Athenian Democracy

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A quizlet about the steps involved in the development of democracy in Athens.

Areopagus

A term for the 'Hill of Ares' and the noble Council of Elders in Athens. This group guarded tradition in Athens and held some judicial functions. Comprised ex Archons. Its power was stripped in the time of Ephialtes.

Ephialtes

Athenian Strategos who oversaw the 'radicalisation' of democracy in the 460s BC. His activity included reducing the authority of the Areopagus, and introducing pay for selected office bearers. His deputy was Pericles.

Eupatrids

The oldest families in Athens, who considered themselves 'Aristoi' or 'Best Men'. Usually owned the best lands and monopolised control of the state until at least the time of Cleisthenes.

Aristoi

A Greek term meaning 'Best Men', which gives rise to the term 'Aristocracy'.

Aristocracy

A term for the form of government which existed in Athens from the Dark Ages down until the reforms of Solon in 594 BC. Means 'Government by the Best Men'. Critics would term it 'Oligarchy' - government by small group. Associated with the Eupatrid families.

Basileus

The archaic term associated with the 'King' of Athens; later an archon whose role had religious and ceremonial significance.

Eponymous Archon

One of the nine archons of Athens, who was considered 'chief' amongst his colleagues. This archon gave his name to the that year.

Polemarch

The first archon position to be developed in Athens, the role was responsible for providing military leadership. Had lost much of the prestige and power by the Persian Wars and with the reforms of 487/6, became an honorary title only.

Thesmothetae

A series of six junior archons who had a role in providing justice in Athens. Later oversaw the selection of officers by lot.

Ekklesia

The ancient assembly of the people in Athens. Had existed from early times, possibly even under the monarchy. Became the sovereign power in Athens under Cleisthenes, and saw the introduction of pay for attendance in the late 400s BC.

Georgoi

A term for the class of landowning farmers in pre-Solonic Athens.

Demiourgoi

A term for the class of skills tradesmen and artisans in pre-Solonic Athens.

Thetes

A term for the class of labourers in Athens.

Hektemoroi

A term for a class of landowners who had come to owe 1/6 of their produce, in perpetuity, to their creditors. This debt was indicated by the presence of the 'Horoi'.

Horoi

Marker stones on the land of those who had accrued debt. These indicated that the landowner now owed 1/6 of their produce, in perpetuity, to their creditor.

Debt Slavery

A common practice in Aristocratic Athens, whereby a person would secure a loan on security of their person (or that of a family member). If unable to pay, they would be liable to be sold into slavery, with the money received paying their debt.

Colonisation

A significant movement in Ancient Greece from c. 800 to 500 BCE. It involved the extension of Greek settlement throughout the Mediterranean region, as well as into the Black Sea. Aimed at removing population pressures.

Kylon

An attempted tyrant in Athens, 632 BCE. Miscalculated level of support; killed, despite having taken refuge in temple, with blame placed on Alcmaeonid family, . Triggered limited reforms by the Eupatrids.

Solon

Athenian aristocrat appointed in 594 (some say later) to oversee political and economic reform in Athens. He created a socially mobile, timocratic system, and is famous for his 'Seisactheia'.

594 BCE

The year that Solon was made Eponymous Archon. It may have been now, or some time later (possible in the 570s) when he made his reforms.

10 years

The length of time that Solon demanded his reforms be allowed to 'take their course' before alteration could be made.

Seisactheia

The 'throwing off of burdens', and the main element of Solon's economic reforms. This program saw the 'Horoi' stones indicating perpetual debt, being removed, debt slaves being freed and economic exiles being recalled. Debt slavery was abolished.

Olive Oil

This product, along with wine from grapes, was the only product allowed for export from Athens. This served to keep local food prices down and increased a valuable export.

Pentecosiomedimnoi

The '500 Bushel Men' and wealthiest class of Solon's Athenian reforms. This reform opened the top class to many who had been involved in commerce.

Hippeis

The 'Horse Men', or those who produced 300 + bushels in Solon's Athenian reforms. The second class, they were capable of providing a horse for the Athenian cavalry.

Zeugitae

The 'Yoke Men' or those who produced 200+ bushels in Solon's Athenian reforms. The third class, they were capable of paying for Hoplite armour. May also have had a pair (a 'yoke') of oxen.

Thetes

Landless labourers who produced less than 200 bushels in Solon's Athenian reforms. The fourth class, this group probably included more than 1/2 of Athenians at this time.

Archonship

These offices were open exclusively to the Pentecosiomedimnoi during Solon's times (perhaps the Hippeis). Lower offices were open to the top three classes.

Boule

The Council of 400 probably created by Solon, comprising 100 men from each of the four ancient tribes of Athens. Comprised members of top three classes, it set the agenda for the Ekklesia and oversaw state officials. Probably remained dominated by Eupatrids.

Ekklesia

Opened to all property classes in the time of Solon, its agenda was set by the Boule, but it had the final vote in many issues.

Heliaea

The great court of Athens, which Solon introduced and opened to all property classes. It was the Athenian Ekklesia, or sections of it, meeting for the purpose of hearing judicial cases.

Areopagus

The Council of Elders, charged by Solon with overseeing the laws and constitution of Athens, and with trying cases of homicide. It now included men from the top one (two?) property classes.

Pedieis

A term for the 'Men of the Plain', one of the factions associated with the noble-led conflicts after the departure of Solon. Broadly, the 'Conservative Party' who felt the reforms were too extreme.

Paralioi

A term for the 'Men of the Shore', one of the factions associated with the noble-led conflicts after the departure of Solon. Broadly, the 'Moderate Party' who benefited from the reforms.

Hyperakrioi

A term for the 'Men of the Hills', one of the factions associated with the noble-led conflicts after the departure of Solon. Broadly, the 'Radical Party', who felt the reforms hadn't gone far enough.

Pisistratus

Three time tyrant of Athens, whose reign (561 - 527 BCE) brought significant prosperity to Athens. He dominated the political system but maintained its basic Solonian structure.

Deme Judges

A group of local magistrates, created by Pisistratus who were charged with hearing legal cases around Attica. This development weakened the authority of the noble families, who had once possessed this role.

State Loans

Offered by Pisistratus to small farmers, to encourage investment in high value crops such as olives and grapes. Funded by a 1/10 produce tax, this helped reduce the problem of debt and crippling interest repayments.

561 BCE

Year in which Pisistratus became tyrant for the third, and final, time in Athens.

527 BCE

Year in which Pisistratus died, leaving his role to his sons, Hippias and Hipparchus.

Alcmaeonid

Name of the famous (imfamous) Athenian family to which Cleisthenes & Pericles both belonged.

Isagoras

Name of the oligarchi opponent of Cleisthenes, whose expulsion from Athens (with Spartan allies) set in motion the 'Democratic Revolution' the city.

508 BCE

Year in which Cleisthenes is generally believed to have been appointed to oversee constitutional reform in Athens.

Demos

A broad term, meaning 'the people' in Ancient Greece. In the Athenian context, it usual means the common, or non-noble people.

Phylae

The basis of Cleisthenes' reforms, these ten tribes replaced the original four Ionian tribes of Athens.

Demes

The basic organisational unit of Cleisthenes. Approximately 150 + of these existed, in the city (Astu), the country (Mesogaia) and the coast (Paralia). Citizenship was based on registration to a Deme, rather than the ancient phratries.

Trittyes

A sortition device, the demes were divided up into these 30 separate groups from the three areas, the city (Astu), the country (Mesogaia) and the coast (Paralia).

Phratries

Ancient brotherhoods of Athens, dominated by the Eupatrid familes. Registration to one of these was the only way to become a citizen.

Boule

Under Cleisthenes, this became the 'Council of 500', comprising 50 citizens from each tribe. Aged 30+ and from the top three property classes, it was the executive body of the state, but did not make policy. Office was held for 1 year, with membership only being possible twice.

Ekklesia

Under Cleisthenes, this body came to include all citizens over 20 who had performed military service and who were registered with a deme. The legislative (law making) body of Ancient Athens.

Prytaneis

The standing committee of the Boule, whose 50 members were on duty for one month of a year (a prytany). One of their members was chosen by lot to be the chair for any government meetings of that day.

Pnyx

Meeting place of the Athenian Ekklesia, it could accommodate about 6000 people.

Dikasteria

A term for the courts of appeal in Athens, from the time of Cleisthenes, these heard cases only after judgement had been made by the Thesmothetae. Comprised 6000 people chosen by lot, then divided into smaller groupings as necessary.

Strategoi

The 10 generals of Athens, each was elected by their tribe and then approved by the assembly. The ability to serve repeatedly gave this group great authority and status. Initially, they were inferior to the Polemarch, but this changed in the Persian Wars.

Archons

The chief magistrates of Athens. In the time of Cleisthenes, these remained elected, still from the top two property classes. They likely maintained the basic titles and duties that had existed in Athens from the early aristocratic period. Eligible to enter the Areopagus after service.

Ostracism

A process, believed introduced by Cleisthenes, whereby people with 'undue power' could be removed from the city. Required a minimum vote of 6000 people. Resulted in exile for 10 years. Possible to be held once per year.

Demarchos

The elected leader of the Demes, as established by Cleisthenes. Gave valuable experience to budding politicians in Ancient Athens.

487 BCE

Year in which the archonship was selected by lot, from a pool of 500 prospective candidates, chosen by the Demes.

462 BCE

Year in which Ephialtes stripped the Areopagus of its role as 'Guardian of the Laws', therefore removing one of the last vestiges of aristocratic privilege. It was left with the role of hearing charges of sacrilege.

Graphe Paranomen

A process introduced after Ephialtes, which gave people the right to bring charges against magistrates who had acted against the best interests of Athens or its customs. A democratic replacement for the old power of the Areopagus.

451 BCE

Year in which Pericles introduced payment for dikasts, which gave practical support for poorer citizens to take part in the democratic law processes.

Citizenship Law

Introduced by Pericles in 451 BCE, this reduced the opportunity for people without two Athenian born parents to be citizens, therefore concentrating the financial benefits of Athenian citizenship.

Payment for Office

The final step involved in the democratisation of Athens, this allowed for the poor to serve as officers of the state, without financial disadvantage.

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