Courage in the Democratic Polis: Ideology and Critique in Classical Athens

Courage in the Democratic Polis: Ideology and Critique in Classical Athens


By (author) Ryan K. Balot

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 424 pages
  • Dimensions: 164mm x 236mm x 32mm | 760g
  • Publication date: 3 April 2014
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0199982155
  • ISBN 13: 9780199982158
  • Sales rank: 804,794

Product description

In this careful and compelling study, Ryan K. Balot brings together political theory, classical history, and ancient philosophy in order to re-conceive of courage as a specifically democratic virtue. Ranging from Thucydides and Aristophanes to the Greek tragedians and Plato, Balot shows that the ancient Athenians constructed a novel vision of courage that linked this virtue to fundamental democratic ideals such as freedom, equality, and practical rationality. The Athenian ideology of courage had practical implications for the conduct of war, for gender relations, and for the citizens' self-image as democrats. In revising traditional ideals, Balot argues, the Athenians reimagined the emotional and cognitive motivations for courage in ways that will unsettle and transform our contemporary discourses. Without losing sight of political tensions and practical conflicts, Balot illustrates the merits of the Athenian ideal, provocatively explaining its potential to enlarge our contemporary understandings of politics and ethics. The result is a remarkably interdisciplinary work that has significant implications for the theory and practice of democracy, both ancient and modern.

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Author information

Ryan K. Balot is Professor of Political Science and Classics at the University of Toronto. He is the author or editor of three volumes.

Review quote

the book's discussion of the relationship between democracy and courage has many ramifications that deserve to be carefully pondered ... Recommended. H. L. Cheek Jr., CHOICE

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: A Theory of Democratic Courage ; Part I: The Periclean Ideology and Its Critics ; Chapter 2 The Periclean Model ; Chapter 3 Free Speech, Democratic Deliberation, and Courage ; Chapter 4 Writing Courage into Democratic History: Aeschylean and Herodotean Perspectives ; Chapter 5 New Faces of Athenian Courage: The Pursuit of Imperialism ; Chapter 6 Democratic Courage and the Platonic Laches ; Chapter 7 Isocratean Reflections: Athens' Courage, Imperialism, and Eudaimonism ; Part II: Equality, Emotion, and Civic Education ; Chapter 8 Courage, Equality, and Military Recognition in Democratic Athens ; Chapter 9 Revisiting the