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Early Origins Of Athens, Greece Essay

956 words - 4 pages

Early origins in Athens, Greece can be traced back as early as 7000 B.C.E. It is unclear if the name is derived from
the Goddess Athena, or if the goddess was named after the city. In the center of the city is the Acropolis,
a high, rocky plateau overlooking the Mediterranean sea. This site was most likely chosen for settlement due to its
natural defenses inland, surrounded by mountains, with the acropolis protecting settlers from seaside attacks. Because of
the rocky terrain, no large-scale agriculture was possible. The smaller farms weren't large enough to support the growing population.
Athenians relied mainly on fishing and trading with neighboring civilizations. The city ...view middle of the document...

Officials were elected and dismissed. Court trials, jury, and appeals were also done by
citizen vote. The assembly was held monthly with citizens rotating in and out with each lottery. This new system equalized
the power between the noble and poorer classes. A later reform began to include more wealthy foreigners who owned land to
participate in the assembly and citizenship was granted. Although free women were not permitted to participate in the assembly, they
were allowed to own land and slaves. The day to day duties of women in early Athens was limited to child-rearing and domestic
duties. In early 500 B.C.E. Cleisthenes was elected by popular vote to advocate strengthening citizen involvement in Athenian politics. Athenians
prided themselves on participation in politics. Men of eligible age who did not participate were treated as inferior.
This new program was called demokratia, meaning 'ruled by all'. His council of 500 elected men replaced the former 400. All Athenian males
over 30 were eligible to participate. The city-state Athens was divided into 10 tribes. Fifty men from each tribe were selected for a term of one
year, as a system of balance to limit the power of each tribe. The day to day duties of the council involved foreign legislation, rent collection,
and the daily operations of the city. Men were allowed a maximum of two terms, and were paid a salary for their service. In 460 B.C.E.
Pericles gained political favor and the Assembly of 500 was yet again reformed. He was a patron of the arts and allocated funds for building
great buildings such as the Parthenon, and giving poor peasants free admissions to theater plays. He instituted a salary for serving on
the jury and provided more jobs for Athenians. His belief was that the people of Athens should...

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