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Thread: Ancient Greek democracy. Oligarchs voted, the demos selected by lot, by lottery

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    Ancient Greek democracy. Oligarchs voted, the demos selected by lot, by lottery

    "In ancient Athenian democracy, sortition was the primary method for appointing political officials and its use was conventionally regarded at the time as a principal characteristic of democracy." Sortition was conducted by a lottery machine, Kleroterion, into which volunteer candidates inserted their citizenship tokens, Pinakia, pinakion, those not rejected at random by the device were the select (not the elect!).

    Aristotle relates equality and democracy: Democracy arose from the idea that those who are equal in any respect are equal absolutely. All are alike free, therefore they claim that all are free absolutely... The next is when the democrats, on the grounds that they are all equal, claim equal participation in everything. (Politics 1301a28-35) [ ... ] It is accepted as democratic when public offices are allocated by lot; and as oligarchic when they are filled by election.(Politics 4.129be)

    http://www.stoa.org/projects/demos/a...cracy?page=all

    http://www.alamut.com/subj/artiface/...oraMuseum.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sortition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleroterion https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinakion

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    More from Aristotle's Politics

    1312b: 4-6: The final type of democracy is a tyranny.

    1313b: 32-41 The final form of democracy has characteristics of tyranny: women dominate in the household so that they can denounce their husbands, slaves lack discipline, and flatterers—demagogues—are held in honor. The people wish to be a monarch.

    1295b: 39-1296a5: It is best for citizens in a city-state to possess a moderate amount of wealth because where some have a lot and some have none the result is the ultimate democracy or unmixed oligarchy. Tyranny can result from both these extremes. It is much less likely to spring from moderate systems of government.

    1311a: 15-16: Taking after democracy, tyranny makes war on the notables in the citizen body.

    1276a: 12-14: Some democracies, like tyrannies, rest on force and are not directed toward the common advantage.

    1277b: 1-3: In some places in the old days, before the development of “ultimate” democracy, craftsmen were barred from office.

    1312b: 35-38: Ultimate democracy, like unmixed and final oligarchy, is really a tyranny divided [among a multitude of persons].
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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Do you have a link to the movie?
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Do you have a link to the movie?
    LOL Thank you very much. I've been so impressed with and so focused on my physics lectures that I hadn't thought of my other interests on Youtube.

    I have not vetted this playlist
    Introduction to Political Philosophy with Steven B. Smith

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...95DEA9B7DFE825

    by YaleCourses
    24 videos
    35 to 50 minutes each
    Last updated on Jul 2, 2014

    This course is intended as an introduction to political philosophy as seen through an examination of some of the major texts and thinkers of the Western political tradition. Three broad themes that are central to understanding political life are focused upon: the polis experience (Plato, Aristotle), the sovereign state (Machiavelli, Hobbes), constitutional government (Locke), and democracy (Rousseau, Tocqueville). The way in which different political philosophies have given expression to various forms of political institutions and our ways of life are examined throughout the course.
    1. Introduction: What is Political Philosophy?
    2. Socratic Citizenship: Plato's Apology
    3. Socratic Citizenship: Plato's Crito
    4. Philosophers and Kings: Plato's Republic I-II
    5. Philosophers and Kings: Plato's Republic III-IV
    6. Philosophers and Kings: Plato's Republic V
    7. The Mixed Regime and the Rule of Law: Aristotle's Politics I, III
    8. The Mixed Regime and the Rule of Law: Aristotle's Politics IV
    9. The Mixed Regime and the Rule of Law: Aristotle's Politics VII
    10. New Modes and Orders: Machiavelli's The Prince (chapter 1-12)
    11. New Modes and Orders: Machiavelli's The Prince (chapter 13-26)
    12. The Sovereign State: Hobbes' Leviathan
    13. The Sovereign State: Hobbes' Leviathan
    14. The Sovereign State: Hobbes' Leviathan
    15. Constitutional Government: Lockes' Second Treatise (1-5)
    16. Constitutional Government: Lockes' Second Treatise (7-12)
    17. Constitutional Government: Lockes' Second Treatise (13-19)
    18. Democracy and Participation: Rousseau's Discourse
    19. Democracy and Participation: Rousseau's Discourse
    20. Democracy and Participation: Rousseau's Social Contract, I-II
    21. Democratic Statecraft: Toqueville's Democracy in America
    22. Democratic Statecraft: Toqueville's Democracy in America
    23. Democratic Statecraft: Toqueville's Democracy in America
    24. In Defense of Politics
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...95DEA9B7DFE825
    Last edited by Nightmare; 02-09-2015 at 05:03 PM.
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    Introduction to Ancient Greek History with Donald Kagan playlist 24 videos

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    Nice. Really interesting for somebody that was not already up on the subject.

    But of what relevance is it when we have not a democracy but a constitutional republic? Supposedly it's that way to prevent a majority of 50%+1 from rearing up on it's hind legs and forcing their whim on the 50%-1, and being able to do that as often as they want to.

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    The relevance is the same as of the Trivium in education, that we inherited as "The Three 'R's", and primarily of grammar. You don't miss it until you get it.

    The whole point of examining democracy in light of the Ancient Greeks is that their conception of democracy was quite opposite ours.

    Aristotle relates equality and democracy in his Politics: "It is accepted as democratic when public offices are allocated by lot; and as oligarchic when they are filled by election."

    Some ignorant child here on OCDO misquoted and misattributed to Plato, "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." Anyone with the slightest familiarity will instantly recognize the grotesquery.
    Last edited by Nightmare; 02-09-2015 at 06:00 PM.
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    I watched attentively the first of these two playlists and was pleased. I'm gonna do Greek history first to set the context for the politics to follow.
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    Victor Davis Hanson is mentioned in lecture 5 with approval. "Every thing I learned on the subject, I learned from Victor Davis Hanson," while developing the concept of property, of the family-farm.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Davis_Hanson
    Last edited by Nightmare; 02-10-2015 at 06:58 PM.
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    The lecturer guy, Donald Kagan, has come into his own at lecture 6 while describing the hoplite phalanx methods of fighting.
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    The prelude to lecture 8 Sparta is a fine apology for Western ethos.

    "Hoplite farmers do not pay taxes, that's for barbarians!"
    Last edited by Nightmare; 02-11-2015 at 05:40 PM.
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    Regular Member stealthyeliminator's Avatar
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    What a coincidence that I just yesterday or the day before looked up and instantly became fascinated with Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Greeks and the Romans more generally, and others like Cato. I am still trying to map out the relationships and timelines between all of them and their philosophies so that I can try to decide which one to focus on first. Any recommendation on this?
    Advocate freedom please

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    Video or text, primary or secondary source?

    My underclass college program was Great Books based and 45 years ago, so I have 'always' been aware of the classics. I downloaded 3500 pages of Plato today as part of my in depth reading of Karl Popper's The Open Society and Its Enemies. Impacting as it does modern politics, that might be a good textual review - 800 pages, half of them notes and references - starts with a harsh criticism of Plato, through Hegel and Marx to WWII when it was written.

    In video, the Donald Kagan lectures. He refers often and at length approvingly to Victor Davis Hanson and his extensive history of Ancient Greece. Don't be put off by his early lecture sessions, he was clearly ailing and improved greatly.

    The Durants, Will and Ariel wrote ELEVEN volumes of The History of Western Civilization that might be in your library.

    When I can get shed of Plato and Popper, then I'll look more closely at Aristotle on my way to Lee Smolin's relation-ist cosmology and physics.

    ETA much later, after supper. The Wikipedia is a great resource for surveys. Pick a topic and just follow sub-topics until you run out of time or interest. Victor Davis Hanson for instance, start there.
    Last edited by Nightmare; 02-13-2015 at 08:51 PM.
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