There are few topics from the ancient past which have more enduring interest and relevance to our lives today than ‘democracy’. The United Nations describes it as a “universally recognized ideal” and one of its “core values”.1 But democracy has meant different things in different times and places. If Aristotle were brought back today, it is unlikely he would recognise any current form of government as an ancient Greek-style democracy. Nevertheless, the central idea of government by the citizens for their collective benefit clearly derives from its ancient model. My intention in this paper is to demonstrate how and when the political institutions of ancient Athens evolved to lead her to adopt the ancient world’s most celebrated democratic system of government.
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|Published - 2013