Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication

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A Summary of: Democracy in the Politics of Aristotle

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

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Aristotle (Aristot. Pol.).

Ancient Greek democracy has regularly attracted the attention of modern political scientists as part of the discussion of the theory and practice of democratic systems of government. By far the most important ancient text for this discussion is the Politics of Aristotle. Studying what Aristotle has to say about democracy in the Politics is challenging for several reasons. First of all, his remarks on the subject are spread widely throughout this extended work. The challenge is further increased by the discursive character of Aristotle’s arguments in the Politics, which for one thing mix discussions of theoretical principles for systems of government with observations about actual Greek states of Aristotle’s time (and before it). Finally, there is the strong possibility that the traditionally accepted order of the eight “Books” or chapters of the Politics is not the order in which Aristotle meant his arguments to be presented.


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