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Thucydides and the Monarch in Democracy

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image of Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought

Athenian democracy depended upon political ‘champions’ in order to operate effectively, although the champions themselves were often heavily criticised. At the same time, critics of democracy looked for alternatives in the ‘best men’, or ‘best man’ to rule the state. Thucydides engages with both these issues, and informed by wider political debates and other representations of the ‘democratic monarch’ (especially that of Theseus), analyses and draws a character sketch of Pericles and Alcibiades, in their role as either ‘good king’ or ‘bad tyrant’, in order to present a critique of democratic stability.

10.1163/20512996-90000123
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/content/journals/10.1163/20512996-90000123
2008-01-01
2017-11-19

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