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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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The Breakthrough of Dēmokratia in Mid-Fifth-Century Athens

The Breakthrough of Dēmokratia in Mid-Fifth-Century Athens

(p.105) Chapter 5 The Breakthrough of Dēmokratia in Mid-Fifth-Century Athens
Origins of Democracy in Ancient Greece

Kurt A. Raaflaub

University of California Press

Athens was faltered by political turmoil in the years around 462 b.c.e. Members of the venerable Areopagus council were brought to trial, as was Cimon, after Aristides, architect of the Athenian empire and long-dominant general and leader. Some politicians, led by Ephialtes, actuated the assembly to pass measures, often called the reforms of Ephialtes, which shifted certain powers from the Areopagus to institutions perceived as more representative of the demos. Many Athenians did not welcome these innovations. Tensions increased. Both Cimon and Ephialtes disappeared from the political science within a short time. For several years, Athens was deeply divided and gripped by fears of a coup aimed at restoring the old system. Despite these dramatic circumstances, the reforms of 462/1 have often been judged much less significant and incisive than those connected with the names of Solon and Cleisthenes.

Keywords:   Areopagus, Cimon, Aristides, Ephialtes, turmoil

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