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The Birth of Democracy

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In Greece, one of the original experiments in Western civilisation was led by the ordinary, dusty citizens of the city-state of Athens, who'd had enough of the tyrant of the day. And so they did something extraordinary, and new: they threw him out. The world's first democratic revolution started here, at the Acropolis, in Athens. The people massed in this area, and refused to leave until the tyrant was sent off into exile, and after he'd gone, remarkable reforms followed: all male citizens had complete freedom of speech in public, and they could vote on almost everything. It didn't matter how rich or poor you were, your vote counted just the same. The Greeks had two words: "demos", people, and "kratos", the power, or rule. Demos-kratos- the rule of the people, democracy. Next door to the Acropolis is the actual site, the Pnyx, where this new democracy was put into practice. For anyone interested in politics, this is sacred ground, because it was right here that the 6,000 Athenian citizens would meet and listen to arguments, and debate, and then vote. On this meagre soil, something was grown which has been transplanted to every democracy in the world. And yet, it's very important to remember that Greek democracy was not our version of democracy: It excluded all women; and it excluded slaves. Because Athens was a slave-owning society. For every free Athenian, it's been estimated there were at least two slaves: working the soil, cutting the stone, cleaning, doing all the jobs which allowed free Athenian men to sit here and listen, and choose.

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 56 seconds
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Views: 213
Posted by: natalialzam on Jan 18, 2014

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