Chapter

The Breakthrough of <i>Dēmokratia</i> in Mid-Fifth-Century Athens

Kurt A. Raaflaub

in Origins of Democracy in Ancient Greece

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780520245624
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932173 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520245624.003.0005
The Breakthrough of Dēmokratia in Mid-Fifth-Century Athens

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Athens was faltered by political turmoil in the years around 462 b.c.e. Members of the venerable Areopagus council were brought to trial, as was Cimon, after Aristides, architect of the Athenian empire and long-dominant general and leader. Some politicians, led by Ephialtes, actuated the assembly to pass measures, often called the reforms of Ephialtes, which shifted certain powers from the Areopagus to institutions perceived as more representative of the demos. Many Athenians did not welcome these innovations. Tensions increased. Both Cimon and Ephialtes disappeared from the political science within a short time. For several years, Athens was deeply divided and gripped by fears of a coup aimed at restoring the old system. Despite these dramatic circumstances, the reforms of 462/1 have often been judged much less significant and incisive than those connected with the names of Solon and Cleisthenes.

Keywords: Areopagus; Cimon; Aristides; Ephialtes; turmoil

Chapter.  23730 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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