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Rethinking the political class of democratic Athens - 26/01/2021, (Online)

Popular participation and the nature of political power in democratic Athens have long been object of debate among scholars. This workshop will focus on a specific facet of this debate: the political class of Athenian democracy. Scholarship has so far investigated this topic either from a social and rhetorical perspective or from an institutional and epigraphical perspective, and has come to contrasting conclusions concerning the existence and nature of a political class in democratic Athens. The purpose of this workshop is to bring these contrasting views and bodies of evidence together and explore their overall impact on our understanding of Athenian politics and power dynamics. Such a holistic approach can help us to illuminate a series of issues that have animated the debate on politics in Athenian democracy

FECHA/ DATE/DATA: 26/01/2021


ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: The Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology of the University of Birmingham

INFO: web


To register and receive the Zoom link for the workshop, please email


Programme (all times are GMT)

09:10-09:30 Logging in to Zoom and introduction

Session 1: Theoretical approaches

09:30-10:15 Christian Mann (Mannheim)

The 'iron law of oligarchy' and classical Athens

10:15-10:30 Break

Session 2: Perspectives from oratory and drama

10:30-11:15 Lucia Cecchet (Mainz)

Political class imagined: the rich, the poor and the ideal rule of the mesoi

11:15-12:00 Natalia Tsoumpra (Glasgow)

Lead like a comic hero: public speakers and mass audiences in Aristophanes

12:00-12:45 Lunch break

Session 3: Political class and the Athenian Assembly

12:45-13:30 Mirko Canevaro (Edinburgh)

Cutting Athens' political ‘class’ down to size: political leadership, popular participation and democratic deliberation

13:30-14:15 Myrto Aloumpi (Liverpool)

Who is philotimos in the Athenian Assembly? Individual ambition and collective achievement in deliberative speeches and political trials

14:15-14:45 Break

Session 4: Perspectives from beyond Athens

14:45-15:30 Matteo Zaccarini (Edinburgh)

Xenophon's hybris: leadership and accountability in Anabasis 5.8

15:30-15:45 Break

Session 5: Final remarks and roundtable

15:45-16:15 Edward Harris (Durham/Edinburgh)

Final remarks

16:15-17:00 Roundtable

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