Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication

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Summary.

Introduction.

Glossary.

Instructions for reading passages.

Passages: Defining the City State.

→ Passages: Defining the Citizen.

Passages: Defining the System of Government.

Passages: Defining Democracy.

Passages: Types of Democracy.

Passages: Creating Democracy.

Passages: Preserving Democracy.

Passages: Destroying Democracy.

Selective Bibliography.

Index of Citations

General Index

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Democracy in the Politics of Aristotle  

Thomas R. Martin, with Neel Smith & Jennifer F.Stuart, edition of July 26, 2003

page 6 of 13

· Passages: Defining the Citizen ·

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.

1275a: 2-5: Who is entitled to be a citizen? No agreement exists; someone who would be a citizen in a democracy would often not be a citizen in an oligarchy.

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.

Plot on a Map
Athens.

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 sixth century].

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.

1277a: 26-27: The excellence of a citizen consists of being able to rule and be ruled well.

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.

1276b: 28-29: The task of citizens is the preservation ( soteria ) of the partnership that is their system of government. [Also under “Preserving Democracy”]

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page 6 of 13