Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication

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Evidence for Athenian Democracy 

Christopher W. Blackwell, edition of January 24, 2003

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· Summary ·

The study of ancient history depends on evidence from archaeology, art, and ancient literature. While there survives a vast body of this evidence that can teach us about classical Athenian democracy, the evidence does not come close to offering a complete understanding of how the democracy came into being, how it developed over time, or how it worked. What evidence we have is usually incomplete, rarely perfectly transparent, and often potentially misleading.

In order to understand and interpret the evidence for Athenian democracy, therefore, it is necessary to understand the different kinds of evidence, what each kind is capable of telling us, and what limitations are inherent in each. This article is a brief introduction to what sources Dēmos: Classical Athenian Democracy uses as evidence and how Dēmos attempts to help readers access and use those sources for themselves.

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