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When it came to penal sanctions, no officeholder could impose a fine over fifty drachmas. Competence does not seem to have been the main issue, but rather, at least in the 4th century BC, whether they were loyal democrats or had oligarchic tendencies.

In part, this was a consequence of the increasingly specialized forms of warfare practiced in the later period. Citizens active as officeholders served in a quite different capacity from when they voted in the assembly or served as jurors. By and large, the power exercised by these officials was routine administration and quite limited. These officeholders were the agents of the people, not their representatives, so their role was that of administration, rather than governing. The powers of officials were precisely defined and their capacity for initiative limited.

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His officeholding was rather an expression and a result of the influence he wielded. That influence was based on his relation with the assembly, a relation that in the first instance lay simply in the right of any citizen to stand and speak before the people. Under the 4th century version of democracy, the roles of general and of key political speaker in the assembly tended to be filled by different persons.

  • The Athenian institutions were later revived, but how close they were to a real democracy is debatable.
  • Cleisthenes broke up the power of the nobility by organizing citizens into ten groups based on where they lived, rather than on their wealth.
  • Solon (in 594 BC), Cleisthenes (in 508/7 BC), and Ephialtes (in 462 BC) contributed to the development of Athenian democracy.
  • After his death, Athenian democracy was twice briefly interrupted by oligarchic revolutions towards the end of the Peloponnesian War.
  • It was modified somewhat after it was restored under Eucleides; the most detailed accounts of the system are of this fourth-century modification, rather than the Periclean system.

The Athenian institutions were later revived, but how close they were to a real democracy is debatable. Other Greek cities set up democracies, most following the Athenian model, but none are as well documented as Athens’. Generals were elected not only because their role required expert knowledge, but also because they needed to be people with experience and contacts in the wider Greek world where wars were fought. In the 5th century BC, principally as seen through the figure of Pericles, the generals could be among the most powerful people in the polis. Yet in the case of Pericles, it is wrong to see his power as coming from his long series of annual generalships (each year along with nine others).

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Solon (in 594 BC), Cleisthenes (in 508/7 BC), and Ephialtes (in 462 BC) contributed to the development of Athenian democracy. Cleisthenes broke up the power of the nobility by organizing citizens into ten groups based on where they lived, rather than on their wealth. After his death, Athenian τζοκερ democracy was twice briefly interrupted by oligarchic revolutions towards the end of the Peloponnesian War. It was modified somewhat after it was restored under Eucleides; the most detailed accounts of the system are of this fourth-century modification, rather than the Periclean system.

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