Summary Of Phrynichus's 'Capture Of Miletus'

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456 B.C. Athens was defined as a period when the judicial system was chosen by lot, shards of pottery were used as voting ballots, and ostracism was a method of maintaining social order. Yet, what initially appears to be a radically different society has served as a framework for the republican systems of power that are currently in place in the United States and around the world. Many of American beliefs have origins in Athenian ideology, including the need for balance of governmental power, encouragement of public servitude, holding pride in one’s homeland and freedom of speech. Correspondingly, all of these principles relied on the integrity of the concept that the Athenians revered the most: direct democracy. However, in practice, these ideologies commonly clashed and encroached upon each other.
Phrynichus, a famous Athenian tragedian, felt this clash firsthand with this play The Capture of Miletus. Portraying the devastating conquest of the city of Miletus by the Persians1 , this play was received with much criticism and led to many calling for Phrynichus to be punished for the pain he inflicted upon those who witnessed the performances. Despite describing it as a tribute to the fallen,
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Henceforth, there are a number of lessons that have been taken from this simulation, including the necessity of set laws, a need for checks and balances, a legislative body that has the best interests of the population in mind, and representativeness in who power is given to. By taking these factors into consideration, current democracies have created systems of power that are reminiscent of the foundation that Athenians pioneered and have proven to be successful in maintaining

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