Athenian Democracy; Emily Brown Block 2B


  • Introduced Democracy to Athens after the tyrants who ruled Athens were expelled in 501 B.C.
  • Divided Attica (the area where Athens controlled) into 139 villages called demes. Each deme was distributed among 10 tribes.
  • Introduced Ostracism, which is the assembly's ability to exile anyone from Athens who abused his citizenship or disrupted civil life.

Age of Pericles

  • Granted citizenship to those whose mothers and fathers were born citizens themselves
  • Reform allowed poor citizens to take part in the government. First time that anyone had a chance to participate in government.

Structure of Athenian Government

  • Each of the 10 tribes selected 50 men, by lottery, to serve in the Council of 500.
  • Women were addressed as citizens; however, they had no say in the government.
  • No matter his social status, any man could serve in the government.
  • When a young Athenian man reached the age of 18, he became a member of his father's deme. He also had to serve 2 years in the military.
  • 3 Branches: The Assembly of Demos, The Council of 500 and The People's Court

The 3 Branches

  1. The Assembly of the Demos: Regular gathering of male citizens who would listen to, discuss and vote on decrees on everyday aspects of Athenian life.
  2. Council of 500: Represented full-time Athenian government. Each of the 10 tribes selected 50 men by lottery to serve on the council. Their main function was to prepare the agenda of the meetings of the Assembly and to issue decrees.
  3. The People's Court: The legal system of Athens.

How does Athenian Government relate to American Government?

  • Athenian Democracy acted as a base for American Democracy.
  • Introduced the idea that anyone can be part of the government.
  • 3 Branches
  • Defined certain requirements for citizenship (18 years old and mother and father must be citizens)
  • Democracy means equality and freedom for citizens in both civilizations.



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  • Bethune, Brian. "The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece." Maclean's 15 June 2015: 60+. World History in Context. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

  • Blackwell, Christaphor W. "Structures of Athenian Government." Creative Commons License, 23 Feb. 2003. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.


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