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Athenian Democracy in the Fifth Century Source Evaluations:
In order of use:

Herodotus' Histories:
· Not a native of Athens
· Lived his entire life during the fifth century (c.484c.425)
· The histories written as a long account of the GrecoPersian wars
· Considered to be the first work of…

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Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War:
· From Athens, lived his life as an adult during the Poleponnesian War, in which he
fought . (Historians predict his lifespan from c.460c.400)
· Aristocratic background and bias towards the aristocracy (eg pericles)
· Selfadmitted to only having a general sense of what…

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Thucydides wasn't advocating dictatorship, in fact he seemed to praise Pericles for having
no corruption at all: he "never sought power from any wrong motive"

Thucydides attributes the failures of Athens to Pericles' successors, stating that they were
too focussed on themselves and not enough on what was best for…

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Aristophanes' way of criticising their mob mentality and lack of effectiveness as a
governing body. Especially in finding a way to end the war.

Aristophanes also satirises the Assemblymen through the character of Dikaiopolis, a
farmer forced to live in Athens because of the destruction of the agricultural
countryside by…

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· With no Pericles to guide the Assembly and council, the limitations of these
institutions were being felt, though few Athenians would ever blame the system
itself (a common theme)
· Set in a comically exaggerated example of an Athenian trial.
· Procleon (Philocleon) represents the people of Athens and…

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Memorabilia 3.7.6:
[Full text] "The fullers or the cobblers or the builders or the smiths or the farmers or the
merchants, or the traffickers in the marketplace who think of nothing but buying cheap
and selling dear? For these are the people who make up the Assembly."

Xenophon uses this…

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Plutarch's The Rise and Fall of Athens:
· Wrote a long time after Athens' fall, (the first century AD) unlike the ancient
historians who actually lived in Greece at the time they were writing about.
· His account was written primarily for Roman audiences and he described the
events through…

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in court. "From me you will hear the whole truth, though not, by Zeus, gentlemen,
expressed in embroidered and stylised phrases like theirs, but things spoken at random
and expressed in the first words that come to mind, for I put my trust in the justice of what I


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