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Democracy in Ancient Athens
Transcript of Democracy in Ancient Athens
When a girl turned 15 her father chose a husband for her and she went to live in his house. While wealthy families had slaves to do the housework, women wove cloth for their family’s clothes. Wealthy women rarely went out in public except for family celebrations and certain religious ceremonies. The Council of 500 The Assembly The Council of 500 Structure of the Government Slaves Metics Citizenship in Athens
How did identity, status and class structure impact citizenship in ancient Athens? In ancient Athens a person was only considered a citizen if they were born in Athens, and both their parents were also born in Athens. Only male citizens could participate in government. Athenian Females were able to influence their husbands in decision making, but were not allowed to participate in government. Metics were residents who were born outside of the city. They were not allowed to own land and could not become citizens. They also could not participate in government. Metics were both male and female. Slaves were owned either by private Athenians or by the city-state. Many slaves were people who were taken prisoner when their city-state was attacked by Athens. Slaves could not become citizens or take part in government. The government of ancient Athens consisted
of three pillars;
1. The Assembly
2. The Council of 500
3. The Courts - The Assembly would gather every 8-10 days, approximately 40 times a year.
- Members made speeches at the Pnyx
- Debate, listen, discuss, vote
- Every citizen had an equal right to speak or vote each time the Assembly gathered.
- The Assembly voted on matters such as:
o Granting residency to a non-Athenian
o War and peace
o Construction (mainly ships) The council was the full time government of Athens.
- Met in a building in the Agora market called the Bouleterion.
- Athens was divided into 10 tribes and 50 members from each tribe who were over the age of 30 would join the Council for one year.
- 500 names were drawn by chance in a lottery so everyone had an equal chance of being selected.
- Citizens could only serve on the Council twice in their entire lives.
- A Chairman would also be chosen by the lottery and would be the leader of the Council for only 24 hours, and then a new Chairman would be selected. What did the Council Do?
-Planned the agenda (a list of topics that would be discussed at an Assembly meeting).
-Discuss and vote on certain decrees that they would then present to the Assembly for a vote of approval.
-The Council alone could not pass a law or decree without a majority vote from the Assembly
-There were always 50 members of Council on duty at all times to help the Chairman deal with emergencies.
-Council members temporarily lived in a building called the Tholos which was near the Agora. Men and women had very different roles in ancient Athens and lived very separate lives. Boys and girls spent their early years with their mothers. Around age 7 boys and girls went their separate ways. The lives of girls were focused on the home. Girls were educated by their mothers. Some were taught to read and write but they mostly learned household skills like weaving, spinning and child care. Women and men also had very different rights in Athenian society. Every woman had a male guardian, either her father, brother or husband, who was in charge of her life. Although women had the right to own clothing, jewelery, slaves and even land, she was not allowed to sell or give these things away. Women were not allowed to take part in Assembly. Citizens in Ancient Athens Why do you think membership in the council was limited to those over 30 years old? The Court What did the Court do?
If an Athenian felt that they had been wronged, or if they felt that someone was not acting in the best interest of society, they would bring their complaint to a Magistrate. What is a Magistrate? A magistrate is similar to a court judge. They were chosen by lottery for a one-year term. Their job was to either set a fine as punishment for a crime, or else send the case to a trial for a jury to vote and decide on the punishment.
What is a jury? A jury is a group of citizens that had to be over the age of 30, who are called jurors. The size of the jury could be anywhere from 501-1500 people, depending on how important the case was. Jurors were chosen by a lottery on the day of a trial. Why do you think the jury would be anywhere from 501-1500 instead of 500-1500?
How did a court case run? In ancient Athens there were no such thing as lawyers, so people would argue their own cases.
Roles: The DEFENDANT is the person who is being accused of a crime. The PLAINTIFF is the person who is bringing a complaint about the defendant to court.
What about people that weren’t citizens? Women could take part in cases before a magistrate, but if a woman was the defendant then she needed to have a male citizen speak for her. Metics could also be involved in legal cases, but they could not serve on juries.
How were decisions made in the court? When both sides had been heard, the jury would vote on whether the defendant was innocent or guilty. If the defendant was found guilty the jury would vote on the punishment
Why do you think Athenian jurors were chosen on the day of the trial, while in Canada jurors are summoned months in advance? Roles of Men and Women