Ostracism in athenian democracy

If a certain quorum was reached, the politician who had received most votes was sent away from Athens. Ostracon mentioning Hipparchus One of the problems in any democracy is the possibility that a leader arises with too much charisma. The peace that followed was an uneasy, phoney, peace. In this way, the members of the boule dictated how the entire democracy would work.

Their efforts, initially conducted through constitutional channels, culminated in the establishment of an oligarchy, the Council ofin the Athenian coup of BCE. From the time of Hadrian an imperial curator superintended the finances. However, ostracism was not primarily a way of removing individuals from formal public office, but rather of making decisions over the policies and leadership of political factions.

After the battle a storm arose and the generals in command failed to collect survivors: Decisions were made by voting without any time set aside for deliberation. In the 5th century public slaves forming a cordon with a red-stained rope herded citizens from the agora into the assembly meeting place Pnyxwith a fine being imposed on those who got the red on their clothes.

And they too could be removed from office at any time that the assembly met. Ostrakon of Thucydides, ostracized in B.

Uh Oh There was a problem with your submission. According to Plutarch ,[3] the ostracism was considered valid if the total number of votes cast was at least 6, Ostracism in practice At any rate it was over that particularly fraught issue that the first recorded ostracisms, a spate of them in the s, did actually take place.

In BC, after years of defeats in the wake of the annihilation of their vast invasion force in Sicily, the Athenians at last won a naval victory at Arginusae over the Spartans. Ostracism was not an effective defence against the oligarchic threat and it was not so used.

When Aristides asked why, the man replied it was because he was sick of hearing him being called "the Just".

Ancient Greek Democracy

For they rowed the warships and justifiably claimed increased benefits and privileges as their political reward. In this way, the members of the boule dictated how the entire democracy would work.

Like most baked pottery, ostraka are virtually indestructible; excavations in Athens have produced over 11, examples. A similar custom existed in ancient Syracuse.

However, while ostracism was not an active feature of the 4th-century version of democracy, it remained; the question was put to the assembly each year, but they did not wish to hold one. It dealt with ambassadors and representatives from other city-states. They administered rather than governed.

In the 5th century BC, principally as seen through the figure of Periclesthe generals could be among the most powerful people in the pols.

Henceforth laws were made not in the assembly, but by special panels of citizens drawn from the annual jury pool of Two examples demonstrate this: The corollary of this conscious, deliberate exception was that the people came down extremely hard on elected officials who were deemed in some way to have failed them, by losing a key battle as a general, say, or embezzling public funds as a sacred treasurer.

And their collusive ploy worked, or rather it worked to disastrous effect, as that third politician received the most votes, leaving Nicias and Alcibiades, and Athens, just where they all were before. It is said that Hyperbolos was ostracized for the following reason.

There were also no rules about what kinds of cases could be prosecuted or what could and could not be said at trial, and so Athenian citizens frequently used the dikasteria to punish or embarrass their enemies.

This extraordinary success also had the not inconsiderable consequence of confirming, indeed enhancing, the political power of the mass of ordinary poor Athenian citizens.


Four presided over the judicial administration. Karen Douglas thus describes "unanswered emails" as constituting a form of cyberostracism,[21] and similarly Eric Wesselmann and Kipling Williams describe "ignored emails" as a form of cyberostracism. In part ostracism lapsed as a procedure at the end of the fifth century because it was replaced by the graphe paranomona regular court action under which a much larger number of politicians might be targeted, instead of just one a year as with ostracism, and with greater severity.

Democracy for him was the rule of the many poor citizens over the few rich ones.

Athenian democracy

In ostracism seemed to offer the only viable way of resolving the deep differences between the two men, and their policies, and clearing the air without resorting to civil violence. Executive Summary Ancient Greek democracy had a number of practices which made it very different from modern democratic systems.

Samons writes that "the system of selection by lottery for members of the Council of and other officials like the treasurers of the sacred funds provided a potentially significant check on the dangers of demagoguery. His ostracism left Perikles as the uncontested political leader of the Athenian state.

Useless immediately after the counting, the actual ostraka were simply discarded in the street or any convenient hole.

Ancient Greek Democracy

At this time, the Athenian people rose up and seized simultaneously control over decisions of exile and political power. The close connection between political power and the power of expulsion explains why ostracism was a central part of the democratic reforms.

Ostracism was a process instituted as one of the Kleisthenic reforms of /7BC as a result of the non-elite intervention in the conflict with the Spartan backed Isagoras, although there is no evidence for its actual use before BC (Forsdyke ). Lasting for a period of 70 years it was a.

Democracy, which had prevailed during Athens’ Golden Age, was replaced by a system of oligarchy after the disastrous Athenian defeat in Sicily in BCE.

The constitutional change, according to Thucydides, seemed the only way to win much-needed support from Persia against the old enemy Sparta and, further, it was thought that the change.

Policy Papers

Ostracism In addition to the legal assassination condoned in the Law against Tyranny, a less extreme method was also available for removing powerful but dangerous men from public life. This was a formal, regular vote for exile, known as ostracism.

Aug 23,  · Watch video · Ostracism, in which a citizen could be expelled from Athens for 10 years, was among the powers of the ekklesia. The Ekklesia. Athenian democracy was made up of three important institutions.

Policy Papers Ostracism in athenian democracy
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