12. The Persian Wars

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Introduction to Ancient Greek History (CLCV 205)

In this lecture, Professor Kagan examines in detail the development, growing pains, and emergence of Athenian democracy. He argues that the tyranny under the Peisistratids led to the development of the idea of self-government among the Athenians, which Cleisthenes used to develop Athens in a more democratic direction. One of the ways Cleisthenes was able to accomplish this was to diminish the power of the aristocracy by reordering and restructuring the tribes and giving greater power to the assembly. Finally, Professor Kagan says a word on the Athenian practice of ostracism as a political tool to protect a fledgling democracy.

00:00 – Chapter 1. Consequences of Tyranny to Greek Life
12:31 – Chapter 2. Cleisthenes’s Coup d’Γ‰tat
23:20 – Chapter 3. Establishing a New Constitution
38:52 – Chapter 4. Key Democratic Elements
01:04:00 – Chapter 5. Ostracism as a Constitutional Device

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website:

This course was recorded in Fall 2007.


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