The Golden Age
Like a flower in bloom, fifth century Attica is said to be the prime time of ancient civilizations. Much praise is given to the period, and it is coined to be the Golden Age of ancient western history. It is claimed that the Athenians of this time period were very successful in many areas, being “originators of democracy…art, history, philosophy, and science.” (Discovering 54) Comparatively I support the claim for Attica’s golden status because it was the most successful city state of its time: with a democratic government, military superiority, and free philosophical thought.
The government of Attica was historically the first ever democracy, pioneering ideas of equality and power divided amongst all. In Pericles’ funeral speech, he claims the Athenian “constitution does not copy the laws of neighboring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves.” (Discovering 59) Attican government and laws set the bar of standards of equality that others modeled their own law systems after. The original designers of democracy were highly successful in seeing to it that equal representation existed. It is said that “the laws… afford equal justice to all in their private differences.” (Discovering 59) Some would argue that the democracy was crude because only free, landowning male citizens were allowed to vote: which was true. However one living in Attica was not confined to a certain caste or rank in which they stayed their entire life. In fact, “class considerations… [were not] allowed to interfere with merit…if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition.” (Discovering 59) Even consider the original Constitution of the United States, which says that only white male property owners could vote. (U.S. Constitution) For its time, this sort of thinking and government system was revolutionary and remarkable. Class mobility was a reality in Attica, and no person was kept down or permanently...
Cited: "U.S. Constitution." Legal Information Institute. 2010. Cornell University Law School, Web. 11 Feb 2010. .
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