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Ancient Greece

Essay by   •  December 10, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,492 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,814 Views

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Ancient Greece, as the beginning of western civilization leave us the treasure of literature, drama, philosophy, sculpture and most importantly, democracy. Among all the polis, Ancient Athens was no doubt one of the most extraordinary polis. Although Ancient Greeks was famous for its democracy, the opportunities of attending public affairs are limited,which means there still exist several external and internal premises of being a legal citizen, the external qualities considered gender, consanguinity and the age of the participants while internal qualities covers the respect toward law and the institution , the passion of participating the affairs of the state. some of which includes gender ,consanguinity and the possession of properties are evidently not suitable for modern society. The premise of one has to be a free man become meaningless because slavery no longer exist in modern democratic world while the rest of them are reasonable and meet the current needs.

There are four external expectations: one has to be a male whose parents are both Athenians, they have to reach their legal age which is always 18 and lastly, be a free man ,i.e. ,he cannot be a slave. The most crucial precondition in order to have the rights as a citizen is one has to be a male . Women in Ancient Athens are considered lack of the ability to think critically, throughly and wisely, therefore, they are deemed as the properties of male.This point become apparent when reviewing the ancient greek convention:before they reach the age of marriage, it is their father`s obligation to monitor their daughter, once married , this supervision right is transferred to their husband who is chosen by the father of the female. Thus, women, as an inferior creature in greek civilization who do not have the masculine body and unsuitable for enduring extreme circumstances and military expeditions( Aristotle Ath.Con.Ex. 1 ) , are supposed to stay at home and focus on how to achieve their best of taking care of their husband and children.(Xenophon Est.Man.Ex.6) In other words, the social role of women is as a model housewives and dealing with indoor works and obviously, cannot obtain the qualification of citizens. (Agard 1942:63)

Other than that, it is also an essential condition that one has to be a grown, sophisticated and mature man who registered to be the member of their local communities when they reach 18. In order to prevent the wrong decision in politics,the Ancient Athenians came up with the idea that a man who is under 18 cannot become a citizen. This premise must be treated earnestly because once found anyone who are under 18 yet be registered , that particular community member will be punished by the law.This might be reasonable considering the majority of children or adolescence cannot truly understand the meaning of voting or deciding policy because their deficiency of knowledge and experience.In addition, they might be easily be deceived due to their innocence which means they are not capable of making decision sensibly.( Sinclair 1995:49-51)

Furthermore, a man whose parent were not Athens or not in possession of a considerable volume of assets was not allowed to gain the rights of citizen. This tradition originated from the clan society which divided the settlement by consanguinity. This is suitable for this time because in primitive society, the relationship between family members are the base of that society.Another potential reason is that the Athenians regard handicraft industry and commerce as the ignoble job. While a large proportion of metics doing business as their major income.consequently, they cannot legally obtain citizenship.(Fine 1983:435) The pre-condition of the emerging of Athenian democracy lies in its development of commodity economy. The division of labor in society and exchanges of commodities result in the private ownership system which explained why the premise of owing property exist. Therefore, a man whose income are high enough to pay the tax is considered a model citizen.(Burckhardt 1998:228)

For the purpose of attending making decision for public affair, one has to be a free man as well. (Crick 2002:16)slaves who are apparently under control of their masters ,citizen rights are out of the league, the other is that individual who committed a crime or considered to be a threat to Athens`s democracy also cannot acquire the rights of politics.Slavery as a very common in ancient world, was regard slavery as a just, reasonable and beneficial system. without exception, Ancient Athenian take slavery for granted. The composition of slaves including the prisoners of war, enslaved metics and debt slaves.According to Boardman(1986:210) slaveries are part of the personal properties. The owner of them can sale them, rent them or even kill them without a truly effective punishment. They basically cannot obtain essential human rights, not mention the entitlement of a citizen.

The Athenians took the respect of law and institution, the enthusiasm of regulating the politics as well as being realistic

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