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[Website]  The Birth of Democracy: Introduction

Classical Athens saw the rise of an achievement unparalleled in history. Perikles, Aischylos, Sophokles, Plato, Demosthenes, and Praxiteles represent just a few of the statesmen and philosophers, playwrights ...

[Website]  The Birth of Democracy: The Athenian Aristocracy

Before democracy, from the 8th to the 6th century B.C., Athens was prosperous economically but no more significant than many other city-states in Greece. Silver deposits south of Athens, quarries of fine ...

[Website]  The Birth of Democracy: Solon the Lawgiver

By the early 6th century B.C. social tensions in Athens had become acute, pitting the poorer citizens against rich and powerful landowners. Many citizens were reduced to the status of share croppers, ...

[Website]  The Birth of Democracy: Tyranny

As happened in many other Greek states, a tyrant arose in Athens in the 6th century B.C. His name was Peisistratos, and after several unsuccessful attempts he seized power in 546 B.C. and ruled until ...

[Website]  The Birth of Democracy: Overthrow and Revolution

In 514 B.C. the tyrant Hipparchos was stabbed to death. The murder, actually the result of a love feud, was quickly deemed a political act of assassination and the perpetrators, Harmodios and Aristogeiton, ...

[Website]  The Birth of Democracy: The Ten New Tribes

Kleisthenes instituted a crucial reform, the reorganization of the citizenry into new administrative units called phylai (tribes). In his attempt to break up the aristocratic power structure, Kleisthenes ...

[Website]  The Birth of Democracy: Political Organization of Attica

Each tribe was divided into three parts, and each third (trittys) was from one of the three regions of Attica, plain, coast, or hills. Every trittys was itself made up of several smaller units called ...

[Website]  The Birth of Democracy: The Ekklesia

All Athenian citizens had the right to attend and vote in the Ekklesia, a full popular assembly which met about every 10 days. All decrees (psephismata) were ratified by the Ekklesia before becoming law ...

[Website]  The Birth of Democracy: The Boule

The Athenian legislature also included a deliberative body known as the Boule. It was made up of 500 members -- 50 from each of the 10 tribes -- who were chosen by lot and served for the period of one ...

[Website]  The Birth of Democracy: The Prytaneis

The senators administered their meetings themselves. Each tribal contingent in the Boule served in rotation for a period of 35 or 36 days as the Prytaneis, or Executive Committee. During their time in ...