Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication
→ Passages: Defining the Citizen.
Thomas R. Martin, with Neel Smith & Jennifer F.Stuart, edition of July 26, 2003
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1275a: 22-23: A citizen defined in simple terms is someone who can participate in judging [that is, serve as a juror in the court system] and in governing [that is, serve in public office, which here means not just magistracies but also serving in the assembly and on the council in systems of government that have these institutions].
1275b: 5-7: The definition of citizen just given in 1275a: 22-23 applies especially to democracy and possibly, though not necessarily, to other systems of government because different definitions would apply in different systems.
1278a: 8-25: In the best city-state, craftsmen (banausoi) will not be allowed to be citizens, since they are not really able to live freely, because they are not free from “necessary tasks” [that is, they have to do physical work for a living] and therefore do not have the time to devote themselves to the activities in which excellence is manifested. This does not mean that they are poor; craftsmen in fact can be rich, but they still have to engage in making things with their own hands, [an activity seen as demeaning by citizens in the social elite].
1278a: 26-29: In many systems of government, citizens are legally drawn from the ranks of foreigners [that is, both of their parents do not have to be citizens]. In some democracies, citizens need only have a citizen mother, and even illegitimate children (nothoi) can be citizens in many places.
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1275b: 35-37: Cleisthenes of Athens made citizens of metics [resident foreigners], who had been foreigners or slaves, following the expulsion of the tyrants from Athens [near the end of the
1283b: 42-1284a4: The citizen in common parlance is the person who has a share in ruling and being ruled; in the best system of government [namely, a polity, on which see under “Defining Systems of Government”] a citizen is both able and willing to rule and be ruled in accordance with a life lived with excellence as its aim.
1277b: 13-18: The good citizen must have ability and knowledge concerning both ruling free men and also being ruled. A good citizen must possess moderation and prudence (sophrosyne) and justice (dikaiosyne) with respect to ruling.
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