He introduced political reform Demokratia or “rule by the people.’ This included three separate institutions: Ekklesia, Boule, and Dikasteria. Ekklesia or assembly is the sovereign governing body of Athens. Any member of the 40,000 adult male citizens were welcome to attend the meetings of the Ekklesia, which were held 40 times a year in a hillside auditorium west of the Acropolis called the Pnyx. Usually only 5,000 men attended each session of the Assembly. The others were serving in the army or navy or working to support their families.
“[Metics] and women were not citizens and did not enjoy any of the privileges of citizenship.”(Sayre, 137) Athenian citizens had to be descended from citizens, excluding the children of Athenian men and foreign women. Individuals could be granted citizenship in to Athens by the assembly this was usually as a reward for some service to the state. Ancient Greece paved the way for the representative democratic style of government that is practiced by many countries today. Much like how voting rights started out in America, originally only the wealthy land owners were allowed to vote and call themselves citizens, but soon all men were allowed to have a vote and a voice in their states politics. Essentially the Greeks were the first to introduce citizen rights and freedom similar to what’s seen today.
The Functions and History of the Roman Senate In today's modern world representative government is the norm. Nearly all governments are ruled by their citizens via a republic or some other type of governing body. However, in the ancient world, this standard of democratic government had not yet taken hold; political control still belonged to the few elite, rich, and powerful persons and influential families. Thus, we have a contrast between governments of the ancient world and our modern day governments. In other words, the past generally denotes monarchy, empire, or absolute control.
In the earliest history of the Greek world, Athenian political structure started as ruled by kings on their homes and farms. From the journal “The development of Athenian Democracy”, “Theseus, when he had gained power in Athens, abolished the local governments in the towns; the people kept their property, but all were governed from a single political center at Athens”. Theseus was the first king of the Athenians. By gaining power, Theseus renovated the small towns and villages. However, when they established direct democracy, most of the administrative decision was made by a council of 500 members, who were the elected officials.
These governments came in different styles such as a monarchy which was led by a king. Another form of government that was seen among the Greeks was aristocracy in which the polis was ruled by a small group of noble, land owning families. One of the more notable polis of ancient Greek was that of Sparta in which they used the oligarchy as there form of government. This type of government is where the people are ruled by a few powerful people. Finally, there was democracy which means “rule of the people” (The Legacy of Ancient Greece and Rome 1-7).
The Greeks were highly sophisticated thinkers and had a marvelous sense of imagination. They were the first culture to figure out a democratic form of government. The people of their time had no science for explanation; instead they used imagination and logic that was pure genius (Hagroth 1). Greeks had a lot of different governments because there were many city- states each with their own government. Aristotle divided each government into monarchies, tyrannies, and democracies.
"(Matthews and Platt 38) Really, the isolated farming community had developed into the polis, city-state. Of hundreds of polis that enveloped during the Archaic Age, Sparta and Athens were the two major city-states which stood out because of their vivid, contrasting government organization, styles of life and the different roles and status of women. Indeed, one of the differences between those two city-sates is government and political organization. Athenian government has usually been classified as a "limited democracy", in which the Assembly, open to all eligible citizens, made policy decisions and passed laws while meeting at the foot of the Acropolis. At the next step of the Athenian government, the Council of 500 would have the responsibility of administering the decisions made by the Assembly.
Comparing and Contrasting the Political Philosophies of Ancient Greece The city-states of Ancient Greece gave birth to the many different forms of government that are now known by present-day society. It is through the numerous accounts of ancient historians that modern civilizations have learned the lessons of each governmental structure. This essay will discuss the many forms of government introduced by Ancient Greek city-states. Through analyzing the differences and similarities of each political philosophy, a conclusion will be made as to what forms of government were more effective for Ancient Greece, as well as how they apply to modern day government. The most popular form of government created by the Ancient Greeks is that of democracy.
It appears the ancient Greeks were very concerned with the basic question as to who should rule and how. The typical debate was if sovereignty (known as kyrion) rest in the rule of law, the written constitution, elected/appointed officials, or the citizenship. Because there was never a consensus across the different city states, the region was left with a very diverse and confusing combination for several centuries. Real political power could rest in the hands of a single individual: (monarchies and tyrants) or in a select few (the oligarchies) or in every male citizen: democracy - widely regarded as the Greeks' greatest contribution to civilization (Ancient Greek Government, n.d.). MONARCHY In the context of ancient Greece, monarchies were very rare and were very much like tyrannies; however, the characteristics of monocracies usually inferred a ruler that cared for and was interested in the people of the governorship.
The most famous monarchy was that of King Alexandra of Macedonia who ruled all of Greece from 336 BC. Sparta had a mixed government consisting of elements of monarchy, oligarchy and democracy. The monarchy, although not a true monarchy, consisted of two kings from separate royal tribes. These kings were subject to the will of the Gerousia and the Ephors and wielded limited power. Aristocracy comes from the Greek words “aristos” meaning “best” and “kratia” meaning “power or rule”.