Civics Citizenship

Athenian Democracy (Lancaster Pamphlets) (1996) by John Thorley

By John Thorley

This pamphlet outlines the advance and operation of Athenian democracy to the top of the 5th century BC. Separate sections research the prelude to democracy, the emergence of a democratic procedure, and how the program labored in perform. a last part makes a speciality of the questions:

  • how may still we pass judgement on the good fortune of Athenian democracy?
  • who benefitted?
  • was it an effective method of government?
  • in what feel used to be Athenian democracy the forerunner of contemporary democracies?

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Extra info for Athenian Democracy (Lancaster Pamphlets) (1996)

Example text

Any member of the Assembly could then come to the platform and speak on that item. From a speech of Aeschines of around 340 we have some of the rules for speakers both in the Boule and in the Assembly: Anyone addressing the Boule or the Assembly must keep to the matter in hand, must not deal with two separate matters together, and must not speak twice on the same matter at any one meeting. He must not engage in slanders or scurrility, or interrupt others. 35) 31 Voting was done by a show of hands.

The citizens forming a tribe therefore had to meet fairly regularly in Athens. These tribal assemblies were probably dominated by members from the city demes, and though this was maybe not a big issue for members from the coastal and inland demes since the tribal assemblies were not in any sense policy-making bodies, we do see some effects in the appointment of generals, as will be noted below. The Council of 500 (the Boule) This new council was at the heart of the new democracy, though it should be stressed straight away that its powers were executive; it did not itself make policy: that was the job of the Assembly, which was open to all citizens over the age of 20 (see pp.

The Boule also received all embassies to Athens, and decided whether they should have access to a meeting of the Assembly. Much of their work, however, was in implementing the policy of the Assembly, and in this area perhaps most of the work was concerned with the finance and organisation of public works and services, including military expenditure. In fact the Boule was the responsible body of the state in the implementation of all policies, even if there were other officers and committees (and there were plenty of both, as we shall see) who actually did the work.

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