chapter  I
25 Pages

ATHENIAN DEMOCRACY

The Athenians prided themselves on being autochthonous, tha t is to say on having neither a dominant race nor a subject race within their midst: on having nothing comparable to the helots who laboured for the Spartiates. This homogeneous and free people became a State by a synoecism which made the men of Attica Athenians and Athens the capital of a unified people: it was in no way analogous to the Boeotian Confederation, in which Thebes aspired to hegemony. Thus from the remotest times ethnical and territorial unity has been the moral and material condition of political equality. 2 In this city, as in the others, monarchy declined for the benefit of aristocracy. 3 The gene, at least, were equal among themselves: there was nothing comparable to the Agidse and the Eurypontidse who upheld at Sparta the royal prerogative. Even within the gene equality prevailed, since their decisions had to be unanimous. 4 Beneath the nobles the multitude composed of husbandmen, shepherds, artisans, fishermen and sailors, considered tha t each should be rewarded according to his labours, and they were accustomed in the thiasoi and the orgeones to deliberate on matters of common interest.