Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication
→ Passages: Types of Democracy.
Thomas R. Martin, with Neel Smith & Jennifer F.Stuart, edition of July 26, 2003
page 9 of 13
1317a: 22-33: There are two reasons why there are several different types of democracy: their majorities or “peoples” are of different kinds (for example, farmers as opposed to craftsmen or laborers), and they can have different combinations of the institutions that make them democratic.
1289a: 22-23: The same laws cannot be advantageous for every type of democracy.
1296b: 24-31: Where the quantity of the multitude of the poor is so large as to overbalance the quality of the rich, according to the formula just explained [in the text preceding this passage], there democracy springs up naturally. What type of democracy it is will depend on what type of population is preeminent. For example, if it is a multitude of farmers, then it will be the first type of democracy it is the first kind. If it is a multitude of craftsmen and wage-earners, then it will be the final type, and so on with the types in between.
1318b: 6-1319a3: There being four types of democracy, the best is the first in the arrangement previously mentioned [namely, in 1292b22-1293-1293a12, as listed above]. This type of democracy has a multitude that is mostly farmers or herders, whose work keeps them too busy to meet frequently in the assembly. They do not wish to serve in offices, where there is no great profit in it. Everyone will elect magistrates and conduct audits of them and serve in the courts, but those elected to office will meet financial assessments or, if there is no such requirement, will be capable people.
Plot on a Map
Aphytis (in text as “Aphyteans”).
1319a: 4-19: This is the best democracy because of what sort of people (
1319a: 20-38: Next best to having a multitude consisting of farmers is to have a herding people. The herding class have strong bodies and dispositions fit for military service. The other sorts of multitudes from which democracies are constituted are far worse. For craftsmen, merchants, and laborers lead lives devoid of excellence, and they are always in the marketplace and in the city and thus able to attend assemblies. It is easier to create a good democracy in a place where the fields of the city-state are located at some distance from the city and the multitude must dwell out in the country [to work in the fields and are thus not easily able to come to the urban center to attend meetings]. Even where there is a crowd of merchants, assemblies should not be held without the multitude from the country.
Plot on a Map
1319b: 1-32: The final type of democracy, in which everyone is in the partnership, is not easy for every city to maintain, nor is it easy for this type to endure because its laws and its habits are not well composed. Demagogues expand its citizen body by allowing in those of illegitimate birth or born to only one citizen parent. If the rabble grow too numerous, they create disorder and can provoke the notable members of the population to resistance against the democracy. This type of democracy is made stronger by introducing institutions to mix everyone up together, as Cleisthenes did at Athens. This type of democracy promotes disorderly living, with a lack of control over women, children, and slaves, and a toleration for everyone living as he pleases, for the many prefer living like this to living with prudence and moderation.
1298b: 13-19: The democracy today considered the most democratic—namely, the type in which the people (
1305a: 28-32: A change from ancestral democracy to the newest democracy can occur. If the people elect the magistrates and there is no minimum financial requirement, then those eager for office act as demagogues to accomplish this and give the people authority over the laws.
Plot on a Map
1266b: 21-24: The system of government at Leucas became excessively democratic when offices were no longer filled according to the established minimum property requirement based on “old allotments” of land [but instead the requirement was lowered].
1312b: 4-6: The final type of democracy is a tyranny.
1313b: 32-41 The final form of democracy has characteristics of tyranny: women dominate in the household so that they can denounce their husbands, slaves lack discipline, and flatterers—demagogues—are held in honor. The people wish to be a monarch.
1295b: 39-1296a5: It is best for citizens in a city-state to possess a moderate amount of wealth because where some have a lot and some have none the result is the ultimate democracy or unmixed oligarchy. Tyranny can result from both these extremes. It is much less likely to spring from moderate systems of government.
1276a: 12-14: Some democracies, like tyrannies, rest on force and are not directed toward the common advantage.
1277b: 1-3: In some places in the old days, before the development of “ultimate” democracy, craftsmen were barred from office.
1312b: 35-38: Ultimate democracy, like unmixed and final oligarchy, is really a tyranny divided [among a multitude of persons].
page 9 of 13