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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
II. THE GREAT AGE OF THE GREEK REPUBLICS TO 362 B.C.
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The center of Athenian democracy was the Assembly. Its membership included every citizen who had reached twenty years of age. Rarely, however, did the attendance number more than five thousand, since most of the citizens lived outside the walls in the country districts of Attica. Forty regular meetings were held every year. These took place on the slopes of the hill called the Pnyx. A speaker before the Assembly faced a difficult audience. It was ready to yell its disapproval of his advice, to mock him if he mispronounced a word, or to drown his voice with shouts and whistles. Naturally, the debates became a training school for orators. No one could make his mark in the Assembly who was not a clear and interesting speaker. Voting was by show of hands, except in cases affecting individuals, such as ostracism, when the ballot was used. Whatever the decision of the Assembly, it was final. This great popular gathering settled questions of war and peace, sent out military and naval expeditions, voted public expenditures, and had general control over the affairs of Athens and the empire.
THE TEN GENERALS
The Assembly was assisted in the conduct of public business by many officers and magistrates, among whom the Ten Generals held the leading place. It was their duty to guide the deliberations of the Assembly and to execute the orders of that body.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy