Civil War and Civic Memory in Ancient Athens
Publication Year: 2001
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Completion of this project was made possible by a Loeb Faculty Grant, Harvard University, and by a Summer Research Grant, University of Wisconsin. Preliminary drafts were read at the meetings of the APA and CAMWS as well as at the University of Chicago, the University of Durham, Harvard University, and the University of Washington. ...
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In 404 B.C.E., the Peloponnesian War finally came to an end when the Athenians, starved into submission, were forced to accept Sparta’s terms of surrender. Shortly afterward, a group of thirty conspirators with Spartan backing overthrew the democracy and established a narrow oligarchy. ...
Part One: The Historical Setting
1: Civil War
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Sources for the civil war are numerous and detailed; examined collectively, however, they provide a confused and contradictory picture of the surrender, the rule of the Thirty, and the restoration of the democracy.1 No doubt many of the variations are due to the different genres of the works as well as the personal idiosyncrasies ...
2: Restoration of the Democracy
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After the restoration of the democracy, the Athenians engaged in a flurry of legislative activity, of which the new procedures for enacting laws had perhaps the greatest long-term impact on the shape of the democracy. But for our purposes, what appears most striking is how such measures became a way for the Athenians to deny that the civil war had lasting repercussions, ...
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Many of the extant speeches delivered in the first generation after the reconciliation focus on the civil war and the terms of the amnesty.1 Some went to court, attempting to circumvent the agreement, and others sought satisfaction by alternate means. Sometimes the period of civil unrest was recalled even when it was not directly relevant to the case at hand, ...
Part Two: Civic Memory
4: Remembering Amnesty
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The civil war shattered Athenians’ notions about their community. With little resistance from the rest of the population, conspirators seized power. They carried out a brutal reign, and when democratic exiles began their campaign to remove the oligarchs, they received only modest support from the rest of the citizens. ...
5: Loyalty to the Demos
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Even if civic memory of the civil war eased the tension between the former factions, conciliatory representations did not prevent accusations and counteraccusations such as the above. At least in some cases, disgruntled citizens advanced favorable representations of their former enemies as a group ...
6: Constructing a Future
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As the Athenians assigned meaning to the civil war, they drew lessons from the past which had an impact not only on the success of the reconciliation but also on the future of the restored democracy. We have already seen that memory of the past could either promote peace or factionalize the community. ...
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The events of 403 bear directly on the debate about the nature of the Athenian democracy. Most historians conclude either that the democracy continued where it had left off before the Thirty seized power or that the Athenians retreated from popular rule. Central to the debate is the creation of boards of nomothetai. ...
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Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2001