By Roger Brock, Stephen Hodkinson
This quantity includes eighteen essays by means of confirmed and more youthful historians that study non-democratic substitute political platforms and ideologies--oligarchies, monarchies, combined constitutions--along with different varieties of communal and nearby institutions resembling ethnoi, amphiktyonies, and confederacies. The papers, which span the size and breadth of the Hellenic international spotlight the vast political flexibility and variety of old Greek civilization.
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1279B11–1280A6). It normally took the form of a property qualiﬁcation, though not necessarily a very high one: Aristotle recommends ‘index-linking’ the requirement as a means of preserving oligarchies. Ancestry (whether real or invented) was equally signiﬁcant: many cities, especially in the archaic period, were ruled by a hereditary oligarchy composed of a group of families, such as the Eupatrids (the ‘well-born’) in Athens before Solon, or a single family like the Bacchiads of Corinth or the Penthelidai at Mytilene; while in colonial cities descendants of the original settlers naturally tended to occupy a privileged position.
1308B31–1309A14); indeed, Aristotle counsels that oligarchic magistrates should be seen to incur expense (1321A33). In contrast, as noted above, the Athenian democratic system was expensive; hence the fact that in the straitened circumstances of the late Peloponnesian War restriction of pay for political activity was an important aspect of the oligarchic programme of 411 (Ath. Pol. 29. 5; 30. 6). In a limited space we cannot do more than sketch a little of the constitutional variety in which classical Greece abounded, but the foregoing should serve to demonstrate the diversity which existed within the broad constitutional labels, and the possibility of change, whether gradual or sudRhodes with Lewis (1997) 330; Arist.
The former is discussed here by Rhodes, while Nigel Spencer analyses the disintegration of the aristocratic oligarchy of Mytilene brought about by the inﬂux of wealth from foreign ventures. This is not to say that there was no such thing as oligarchic ideology. Indeed, in its original form it was very much concerned precisely with personal excellence and success, since it seems to have focused on the character or quality of those participating in politics. This embraced not only one’s personal qualities but also a desire for the approbation of, and success in competition against, one’s peers.
Alternatives to Athens by Roger Brock, Stephen Hodkinson