The ancient Greeks Society, economy, and democracy Book sections 2 & 3
Women in Ancient Athens- • Women did have some public roles in religious ceremonies. • Women supervised the household, raised children, kept track of money & spending & managed slaves as well as made clothing.
Greek society- • Had a complex class system with rich landowners at the top and slaves at the bottom. • Early city-states were controlled by aristocrats or kings. Some aristocrats claimed to be descended from gods. • Slaves in Greek times were acquired in various ways. Some are prisoners of war, some are bought from slave traders, or sold into slavery by their families.
Economic expansion- • Not only relying on trade, some city-states would gain land and resources by conquering their neighbors. • Around 700BC colonization became another solution to the population problems (such as over population and land hunger) • Ideal spot for a colony was the coast so they could dock their boats and continue to trade. • By 500BC there were hundreds of Greek colonies that stretched from Russia all the way to west Spain.
The first coins ~650BC Kings in Lydia begin making the world’s first gold and silver coins. Each city-state stamped its coins with symbols of the city or an image of the god or goddess who protected the city. Athens coins were stamped with an owl, the bird associated with Athena.
Democracy in athens • The start of democracy in Athens was not easy. Not everyone wanted it. (Isagoras ) • Before democracy there were many forms of government in Greece… • Ogilarchies • Tyrannies • Monarchies • 594BC the aristocrats chose Solon to lead the polis. • He reformed the courts, ended selling people into slavery to pay off debts, gave non-aristocrats the right to vote. • This was the start to democracy.
Reforms to democracy • 508BC Cleisthenes gained power and reduced the power of the rich. • Brought in voters from the lower classes. • Increased the power of the assembly. • 461BC Athens created citizen juries (a group of people to hear evidence and decide a court case). This put the legal decision in the hands of the people. • 450’s BC Pericles started paying people for their jury service & other civic duties.
Parts of the government • Most important parts of government were the Assembly, the Council (of 500), and the Courts. • Main political body in Athens was the Assembly. • There were many different types of courts. • The juries would have several hundred to several thousand people.
A limited democracy • Athens was not a complete democracy. • Women could not vote or hold office. • Foreigners could not become citizens and had no voice in government • Slaves had no rights.
Types of democracy Direct Democracy Representative Democracy Citizens elect others to represent them in government. The representatives pass laws and make decisions on behalf of the people. Shares the Athenian ideal of “rule by the people” • Citizens participate directly in decision making. • Worked due to small population, hard work and commitment of citizens. • Less practical in large countries like US.