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.
"Aimed both at students of ancient history and at the educated and interested public....Not only succeeds beautifully but even provides both audiences with valuable insights and viewpoints not quite like those available from any other source."--American Historical Review
"Lively and readable, full of facts and figures presented with clarity and analyzed with good sense. It can be read with pleasure by undergraduates and the general reader."--Classical Outlook
"Lucid, entertaining, instructive, and ever so useful to students of ancient Greek political philosophy or history....This book will be read most profitably after readings in the primary sources of ancient Greek comedy, political philosophy, and history have given rise to questions about political
organization, but it can also be read as an introduction to the subject. In sum, this is an excellent handbook....Highly recommended for upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and general readers."--Choice
"A noted historian's authoritative account and mature assessment of an important topic."--The Historian
Introduction; Facts and Figures; From Solon to Ephialtes; Local and Central Government; Politics and Politicians; Violent Opposition; Critics and Champions; Bibliography, Index