The Development of the Athenian Constitution

The Development of the Athenian Constitution

BENJAMIN IDE WHEELER
CHARLES EDWIN BENNETT
GEORGE PRENTICE BRISTOL
ALFRED EMERSON
Volume: 4
Copyright Date: 1893
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 258
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7591/j.cttq43x1
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  • Book Info
    The Development of the Athenian Constitution
    Book Description:

    This book chronicles the history of government and the development of democracy in Athens from the patriarchal family and the tribe, through the establishment and decline of monarchy, the Draconian Timocracy, Solon's reforms, the rule of the Peisistratidae, the tyranny of Hippias, to the Cleisthenean constitution and the steady development of democratic principles between the end of the Battle of Salamis to the Peloponnesian War.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6646-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. CHAPTER I. THE PATRIARCHAL THEORY.
    (pp. 1-26)

    It was the belief of the ancients that the family was the primitive society out of which the state developed.¹ They were led to this view partly by observing that the institutions of their state and family were throughout of a similar character,²—as were also the relations sustained by the individual to family and state,—but more directly by the fact that each ascending group in the gentile organization of the ancient city had, as its protecting deity and centre of its common religious life, an eponymous (name-giving) hero, from whom the members of the respective groups were supposed...

  4. CHAPTER II. THE ARYAN GENS.
    (pp. 27-67)

    The Aryan household, in its wider signification, was composed of the cognate parents (father and mother), the legitimate sons (or adopted son), the grandsons and great-grandsons with the lawful wives of all these, the unmarried daughters, sons’ daughters and grandsons’ daughters,—a brotherless daughter being, in all cases, esteemed equal to a son.¹ It included also property² and slaves.³ It was customary for the son at marriage to depart from the paternal roof and from the father’s authority and to enter a new dwelling built for his use.⁴ He still belonged by agnation to the house of his father and...

  5. CHAPTER III. THE GRECIAN GENS.
    (pp. 68-89)

    A casual reading of Homer does not yield convincing evidence of ancestor-worship in the society represented by his poems, and some, accordingly, as Schrader, have concluded that the development of this form of religion belongs to a later period of Grecian history,—that represented in Attic literature by the dramatic poets and the orators.¹ The testimony, however, of prehistoric monuments in the Peloponnesus, Attica, and elsewhere in Greece establishes conclusively the fact of ancestor-worship for the primitive Greeks.² Rohde³ has collected and systematized the facts bearing on the question at issue; and it is now possible to trace the history...

  6. CHAPTER IV. THE PHRATRY AND PHYLE.
    (pp. 90-101)

    It has already been stated that the phyle is older than the Aryan household as we find it at the dawn of history. On the other hand, we are able to trace the growth of the phratry from the gens and the family. Inside the phyle, the family developed by a natural process into the gens, bequeathing to the latter its own organization and institutions. After the gens had once been formed, new families were sometimes admitted into the village by adoption,¹ thus giving to such gentes their partially fictitious nature. Village life in this form was the most characteristic...

  7. CHAPTER V. THE FOUR IONIC PHYLAE.
    (pp. 102-110)

    The members of each tribe were bound together by the double tie of a common religion and kinship,—the latter being partly factitious,—thus giving to the tribes their family, or gentile nature, on account of which they were designated as ϕƲλαί gоπκαί. In addition to this, the latest and most thorough investigations relating to this subject have tended to establish the fact that the four Ionic phylae comprised originally the inhabitants of continuous territories, and were therefore local tribes (ϕƲλαί τоπκαί)¹.

    The theory has been held that the four tribes were castes or professions, and that the names of...

  8. CHAPTER VI. THE BASILEIA.
    (pp. 111-128)

    Having discussed, in the preceding chapters, the genesis and character of the several members—religious, political and local—of the state as it existed before Solon, I now desire to consider the history of the state as a whole from the earliest times to the fully developed Periclean democracy.

    There is reason for believing that the title Bασιλεύs was applied even to the village chief. Thus, Cecropia seems to have been a single κώμη on the Acropolis ; and yet its rulers were called βασιλεȋs. In Homer, any ruler or lord appears to bear that name. In the little island...

  9. CHAPTER VII. THE OLIGARCHY BEFORE DRACO.
    (pp. 129-137)

    In 682 the chief magistracies were made annual, and a board of six Thesmothetae was added to the three principal offices already existing. Aristotle¹ tells us that the offices of Basileus, Polemarch, and Archon were filled at first for life and afterwards for ten years; but that the Thesmothete was never more than an annual magistrate, since this office was instituted many years after the archonship, when the custom of annual appointments had arisen.² Their duties were to record the laws (θέσμια) publicly³ and to preserve them for use in the trial of offenders. The Thesmothetae were probably judges as...

  10. CHAPTER VIII. THE DRACONIAN TIMOCRACY.
    (pp. 138-156)

    Aristotle now mentions the strife between nobles and commons, which he says continued a long time.¹ His history reveals to us the condition of the peasantry, heretofore but imperfectly known. “The government was in general an oligarchy, and especially in this fact, that the poor were slaves to the rich, themselves, their wives and children, and were called clients—πελáταl—and έĸτήμoρol, since they tilled the fields of the wealthy for that amount of rent.² All the land was in the hands of a few, and if ever the tenants failed to pay the rents due they could be sold,...

  11. CHAPTER IX. THE SOLONIAN REVOLUTION.
    (pp. 157-183)

    A new nobility of wealth had taken the place of the old nobility of blood ; and though the Eupatrids still enjoyed the exclusive privileges of hierosyne,—religious rites and offices,—in other respects the two branches of the nobility were on a level. But the servitude of the masses continued, until finally the populace arose against its oppressors. After the sedition had lasted long and had assumed a formidable aspect, the two parties came to terms, appointing Solon to the archonship for the purpose of reconciling the contestants and restoring order.¹ Although of moderate property and holding, therefore, a...

  12. CHAPTER X. THE TYRANNY.
    (pp. 184-192)

    Sedition continued. Megacles was leader of the moderate party; Miltiades, and afterwards Lycurgus, of the oligarchs; Peisistratus, of the democrats. These three parties were located in the Shore, Plain, and Hills respectively. The Diacrians, or Hillmen, were joined by the The Thetas throughout Attica, and by those who had been reduced to poverty through the abolition of debts, in the hope that the next political game might reverse their former ill-luck. Many aliens also, who, under the Solonian government, had by means of their wealth, gained the politeia now began to fear a reaction in favor of oligarchy and, with...

  13. CHAPTER XI. THE CLEISTHENEAN CONSTITUTION AND ITS DEVELOPMENT TO THE BATTLE OF SALAMIS.
    (pp. 193-211)

    The fall of the tyranny was followed by a renewal of the party strife. Cleisthenes, leader of the Paralians and champion of the Demus, was opposed to Isagoras, leader of the Pediaeans and friend of the Peisistratidae, in a contest for the archonship for the year 508.¹ From this it appears that the Solonian mode of filling the archonship was still in abeyance. Isagoras, with the assistance of political clubs, gained the day. Cleisthenes then appealed to the people, promising them the politeia in return for their support. His immediate object seems to have been to keep Isagoras from occupying...

  14. CHAPTER XII. FROM THE BATTLE OF SALAMIS TO THE BEGINNING OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR.
    (pp. 212-234)

    The sixth period of Athenian constitutional history begins with the restoration of the Areopagus to its former position of authority and influence in the state. This took place not through any public measure but in an altogether informal way, owing to the fact that it was the cause of the battle of Salamis being fought. For the ten generals who were beginning to supersede the archons in the administration, losing all hope of saving the state and people by any regular means, issued a proclamation bidding everyone rescue himself as best he could. At this crisis, the Boule of the...

  15. BIBLIOGRAPHY.
    (pp. 235-242)
  16. INDEX.
    (pp. 243-249)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 250-250)