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The Institutions Of Democracy

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Chapter Summary

Demetrius' contemporaries were clear in their assessment of his regime and of his place within it. When Poliorcetes ousted Cassander's partisans from Athens in 307, Demetrius of Phalerum and his associates were formally charged with overthrowing the democracy. No matter what the status of Athens' institutions, there is one sense in which the regime of 317-307 could unquestionably be deemed oligarchic, and that is in terms of the citizen body. Against the background of a potentially hostile citizen body, the desire for some restriction of the democratic institutions, the assembly and the council, has intrinsic plausibility. The replacement of sortition by election for the selection of the officials of state would have been in general accord with oligarchic criticisms of sortition. With the assembly, the courts were the touchstone of Athenian democracy. The status of the Areopagus council is fundamental to any evaluation of Demetrius' programme.

Keywords: Areopagus council; Athenian courts; Athenian democracy; Demetrius of Phalerum; democratic institutions; election



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