The Reforms Of Cleisthenes Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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unfair, but the Council helped the lowest economic class, too. Previously, the lowest economic class was poorly represented, if represented at all, by the Council of 400 because the four tribes on which that old Council was based excluded much of that class. The ten new tribes created by Cleisthenes, on the other hand, included that class. So while it is true that males of the lowest economic class were not eligible to represent their tribes on the new Council of 500, at least they could hold their representatives accountable, by voting. In another, less important reform, Cleisthenes appears to have increased the number of archons from nine to ten and to have made the second highest economic class eligible for archonships; previously, only members of the highest economic class

had been eligible to be archons. He also limited archons to one-year terms. It does not appear that Cleisthenes altered the character of the Council of Areopagus, however; it continued to act as a high court. A final reform, important more for symbolic reasons, was the creation of the institution of ostracism. Ostracism enabled the city-state to temporarily banish citizens considered dangerous to the public welfare. Each year the Assembly would decide whether to hold an ostracism vote. If that decision was made, then a date for a public vote was set. On the appointed day, on a fragment of pottery, each eligible citizen wrote the name of the person he wished to be ostracized. The person who had most of the required minimum of 6,000 total ballots cast (out of a voting population of

about 30,000) had to leave Athens within ten days and remain away for ten years. The person ostracised lost no property or civil rights, and the Assembly could recall the person, if needed. It was merely a means for the city-state to prevent any citizen from gaining too much power, the kind of power that could lead to tyranny. Aristotle reported that the first ostracism occurred in 487-485 BC, against Hipparchus, a relative of Hippias, the former tyrant of Athens whom Cleisthenes had succeeded. Among other prominent Athenians to be ostracized were Aristides (483 BC), Themistocles (471 BC), and Cimon (461 BC). Hyperbolus, a minor Athenian demagogue, was the last person ostracized (417 BC). What happened to Cleisthenes after instituting these reforms is a mystery. What is known,

however, is that his reforms revolutionized Athenian life. In a mere 50 years, Athens had changed from a narrow democracy dominated by an aristocratic oligarchy, to a tyranny, to the beginning of history’s most famous democracy. His reforms nurtured an age of achievement and prosperity, marking the beginning of the Classical Period and what would be called Athen’s Golden Age.