CLS 150-01

development of Athenian democracy pt I

* Elite led family groupings dominate regions (coast, inland, city) of Attica
* Synoicism of Attica: all villages unite to form one polis with its center at the city center of Athens = the polis we call Athens. syn=together oikos= household
* myth says Athenian hero-king Theseus did this, evidence scanty; used to be assigned near end of Dark Ages (no king by hist. era) and possibly much later Cleisthenes?
* board of 9 archons. eponymous archon, Polemarchos, king-archon = 3 way split of king duties, 6 lawmakers thesmothetai
* areopagus council: ex-archons serve for life, powerful.
* assembly: all adult male citizens, powers, if any, not…

Development of athenian democracy pt II
* Cylon: c. 630 olympic victor tries, fails to become dominant power; alcmeonid family dominates
* Draco: c.620 writes down/codifies laws; attempt to end cycle of vendettas? public authority rather than family of deceased exacts retribution/payment; Draco’s penalties harsh (draconian)
* Period of crisis: political strife among elites (eupatrids); also between elites and non-elites (agroikoi and demiourgoi = farmers and craftsmen); indebtedness, debt-slavery, economic depression
* all sides as Solon to revise laws and govt (c.594

Development of Athenian Democracy pt III (Solon’s solutions)
* abolished debts; the seisachtheia: “throwing off of burdens”
* free debt slaves (not all slaves); illegal to loan on security of a person
* recalled all exiles
* banned all exports except olive products
* father obligated by law to teach son a trade
* immigration of artisans encouraged
* brought weights & measures in line (standardized) with those of Corinth & Euboean cities (facilitates easy trade & exchange)

Political (2nd set of reforms)
* access to political office now based on wealth, not birth
* reorganized society into 4 classes based on wealth rather than social class/birth
* Pentkosiomedimnoi (500 bushelmen) men whose land produces 500 medimnoi (bushels) annually
* Hippeis (knights) land produces 300 bushels annually
* Zeugitai (yeoman) land produces 200 bushels annually
* Thetes: less than 200 bushels & landless people
* all but thetes could hold offfice; in old system only elites (eupatrids) could hold office
* creates council (boule) of 400, 100 from each of the 4 ancestral tribes; as steering cmte for Assembly
* established new law code to replace Draco’s (excepting homicide) to be set up publicly in Agora (in Royal Stoa)
* every citizen got right to appeal decision of magistrate/archon in a court
* any citizen could prosecute a court case, not just victim or relatives
* court made up of all male citizes = heliaia, on which even thetes could serve (thetes also members of assembly)

Solon: results
* non-elites get much greater share in political life of Athens
* Athenian exports zoom upwards, c. 600-580, supplants Corinthian pottery as most common
* Solon: leave laws unchanged for 10 years; then left Athens on world tour
* strife continues in Athens, however; almost immediately
* regoinally based clans or coalitions of clans headed by powerful elite families (Philaids, Alcmeonids, Peisistratids) compete
* ultimate result – tyranny of Peisistratus & sons, 546-510

The Peisistratids, 546-510BC
* popular at first
* building programs on acropolis & in agora (civic center)
* develops but does not found Panathenaic fewstival
* establishes local courts, roads in Attica
* sets up tax to help support small farmers
* aggressive foreign policy to protect grain routes (siciliy, ukraine,egypt)
* all helps promote sense of civic (Athenia) as opposed to clan/local identity in citizens
* Peisistratus dies 527; eldest son Hippias takes over
* Hipparchos, another son, assassinated 514, tyranny becomes harsher
* Hippias ousted in 510 with help of Spartans

harmodius & aristogeiton the tyrant slayers
temple of Olympian Zeus begun at Athens by Peisistratus in last half of 6th cent BC


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