The Athenian democracy of the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. is the most famous and perhaps the most nearly perfect example of direct democracy. Covering the period 403-322 B.C., Mogens Herman Hansen focuses on the crucial last thirty years, which coincided with the political career of Demosthenes. Hansen distinguishes between the city’s seven political institutions: the Assembly, the nomothetai, the People’s Court, the boards of magistrates, the Council of Five Hundred, the Areopagos, and ho boulomenos. He discusses how Athenians conceived liberty both as the ability to participate in the decision-making process and as the right to live without oppression from the state or other citizens.
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