Democracy: Where were the First Democracies? Comparing Democracy in Greece and Rome

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Greece. : The Ancient Greeks governed. under a . direct democracy. . In a direct . democracy, citizens participate . directly. in. the decision making process of . Government.. Rome. : The Ancient Romans saw the rise of. ID: 687137 Download Presentation

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Democracy: Where were the First Democracies? Comparing Democracy in Greece and Rome

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Democracy: Where were the First Democracies? Comparing Democracy in Greece and Rome

Greece: The Ancient Greeks governed under a direct democracy. In a direct democracy, citizens participate directly in the decision making process of Government.

Rome: The Ancient Romans saw the rise of the Republic, an indirect democracy in which citizens rule through representatives, whom they choose to represent them.

Background: Early in human history people lived under the rule of kings or other rulers who held absolute power. Eventually a few societies transitioned from Monarchies into systems of government in which the citizens themselves helped to govern, known as Democracies or “rule by the people”. The earliest democracies arose in ancient Greece and Rome. How were “the people” participants in Government in these countries?

Document A

: The

basis of a democratic state is liberty; which, according to the common opinion of men, can only be enjoyed in such a state; this they affirm to be the great end of every democracy. One principle of liberty is for all to rule and be ruled in turn, and indeed democratic justice is the application of numerical not proportionate equality; whence it follows that the majority must be supreme, and that whatever the majority approve must be the end and the just. Every citizen, it is said, must have equality, and therefore in a democracy the poor have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme. This, then, is one note of liberty which all democrats affirm to be the principle of their state. Another is that a man should live as he likes. This, they say, is the privilege of a freeman, since, on the other hand, not to live as a man likes is the mark of a slave. This is the second characteristic of democracy, whence has arisen the claim of men to be ruled by none, if possible, or, if this is impossible, to rule and be ruled in turns; and so it contributes to the freedom based upon equality. Source: Aristotle’s, The PoliticsWhat is a democracy based upon, according to the Greek philosopher, Aristotle? ___________________________________________________Explain the 2 principles of liberty according to Aristotle. ___________________________________________________

What is a Democracy?


How do the people of Greece and Rome participate in government?

GreeceIn 507 BC, Cleisthenes, the leader of the city-state of Athens (Greece) introduced a series of reforms that he called a “democracy” or RULE BY THE PEOPLE.Or should we say, rule by the CITIZENS. Only those born to parents who were Athenian citizens,

were considered citizens. Out of this male and female population, only male citizens older than 18 were able to DIRECTLY participate in the decision making of Athens. Athenian Government was made up of the Assembly, Boule and Court System.The Assembly was the “government”, made up of males over the age of 18 who attended the

meetings. All decisions about war or laws were decided by a majority vote, in which all males present DIRECTLY participated to make decisions.The Boule was a group of 500 men who were chosen by lots (a lottery type drawing)to serve for 1 year.

They met everyday to handle the day-to-day running of Athens.The Court System was made up of 500 jurors chosen by

lots (lottery) out of all male citizens over the age of 30. Jurors selected had almost unlimited power to punish the accused for crimes committed in the community.

Roman EmpireIn 509 B.C. the Romans overthrew their king and replaced himwith a government controlled by elected officials that werechosen to represent the people’s wishes. The Romans allowed only citizens, free adult males, to the ASSEMBLY to vote for and choose these elected officials. The two chief officials of Rome were called Consuls and there were two of them and they governed for a year. If they did not live up to expectationsof the people they were chosen to represent they were not

re-elected. The Consuls were advised by a Senate made up of 600 leading citizens of Rome. The Senate would propose new laws, or debate over the financial issues affecting Rome


3) On a separate sheet of paper, draw two large interlocking circles (Venn Diagram) like this:

Greece (Athens) Both Roman Empire

Cite information from this packet to compare and contrast the differences between democracy in Greece and in Rome. What is unique about the form of democracy used in Greece and in the Roman Empire? What is similar?


Duties of the Individual in Greece and Rome

Document B: Aristotle, On a Good (Athenian) Wife 330BCA good wife should be the mistress of her home, having under her care all that is within it, according to the rules we

have laid down. She should allow none to enter without her husband's knowledge, dreading above all things the gossip of gadding women, which tends to poison the soul. She alone should have knowledge of what happens within. She must exercise control of the money spent on such festivities as her husband has approved---keeping, moreover, within the limit

set by law upon expenditure, dress, and ornament---and remembering that beauty depends not on costliness of raiment. Nor does abundance of gold so conduce to the praise of a woman as self-control in all that she does. This,

then, is the province over which a woman should be minded to bear an orderly rule; for it seems not fitting that a man should know all that passes within the house. But in all other

matters, let it be her aim to obey her husband; giving no heed to public affairs, nor having any part in arranging the

marriages of her children. Document C: The Twelve Tables 450 BC (Excerpt)Table VII. Table VIII.1. Let them keep the road in order. If they have not paved it, a manmay drive his team where he likes.2. If one has maimed a limb and does not compromise with the injured person, let there be retaliation. If one has broken a bone of a freeman with his hand or with a cudgel, let him pay a penalty of three hundred coins If he has broken the bone of a slave, let him have one

hundred and fifty coins. If one is guilty of insult, the penalty shall be twenty-five coins.3. If one is slain while committing theft by night, he is rightly slain.10. Any person who destroys by burning any building or heap of corn

deposited alongside a house shall be bound, scourged, and put to death

by burning at the stake provided that he has committed the said

misdeed with malice aforethought; but if he shall have committed it

by accident, that is, by negligence, it is ordained that he repair the damage or, if he be too poor to be competent for such punishment, he shall receive a lighter punishment. 4) What are the duties and responsibilities of a wife in an Athenian household according to Document B? ______________________________________________________________________________________________5) What evidence in Document B helps us to understand why women were not included in the government of Athens?

______________________________________________________________________________________________6) The Romans, much like the U.S. today, allowed their citizens to participate in government through a Representative

Democracy. Examine Document C, how were Roman laws strikingly different from our laws? What stands out to you?______________________________________________________________________________________________


How was Democracy improved by the Ancient Greeks and Romans?

Document F: True it is that kings, possessing as they do all that heart can desire, ought to be void of envy; but the contrary is seen in their conduct towards the citizens. They are jealous of the most virtuous among their subjects, and wish their death; while they take delight in the meanest and basest, being ever ready to listen to the tales of slanderers. A king, besides, is beyond all other men inconsistent

with himself. Pay him court in moderation, and he is angry because you do not show him more profound respect--- show him profound respect, and he is offended again, because (as he says) you fawn on him. But the worst of all is, that he sets aside the laws of the land, puts men to death without trial, and subjects women to violence. The rule of the many, on the other hand, has, in the first place, the fairest of names, to wit, isonomy; and further it is free from all those outrages which a king is wont to commit. I vote, therefore, that we do away with monarchy, and raise the people to power. For

the people are all in all.“7) Do the Document D, E, and F excerpts support democracy or not? Cite at least 2 arguments/examples from each document to support your response._________________________________________________________8) According to the excerpts, what are some advantages to having a

king or a tyrant rule a society rather than “a mob of untaught citizens”?_________________________________________________________

Source D, E, F Excerpts: Herodotus, The Persians Reject Democracy

Document D: The tyrant, in all his doings, at least knows what is he about, but a mob is altogether devoid of knowledge; for how should there be any knowledge in a rabble, untaught, and with no natural sense of what is right and fit? It rushes wildly into state affairs with all the fury of a stream swollen in the winter, and confuses everything. Let the enemies of the Persians be ruled by democracies; but let us choose out from the citizens a certain number of the worthiest, and put the government into their hands.Document E: Otanes recommended that the management of public affairs should be entrusted to the whole nation. "To me," he said, "it seems advisable, that we should no longer have a single man to rule over us---the rule of one is neither good nor pleasant. You cannot have forgotten to what lengths Cambyses went in his haughty tyranny, and the haughtiness of the Magi you have yourselves experienced. How indeed is it possible that monarchy should be a well-adjusted thing, when it allows a man to do as he likes without being answerable? Such licence is enough to stir strange and unwonted thoughts in the heart of the worthiest of men. Give a person this power, and straightway his manifold good things puff him up with pride, while envy is so natural to human kind that it cannot but arise in him. But pride and envy together include all wickedness---both of them leading on to deeds of savage violence.

Background: Not all Athenians (Greeks) and Romans supported the idea of Democracy or “rule by the people” and many wrote of their distrust in this form of government. Inadvertently those who criticized democracy often improved it by pointing out the faults of a democratic form of government or “rule by the people” and by offering solutions to fix these flaws. Many Athenians and Romans disagreed over the benefits of a


(a ruler who holds all of the power and has no one to ‘check’ his selfish motives). However most agreed on the benefits of

“Rule of Law”

(the idea that all men are obligated to following the laws set forth in a society, even a king). The idea was that if rulers were obligated to follow the laws too, there would be no more tyrannical rulers.


What “advice” did Plato and Aristotle give...?

Document G: PlatoWhere the law is subject to some other authority and has none of its own, the collapse of the

state, in my view, is not far off; but if law is the master of the government and the government isits slave, then the situation is fullof promise and men enjoy all theblessings that the gods shower ona state.

Source: Plato, LawsDocument H: Aristotle

For in democracies where the laws are not supreme,demagogues (a person who gains power by appealing to the people’s emotions) spring up. . . . [T]his sort of democracy . . . [is]

what tyranny is to other forms of monarchy. The spirit of both is the same, and they alike exercise a despotic rule over the better citizens. The decrees of the [demagogues] correspond to the

edicts of the tyrant . . . . Such a democracy is fairly open to the objection that it is not a constitution at all; for where the laws have no authority, there is no constitution. The law ought to be supreme over all . . . . Source: Aristotle, The Politics

9) What importance do both Plato and Aristotle place on the “the law”?__________________________________________________10) Who should be required to follow a societies “laws” according to both Plato and Aristotle?__________________________________________________11)

Think about it

. Are the leaders of the U.S. required to follow all of the laws of the U.S.? Why is that important? What would happen in the U.S. if our leaders weren’t required to follow our laws? How does this relate to the ideas of Plato and Aristotle? ____________________________


: On separate paper answer the following question, make sure you support your response with examples from Documents A-H. “How was democracy practiced differently in Greece (Athens) and Rome and subsequently improved for future societies?”

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