Outline the major changes that occurred in the development of Athenian democracy from 500BC to 450BC

Essay by tha_manHigh School, 12th gradeA+, July 2003

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Democracy comes from two Greek words: demos, which means, "people" and kratein, which means "to rule". Democracy first appeared in Athens towards the beginning of the fifth century B.C. The biggest difference between Athenian democracy and almost all other democracies is that the Athenain version was a direct democracy rather than being representative.

Democracy in Athens came about as a result of the growing navel power and the reforms of leaders such as Cleisthenes and Pericles. In order to truly understand the development of Athenain democracy it is imperative to know about Cleisthenes and his impact on this institution. To end regional divisions, Cleisthenes created over 140 townships (demes), which replaced the phratries as the basis of citizenship. Ten tribes (phylai) were created, and Attica divided into three regions: the city of Athens, the coast, and the interior. Several demes comprised a "third" (trittys) and ten trittys formed a region.

Each tribe was made up of one trittys from each region, so had members in all parts of Attica. A Council of 500, with 50 men chosen by lot from each of the tribes, replaced the Solonian Council of 400. Cleisthenes may also have been responsible for the Athenian practice known as ostracism. A vote would take place and assuming 6000 votes had been cast the person would be sent into exile for a period of ten years. As Demand suggests the ostracized citizen's property was not taken nor was he convicted of and crime. When the ten years was up he was free to return to Athens.

Ephialtes' reforms were some of the most important in the development of Athenian democracy. Between 462/1 he gave the Ekklesia, the boule, and the jury courts a much greater role. Another significant reform was the stripping of powers from the Areopagus...