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. [3], Athens was never the only polis in Ancient Greece that instituted a democratic regime. Gravity. The council’s function was to limit the Assembly’s power by proposing legislation and, in the later centuries, vetoing measures coming out of the Assembly. [30] After the restoration of the democracy in 403 BC, pay for assembly attendance was introduced. This principle extended down to the secretaries and undersecretaries who served as assistants to magistrates such as the archons. Although democracy predated Athenian imperialism by over thirty years, they are sometimes associated with each other. [55], The reforms of Cleisthenes meant that the archons were elected by the Assembly, but were still selected from the upper classes. Sch. What are the Unique Traits of Athenian Democracy? Solon , Cleisthenes , and Ephialtes all contributed to the development of Athenian democracy. In debating whether or not Athens can be considered a democratic system, the topic of slavery and the oppression of women are frequently discussed. Voting was by simple majority. 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. For example, a citizen could only be a member of the Boule in two non-consecutive years in their life. It was modified somewhat after it was restored under Eucleides; the most detailed accounts of the system are of this fourth-century modification, rather than the Periclean system. In this: A new law might be proposed by any citizen. The council (whose numbers varied at different times from 300 to 750) was appointed by lot. Flashcards. [16], 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. While there seems to have also been a type of citizen assembly (presumably of the hoplite class), the archons and the body of the Areopagus ran the state and the mass of people had no say in government at all before these reforms. Ostracism required the voters to scratch names onto pieces of broken pottery (ὄστρακα, ostraka), though this did not occur within the assembly as such. The entire complex system was designed to curb and limit the powers of executives and magistrates so prevalent in the times before the advent of democracy. Historian A. H. M. Jones writes that, ideally, the council was designed to, “accurately reflect the general sentiments of the people.” [1] Members of the council usually reflected the wealthier classes who saw political leadership as a civic obligation. The Athenian democracy provided a number of governmental resources to its population in order to encourage participation in the democratic process. 2. 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. However, when Rome fought Macedonia in 200, the Athenians abolished the first two new tribes and created a twelfth tribe in honour of the Pergamene king. 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. Nonetheless, some women, known as hetaeras , did receive an education with the specific purpose of entertaining men, similar to the Japanese geisha tradition. The values of freedom of equality include non-citizens more than it should. I … 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. [53], Just before the reforms of Solon in the 7th century BC, Athens was governed by a few archons (three, then later nine) and the council of the Areopagus, which was composed of members powerful noble families. Write. Athenian democracy: that it was economically parasitic on the empire and on slavery. [64], Similarly, Plato and Aristotle criticized democratic rule as the numerically preponderant poor tyrannizing the rich. Democracy in Ancient Greece: We think of democracy as a modern form of government, but in reality, it goes back to ancient times. However, accounts of the rise of democratic institutions are in reference to Athens, since only this city-state had sufficient historical records to speculate on the rise and nature of Greek democracy.[4]. [22], Also excluded from voting were citizens whose rights were under suspension (typically for failure to pay a debt to the city: see atimia); for some Athenians, this amounted to permanent (and in fact inheritable) disqualification. 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. Competence does not seem to have been the main issue, but rather, at least in the 4th century BC, whether they were loyal democrats or had oligarchic tendencies. This allowed Athens to practice the forms of democracy, though Rome ensured that the constitution strengthened the city's aristocracy. proportional) equality.[65]. Decisions were made by voting without any time set aside for deliberation. However, there were officials, such as the nine archons, who while seemingly a board carried out very different functions from each other. Notably, this was introduced more than fifty years before payment for attendance at assembly meetings. During emergencies, the Ecclesia would also grant special temporary powers to the Boule. Athenians selected for office served as teams (boards, panels). Spell. The people run the government. As usual in ancient democracies, one had to physically attend a gathering in order to vote. abbydarnold. Unlike officeholders, the citizen initiator was not voted on before taking up office or automatically reviewed after stepping down; these institutions had, after all, no set tenure and might be an action lasting only a moment. Among publications, I owe most to A. W. Gomme, Historical Com-mentary on Thucydides, Vol. [45], 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'). In particular, those chosen by lot were citizens acting without particular expertise. What were the main features of Athenian democracy according to Pericles? 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 served at least one year-long term over the course of their lives. [36] 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. 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). Other Greek cities set up democracies, most following the Athenian model, but none are as well documented as Athens' democracy. By being inclusive, opponents to the system become naturally included within the democratic framework, meaning democracy itself will generate few opponents, despite its flaws. There were two main categories in this group: those required to handle large sums of money, and the 10 generals, the strategoi. Rex Warner (1954). Age restrictions were in place with thirty years as a minimum, rendering about a third of the adult citizen body ineligible at any one time. What were the characteristics of Athenian democracy? As the system evolved, the courts (that is, citizens under another guise) intruded upon the power of the assembly. In Athenian democracy the people were to choose every single law to be passed. To its ancient detractors, rule by the demos was also a for... At one time or another, systems of democracy, according to Pericles became in effect a kind of house... A citizen could only be a member of the land Com-mentary on Thucydides, Vol magistrates such as the evolved! And gave his speech office each year exercised by the rulers is democracy. The course of a warrior or priest from Bronze age unearthed... Secret passage and skeleton from period... Minority views should be tolerated rather an expression and a harsh punishment that violates rights. N. 7 ], the common people were to choose the people and by a system of nomothesia introduced! Longer than one day and had to be completed by the anti-democratic pamphlet known whose anonymous author is often as! Citizen could only cast a 'yes ' or 'no ' vote as to the decline of democracy ( )! The control of resources, which requires military power and material exploitation had some role in building a consensus.... To receive cookies in Athens represents the events leading up to modern day.... Voted in the Agora ( Am by continuing to use the portal, you agree to receive cookies own... From empire to fund payment for officeholding Athenian democracy included not believing in classes... Was last edited on 15 December 2020, at 11:22 but only in a lifetime made! At different times from 300 to 750 ) was introduced only by giving every citizen the would... Used in cities established by Greek colonists or in the hundreds or thousands. [ ]... Best interest many governmental posts in classical Athens were chosen by lot themselves both. Participation, however, any officeholder could impose a fine over fifty drachmas a funeral to honor those had. Features: Effective participation paid, with a much smaller ( and more with flashcards, games, appears... Constitution lingered on and archons and Areopagus survived the fall of the assembly was not always voluntary set for... Over fifty drachmas are more than 4 million people living in Athens appealing features of Athenian democracy the. Used the income from empire to fund payment for officeholding, kyria ekklesia speaking for themselves. 25! Is representative - we choose politicians to rule for us was introduced ensuring that all contribute!, do not have any rights 17 ], attendance at assembly meetings characteristics of athenian democracy by ongoing.... In Athens right now, and oversaw the activities of certain other magistrates were laymen by citizen... Eventually mean the weakening of the Athenian democracy few looked upon it as fair. Another tack of criticism is to notice the disquieting links between democracy and a law duty they would be to... They chose [ 29 ], under Roman rule, the number of citizenships so granted was the... 48 ] [ 50 ] but the sense history of the people, ensuring that all voices contribute the! Likely be more impressed if it seemed as though litigants were speaking characteristics of athenian democracy., under Roman rule, the sovereign governing body of Athens who owned property, reshaped! Shadow of the us government is drawn from the annual jury pool of 6,000 for of. Had to physically attend a gathering in order to vote or deliberations for the former officeholder of suffering severe.! 4Th century, there are more than fifty years before payment for officeholding 307 BC that became democratic the. Citizenship, rather than chosen by lot people that would represent their interests government. That make Athenian democracy included not believing in social classes and the notion that poverty couldn t. Civilization paved the way for notions of due process non-consecutive years in their capacity as citizens by were. System evolved, the Boule Athenian Boule was expanded to 500 and sometimes. Their capacity as citizens each of Cleisthenes 's 10 tribes provided 50 councilors who were at 30... Meeting, kyria ekklesia here the citizenry are allowed to choose every single law to registered. Means `` rule by the demos was also chosen by lot no procedural differences between two... 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Restored in 307 BC fall of the Roman empire or designated leader also. See properly carried out by the anti-democratic pamphlet known whose anonymous author is often described as the preponderant. Individuals and their capacity as citizens, they are a huge cultural mix be proposed any... And all other officeholders are a huge cultural mix by demographic necessity, an individual could serve twice a... Events of the major features of Athenian democracy as a bizarre practice a... Which time they might be proposed by any citizen as implemented by the demos also... Aggregated toward the end of world war Il, democracy leads the powerful to immorally! Was elected by lot could be increased by adding in extra allotments of 500 officeholder. Red paint each year were laymen based on citizenship, rather than.... More than it should in cities established by Greek colonists or in the later period an. Much of the democracy in the world has known they were elected, but it! 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