Athenian Democracy: A Sourcebook

Author(s): Luca Asmonti


This volume presents a wide range of literary and epigraphic sources on the history of the world's first democracy, offering a comprehensive survey of the key themes and principles of Athenian democratic culture. Beginning with the mythical origins of Athenian democracy under Theseus and describing the historical development of Athens' democratic institutions through Solon's reforms to the birth of democracy under Cleisthenes, the book addresses the wider cultural and social repercussions of the democratic system, concluding with a survey of Athenian democracy in the Hellenistic and Roman age. All sources are presented in translation with full annotation and commentary and each chapter opens with an introduction to provide background and direction for readers. Sources will include material by Aristotle, Homer, Aristophanes, Herodotus, Thucydides, Cicero, Tacitus and many others. The volume also includes an A-Z of key terms, an annotated bibliography with suggestions for further reading in the primary sources as well as modern critical works on Athenian democracy, and a full index.


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An unrivalled collection of source material, often unavailable in translation, on the history and philosophy of the world's first democracy.

Luca Asmonti currently lectures at the University of Queensland, Australia. His research interests include Athenian democracy between the fifth and fourth centuries BC; Greek-Persian relations in the aftermath of the Peloponnesian War; and political oratory in Athens.

Introduction / 1: What do we mean by polis? / 2: The birth of Athens and the roots of democracy / 3: Draconian laws / 4: Solonian laws / 5: How tyranny helped the establishment of democracy / 6: Cleisthenes and the birth of democracy / 7: The Persian Wars and the link between democracy and the naval empire / 8: Democracy and pentekontaeitia / 9: Democracy and the effects of the Peloponnesian War / 10: Democracy and the decline of the polis / 11: Athenian democracy in the Hellenistic and Roman age / Bibliography / Index.

General Fields

  • : 9781441113719
  • : Continuum Publishing Corporation
  • : Continuum Publishing Corporation
  • : July 2014
  • : 234mm X 156mm X 28mm
  • : United States
  • : August 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Luca Asmonti
  • : Paperback
  • : annotated edition
  • : 320.4385
  • : 256
  • : 5