The Athenian Democracy

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Week 3 : The Ancient Greece

Democracy in Ancient Greece was the ideal way of governing, since all the citizens could take part to the political life. To this day, Athens represents the only example of a direct democracy.

The Persians have always had a very different culture from the Greek culture, so we can call it almost the opposite. The Persians have tried to conquer the Greek islands many times, but every time the Greek countries (that used to fight each other) have found the power to unite and overcome the menace, therefore helping their culture survive.

To be a citizen in Athens means having the duty to participate in the political life. Strangers cannot become citizens because being a citizen of Athens means being born in there. Among the 13.000 citizens who have the right to participate to political life and vote, there will be only around 6.000 people to constitute the ‘ecclesia’(the demos, the decision makers of Athens who participate the meetings regularly). Those who participate and gather have the right to decide for the people.

Democracy => The people rule themselves. It was easy for the Athenians to see who the people are due to the population number at the time. Therefore, they could easily make decisions.

The council of 500 - was preparing the agenda, representing some of the tribes from Athens. It tries to rationalize the activities. The Tribunals – They have various types of magistrates

Equality for the Athenians:
1. Equality before the law (isonomia)
2. Equality to speak (isegoria) -> everybody can speak, tell his own opinion and has the right to make the others listen (eventually sympathize and accept the idea)

The Greeks vote for the :
1. Generals – each year
2. Accountants of the city

Otherwise, every kind of position will never be voted for, but selected by chance (lottery). They will decide by pure hazard who will become a member of the juries, council, magistrates. There is no capacity for...
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