The Constitution of Athens by the Old Oligarch and the funeral Oration given by Pericles in Thucydides’ The History of the Peloponnesian War offer two very different views of democracy in Athens. While the Old Oligarch lists the ways in which democracy fails the elite of Athens, Pericles’ speech highlights the very best aspects of Athens government. Fundamentally these two works are advocating for the different classes found in Athens, one the one hand the Old Oligarch supported the elite and on the other Pericles supported the average citizens of the city. As his moniker implies, the Old Oligarch favors oligarchy as opposed to democracy. He argues for oligarchy by describing how “…the rich are made poorer” (The Old Oligarch, 1.13). In …show more content…
The Oligarch admits that a democracy a type of government which is much better suited to deal with the needs of a naval power. In his own words “…it is only just that the poorer classes and the common people of Athens …seeing that it is the people who man the fleet, and have brought the city her power.” (The Old Oligarch, 1.2). While the more heavily armored infantry would still be comprised of higher status men who could afford the proper armor, anyone could help to man a ship; as men from the lower classes became more involved in defending their city they would have wanted to be more fairy represented in their government. Democracy would have appeased the men who manned the ships, allowing Athens to have a large and effective navy, making them the leading maritime power in the Aegean. The Old Oligarch goes on to say that having a strong navy corresponds with Athens’ goal of building an empire. He explains that state which wields the most naval power is at an advantage, both because it can easily control island cities and even engage in battle with stronger enemies because it can choose when and where to do battle (The Old Oligarch, …show more content…
In his speech he says that Athens uses the wealth of its citizens not as a display of status but to benefit the state. The sacrifices, plays, and athletic events, that the Old Oligarch condemned, actually aid the city in Pericles’ opinion because “…the delight which [the Athenians] daily feel in all these things helps to banish melancholy” (Thucydides, 38). In Pericles’ opinion, these civic expenses are crucial and the real problem is citizens who avoided their duty to the state by not paying when they had the ability. This line of thinking, not so subtlety, accuses men like the Old Oligarch who begrudge the state the money it needs to perform these functions. The citizens who put their own prosperity before that of the state are the real threat because they weaken the idea of a united Athenian
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“In 508 BCE, the Athenian aristocrat Cleisthenes instituted the first Athenian political democracy.” As the Greek playwright, Euripides wrote in his play that,“ Nothing is worse for a city than a tyrant.” (Section 2.2The Rise of Democracy and the Threat of Persia) Cleisthenes knew that, so he gave every
Pericles One thing that led to the Athenian Golden Age is Pericle's rise to power. Pericles was an Athenian leader, statesmen, and general(History.com Staff., 2009). I will attempt to explain how Pericles was essential for Athens Golden Age. Pericles lived from 495-429 BCE(Lewis, D. M., 2018,). He became the leader of the democratic party after the death of Ephialtes in 461.
Athenians Democracy Ancient Athens has two documents that discuss democracy. The first one is “Document A: Pericles” and the other one is “Document B: The The Athenian Constitution”. In document A, I found that is truly democratic because your social class is not allowed the interfere with someone 's merit. For example, if you’re poor you’re still able to serve the state or be part of the government. In document A it also states that “you get equal justice.”
In a true democracy, nothing is random. Everyone should have a vote and the right to voice their thoughts. With this system they have put in place, people’s roles in the government are completely arbitrary. Thus proving, Athens was not a true democracy because government roles were picked at
Regardless of the exclusivity of ancient Athenian democracy (excluding women and those of non-Hellenic descent), Pericles’ influence and actions of his time laid the
In this essay, I would like to answer and discuss the following questions: How did the people in Athens and Sparta obtain the right to participate in public life and make decisions affecting the community? Who held public office? What rules governed the selection of public office holders? How were two city-states similar in their governmental structures and how did they differ with each other? For the Spartans the right to participate and made important decisions from the entire community were only exercised by the adult and legitimate male citizens of Sparta.
Pericles, who was Greek, can be biased in his statement because as a leader, he needs to win the people’s support. Therefore, he can only say the glories of Athens. Document 5 supports Document 4’s statement. Document 5 talks about the details of the Athenian government. It tells the reader “No one remained in power long enough to entrench himself”
Athens organized a group of Greek city states into the Delian League and eventually lead and dominated all of the city states in the League. Athens’s military prowess allowed them to look down on the other members of the League and treat them as members of an empire instead of equals. This caused some to view them with hostility which sparked the conflicts between Athens and Sparta that lead to the Peloponnesian War. The direct democracy of Athens wasn’t actually as inclusive and steady as the statement at Pericles 's funeral state, “Our Constitution is called a democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority but of the whole people (Doc C).” In fact, of the 450,000 citizens of Athens in 430 BC, only about 40,000 people had the power to vote.
Pericles, a key political figure of 5th century Athens states, “Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighboring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves.” The Athenians had no desire to follow what appeared as mediocre government, the Athenians pushed for the best form they could find. Arete, for Athens, meant every person had a voice in politics. Politics embraces the reason of the mind as well as the emotion of the heart. Therefore, the very essence of a good human being would lie in being a politically active person.
Was ancient Athens truly democratic? Democracy is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state. I do not believe that in the 4th to 5th century BCE ancient Athen were democratic for many reasons.
Unlike the Romans, Athenians had a strict but fair schedule that allowed them to enjoy citizenship equally. Equally, hard workers have brought Athens power just as much as hereditary leaders. According to Document B all citizens should be allowed to speak their opinion and have a share in election because of the hard work they do to make the city powerful. Athenians allowed poor and common men to win a position in government which was a transition from the wealthy having power to everyone having power.
Democracy, a form of government, allows the people in their own nationality to vote for people in order for them to become representatives as a result to vote on new laws that would affect their own nationality. One of the many states of Greece, ancient Athens was indeed not truly democratic as a result of not inclusive, other than male citizens, to gain authority in ancient Athens, ¨Demokratia was ruled by male citizens only, excluding women, free foreigners(Metics) and slaves.¨(Document D), therefore ruling Athens was only accessible to male citizen since since women, free foreigners(Metics), and slaves were not allowed to rule as a result of not being male citizens. One of the many states of Greece, ancient Athens, was indeed not truly democratic as a result of not even using the essentials of democracy that is used today, “Thus, by our standards, it was oligarchy, not democracy.¨(Document D), therefore ancient Athens was not using democracy as their form of government, they were using oligarchy,another form of government in which a small group of people has power and control, as their form of government instead of democracy.
The Funeral Oration of Pericles: A Primary Text Analysis In Pericles’ Funeral Oration, the famous and influential text in 430 B.C was given by Pericles to traditionally honor the death of the soldiers that fought in war and serviced in the Athenian military. This interpretation of the oration is written by Thucydides, as it is a manuscript of what Pericles said to the Athenian public. Through this text, Pericles focuses on honoring the fallen soldiers, but he also emphases the values of Athenian society and the social structure of the invention of democracy, as it is introduced for the first time ever in history. The Funeral Oration of Pericles expresses the distinct values of strong moral standards for social structure and introduces democracy, as it reinforces laws and the need for equal justice.
As various studies suggested, ancient Athens pursued permissiveness and democracy, which its form of government was the antecedent of nowadays 'rule by the people '. After toppling the dictator Hippias in 510 BC, Athenian demos not only took power, but also introduced electoral system that "with no single ruler. A public assembly of male citizens met 40 times a year to vote on state decisions. The agenda was set and decrees carried out by a 500 strong council, chosen by lot to serve one year each"(Finley, 1983). In my view, the authority was no longer centralized in the hands of one administrator, more ordinary people got a say in running the