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Literacy and Democracy in Fifth-Century Athens - Anna Missiou

Literacy and Democracy in Fifth-Century Athens


Published: 17th February 2011
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Who wrote the administrative documents of Athens? Was literacy extensive in ancient Attika? Were inscriptions, those on stone or pieces of pottery (ostraka), written, read and comprehended by common people? In this book Anna Missiou gives full consideration to these questions of crucial importance for understanding the quality of Athenian democracy and culture. She explores how the Kleisthenic reforms provided new contexts and new subject matter for writing. It promoted the exchange of reliable information between the demes, the tribes and the urban centre on particular important issues, including the mobilization of the army and the political organization of the citizen body. Through a close analysis of the process through which Athenian politicians were ostracized and a fresh examination of the involvement of common citizens in the Council of 500, Missiou undermines the current orthodoxy that literacy was not widespread among Athenians. Literacy underwrote the effective functioning of Athenian democracy.

'Missiou argues for the existence of extensive literacy among Athenian citizens due to their involvement in democratic administration ... she succeeds in bringing new considerations to a lengthy debate about Athenian literacy and showing how intimately it was connected with Athenian public life ... the book is very much worthy of reading.' Pavel Nylt, Eirene: Studia Graeca et Latina

List of illustrationsp. viii
List of tablesp. x
Prefacep. xi
Author's notesp. xiv
Abbreviationsp. xvi
Introduction: background, concepts and issuesp. 1
The geography of literacyp. 11
Literacy and political ethos: the institution of ostracismp. 36
Literacy through intermediaries: I. The ostrakap. 56
Literacy through intermediaries: II. Stone inscriptionsp. 85
Athenian literacy in its sociopolitical context 109 Conclusions: literacy and Athenian democracyp. 143
Studying the ostraka: technical difficulties and personal assumptionsp. 150
For an early date of the institution of the prytaneisp. 160
Literacy beyond the urban centre: councilors-prytaneis from remote demesp. 163
Bibliographyp. 169
Index locorump. 195
General indexp. 202
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521128766
ISBN-10: 0521128765
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 211
Published: 17th February 2011
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.34 x 13.72  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.32