The Greeks had a word for it, and the word was demokratia, a compound of demos (`the people') and kratos (`power or rule'). But it is significant that the first occurrence of the word in surviving Greek literature is in Herodotus' History, which he was writing during the third quarter of the fifth century BC. It was perhaps coined in the period following the reforms of the last decade of the sixth, which later won fame for
Cleisthenes as `the man who gave the Athenians their democracy'. In 431 BC Pericles could claim that the Athenian system of government was unique, and an example to every other society in Greece. It is the object of this book to
explain to the modern reader what the institutions of the classical Athenian democracy were, how they worked, and what assumptions underlay them. It is principally concerned with the fully developed democracy of the post-Ephialtic period; but a chapter is devoted to tracing the broad development of the Athenian constitution from the reforms of Solon in the early sixth century to those of Ephialtes in the late 460s, so that the developed democracy can be seen in its proper historical context.
Stockton incorporates recent important work by historians, epigraphists, and archaeologists into his study, which is easily accessible to the sixth-form and first-year undergraduate student as well as
interested general readers since all Greek is translated, difficult terminology explained, and full suggestions for further reading made in endnotes to each chapter.
'an admirably concise and lucidly detailed narrative ... Readers of his book will find that it adds to their political as well as historical education.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
'well-organized and lucid study ... This is a good introductory text, accessible to undergraduates, and also useful more generally as a summary of recent scholarship.'
Peter P. Nicholson, University of York, Political studies, Volume XXXIX Number 1 March 1991
'Stockton is to be commended for seeking to make the results of the work of historians, epigraphists and archaeologists accessible to a wider readership...The book will be useful for those who want an exposition of the constitutional and structural aspects of Athenian democracy.'
R. K. Sinclair, GREEK
'Thirty-three years after the publication of A.H.M. Jones' Athenian Democracy there is clearly room for a work of synthesis of similar length which draws upon the specialist studies of the last generation for the benefit of undergraduate and general reader. S.'s volume fills and adorns that gap admirably ... is a conscientious and always reasonable guide ... The two central chapters on 'Local and Central Government' and 'Politics and Politicians',
analyse the workings of the mature democracy. These are models of lucid and lively exposition ... this is an excellent survey, which is both welcome and to be recommended.'
Ronald A. Knox, University of Glasgow, The Classical Review, 1992
'The title and length of Stockton's new book ... promise to fill a gap that badly needs filling. S. has written a very readable book.'
Sitta von Reden, The Queen's College, Oxford, The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. CXII, 1992
'a balanced book ... readable; and above all, he is commendably more cautious about his own ability to recreate what might actually have happened'
S.C. Todd, University of Keele, Sonderdrucke, Aus Band 64 - 1992
'his style of writing and the statistical data presented, and the abundance of Greek terms and names, will present the general reader with a real challenge that, nevertheless, should make the task worth the effort'
John E. Rexine, Colgate University, Modern Greek Studies Yearbook, Volume 8, 1992
'David Stockton's concise hadnbook will be most welcome to both the "student of ancient history and the educated and interested public" who may want a shorter survey. It provides a generally successful, if highly conventional overview of the institutions of Athenian democracy. It will be especially useful in making accessible to the general reader recent work by historians, archaeologists, and epigraphists which has exposed the workings of Athenian
democracy more clearly.'
Lisa Kallet-Marx, Journal of the History of Ideas, 55:1, 3/94