Classics - Introduction to Ancient Greek History
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The greek mythology is older than the the democracy. Look at iliad and Odyssey: they are from the eighth century BC, and in them we can see almost all facts of the greek mithology, while the democracy was born just in the fifth century. The tragedies, that were born in the age of democracy, just reproduce this traditional mithology. For this reason, we see kings, for example, in Oedipus, by Sophocles.
A question was proposed, if the Greeks invented democracy, why did he still have Kings? Even know they were called Kings. They had term limits and were voted in and out, and sometimes teach or ostracized, by using broken shards of pottery. A good example would be Themistocles, who was ostracized after basically saving Athens, butt. Although there was some territories. Early on like, Sparta, that still had Kings, in fact two at any one time. However they were still controlled by Senate, and the people that the Senate reported to. I don't think they are traditionally Kings thought of in the late 1400s and Renaissance timeframe. I think they did a pretty good job for inventing democracy, and actually having the first Senate platform , and even city Council members broken into city Council territories. Sparta city was broken into five city areas. Athens was one the plank, and underlining areas that other Council members controlled reported to the Senate. The bottom line, their actions would be accountable at many points in their careers.
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The Odyssey, the war of Troy, was actually 13 century around 800s BCE, the fourth or first translation? Was found and thought to be only stories told around the campfires. Even know the story of the Odyssey, was told from roaming Gypsies going from town to town, it was a hint of realism and maybe this could be true, picked up by the sharp eye of Hieronymus, hundreds of years later. The entire Trojan story along with the Odyssey is more about moral direction than democracy, Messina and many of the areas back then was earliest form of democracy. Democracy around the fifth century. I'm not sure? What is Democracy anyway? I tell my students democracy is a reality concept that allows a society to better itself. In other words, a person can get ahead. This traditionally happened, when they needed thousands of rowers to fight the Persians. Rowers then had a vote, a voice, and were paid a salary and more importantly a pension. They even had health insurance. So is democracy, the ability to benefit oneself and family? Or is it simply to replace one bad king with another for their own self dealings? I believe democracy in its truest form happened when the rowers of the large wooden warships were used not by slaves but by citizens. The work was grueling and the days were long. They needed to give incentive to get people down in the bowels of the ship. Not only do they get paid well, they had a vote and a voice for immediate action decisions that affected them and their families.
First of all, I am from Brazil and my English is not very good, so I'd like to apologize for my mistakes. Don't you think you are confusing the concepts of ancient and modern democracy? If we do that, we can't understand what the Greek democracy really was and, what is worse, we fall in the worst prejudice: we think the contemporary age is the best one, because just we know what democracy is, what justice is, etc. If it were like that, we wouldn't need to read The Republic, by Plato, and, nevertheless, we need it. And we learn a lot about Justice and Goodness reading it! They had slavery and democracy at the same time, but we can't, with our modern eyes, say: this is not democracy. They have one concept of citizenship different from ours, not best or worst, but just different. Yes, Iliad and Odyssey represent an oral tradition very old. It confirms what I had said: the traditional mythology was born before the democracy, and because of that, still talks about kings and old heroes even in democracy age.