Cleisthenes, the Athenian leader, introduced a system of political reforms that he called demokratia in the year 507 B. C. It can also be called ‘ rule by the people’ , as explained (demos means the people, while Kratos means power).
It was the first known democratic country in the world. The system’ s nature is formed by three distinct institutions.
They are the ekklesia, a sovereign governing body that writes laws and determines foreign policy; the boule, a council of representatives from the ten Athenians and dikasteria, the last which the popular courts in which citizens argue cases before a group of lottery selected jurors.
Moreover, the Anthenia democracy was said to last for only two centuries after its invention by Cleeisthenes, the father of Democracy and one of ancient Greece’ s most enduring contributions to the modern world. Today, the world sees how effective the Greek system of democracy has been.
In Greek history, Herodotus stated, ” The first and most splendid of virtues is equality before the law. ” This was as a result of who could vote in Ancient Greece.
However, it was true that Clesithenes demokratia abolished the political distinctions between the Anthenia aristocrats, who had long monopolized the political decision- making process, and the middle and working- class people who made up the army and the navy.
Generally, those who were in support of Cleisthenes’ reforms in the first place. Notwithstanding that, the equality stated by Herodotus was limited to a small segment or group of the Anthenian population in Ancient Greece.
For example, if Athens had 200000 citizens in the middle of the 14th century, both men and women whose parents were also Athenians.
About 20000 Metoikoi, known as resident foreigners, and 300000 slaves out of all those who were older than 18 were a part of the demos. This means that 80 000 people could participate in the democratic process. Without segregation, today, everyone is equal before the law. As long as one is 18 years of age, he/she has the right to vote and to face the consequences of his/her offence before the court of law.
Cleisthenes’ three concepts are as follows:
This has to do with Athens’ sovereign governing body, the ekklesia, where any of the city’ s 80000 adult male citizens was welcome to attend meetings of the ekklesia, which were held 40 times per year in the Phyx, a hillside auditorium west of the Acropolis. (but only about five thousand men attended each session of the assembly, while others were serving in the army or navy or even working to support their families).
Here at the meeting, the electorate made decisions about war and foreign policy, wrote and revised laws, including approving or condemning the conduct of public officials.
The official law in which a citizen could be expelled from the Athenian city state for 10 years was among the powers of the ekklesia, and finally, decisions were made in this group by a simple majority vote.
This is a council of five hundred men, 50 from each of the ten Athenian tribes, who served in the council for one year and met every day, doing most of their duties in the work of governance.
They supervise government employees and are in charge of navy ships, including army horses; they also look after ambassadors and city state representatives.
The Boule decided on the matter that could be brought before the Ecclesia. As a result, the five hundred men of the boule determine the nature of democracy. Furthermore, each position was chosen by lot and not by election.
The third important institution is a popular court, also known as a delicatessen. In this court, more than 600 jurors were chosen by lot from among male citizens older than 30.
In Athens, policies were not stated; rather, it was the defendants who brought the cases, argued for the prosecution and defense, and delivered verdicts and sentences by majority rule. Because there were no cases to prosecute or what could not be said in a trial, Athenian citizens usually used the judicial system to punish their enemies.
The end of Athenian democracy
Around 460 B. C. , the Athenian democracy began to resemble an aristocracy under the rule of the general Pericles, who appeared to be among the officials who were elected rather than appointed: the rule of what Herodotus referred to as ” one man, the best man. “
Politicians and governments, on the other hand, have been influenced by democratic ideals, effectively killing the ideal as a whole.
They are now citizens who have been bought by politicians and the government to vote against their representatives or opponents. As a result, democracy is currently extinct.