of the demos were much more extensive. This led to the Hellenistic control of Athens, with the Macedonian king appointing a local agent as political governor in Athens. There were two main categories in this group: those required to handle large sums of money, and the 10 generals, the strategoi. Notably, this was introduced more than fifty years before payment for attendance at assembly meetings. Rather than vote for representatives, like we do, each citizen was expected to vote for every law. They were elected, and even foreigners such as Domitian and Hadrian held the office as a mark of honour. Jurors did talk informally amongst themselves during the voting procedure and juries could be rowdy, shouting out their disapproval or disbelief of things said by the litigants. Approximately 1100 citizens (including the members of the council of 500) held office each year. Sometimes, mixed constitutions evolved with democratic elements, but "it definitely did not mean self-rule by citizens".. When it came to penal sanctions, no officeholder could impose a fine over fifty drachmas. He argued that only by giving every citizen the vote would people ensure that the state would be run in the general interest. Yet in the case of Pericles, it is wrong to see his power as coming from his long series of annual generalships (each year along with nine others). The boule coordinated the activities of the various boards and magistrates that carried out the administrative functions of Athens and provided from its own membership randomly selected boards of ten responsible for areas ranging from naval affairs to religious observances. In the following century, the meetings were set to forty a year, with four in each state month. While citizens voting in the assembly were free of review or punishment, those same citizens when holding an office served the people and could be punished very severely.  According to Samons: The modern desire to look to Athens for lessons or encouragement for modern thought, government, or society must confront this strange paradox: the people that gave rise to and practiced ancient democracy left us almost nothing but criticism of this form of regime (on a philosophical or theoretical level). , The word idiot originally simply meant "private citizen"; in combination with its more recent meaning of "foolish person", this is sometimes used by modern commentators to demonstrate that the ancient Athenians considered those who did not participate in politics as foolish. Likewise, the Athenian democracy of Ancient Greece was divided into the Ekklesia, which was similar to the legislative, or law-making branch, the Boule, which resembled the executive, or law-enforcing branch, and the Dikasteria, a rough equivalent of the judicial branch. Roles include Greek citizen, citizen's wife, metic, and slave. The council (whose numbers varied at different times from 300 to 750) was appointed by lot. The cases were put by the litigants themselves in the form of an exchange of single speeches timed by a water clock or clepsydra, first prosecutor then defendant. Whether the democratic failures should be seen as systemic, or as a product of the extreme conditions of the Peloponnesian war, there does seem to have been a move toward correction. Athenians used to form big juries (500 people) that were selected randomly and shortly before the trial. From the time of Hadrian, an imperial curator superintended the finances. Instead of seeing it as a fair system under which everyone has equal rights, they regarded it as manifestly unjust. Anything higher had to go before a court. Pericles, according to Thucydides, characterized the Athenians as being very well-informed on politics: We do not say that a man who takes no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business; we say that he has no business here at all. If the assembly broke the law, the only thing that might happen is that it would punish those who had made the proposal that it had agreed to. In a group, one person is more likely to know the right way to do things and those that do not may learn from those that do. Ancient Greek Democracy: Around the year 1000 BC in the area in which current Greece is situated today, after a long and hard battle the very first city-state had started to rise. Under Cleisthenes's reforms, juries were selected by lot from a panel of 600 jurors, there being 600 jurors from each of the ten tribes of Athens, making a jury pool of 6000 in total. These were known as the nomothetai (νομοθέται, 'the lawmakers'). This was almost inevitable since, with the notable exception of the generals (strategoi), each office had restrictive term limits. There was monarchy (rule by one individual who inherited the position by birth), oligarchy (rule by a small group), and tyranny (rule by a leader who seized power). Around 338 BC the orator Hyperides (fragment 13) claimed that there were 150,000 slaves in Attica, but this figure is probably no more than an impression: slaves outnumbered those of citizen stock but did not swamp them. This is the position set out by the anti-democratic pamphlet known whose anonymous author is often called the Old Oligarch. Before the first attempt at democratic government, Athens was ruled by a series of archons or chief magistrates, and the Areopagus, made up of ex-archons. In the mid-5th century the number of adult male citizens was perhaps as high as 60,000, but this number fell precipitously during the Peloponnesian War. Democracy, attributes power to people, and marks a significant shift from previous governmental systems. The longest-lasting democratic leader was Pericles. , Thucydides, from his aristocratic and historical viewpoint, reasoned that a serious flaw in democratic government was that the common people were often much too credulous about even contemporary facts to rule justly, in contrast to his own critical-historical approach to history. In the 5th century BCE, the Athenian democracy was made up of a set of assemblies and courts staffed by people with very short terms (some as short s a day)—over one-third of all citizens over the … Pay was raised from two to three obols by Cleon early in the Peloponnesian war and there it stayed; the original amount is not known. 1. Hence this resulted in the division of Greece into the Achaian part which was Arcadia, the Doric part which was Sparta and finally the Ionic part which was Attica. , Essentially there were two grades of a suit, a smaller kind known as dike (δίκη) or private suit, and a larger kind known as graphe or public suit. Democracy was not the only form of government among the city-states of ancient Greece. Athens practiced a political system of legislation and executive bills. Generals were elected not only because their role required expert knowledge, but also because they needed to be people with experience and contacts in the wider Greek world where wars were fought. This approximately translates as the "people's hand of power", and in the context of the play it acts as a counterpoint to the inclination of the votes cast by the people, i.e. Democracy is from the Greek: demos means more or less "the people," cracy derives from kratos which means "strength or rule," so democracy = rule by the people.In the 5th century BCE, the Athenian democracy was made up of a set of assemblies and courts staffed by people with very short terms (some as short s a day)—over one-third of all citizens over the age of 18 … Kratos meant rule. Thought I’d share it as it ended up a couple of hours work and would like to save someone else the time! How it worked is that all adult citizens had to take an active part in government (rule by many) if called on to do so. , The system showed a marked anti-professionalism. This expression encapsulated the right of citizens to take the initiative to stand to speak in the assembly, to initiate a public lawsuit (that is, one held to affect the political community as a whole), to propose a law before the lawmakers, or to approach the council with suggestions. By far the most significant and well-understood example is Athenian democracy in Athens. Invites the reader into a process of historical investigation. John Murray, London, 179-94. By so strongly validating one role, that of the male citizen, it has been argued that democracy compromised the status of those who did not share it. During an Athenian election, approximately one hundred officials out of a thousand were elected rather than chosen by lot. In the 5th century BC, there is often a record of the assembly sitting as a court of judgment itself for trials of political importance and it is not a coincidence that 6,000 is the number both for the full quorum for the assembly and for the annual pool from which jurors were picked for particular trials. Retrouvez Ancient Greek Democracy: Readings and Sources et des millions de livres en stock sur Amazon.fr. One reason that financial officials were elected was that any money embezzled could be recovered from their estates; election in general strongly favoured the rich, but in this case, wealth was virtually a prerequisite. Democracy was suppressed by the Macedonians in 322 BC. At the same time or soon afterward, the membership of the Areopagus was extended to the lower level of the propertied citizenship. In Sparta, women competed in public exercise – so in, Meier C. 1998, Athens: a portrait of the city in its Golden Age (translated by R. and R. Kimber). Ancient Greece, the birthplace of democracy, was the source of some of the greatest literature, architecture, science and philosophy in Western … However, even with Solon's creation of the citizen's assembly, the Archons and Areopagus still wielded a great deal of power. (In present-day use, the term "demarchy" has acquired a new meaning. In the mid-5th century the number of adult male citizens was perhaps as high as 60,000, but this number fell precipitously during the Peloponnesian War. Solon (c. 638 – c. 558BCE These are the assembly (in some cases with a quorum of 6000), the council of 500 (boule), and the courts (a minimum of 200 people, on some occasions up to 6,000). However, major Greek (or “Hellenistic”, as modern scholars call them) kingdoms lasted longer than this. The only exception was the boule or council of 500. The percentage of the population that actually participated in the government was 10% to 20% of the total number of inhabitants, but this varied from the fifth to the fourth century BC. By and large, the power exercised by these officials was routine administration and quite limited. Others, of judicial and official natur… Allotment, therefore, was seen as a means to prevent the corrupt purchase of votes and it gave citizens political equality, as all had an equal chance of obtaining government office. , Attendance at the assembly was not always voluntary. Get facts about ancient Athens here. Both of these processes were in most cases brief and formulaic, but they opened up the possibility of a contest before a jury court if some citizen wanted to take a matter up. Under the 4th century version of democracy, the roles of general and of key political speaker in the assembly tended to be filled by different persons. For them, the common people were not necessarily the right people to rule and were likely to make huge mistakes.  This excluded a majority of the population: slaves, freed slaves, children, women and metics (foreign residents in Athens). The Ancient Greeks succeeded significantly and were highly advanced, Ancient Greek Civilization has been one of the most influential and significant civilizations throughout history. https://www.twinkl.co.uk/resource/tp2-h-004-planit-history-ks2- , In the wake of Athens's disastrous defeat in the Sicilian campaign in 413 BC, a group of citizens took steps to limit the radical democracy they thought was leading the city to ruin. A judge or a small tribunal could be bribed. I created this from various resources available including one on TES (originator pantobabe from 2013) that was a bit wordy. Every male citizen over 18 had to be registered in his deme. The Athenians declared for Rome, and in 146 BC Athens became an autonomous civitas foederata, able to manage internal affairs. One downside to this change was that the new democracy was less capable of responding quickly in times where quick, decisive action was needed. How it worked is that all adult citizens had to take an active part … The word democracy in the Ancient Greek language is referred to as demokratia (Oxford, 2013). After that, it was not just one of the many possible ways in which political rule could be organised.  Another major contribution to democracy was Solon's setting up of an Ecclesia or Assembly, which was open to all the male citizens. These activities were often handled by a form of direct democracy, based on a popular assembly. , Size and make-up of the Athenian population, Shifting balance between assembly and courts. The shadow of the old constitution lingered on and Archons and Areopagus survived the fall of the Roman Empire. Citizen families could have amounted to 100,000 people and out of these some 30,000 would have been the adult male citizens entitled to vote in the assembly.  Altogether, the boule was responsible for a great portion of the administration of the state, but was granted relatively little latitude for initiative; the boule's control over policy was executed in its probouleutic, rather than its executive function; in the former, it prepared measures for deliberation by the assembly, in the latter, it merely executed the wishes of the assembly. It was an experiment. During emergencies, the Ecclesia would also grant special temporary powers to the Boule. Much of his writings were about his alternatives to democracy. Democracy is from the Greek: demos means more or less "the people," cracy derives from kratos which means "strength or rule," so democracy = rule by the people.  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