This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Athenian Radical Democracy Essay

1053 words - 5 pages

The Athenian radical democracy provided freedom, although not complete freedom. The Democracy in Athens, much like the democracy currently here in the United States, was pretty broad, but there is a line in the sand where free speech and action are no longer tolerated by the state and its citizens. Direct involvement in the government was limited by the economic and social barriers of entry, so that only the rich and popular could fully participate. The poor, outcasts of society, and women were mainly barred from the political process. The Athenian radical democracy was revolutionary in the amount of freedom it gave, no other civilization before had treaded on the ideas the Athenians put ...view middle of the document...

.. Here each individual is interested not only in his own affairs but in the affairs of the state as well" (Spielvogel 50). Pericles expanded participation in the government to all males over the age of 18 and constructed a council of 500 males (the "Boule") to write the agenda for the "ecclesia", (the mass gathering of all the citizens). When the ecclesa gathered however, it was never all the citizens like was dreamed. There were around 43,000 eligible males, and the Pnyx meeting hill, which could hold six thousand, was seldom filled. Pericles instituted a wage for people working for the state, before that the poor could not hold public office or serve in the military because they could not afford it. Even with these reforms the democracy though was still not open to all people, women were banned from participation and the poor still could not serve in the more elite military units that required purchasing your own equipment. The living wage paid to public servants was a step in the right direction, it gave lower class citizens the opportunity to work for the benefit of Athens without starving.Women were treated as lesser citizens in Athens. Plato remarks, "... half the human race - the female sex, the half which in any case is inclined to be secretive and crafty, because of its weakness - has been left to its own devices because of the misguided indulgence of the legislator" (ETEP, 7). Although the Athenians were concerned about the rights of all males, they always seemed to overlook the freedom and rights of the females. The activities of women in Athens were little more than bearing children, spinning and weaving, and sometimes managing the domestic arrangements. The men looked down on the women as inferior and did not provide them any voice under the law. In a land so proud of its freedom it is interesting to note the lack of any for half of the population. Even in plays the women voicing their opinions were...

Find Another Essay On Athenian Radical Democracy

Plato's Philosophy of Democracy Essay

2066 words - 8 pages Democracy is a topic extensively studied by political philosophers all around the world. Plato was one of these philosophers. Plato believed that “democracy […] is a charming form of government, full of verity and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike”. An analysis of ancient Athenian democracy and the Republic provides great understanding of the statement within its context. The statement itself is valid, but

The Reforms of Cleisthenes Essay

693 words - 3 pages In ancient Athenian society, citizenship and the exclusivity thereof was key to the function and operation of the radical democracy. Very few residents of Athens were actually full citizens; social status was divided into several groups in order to maintain the government. Both Athenian citizens and foreigners alike admired the Athenian democracy. As Thucydides recorded of Pericles' Funeral Oration, "Our government does not copy our neighbour

The Athenian playwright, Aristophanes

1808 words - 8 pages with Sparta, the relaunch of the first Peloponnesian War, and the ratification of the Thirty Years‘ of Peace Treaty. During this time, the Athenian government had taken the form of a radical democracy, in which all adult male citizens had an equal share in policy decisions3. Although every man over thirty had an equal opportunity to be involved in the administration of the polis, the respected political and military leader, Pericles held a

Athen's Rise To Power 478 - 445 BC

2137 words - 9 pages with Argos and Thessaly, Sparta's traditional enemies. The rejection of Athenian aid was humiliating for Cimon, bringing an end to both his career and his policy of dual leadership of Greece. He was ostracised in 461 and during his absence the radical democracy asserted itself. While Athens became a greater power, Sparta floundered and eventually was forced to step down.According to Thucydides Eion, Carystus and Naxos were stepping stones to

Plato's Criticism of Democracy

1695 words - 7 pages Plato's Criticism of Democracy Do not be angry with me for speaking the truth; no man will survive who genuinely opposes you or any other crowd and prevents the occurrence of many unjust and illegal happenings in the city. A man who really fights for justice must lead a private, not a public, life if he is to survive for even a short time. (Apology 31e-32a) These are the words of Socrates, who spoke before the Athenian jury in the trial

The Peloponnesian War and the Decline of Leadership in Athens

3366 words - 13 pages their explanations of events the greatest credibility. Once self-interest is openly established as the basis of human action, and not such poetic motives as justice or honor, two major tensions arise that threaten the cohesion of the new Athens, which is both an empire and a democracy. If Athenians believed self-interest to be not just the motive behind men’s actions but also the highest good, their radical democracy would risk falling prey

The Public Sphere of Athenian Women

1970 words - 8 pages , there are scholars who believe that Greek, but more specifically Athenian women practised a separate public life. Research suggests these women were engaged in the economy as well as religious activities.This study relies on evidence found at Athens. Athens was a major polis in the Greek world and controlled a great deal of power as well as a fluctuating empire. Athens is also considered the birthplace of ?democracy? and home to a celebrated

Sophocles' Use of Social Commentary in Antigone

1523 words - 7 pages prophet Tiresias, accusing him of having been corrupted (102). He would only change his mind too late to prevent the triple tragedy that concludes the play. The preventability of the catastrophe makes it even more tragic. If Creon had greater restraints on his power, like those present in a democracy, Antigone might have had a more peaceful ending. This sentiment would resonate with the Athenian audience who, unlike in most city-states where power

A brief overview of Greek Philosophy: Socrates

754 words - 3 pages . This expedition was destroyed in 413. Nevertheless Athens continued the war. In 411 an oligarchy ("rule by a few") was instituted in Athens in an attempt to secure financial support from Persia, but this did not work out and the democracy was soon restored. In 405 the last Athenian fleet was destroyed in the battle of Aegospotami by a Spartan commander, and the city was besieged and forced to surrender in 404. Sparta set up an oligarchy of

Investigating Athens' Treatment of Her Allies

6039 words - 24 pages to the cause of the Delian League, the introduction of tribute-paying states hinted at a dramatic change in the nature of the organisation and Athens’ new methods of total control. During the years 465-460 a major turning point in Athens’ relationship with her allies occurred with the growth of radical democracy. These new policies caused conflict with Sparta, but this made Athens realise that it would be safer to

Aristotelian Ethics and its Context

6987 words - 28 pages " far more thoroughgoing and radical than any proposed in the contemporary United States. Unlike the case of republican Rome, with its cursus honorum- tradition, (8) the Athenian conception did not encourage the career politician. Offices were geographically spread to ensure wide citizen participation; many offices were in fact chosen by lot to further the same goal. There were no mechanisms, such as were common in Roman republican (or modern

Similar Essays

Athenian Definition Of Democracy Essay

1213 words - 5 pages shores. The cities that were not democracies were either oligarchies or monarchies (often times called tyrannies). Of the democracies, the oldest, the most stable, the most long-lived, and the most radical, was Athens.      The origin of the Athenian democracy of the fifth and for centuries can be traced back to Solon. Solon was a poet and a wise statesmen but not a Democrat. His constitutional reform package laid the basis

The Evolution Of Democracy: How America Has Changed Greece's Greatest Achievement

907 words - 4 pages , but on a worldwide scale, with America holding the symbolic torch of modern democracies, with quasi-democratic countries bringing up the rear. Though the concept of democracy has remained largely the same since its inception, American democracy is much differently set up and used than Greek, or particularly Athenian, democracy. Nevertheless, without Athenian democracy, there would have been little basis for the Montesquieu-esque system adapted

How Effective Was Athenian Democracy? Essay

1905 words - 8 pages Plan of Investigation Between the years of 508 BCE and 322 CE, Greece flourished under democracy. However, some question if the flourishing of Athens is due to the democracy that was in place as opposed to other factors relevant in building a successful community. This investigation will examine the effectiveness of Athenian democracy in Greek society. Relevance of Athenian democracy can be seen in foundation of many democracies found worldwide

Central Athenian Historical Overview Essay

1004 words - 4 pages democracies, the oldest, the most stable, the most long-lived, but also the most radical, was Athens.The origin of the Athenian democracy of the fifth and fourth centuries can be traced back to Solon, who flourished in the years around 600 BCE. Solon was a poet and a wise statesman but not - contrary to later myth - a democrat. He did not believe in people-power as such. But it was Solon's constitutional reform package that laid the basis on which