P. J. Rhodes's reader focuses on the political institutions, political activity, history, and nature of Athenian democracy and introduces some of the best British, American, German, and French scholarship on its origins, theory, and practice. Part I is devoted to political institutions: citizenship, the assembly, the law-courts, and capital punishment. Part II explores aspects of political activity: the demagogues and their relationship with the assembly, the maneuverings of the politicians, competitive festivals, and the separation of public from private life. Part III looks at three crucial points in the development of the democracy: the reforms of Solon, Cleisthenes, and Ephialtes. Part IV considers what it was in Greek life that led to the development of democracy. Some of the authors adopt broad-brush approaches to major questions; others analyze a particular body of evidence in detail. Use is made of archeology, comparison with other societies, the location of festivals in their civic context, and the need to penetrate behind what the classical Athenians made of their past.
About: Athens' democracy developed during the sixth and fifth centuries and continued into the fourth; Athens' defeat by Macedon in 322 began a series of alternations between democracy and oligarchy.
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