By Eric W. Robinson
Democracy is without doubt one of the maximum innovations of the traditional Greeks. This publication invitations readers to enquire the phenomenon of historical Greek democracy for themselves, from its earliest roots within the archaic interval to its visual appeal and improvement in Athens.
The booklet is constructed from six chapters, proposing questions of constant curiosity and controversy. every one encourages readers to have interaction with historical texts in translation and to work out how modern classical students have won insights from them. every one can be utilized as a self-contained unit to discover a selected point of historic democratic executive. Taken as a complete, the e-book offers readers with an intensive assessment of historical Greek democracy and the present country of its research. For ease of use, the e-book comprises maps, a word list, and an index.
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Extra resources for Ancient Greek Democracy: Readings and Sources
In the form in which they survive, the Iliad and Odysseyeach are the work of one and possibly the same “monumental” poet who lived in the late eighth century in Ionia. Unlike the events and actions that are attributed to the heroes and therefore elevated into a superhuman sphere, the world in which they live and act is human, real, accessible, and understandable to the poet’s audience. The practical aspects of life such as the extended household (oibos),the early stages of the polis, agriculture, trade, and war, assemblies and council, relationships within the community and the value system of the leading class - these practical aspects form a system that is sufficiently consistent in itself to mirror a historical societywhich, according to Moses Finley, is to be dated in the tenth and early ninth centuries, according to others - and more probably - a little later.
Odysseus has been gone for twenty years and is supposed dead. A band of suitors, sons of the best families from near and far, have occupied Odysseus’ house, pressuring his wife Penelope to agree to a new marriage which would at the same time determine the succession, and threatening the king’s oibos with economic ruin, thereby also weakening Telemachos’ chances to succeed his father. Encouraged by Athena, Telemachos finally decides to fight back. He convenes an assembly. There has not been one for twenty years; the reason must be important: a threat of war or some other urgent public business (30-32).
But far-seeing Zeus, son of IOonos, is the judge of wanton wrongdoers who plot deeds of harshness. Many times one man’s wickedness ruins a whole city, if such a man breaks the law and turns his mind to recklessness. Then the son of IOonos sends a great bane from the sky, hunger and plague, and the people waste away. Women bear no children, and families dwindle through the counsels of Zeus the Olympian, the son of IOonos, who punishes wrong by wiping out large armies, walls, and ships at sea. Kings, give this verdict no little thought, for the immortals are ever present among men, and they see those who with crooked verdicts spurn divine retribution and grind down one another’s lives.
Ancient Greek Democracy: Readings and Sources by Eric W. Robinson