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mrs. b.

Winged Sandals: History: Athenian Politics and Government - 0 views

  • Direct Democracy
  • Athens, however, every governmental decision had to be made by a big assembly of all eligible citizens who wanted to take part – in some cases, this had to be at least 6,000 citizens. This is called a "direct democracy".
  • The Athenian assembly – which is the ancestor of a modern day parliament sitting – would meet in a large open-air area on the side of a hill in Athens called the Pnyx. Only male citizens over the age of 20 were allowed to take part. Women, children, slaves and foreigners were not permitted to participate in any part of Athenian democracy. Any member of the assembly could speak and make proposals (at least in theory), and everyone at the assembly voted on each issue by a show of hands. The assembly met at least 40 times a year. Sometimes, the authorities had trouble rounding up enough people to attend the assembly, so they would send out slaves carrying ropes dipped in red dye. Anybody that they hit would be fined, so people would run from the slaves to the Pnyx where they were safe and join the assembly.
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  • The Council of 500 The Athenians also had a council with 500 members (called the "boule"), which prepared the agenda for the assembly and carried out its decisions. This council also administered the state finances and a number of other state affairs. The members were chosen by lottery from the population of citizen men over the age of 30 and served for one year. A man was allowed to be a member only twice in his whole lifetime
  • Juries in ancient Athens were also chosen by lottery drawn from any male citizens over the age of 30 who volunteered at the start of each year. Juries were made up of different numbers depending on the type of case.
  • Witnesses were allowed, but unlike today, there was no cross-examination. Imprisonment was not used as a punishment following a conviction in ancient Athens – usually a person found guilty either had to pay a fine or was put to death.
Jeremy G

Direct Democracy Video! - 0 views

    This is a good video and what a direct democracy is.
Ivy V

Athenian democracy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - 9 views

  • Athens is one of the first known democracies.
  • It remains a unique and intriguing experiment in direct democracy where the people do not elect representatives to vote on their behalf but vote on legislation and executive bills in their own right. Participation was by no means open
  • of Athenian freedom. The greatest and longest lasting democratic leader
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  • Estimates of the population of ancient Athens vary. During the 4th century BC, there may well have been some 250,000–300,000 people in Attica. Citizen families may have amounted to 100,000 people and out of these some 30,000 will have been the adult male citizens entitled to vote in the assembly. In the mid-5th century the number of adult male citizens was perhaps as high as 60,000, but this number fell precipitously during the Peloponnesian War.
    • ed h
      Population matters to direct democracy
    • arman b
      what if the greek didn't have many people?
    • erick j
      If Greeks didn't have as many people, they would get more work done.
  • There were three political bodies where citizens gathered in numbers running into the hundreds or thousands. These are the assembly (in some cases with a quorum of 6000), the council of 500 (boule) and the courts (a minimum of 200 people, but running at least on some occasions up to 6000). Of these three bodies it is the assembly and the courts that were the true sites of power — although courts, unlike the assembly, were never simply called the demos (the People) as they were manned by a subset of the citizen body, those over thirty.
    • erick j
      Did wealth matter to your position in government?
    • Mike Pennington
      Yes, wealth played a direct role in just how much power you had in ancient Greece. The Patricians, or wealthy, had slightly more power in making decisions and passing laws.
    • glever g
      Why did wealth affect anything?
  • Only adult male Athenian citizens who had completed their military training as ephebes had the right to vote in Athens. The percentage of the population (of males) that actually participated in the government was about 20%. This excluded a majority of the population, namely slaves, freed slaves, children, women and metics. The women had limited rights and privileges and were not really considered citizens. The restricted movement in public and were very segregated from the men. Also disallowed were citizens whose rights were under suspension (typically for failure to pay a debt to the city: see atimia); for some Athenians this amounted to permanent (and in fact inheritable) disqualification. Still, in contrast with oligarchical societies, there were no real property requirements limiting access
    • molly c
      It is interesting to learn that Athenian men had to serve in the military.
    • glever g
      Not really if you were in that position then you would think that that would be sensible.
  • The central events of the Athenian democracy were the meetings of the assembly (ἐκκλησία ekklêsia). Unlike a parliament, the assembly's members were not elected, but attended by right when they chose. Greek democracy created at Athens was a direct, not a representative democracy: any adult male citizen of age could take part, and it was a duty to do so. The officials of the democracy were in part elected by the Assembly and in large part chosen by lot. The assembly had four main functions; it made executive pronouncements (decrees, such as deciding to go to war or granting citizenship to a foreigner); it elected some officials; it legislated; and it tried political crimes. As the system evolved these last two functions were shifted to the law courts. The standard format was that of speakers making speeches for and against a position followed by a general vote (usually by show of hands) of yes or no. Though there might be blocs of opinion, sometimes enduring, on crucial issues, there were no political parties and likewise no government or opposition (as in the Westminster system). Voting was by simple majority. In the 5th century at least there were scarcely any limits on the power exercised by the assembly. If the assembly broke the law, the only thing that might happen is that it would punish those who had made the proposal that it had agreed to
    • Garth Holman
      Here is some great information about the Assembly of ancient Athens
    • Mike Pennington
      Yes Matt, the Athenian government eventually fell during the Peloponnesian Wars. It was weakened by the Persian Wars, but as soon as Sparta truly set it's sights on defeating the every-expanding Athenians they were in danger. The war itself indirectly led to the fall of Athens, during the second and third years of fighting, disease broke out in Athens and devastated the population. It took Sparta and its allies nearly 30 years to destroy the city of Athens. The Spartans also used the help of the Persians.
    Did the government ever fall or come close to falling?
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