Akropolis by Leo von Kienze (democracy)

Democracy as a political concept and practice was as far as we know invented by the Greek polises. The Greek polis was a city-state with its own laws and customs, and there were many around in the Greek landscape in ancient times. Athens was one of the main and biggest city-states of the ancient Greek world, and it is precisely here where democracy is said to have its origins. The important thing to consider and take to notice is that democracy as was practiced in the Greek world was quite different as the democracy that we see or understand to be today.

First of all, one had to be Greek male citizen to have any vote, which meant women were simply not eligible, and that wouldn’t be very democratic in the modern sense of the word. Second of all, the Greek city states were sustained by slaves that the Greek population took advantage of.

Relevant Quotations

Our form of government does not enter into rivalry with the institutions of others. Our government does not copy our neighbors', but is an example to them. It is true that we are called a democracy, for the administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few. But while there exists equal justice to all and alike in their private disputes, the claim of excellence is also recognized; and when a citizen is in any way distinguished, he is preferred to the public service, not as a matter of privilege, but as the reward of merit. Neither is poverty an obstacle, but a man may benefit his country whatever the obscurity of his condition.
Pericles (Funeral Oration, 5th Century BCE)

A Seeker's Contemplations on Democracy

(15th November, 2017)

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