Exile, Ostracism, and Democracy: The Politics of Expulsion in Ancient Greece

Sara Forsdyke


This booklet explores the cultural and political importance of ostracism in democratic Athens. unlike prior interpretations, Sara Forsdyke argues that ostracism used to be essentially a symbolic establishment whose that means for the Athenians was firm either by means of previous studies of exile and through its position as a context for the continued negotiation of democratic values.

The first a part of the e-book demonstrates the robust connection among exile and political energy in archaic Greece. In Athens and somewhere else, elites seized strength by means of expelling their competitors. Violent intra-elite clash of this type was once a hugely volatile kind of "politics that used to be merely quickly checked through a number of makes an attempt at elite self-regulation. a long-lasting method to the matter of exile used to be chanced on basically within the overdue 6th century in the course of a very extreme sequence of violent expulsions. at the moment, the Athenian humans rose up and seized concurrently regulate over judgements of exile and political strength. The shut connection among political energy and the ability of expulsion explains why ostracism was once a vital a part of the democratic reforms.

Forsdyke exhibits how ostracism functioned either as a logo of democratic energy and as a search phrase within the ideological justification of democratic rule. the most important to the author's interpretation is the popularity that ostracism used to be either a remarkably gentle kind of exile and person who used to be on occasion used. via examining the illustration of exile in Athenian imperial decrees, within the works of Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, and in tragedy and oratory, Forsdyke exhibits how exile served as an enormous time period within the debate in regards to the most sensible type of rule.

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