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Athens on Trial:
The Antidemocratic Tradition in Western Thought
Jennifer Tolbert Roberts

Paperback | 1997 | $52.50 | £44.95 | ISBN: 9780691029191
426 pp. | 7 3/4 x 10
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400821327 |
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Reviews | Table of Contents

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The Classical Athenians were the first to articulate and implement the notion that ordinary citizens of no particular affluence or education could make responsible political decisions. For this reason, reactions to Athenian democracy have long provided a prime Rorschach test for political thought. Whether praising Athens's government as the legitimizing ancestor of modern democracies or condemning it as mob rule, commentators throughout history have revealed much about their own notions of politics and society. In this book, Jennifer Roberts charts responses to Athenian democracy from Athens itself through the twentieth century, exploring a debate that touches upon historiography, ethics, political science, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, gender studies, and educational theory.


"Roberts has given us an excellent study of [the Athenian] legacy...Athens on Trial deserves praise both for its conception and its execution."--Eric W. Robinson, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"A first-rate intellectual and cultural history."--Stephen Goode, The Washington Times

"Roberts . . . writes with learning, wit, acerbity, profundity, and engagement on the vicissitudes of the idea [of democracy] in its supposedly original Athenian form."--Paul Cartledge, New Statesman & Society

Table of Contents:

Preface and Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 Introduction 3
Pt. 1 Classical Greece 23
Ch. 2 The Athenian Experiment 25
Ch. 3 The First Attacks on Athenian Democracy 48
Ch. 4 Democracy and the Philosophers 71
Pt. 2 Playing With the Past 93
Ch. 5 Roman Adaptations 97
Ch. 6 Recovering the Greeks 119
Ch. 7 Monarchists and Republicans 137
Ch. 8 The Debate over Athens and Sparta 156
Ch. 9 Athenian Democracy in the Age of Revolutions 175
Ch. 10 A Shift in the Sands 208
Pt. 3 Modern Transformations 227
Ch. 11 The Turning of the Tide 229
Ch. 12 Athenians and Others 256
Ch. 13 Epilogue: The Old and the New 291
Notes 315
Selected Bibliography 379
Index 393

This book has been translated into:

  • Greek

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Hardcover published in 1994

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