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Origins of Democracy in Ancient Greece$
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Kurt Raaflaub

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520245624

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520245624.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 24 January 2022

“I Besieged That Man”

“I Besieged That Man”

Democracy's Revolutionary Start

(p.83) Chapter 4 “I Besieged That Man”
Origins of Democracy in Ancient Greece

Josiah Ober

University of California Press

Athenian political institutions were simple and dominated by the elite. Cleisthenes, as a preceding member of a prominent family and as an Areopagite, both surely has the right and the power to address the assembly. It seems a reasonable guess that he cemented his alliance with the demos by proposing in the assembly changes to the structure and duties of the tribes, and to the council which prepared the assembly's agenda. The subelite Athenians saw that these reforms would deflate their vulnerability by guaranteeing their standing as citizens, and might allow them to express more fully their emerging sense of themselves as citizens. Cleisthenes rushed past his aristocratic rival in the struggle for power and influence. His new influence was made manifest and signaled by victories in the assembly, possibly even by demonstrations in the streets.

Keywords:   Cleisthenes, Areopagite, agenda, tribes, vulnerability

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