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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

William Davis, A Day in Old Athens

 

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The Ecclesia of Athens

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Page 2

The Rule of Democracy in Athens

 

    The Ecclesia, or Public Assembly, of Athens is something more than the chief governmental organ in the state. It is the great leveling engine which makes Athens a true democracy, despite the great differences in wealth between her inhabitants, and the marked social pretensions of "the noble and the good"—the educated classes. At this time Athens is profoundly wedded to her democratic constitution. Founded by Solon and Clisthenes, developed by Themistocles and Pericles, it was temporarily overthrown at the end of the Peloponnesian War; but the evil rule then of the "Thirty Tyrants" has proved a better lesson on the evils of oligarchic rule than a thousand rhetoricians' declamations upon the advantages of the "rule of the many" as against the "rule of the few." Attica now acknowledges only one Lord—King Demos—"King Everybody"—and until the coming of bondage to Macedon there will be no serious danger of an aristocratic reaction.

 

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