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Checks and Balances.

Voting.

Decrees and Laws.

Election of Officials.

Foreign Policy: Sending Embassies.

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→ Conferring Rewards.

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The Assembly 

Christopher W. Blackwell, edition of March 26, 2003

page 16 of 23

· Conferring Rewards ·

The Assembly could confer honorary Athenian citizenship on non-Athenians, or could award someone with immunity from taxes ( ἀτελεία ), and could honor citizens with gold crowns ( στέφανοι ).

Read about the evidence
Demosthenes (Dem. 12).
Demosthenes (Dem. 20).
Apollodorus (Dem. 59).
Demosthenes (Dem. 23).
Demosthenes (Dem. 13).
 
Plot on a Map
Thrace.
Persia.
Marathon.
Plataea.
Pharsalus.
Macedonia.

To confer citizenship, six thousand Athenians had to vote, by secret ballot (Dem. 59.90); once citizenship had thus been voted on someone, only a court could withdraw it (Dem. 59.91). Among the people on whom the Assembly granted honorary citizenship were Teres and Cersobleptes, rulers of Thrace (Dem. 12.8), Ariobarzanes (a Persian), Philiscus, and Charidemus (Dem. 23.141), Timotheus (Dem. 20.84), and once, after the Battle of Marathon, all male citizens of Plataea (Dem. 59.104). Demosthenes says, in one speech, that Meno of Pharsalus and Perdiccas of Macedonia were granted citizenship by the Assembly (Dem. 23.199 - Dem. 23.200), but at another place he says, quite explicitly, that these two were not granted citizenship but merely immunity from taxes (Dem. 13.23 - Dem. 13.24).

Read about the evidence
Demosthenes (Dem. 12).
 
Plot on a Map
Thrace.

It is important to note a passage in Demosthenes where he says that the Athenians considered honorary citizens to be “real” Athenians only when it was convenient. ( πῶς ἐστὶ τοῦτ’ ἴσον δίκαιον, ὅταν μὲν ὑμῖν συμφέρῃ, πολέμιον εἶναι φάσκειν αὐτὸν τῆς πόλεως, ὅταν δ᾽ ἐμὲ συκοφαντεῖν βούλησθε, πολίτην ἀποδείκνυσθαι τὸν αὐτὸν ὑφ᾽ ὑμῶν ) (Dem. 12.9), and that the honorary citizenship that the Assembly granted to Teres and Cersobleptes of Thrace was not “real” ( οὔτ’ Ἀθηναίους ὄντας ) (Dem. 12.8).

Read about the evidence
Demosthenes (Dem. 20).
Demosthenes (Dem. 12).
 
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Sicily.

The Assembly could also confer lesser honors by passing a decree that named the honored parties “friends of the state, benefactors, and immune from all taxes” ( προξενίαν, εὐεργεσίαν, ἀτέλειαν ἁπάντων ) (Dem. 20.60). Epicerdes, who saved the Athenians captured in Sicily, was granted such immunity (Dem. 20.42), as was the general Conon (Dem. 20.42). The Assembly could also pass a more simple vote of thanks, as it did for Callias (Dem. 12.6).

Read about the evidence
Demosthenes (Dem. 51).
Aeschines (Aeschin. 3).
Aeschines (Aeschin. 2).
Demosthenes (Dem. 18).
 
Plot on a Map
Athens.

One honor that the Assembly could bestow was a crown. The Assembly awarded crowns, by decree, as rewards for some service to Athens. So, Nausicles was crowned several times for spending his own money on a military expedition while he held the office of General ( στρατηγός ) (Dem. 18.114). Diotimus and Charidemus were crowned for donating shields to Athens (Dem. 18.115). Neoptolemus was crowned for raising money toward certain public works (Dem. 18.116). Demosthenes himself claims to have been awarded a crown for overseeing the repair of some fortifications and for having been a good manager of the Theoric Fund (Dem. 18.118). A crown could be held out as an incentive, as on one occasion when we hear of the Assembly offering a crown to the first trierarch to get his ship ready for sea (Dem. 51.1). The crowns awarded by the assembly became the property of the recipient and his family, as opposed to being hung in a temple and thus dedicated to the gods in the recipient’s name (Aeschin. 3.46). There is a great deal of evidence regarding this procedure because Aeschines prosecuted Ctesiphon for illegally moving that the Assembly bestow a crown on Demosthenes; both Aeschines’ speech for the prosecution and Demosthenes’ speech in defense of Ctesiphon survive (Aeschin. 2.1; Dem. 18.1).

Read about the evidence
Demosthenes (Dem. 18).
Aeschines (Aeschin. 3).

The details of crowning are not particularly clear, because Aeschines and Demosthenes, naturally, present two different versions. Aeschines quotes a law mandating that anyone crowned by the Assembly must receive the crown on the Pnyx (Aeschin. 3.55; compare Aeschin. 3.32 and Aeschin. 3.204, where he seems to use the word Assembly [ ἐκκλησία ] as a synonym for the Pnyx). Elsewhere he mentions this law from another direction, saying that any crowns awarded during a meeting of the Assembly must be awarded by the People ( δῆμος ) (Aeschin. 3.42). Demosthenes interprets the law differently, saying that when the Assembly bestows a crown, it may be conferred on the Pnyx, but may also be conferred somewhere else (Dem. 18.120). Demosthenes evidently had cited a law saying that the People ( δῆμος ) could vote to crown someone in the Theater of Dionysus (Aeschin. 3.36). According to Aeschines, the problem with awarding crowns in the Theater of Dionysus was this: since non-Athenians might be present in the Theater, such an award conferred more widespread glory on the recipient than if the crown were given on the Pnyx, and this was not fair to those who received their crowns on the Pnyx (Aeschin. 3.43).

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