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Ancient Athenian Government

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Kristen Fair

on 22 June 2011

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Transcript of Ancient Athenian Government

History City States:
Because Greece is such a mountainous country, cities were isolated from each other. As a result of this isolation, each ancient Greek city had its own style of government, its own laws, and its own army. These independent cities were called CITY STATES. Some of the city states were controlled by rich and powerful rulers called tyrants who take power and govern in a harsh way. Athens, however was different because eventually, they developed a system of governemnt that allowed citizens to participate in making important decisions. Eventually, many other Greek city-states also became democracies. Democracy in Ancient Athens I can analyze the democratic system in ancient Athens by exploring the following questions and issues:
• How was the government of ancient Athens structured?
• How did the structure of the government in ancient Athens provide opportunities for citizens to participate in decision making?
• How did identity, status and class structure impact citizenship in ancient Athens?
• How did the social structure of ancient Athens impact its political structure?
• To what extent were democratic ideals of equity and fairness part of the structure of
government and society in ancient Athens? I can... Who Were the Citizens in Ancient Athens?
Class system in Ancient Athens • How did identity, status and class structure impact citizenship in ancient Athens? Citizens:
Citizens were children of parents who were born in Athens. Only male citizens could participate in voting and governing the city. A young man had to finish 2 years of military service before becoming a citizen at age 20. Women were not allowed to take part in the government Metics:
Metics were residents that were born outside of the city state. They were not allowed to own land and could not become citizens and could not participate in government. Slaves:
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. Roles of Men and Women How did the social structure of ancient Athens impact its political structure? Men and women had very different roles in ancient Athens and lived very separate lives. Boys and girls spent their early years living in the women's part of the house. They played with toys such as rattles, tops, dolls, yo-yos, hoops, swings, and knucklebones (like dice). Around age 7, boys and girls went their separate ways. When a girl was born a piece of cloth was placed on the front door of the house to indicate a future homemaker. When boys were born, his family attached an olive branch (a sign of victory) to the fron door. The lives of girls were focused completely on the home. Girls were educated by their mothers. Some were taught to read and write but mostly they learned household skills like weaving, spinning and child care. Boys went to school where they kearned reading, writing, math, literature and music. They memorized and discussed poems called epics. These poems told stories about great heroes of the past. When a girl turned 15, her father chose a husband for her and she wen 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 wen out in public excpet for family celebrations and certain religious ceremonies. Sports such as running, boxing, wrestling, and javelin and discuss throwing were also an important part of education. These skills prepared them for service in the army which began at age 18. At age 20, they were ready to take their place as adults in society. Women and men had very different rights in Athenian society. Every woman had a male guardian, either her fatehr, brother or husband, who was in charge of her life. Although she had the "right" to own clothing, jewellry, slaves and even land, she was not allowed to sell or give away these things. Women did not take part in assembly. Was Fairness Part of Athenian Democracy? To what extent were democratic ideals of equity and fairness part of the structure of
government and society in ancient Athens? What ideas of fairness, equity, and rights were part of Athenian democracy? The most importnat idea was that it is fair that citizens be allowed to rule themselves. This is the basis of democracy.
Athenians believed that majority rule was fair. This meant that decisions were made by voting and that a law supported by more than half of the voters was passed.
Athenians believed taht people who belonged to the same social class should have equal rights. All male citizens had the right to belong to the assembly and vote. (The only excpetions were people who committed acts that would cause them to lose their citizenship and these were clearly laid out in the law.
Women, slaves, and metics were denied voting rights
Slavery was an accepted part of Athenian society. A person's right to own another person was not questioned even by the great thinkers like Socrates
Individual and minority rights were not part of the thinking of Athenian demoncracy. The common good was the highest value Videos How was the government of ancient Athens structured?
How did the structure of the government in ancient Athens provide opportunities for citizens to participate in decision making? How were Athenian Citizens
involved in Decision Making? The Pillars of Athenian Democracy... The Assembly The Council of 500 Athenian Courts The Assembly The assembly meetings took place about 40 times a year, every 8 to 10 days. At times, thousands of people would attend with at least 6000 people being required for some votes. Members of the assembly would make decision on all kinds of issues, big or small. They would discuss matters of war and peace, treaties with other city-states, religion, taxes, and the proper construction of ships. Citizens could bring private concerns to the assembly. For example if someone cheated you or harmed you, a complaint could be brought against him at the assembly The assembly would meet in a large open are at the top of a hill called the pynx. There the members would make speeches, dedate, listen, discuss and finally vote. This kind of democracy is called direct democracy becuase voters vote directly on government decisions. Every member of the assembly had an equal right to speak. Voting was most often a show of hands. Every citizen's vote in the Assembly counted equally in decision making. A white stone might indicate that a citizen supported a certain decision, while a brown stone indicated the opposite decision. Citizens voted by dropping their stones into large jugs before the stones were separated and counted. The decree (or decision) was then announced with the words "It seems best to the Demos..." How was the council of 500 Democratic? The council of 500 was the full-time government of Athens. It was known a the boule and met in the Bouleuterion at the agora. Term for Council (or the amount of time they were in power) was one year. Then a new council was selected. The citizens of Athens were broken into 10 tribes (political groups) and 50 members from each tribe over the age of 30 served on the Council. The groups of 50 councillors from each tribe was in charge of the council for one-tenth of the year. Membership in the council of 500 was democratic in the following ways...
council positions were chosen through a lottery to give everyone in the tribe an equal chance of being picked
a citizen could serve on the Council only twice. This gave more citizens a chance to be Council members
The chairman or leader of the Council had his position for 24 hours, a day and a night. This gave more than hald the council members a chance to be leader during the year of their service. The chairman was chosen by lottery (names drawn by chance. The council planned the agenda (list of topics to be discussed) for the Assembly meetings and supervised the running of the government. They would also discuss and vote on decisions made by the people that they would present for approval at assemblies. No laws or decrees could be made without the support of the majority of the Assembly. There were 50 members of the council on at all times to help the chairman deal with any issues that might come up. They lived in the Tholos near the Agora. How Were the Athenian Courts run? If Athenians thought that they had been wronged by someone or that someone was not acting int he best interests of the society, they would bring that person in front of a magistrate or a governmnet official who works for the court. Magistrates were citizens and were chosen, lottery, for a one year term. Sometimes magistrates set fines as punishments or they sent the case to a trial. Any male citizen over the age of 30 could be chosen to be on the jury of a trial. Depending on the seriousness of the case, anywhere from 50 to 1500 would be on the jury. Jurors were chosen by lottery on the day of the trial. Today, people in Canada are chosen the same way but only 12 jurors are needed. Women could take part in cases before a magiastrate, but a women who was a defendent (accused of the crime) in a trial jury needed to have a guardian to speak for her. Metics could be involved in legal cases but they could not serve on juries. Today people have lawyers to speak for them in court but in Ancient Athens, you spoke for yourself. The plaintiff (person who brings the complaint) and the defendent had to speak well to convince the jury of their position. Wealthy citizens sometimes hired professional speechwriters to help them make beter arguments. When both sides had been heard, the jury would votes on whether the defendent was guilty or innocent. If the defendent was guilty, the jury would vote on a punishment. • How was the government of ancient Athens structured?
• How did the structure of the government in ancient Athens provide opportunities for citizens to participate in decision making?
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