Foreign Policy I: Democracy Imperial

Loren J. Samons II

in What's Wrong with Democracy?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780520236608
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940901 | DOI:
Foreign Policy I: Democracy Imperial

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This chapter investigates the Athenians' systematic exploitation of the states that had initially joined them in an alliance against Persia in 478/7. Fifth-century Athenian foreign policy presents a complicated story set against the backdrops of Athens' own aggressive history before the institution of demokratia and the unsettled nature of Greek inter-polis relations during the classical period. It starts by introducing early Athenian ambitions in the Aegean. There is some evidence that certain Athenians hostile to Pericles resented Athens' harsh treatment of Samos. The popularity of Pericles and the Athenians' policy toward Samos, once more spotlighting the harsh face of the imperial demos, are confirmed. Admittedly, Athens' demokratia was born and reared in an atmosphere of nationalism and warfare. Perhaps it is no surprise that this regime, like the warrior goddess the Athenians worshipped, so frequently bore a martial visage.

Keywords: Athenian foreign policy; democracy imperial demos; Persia; demokratia; Athens; Samos; Pericles

Chapter.  6587 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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