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Unformatted text preview: Athens: From Dark Age through Archaic period: Arch. and written sources indicate that Athens was the main centre of Attica and a Mycenaean palace-centre, also that the late-13 th c. BC invasions by-passed Athens If story about the Achaeans taking refuge at Athens is true, they would have found the same collapse of centralized power, drastic depopulation, and dispersal into small village communities as elsewhere in Greece Although reduced to cluster of small villages around Acropolis, Athens continued without interruption as the central place of Attica Series of late-9 th c. BC graves indicates that this centre engaged in trade and there was rapid growth in wealth during Dark Age New settlements appeared in Attica The joining together of towns and villages of Attica under the umbrella of Athens was a gradual progression, completed in the 8 th c. BC Theseus, with the help of Heracles, was the traditional founder of Athenss democracy: from literature and depicted in art (defeated the Minotaur and the Amazons of Athens) Most important indicator of the unification of the Attic towns was that from an early period, the towns surrounding Athens considered themselves to be Athenian Most people lived in the countryside and they were not helots like in Sparta, but citizens and could vote. It was difficult for most Athenian citizens, though, to vote because if a farmer lived 10 or 20 km from the city, it would take him 3 days to get there to cast his vote Early govt aristocratic: during late 8 th c. BC chiefs of Attica replaced the paramount basileus (king) with 3 civic officials called Archons (leaders) One of the Archons was called the basileus and administered the citys cults of the polis and judged lawsuits pertaining to cult property and other religious matters The polemarch (war archon) commanded the army and judged disputes between non-citizens The most prestigious office was that of the archon who oversaw supervision of public affairs, including presiding over the council and the assembly and judging non-religious cases: called the eponymous archon because he gave his name to the year Six judicial officials called thesmothetai (layers down of the rules) were added later making the total number of archons=9. All 9 archons were elected annually from candidates drawn from the small circle of aristocratic families known as the Eupatrids (people with good fathers) Archons governed Athens with the council that met on the hill (pagos) of Ares (god of war): hence the name: Council of the Areopagus Archons joined the Council after their term of office was up, so they were less likely to flaunt the will of the Council Citizen males also participated in the assembly, but its precise role in govt not known, nor was the part that ordinary citizens played in it. Aristotle says it elected the Archons....
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