The Greek discovery of politics by Christian Meier

By Christian Meier

Why the Greeks? How did it ensue that those people―out of all Mediterranean societies―developed democratic platforms of presidency? the exceptional German historian of the traditional international, Christian Meier, reconstructs the method of political pondering in Greek tradition that resulted in democracy. He demonstrates that the civic identification of the Athenians was once an instantaneous precondition for the sensible truth of this kind of government.

Meier exhibits how the constitution of Greek communal existence gave contributors a civic position and discusses an important reform that institutionalized the belief of equality prior to the legislations. In Greek drama―specifically Aeschylus' Oresteia―he unearths reflections of the ascendancy of civil legislations and of a politicizing of lifestyles within the city-state. He examines the function of the chief in addition to citizen participation in Athenian democracy and describes an historic similar of the belief of social development. He additionally contrasts the fifth-century Greek political global with modern day international, drawing revealing comparisons.

The Greek Discovery of Politics is critical interpreting for old historians, classicists, political scientists, and a person drawn to the heritage of political concept or within the tradition of historical Greece.

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There are good grounds for believing that at one time the "brotherhoods" also tended to live in contiguous areas, and that their centers and altars were located where large numbers of their members were concentrated. 16 At all events, everyone knew almost everyone else in the phratria; everyone had his place, and the cult community had a number of practical functions (in fact the polis as a whole was also seen as constituting a cult community). . What applies to the phratriai applies also to some extent to tbe dlVl- 58 PREHISTORY AND EMERGENCE OF GREEK DEMOCRACY sions above and below it.

There is no evidence of the relation between the two councils. We do not know what other new institutions Cleisthenes may have set up, nor is it certain whether the strange manner in which the Council of 500 was later said to have been constituted and to have functioned goes back to Cleisthenes. 5 It is hard to see how a reform of the administrative structure of the community and the creation-or reconstitution-of an advisory body, in competition with the old council of nobles, can have been so significant as to furnish the necessary conditions for the emergence of democracy.

We do not know to what extent a redistribution of authority or a restriction of the rights of the Areopagus would have been conceivable at this period. However, Cleisthenes and his supporters clearly did not believe that they could attain their objective by such measures-or, for that matter, by traditional constitutional means. They sought to reach it by a quite different route, one that to us seems somewhat strange. We will consider the reasons presently. In this context we can make only one more firm observation: whatever the current power relations may have been, it was only in exceptional cases that the will and authority of the people could make themselves felt in the prevailing circumstances.

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