Democracy and Aristocracy in Ancient Athens: Deformation or Adaptation
21 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2015
Date Written: June 5, 2015
The article analyzes the role of the aristocracy in democratic Athens, i.e. in the Vth Century B.C. What happened to the aristocracy in democratic Athens? Whether the aristocrats were able to adapt themselves to new social and political realities? It is suggested that there took place their division into democratic and aristocratic politicians, a separation of democratically-oriented leaders (prostates tou demou), who managed to adapt to democratic institutions. The political actions of prostatai had features of demagogy. Thus we can assume that such a phenomenon as demagogy appeared much earlier than previously thought. The other part of aristocracy was not alien to demagogy as well. Suffice it to mention the efforts made by Thucydides son of Melesias, who created a political hybrid, of an aristocratic hetaireia which did not shun demagogic techniques.
Keywords: Athenian democracy, Vth Century B.C., demos, aristocracy, political leadership.
JEL Classification: Z
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation