Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XLI.: Recapitulation of the preceding changes; the sovereign power of the people. - Constitution of Athens
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
CHAP. XLI.: Recapitulation of the preceding changes; the sovereign power of the people. - Aristotle, Constitution of Athens [320 BC]
Aristotle’s Constitution of Athens, trans. Thomas J. Dymes (London: Seeley and Co., 1891).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Recapitulation of the preceding changes; the sovereign power of the people.
This was the course of events at the later period, but at that time the people, having made itself master of the state, established the form of government as it now exists, in the archonship of Pythodorus. And it appears that the people rightly assumed the supreme authority by reason of its having accomplished unaided the return of the exiles. This change was the eleventh in order. First came the constitution of those who united them into one people at the beginning, viz., Ion and his followers; for it was then for the first time that they were distributed as one people into the four tribes, and that the tribe-kings were appointed. The next and first remarkable form of government after this was that which took shape in the time of Theseus, varying but slightly from the kingly form. After this Draco’s, in which the laws also were first recorded in writing. Thirdly, Solon’s, after the civil discords, from which dates the beginning of the democracy. Fourthly, the tyranny of Peisistratus. Fifthly, after the overthrow of the tyrants, the constitution of Kleisthenes, more democratic than Solon’s. The sixth was after the Persian war, when the council of Areopagus presided over the state. Seventh, and following the preceding, was that which Aristides sketched out, and Ephialtes completed, by putting down the Areopagitic council; it was under this constitution that the state, under the leadership of the demagogues, made very many mistakes by reason of its maritime supremacy. The eighth was the constitution of the four hundred, and after this, and ninth, the democracy again. The tenth was the tyranny of the thirty and that of the ten. Eleventh, that after the return of the exiles from Phyle and Peiræus, which from its establishment up to the present day has continued uninterruptedly to add further to the power of the masses. For the people itself has made itself master of everything, and administers everything according to its views by its decrees and by its control of the courts of justice, in which it is the supreme power, for even the decisions of the Council come before the people. In this, indeed, they seem to act rightly, for a few are more open to corruption both by bribes and favours than the masses. Now, at first they decided against payment to the Assembly, but when people would not attend it and the presidents had to pass many measures, to secure the presence of the masses for the confirmation of the voting, first Agyrrhius made the pay an obol, and after him Herakleides of Klazomenæ, surnamed the king, two obols, and again Agyrrhius made it three obols.