History of Power in Ancient Greece

History of Power in Ancient Greece

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The history of power in ancient Greece began in the Greek city-state of Athens during the 6th century BCE. Although Athens is the best-known ancient democracy, it was only one of many in ancient Greece. Many of these polities had come to practice democracy before Athens.

Athenian democracy was based on legislation and executive bills. Foremost among these, the right to vote was available only to adult, male citizens, and was denied to foreign residents, slaves, and women. In all, those who were franchised accounted for no more than a third of the adult population of Athens.

Solon and Cleisthenes advanced Athenian democracy. Solon produced Athens’ most influential law code (594 BCE), while Cleisthenes broke up the unlimited power of the nobility in 508–507 BCE. But the most prominent democratic leader of Athens was Pericles. After his death, Athenian democracy was twice sundered by oligarchic strife, and at the same time it fought the Peloponnesian War with Sparta. After the war, Athenian democracy was restored under Eucleides, but then suppressed by Alexander the Great in 322 BCE. Later, Athenian democracy was once again revived, but in ways that no longer resembled the earlier democracy of Athens.

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Power | Persian Wars: Invasion of GreeceCyrus the YoungerXerxesBattle of SalamisTriumph of Greece | Peloponnesian War: OriginsCourse of the WarAlcibiadesCleonSicilian ExpeditionTriumph of Sparta


Persian Wars

Persian Wars: Invasion of Greece

Persian Wars: Battle of Salamis

Persian Wars: Cyrus the Younger

Persian Wars: Xerxes

Persian Wars: Triumph of Greece

Peloponnesian War

Peloponnesian War: Origins

Peloponnesian War: Course of the War

Peloponnesian War: Alcibiades

Peloponnesian War: Cleon

Peloponnesian War: Sicilian Expedition

Peloponnesian War: Triumph of Sparta

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