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3. Radical Democracy
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about how the Athenian democracy changed over the course of the fifth century. In the first half, we think about the formal constitutional changes that we see over the course of the century: the introduction of the generalship, the selection of the archons by lot rather than by direct election, and the reforms of Ephialtes and Pericles in the mid-fifth century. After that, we think about how Athenian attitudes to democracy may have impacted how the democracy functioned, even where formal rules remained the same.
In this course, Prof. Robin Osborne (University of Cambridge) explores the development and operation of Athenian democracy. In the first half of the course, we outline the major landmarks in the development of development of democracy, from Solon in the early sixth century, through Cleisthenes in the late sixth century, and then through the fifth century and the reforms of individuals such as Ephialtes and Pericles. In the second half, we think about the operation of Athenian democracy in its most radical form, focusing in particular on the workings of the popular assembly and the law-courts, the kind of political leaders that were influential in this period, and the benefits and drawbacks of mass participation in the political system.
Robin Osborne is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge and of the British Academy. He works on Greek History (political, social, economic, cultural) and Greek Archaeology (field archaeology and art history) between 1000 B.C. and 200 B.C, and has published extensively across a range of topics.
Cite this Lecture
Osborne, R. (2018, August 15). Democracy and the Athenians - Radical Democracy [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/athenian-democracy/radical-democracy
Osborne, R. "Democracy and the Athenians – Radical Democracy." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/athenian-democracy/radical-democracy