CLS 150-01

*** QUIZ TODAY ***

access to political power determined by wealth, not birth
landless citizens (thetes) given a role in govt
creates Attic identity

Cleisthenes (chief archon) & isonomia: a big step to democracy
isonomia = equality before the law

  • Cleisthenes (an Alcmeonid) devises a series of reforms to break forever the hold of regional clans on political power
  • replaced old 4 tribes with 10 new ones
  • each tribe made up of 3 units, one each from the coast, inland & city regions (units called trittyes); rarely were the 3 trittyes of a tribe contiguous
  • each trittys tribe has same approximate population
  • synoicism of Attica may date as late as these reforms

Cleisthenes & isonomia Pt II, the Deme

  • basic unit was the deme which could be a villagfe, cluster of villages or a district in the city
  • demes varied greatly in size
  • appx. 139 total
  • deme was now where all registered for citizenship; previously aristocratic religious clubs had controlled this
  • the state, not aristocratic clans, decided who was a citizen
  • each deme had its own council, cults & festivals
  • no relation between # of demes & trittyes
  • new council (boule) of 500 members replaces old 400-member council; each of the 10 tribes picked by lot; 50 men (over age 30, must be willing, 2 non-sequential term limit
  • assembly (ekklesia): all male citizens = sovereign power in the state; Boule prepared agenda, called special meetings, oversaw day-to-day business
  • each tribe’s contingent was 50 – on duty full-time (= in prytany) for one month of the 10 month Athenian calendar & lived in special bldg in Agora called the Tholos; daily chairmen selected by lot from this group
  • 9 archons still exist but decrease in power, nearly all offices filled by lot
  • exception = annual board of ten regents (strategoi) elected
  • dokimasia = pre-office check; euthynai = after-office scrutiny
  • ostracism: annual opportunity to banish a person for 10 years
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