Download e-book for iPad: The Bad Citizen in Classical Athens by Dr Matthew R. Christ

By Dr Matthew R. Christ

This ebook presents a clean point of view on Athenian democracy via exploring undesirable citizenship, either as a truth and an concept, in classical Athens, from the past due 6th century right down to 322. If referred to as upon, Athenian voters have been anticipated to help their urban via army provider and fiscal outlay. those responsibilities have been primary to Athenian understandings of citizenship and it used to be necessary to the city's overall healthiness that voters satisfy them. the traditional assets, in spite of the fact that, are packed with allegations that folks have kept away from those tasks or played them deficiently. Claims of draft evasion, cowardice at the battlefield, and avoidance of liturgies and the battle tax are universal. by way of studying the character and scope of undesirable citizenship in Athens and the city's responses-institutional and ideological-to the phenomenon, this research goals to light up the connection among citizen and town less than the Athenian democracy, and extra generally, the stress among inner most pursuits and public authority in human societies.

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Cohen (1995: 115) that Athenians went so far as to assimilate justice and advantage in these contexts: the fact that speakers distinguish clearly between considerations of justice and those based on advantage suggests there was no fundamental confusion between the two. 44) is exceptional in distinguishing so pointedly between advantage and justice. 21 THE BAD CITIZEN IN CLASSICAL ATHENS are offered not as matters for debate – no interlocutor challenges them – but rather as pithy articulations of conventional wisdom (cf.

R. 580e). Most men envy the tyrant because he can selfishly and without constraint satisfy his appetites (Pl. Grg. 471d–472a; cf. Lg. 874e–875b; Arist. EN 1134b; X. Hier. 9). For a more optimistic view of human nature, see Men. Dys. 718–22, where Knemon states after his rescue from the well: “By Hephaestus, I thought no man could be kindly to another – that’s how very deluded I had become through studying all the different ways of life, how men in their calculations (toÆv logismoÅv) angle for gain (pr¼v t¼ kerda©nein).

It is not only in one respect but in everything that democracy (¡ «shgor©h)33 is clearly a good thing. Take the case of the Athenians: under the rule of tyrants they proved no better in war than any of their neighbors, but, once rid of those tyrants, they were by far the first of all. What this makes clear is that, while held in subjection, they chose to play the coward (–qelok†keon) since they were working for a despot, but, once freed, each was zealous to succeed for his own self (aÉt¼v ™kastov —wutw„ proequm”eto katerg†zesqai).

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