Power and the People: The Enduring Legacy of Athenian Democracy

Power and the People: The Enduring Legacy of Athenian Democracy

Power and the People: The Enduring Legacy of Athenian Democracy

Power and the People: The Enduring Legacy of Athenian Democracy


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Democracy was born in Athens. From the city's founding myths to its golden age and chaotic downfall, this timely and well-informed political history is rich with lessons for contemporary America.

Why did vital civic engagement and fair debate in Athens descend into populism and paralysis? Can we compare the demagogue Cleon to President Trump; the Athenian Empire to modern America; or the stubborn island of Melos to Brexit Britain? How did a second referendum save the Athenians from a bloodthirsty decision? Who were the last defenders of democracy in the changing, globalized world of the fourth century BC—and how do we unconsciously echo these leaders today?

With verve and acuity, the heroics and the critics of Athenian democracy are brought to bear on today's politics, revealing in all its glories and its flaws the system that still survives to execute the power of the people.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781643135625
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 09/01/2020
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 1,061,834
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Alev Scott studied Classics at New College, Oxford, where she was taught by Robin Lane Fox. Alev taught herself Turkish and immersed herself in the Turkish side of her heritage and wrote the widely acclaimed Ottoman Odyssey. She has since reported from Turkey for a wide number of newspapers, most specifically for the Financial Times.

Andronike Makres is a founding member of the Hellenic Education & Research Center in Athens. She graduated from the University of Athens and holds a doctorate in Ancient History from Oxford University. She lives in Athens.

Table of Contents

Timeline of Athenian Democracy vii

Introduction 1

Demokratia: The Life and Death of Athenian Democracy 13

Extreme Equality 15

System Abuse 17

The Acropolis 22

How Democracy Began: A Crime Passionnel 28

Feminine Democracy 33

Heroes of the Sixth and Fifth Centuries BC 38

Twelve Hundred Angry Men: a case study in justice 48

Hell-Bound Philosophers: a case study in academic freedom 53

From Direct to Representative Democracy 60

A Masterclass in Democracy from Ancient Athens 65

Lesson 1 Don't Be an Idiotes 66

Lesson 2 Stop the Demagogues 105

Lesson 3 Think Again 135

Lesson 4 Widen the Net 156

Lesson 5 Don't be a Superpower 191

Acropolis Redux: Ancient Democracy in a Digital Age 211

Return of the Council of Five Hundred 214

Return to the Pnyx 223

The Owl of Athena 229

Notes 239

Select Bibliography 247

Suggested Further Reading 248

Authors' Note 251

Index 253

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