Analyze the political institutions and practices of the Athenian city-state. What distinguished it from other political systems, including the cosmopolitan cities of the Macedonians during the Hellenistic period?
Ancient Athens held a democratic form of government. Athenian democracy was invented in Classical Greece after the end of Asagoras’ tyranny rule and remained influential throughout the early Hellenistic period. Athens’ democracy was direct rather representative. It had three political bodies: the assembly, council and courts. All male citizens had the right to attend Assembly, where they could meet and openly discuss important issues. Male Athenian citizens who were above the age of 20 could participate in voting on public issues such as whether to go to war or not. Voting was by majority. All army generals and public officials were elected directly through a lottery in a process called sortition. However, women, slaves and Greeks not born by Athenian parents could not participate in voting. Athens’ democratic political system distinguished it from that of other city states. Fellow Greek city-states such as Sparta, Thebes and Corinth held an oligarchic form of government dictated by military totalitarianism, especially in Sparta. Cosmopolitan cities in the ancient kingdom of Macedonia followed a hereditary monarchy.