The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes

The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes : Structure, Principles and Ideology

By (author) Mogens Herman Hansen , Translated by J.A. Crook

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When democratic rule was ended by the conquering Macedonians in 322, the Athenians had evolved principles and practice of democratic ideology that became the direct inspiration of those liberal ideas cherished by the Western world in the 19th and 20th centuries. Mogens Hansen examines Athenian democracy both as a political system and as an ideology. In describing the former he distinguished between the three major decision-making organs - the Assembly, the Legislators and the Peoples Courts, and the magistrates who were responsible both for preparing the agenda for the legislature and for carrying its decisions into effect. In discussing Athenian democratic ideology Dr Hansen also makes the important distinction between the ideals held by the democrats themselves and those imputed to them by the critics of democracy, principally (and ironically, given that they would barely have survived under any other system) the philosophers. The Athenians conceived liberty both as the ability to participate in the decision-making process, and as the right to live without oppression from the state or other citizens. Equality was conceived not as an equality of nature, but as an equality of opportunity. "The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes" is based on more than 30 years sustained research.

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  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 23mm | 644g
  • 01 Sep 1991
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • BLACKWELL PUBLISHERS
  • Oxford
  • English
  • glossary, indexes
  • 0631180176
  • 9780631180173

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Author Information

Mogens Herman Hansen is Reader in Classical Philology at the University of Copenhagen. He was visiting fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, in 1974, of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, in 1983, and of Churchhill College, Cambridge, in 1990. His books include "Sovereignty of the People's Court in Athens" (1974), "Demography and Democracy" (1985) and the "Athenian Assembly in the Age of Demosthenes" (1987).

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Review quote

"The most comprehensive and detailed account of the workings of the Athenian democracy by its most authoritative and knowledgeable historian. Aristotle would have been well pleased." "Times Literary Supplement" "An excellent book." "The Classical Review" "Truly original works that change the focus of a well-established field of study are rare. Hansen's book is such a work." "Social & Behavioral Sciences"

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