Chapter

Oligarchy versus Democracy

Stephen V. Tracy

in Athens and Macedon

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780520233331
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928541 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520233331.003.0002
Oligarchy versus Democracy

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Athenian history from the year 338 down to the year 229 B.C.—the latter year marking the ouster of the Macedonian presence from Attica—is usually seen as a complex political tapestry in which periods of democratic rule fitfully sputtered amid long periods of oligarchic rule under Macedonian hegemony. Without going into detail, the years 321 to 307, 295 to 287, and 262 to 229 are held to be largely oligarchic periods, with democratic rule in the intervening years. The presence or absence of four crucial items, what may be termed the cornerstones of Athenian democracy, seems critical. The complex period following Athens' defeat by the Macedonians in the Lamian War provides an excellent test case. Democracy was indeed abolished in Athens during the year 321 B.C. The ancient scribes and letter-cutters could refer to the plural board or to the head of it without signifying any difference.

Keywords: Athenian history; Macedonian hegemony; Athenian democracy; Lamian War; Athens; oligarchy

Chapter.  2726 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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