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An introduction to athens

Athens was a very powerful ancient Greek city-state. It homed many firsts, such as the first democracy, and the first Olympics(!) Athens is also known for its architecture and the many myths surrounding it.

Government! (because thats a rly fun topic)

Athens started out as an oligarchy, a form of government where a few people ruled.

Athens had a couple rulers who revolutionized Athens in their own special way :)

  • Solon, a noble who both sides of Athens trusted. He canceled all of the farmers' debt.
  • Peisistratus, a tyrant. He divided large estates and gave them to poor farmers. He also loaned money to the poor and gave them jobs.
  • Cleisthenes was the ruler who started the democracy of Athens. He created an assembly that could debate the matters of Athens. He also created a council of people to carry out daily business.

A day in the life of Athens! Cool, cool

A day starts out like this:

  • The man, or father, goes to work. Probably to the council or assembly, because most men worked in the government.
  • The boys would go to school. They learned many subjects, including singing and playing the lyre.
  • The girls stayed at home. :( They were taught spinning, weaving, and other household tasks by their mother.
  • In wealthy homes, the girls went to school with their brothers.
  • The mothers taught the girls, did those tasks herself, and cooked the food

A greek joke:

Did you know that the first chickens to use Twitter lived in @HENS?

Artists of Athens (ooh how artsy)

  • The Theater of Dionysus! This was a beautiful theater built for Dionysus, the god of wine and high spirits. A festival of art occurs each year, and the theater is the primary place where it is.
  • The Kerameikos. Tis is the potter's quarters. This part of the market is smoky and dirty, due to the hot kilns.
  • The Painted Stoa. This is a stoa, a long covered hall. Lining the walls is the artwork from many famous Athenian artists. This is also place for philosophers to converse, and to share their ideas.
  • The Agora. This is the main marketplace for merchants and artisans. In here are goldsmiths, potters, painters, spinners selling clothes and rugs, and many more trying to sell their goods.

Government: The Real STory

We are now going to talk about what the government was.

  • First off, when Solon was ruler, he allowed all male citizens to participate in an assembly and law court. A gang of 400ish wealthy citizens wrote laws, but the aforementioned assembly had to pass them.
  • When Cleisthenes came to power, he reassembled the assembly to play the bigger part in government. Male citizens could still be in the assembly and and vote on laws, but they could debate on matters, hear court cases, and appoint army generals.
  • Cleisthenes also created a new council of 500 citizens to help the assembly. They proposed laws, dealt with foreign countries, and oversaw the treasury.
  • Athens had a lottery every year to decide the members of the council. They thought this was fairer, as an election may favor the rich.