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The Greek Polis and the Invention of Democracy: A Politico-cultural Transformation and Its Interpretations




The Greek Polis and the Invention of Democracy: A Politico-cultural Transformation and Its Interpretations

Johann P. Arnason (Editor), Kurt A. Raaflaub (Editor), Peter Wagner (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-56167-6 April 2013 Wiley-Blackwell 416 Pages



The Greek Polis and the Invention of Democracy presents a series of essays that trace the Greeks’ path to democracy and examine the connection between the Greek polis as a citizen state and democracy as well as the interaction between democracy and various forms of cultural expression from a comparative historical perspective and with special attention to the place of Greek democracy in political thought and debates about democracy throughout the centuries.

  • Presents an original combination of a close synchronic and long diachronic examination of the Greek polis - city-states that gave rise to the first democratic system of government
  • Offers a detailed study of the close interactionbetween democracy, society, and the arts in ancient Greece
  • Places the invention of democracy in fifth-century bce Athens both in its broad social and cultural context and in the context of the re-emergence of democracy in the modern world
  • Reveals the role Greek democracy played in the political and intellectual traditions that shaped modern democracy, and in the debates about democracy in modern social, political, and philosophical thought
  • Written collaboratively by an international team of leading scholars in classics, ancient history, sociology, and political science

Series Editor’s Preface vii

Contributors viii

Introduction 1
Johann P. Arnason, Kurt A. Raaflaub, and Peter Wagner

Part I The Greek Experience in Long-term Perspective 19

1 Exploring the Greek Needle’s Eye: Civilizational and Political Transformations 21
Johann P. Arnason

2 Transformations of Democracy: Towards a History of Political Thought and Practice in Long-term Perspective 47
Peter Wagner

Part II Ways of Polis-making: Grasping the Novelty of the Political 69

3 To Act with Good Advice: Greek Tragedy and the Democratic Political Sphere 71
Egon Flaig

4 Democracy and Dissent: the Case of Comedy 99
Lucio Bertelli

5 Democracy, Oratory, and the Rise of Historiography in Fifth-century Greece 126
Jonas Grethlein

6 Political Uses of Rhetoric in Democratic Athens 144
Harvey Yunis

7 Law and Democracy in Classical Athens 163
Adriaan Lanni

8 Democracy and Political Philosophy: Influences, Tensions, Rapprochement 181
Ryan K. Balot

9 Inscriptions and the City in Democratic Athens 205
Elizabeth A. Meyer

Part III Changing a Way of Life: Democracy’s Impact on Polis Society 225

10 The Impact of Democracy on Communal Life 227
Sara L. Forsdyke

11 The Demos’s Participation in Decision-making: Principles and Realities 260
Claude Mossé

12 Democracy and Religion in Classical Greece 274
Robin Osborne

13 Democracy and War 298
Lawrence A. Tritle

Part IV Political Concepts and Commitments 321

14 Perfecting the “Political Creature”: Equality and “the Political” in the Evolution of Greek Democracy 323
Kurt A. Raaflaub

15 Tyranny and Tragedy in Nietzsche’s Understanding of the Greek Polis 351
Tracy B. Strong

16 The Liberty of the Moderns Compared to the Liberty of the Ancients 371
Nathalie Karagiannis and Peter Wagner

Index 389