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Contents contributed and discussions participated by Tom Cameron

Tom Cameron

Lecture 6: The Athenian Origins of Direct Democracy - 1 views

    developed their control over the Peloponnesus, the city-state of Athens controlled the area of the Attic Peninsula, to the east and northeast of Sparta. Athens was similar to other city-states of the period of the Greek Renaissance with two important differences: (1) it was larger both geographically and in terms of its population and (2) those people it conquered were not reduced to servitude - this was the rule at Sparta. So, Athens never faced the problem of trying to control a large population of angry and sometimes violent subjects. This also explains why Sparta had to remain an intensely militaristic state. Around the year 600 B.C., and while Lycurgus was reforming the legal system of the Spartan state, Athens faced a deepening political crisis. Those farmers who supplied the city-state with food could not keep up with demand because the Athenian population had grown too quickly. Farmers began to trade their land to obtain food and quickly went bankrupt as they traded away their last piece of land. The crisis was solved in 594 B.C. when the Athenians gave control over to Solon (c.640-c.559 B.C.), a former high official. In his role as archon, Solon cancelled all agricultural debts and announced that all slaves were free. He also passed constitutional reforms that divided Athenian subjects into four classes based on their annual agricultural production rather than birth. Members of the three highest orders could hold public office. Solon's system excluded all those people who did not own any productive land - women, children, slaves, resident aliens, artisans and merchants. However, with the constitutional reforms of Solon, men from newer and less-established families could work their way up economically and achieve positions of political leadership. Solon did not end the agricultural crisis in Greece and so factional strife remained. In 561, the former military leader Pisistratus (c.600-527 B
Tom Cameron

BBC - History - Khufu (2609 BC - 2584 BC) - 0 views

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