By Paul Cartledge
"Ancient Greece first coined the concept that of "democracy," but virtually each significant historical Greek thinker--from Plato and Aristotle onwards--were ambivalent or maybe adverse to democracy in any shape. the reason is sort of easy: the elite perceived majority energy as tantamount to a dictatorship of the proletariat. In historical Greece there will be traced not just the rudiments of recent democratic society however the entire Western culture of anti-democratic proposal. In Democracy: A lifestyles, Paul Cartledge offers a close historical past of this old political procedure. additionally, by means of drawing out the salient variations among historical and smooth varieties of democracy he permits a richer realizing of either. Cartledge contends that there's not anyone "ancient Greek democracy" as natural and easy as is usually believed. Democracy surveys the emergence and improvement of Greek politics, the discovery of political concept, and-intimately attached to the latter-the start of democracy, first at Athens in c. 500 BCE after which at its maximum flourishing within the Greek international round 350 BCE. Cartledge then lines the decline of really democratic Greek associations by the hands of the Macedonians and--subsequently and decisively--the Romans. Authoritative and obtainable, Democracy: A lifestyles should be considered as the simplest account of historical democracy and its lengthy afterlife"--
"Democracy: A lifestyles holds out 3 special examine goals: a formal figuring out of the origins and diversity of old Greek democracies; an in depth account of the destiny of democracy - either the establishment and the observe - within the historical Greek and Roman worlds from the 5th century BCE to the sixth century CE; and a nuanced exploration of the ways that all historic Greek democracies differed from all smooth so-called 'democracies'"-- Read more...
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Extra info for Democracy : a life
Of these, one has a special place in any history of ancient Greek democracy: the tract that is usually referred to as the ‘Politics’. Here, however, lies another trap for the unwary. ‘Politics’ is the conventional English translation of Greek politika, which may or may not have been the title that Aristotle himself gave to a treatise essentially worked up by his students from lecture notes. Whether he did give it that title or not, what he would have meant by it is not what we understand by politics but ‘matters concerning the polis’; and by ‘polis’ he would have understood not any political entity or state-â•‰form in general but one very specific state-â•‰form in particular, the polis of the ancient Greeks.
The second oath text on the stele is much more curious and potentially even more revealing. It purports to record the very words of the oath sworn in 479 by Athenians (and presumably other loyalist Greeks united in alliance against the Persian invaders) immediately before the decisive land battle of Plataea—â•‰that is, some six generations ago. The Athenians had a special connection to Plataea, since they had been allied with the Plataeans since 519, and the Plataeans alone had stood shoulder to shoulder with them at Marathon in 490.
Nor is even the most professional, dry-â•‰as-â•‰dust contemporary historiography entirely devoid of fiction, since all history, as the Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce wrote, is contemporary history—â•‰in the profound sense that the historian is herself or himself a victim of contemporary pressures, and is writing or composing for a contemporary audience in terms that must make some sense to that imagined readership. Historians, in other words, make it up: they make history by reâ•‰constructing the past or rather a past, their version of the past, in and for the present (and, it is hoped, the future).