Advantages And Cons Of Classical Athens Under The Rule Of Pericles Considered A Democracy

1573 Words 7 Pages
For years the debate over whether or not Classical Athens under the rule of Pericles was a true democracy has been a subject for controversy. Some historians argue that Pericles was an elected ruler and that Athens was “ruled by her first citizen” instead of by the people while others argue that Athens was a true democracy based on the actions of the Athenian city-state and the way their government was set up . However, Athens under the rule of Pericles should be considered a democracy for several reasons. These reasons include Pericles’ rise to power, the different members of government and their powers, and the changes in the idea of a democracy. Pericles was “rich, well bred, and a good military commander [as well as] an excellent orator. …show more content…
“Pericles was anxious to acquire a style of speaking which, like a musical instrument, would harmonize with his manner of life and lofty spirit” At a young age, Pericles focused on his style of voice until he was at the point he thought was best. He was known to project his voice like the boom of thunder and spoke so well that he could convince almost anyone in the Assembly of anything. He knew how to work words to convince people he was right and how to speak his mind and yet change the attitudes of those around him. In “The Funeral Oration of Pericles,” Pericles demonstrates this ability. He took an …show more content…
However, the definition of democracy from a 21st Century CE mind is not the same as the definition of democracy from a 5th Century BCE mind. In Classical Athens, to be considered a “legal permanent resident,” you had to have been a male over the age of twenty who was born in the city of Athens. Being a slave, woman, child, or a resident alien did not allow you to become a full-fledged “citizen” of the city-state . Therefore, with the 5th Century BCE idea of democracy, Athens would be considered a democratic city-state because it allowed every person considered a citizen to participate in the government. Even though democracy now means freedom for every person -whether immigrant or natural-borne citizen, female or male, or of any age, that does not mean Athens wasn’t a democracy. If democracy was thought of as a state which offers full protection of all its citizens-both male and female, and at or above the age of eighteen-and gives every citizen suffrage, then even the United States would not have been a democracy until less than a century

Related Documents