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Athens and the creation of democracy

I've been thinking about Athens and how it's the birth of democracy. I wondered if other societies had experimented with the concepts or if Athens was unique? Does anyone know? I know that there's been some evidence that other societies experimented with community leadership, but none had a true democracy like what Athens developed.

It was unique in developing a system where a significant portion of its inhabitants could participate directly in decision-making processes. This early form of democracy was largely initiated under the leadership of Cleisthenes in 508/507 BC. His reforms reorganized the population into ten tribes based on their residence rather than lineage, promoting a broader and more inclusive political engagement.

In this Athenian democracy, citizens had the right to attend the Assembly (Ekklesia), where they could speak and vote on legislation and executive decisions. The Council of Five Hundred (Boule), selected by lot for each of the ten tribes, proposed legislation and handled daily affairs. This lottery system for public office sought to prevent power monopolies and encourage civic participation.

I know that this work truly influenced other democratic governments through the world!

Feel free to chime in with your thoughts- I find this stuff interesting.

How did the Mycenaean civilization fall?

With the warm weather approaching, I've been eager to explore more light and refreshing dishes. I'm particularly interested in Greek cuisine, which I know has a lot of great options perfect for sunny days.

Could anyone share their favorite Greek dishes to enjoy when the weather is warm? I'm looking for suggestions that are both delicious and easy to prepare. Any recipes or tips on where to find authentic ingredients would be greatly appreciated too!

My Top Favorite Greek Philosophers

There are too many philosophers to count, but these are the ones I am studying at the moment. It's fascinating to me how influential the Greek philosophers are. Here's some things I am learning:

#1 Socrates

If philosophy had a poster boy, Socrates might very well be it. The father of Western philosophy, Socrates was a gadfly to Athenian society, questioning everything and Master to Plato. Known for the Socratic Method and his unflinching commitment to truth, Socrates' influence is immeasurable despite never having written a word.

#2 Plato

Rightly succeeding his mentor on this list, Plato's Academy saw him birth the first "university" of its kind. His unabashed idealism, immortal Forms, allegories like the Cave, and the pursuit of 'The Good' in moral philosophy set the stage for much intellectual discourse.

#3 Aristotle

Aristotle, another of Plato's students, had a more grounded approach to philosophy than his predecessor. With establishing principles of logic and reason, and contributions to virtually every field of academia, from poetry to physics, Aristotle's body of work remains foundational.

#4 Heraclitus

Heraclitus, famed for the idea that "change is the only constant," viewed the cosmos through a lens of process, flux, and an everlasting Logos that governs the world. Although little of his work survives, his influence on ancient and modern thinkers is profound.

#5 Epicurus

Known for his eponymous philosophy, Epicurus taught that the greatest good is to seek modest pleasures in order to attain a state of tranquility, freedom from fear (ataraxia), and absence of bodily pain (aponia). Often misunderstood, Epicureanism is starkly different from the modern use of 'epicurean' - it's much less about a luxury lifestyle and more about ethical considerations regarding personal fulfillment.

Greek Independence Day History

Greek Independence Day is coming up! I thought I would share a bit that I know about the history. Please chime in with corrections or anything to add!
  1. The Spark of Revolution: Greek Independence Day marks the day in 1821 when the Greeks began their revolt against the Ottoman Empire, a state that had controlled Greece for nearly 400 years. This revolt was influenced by the surge of nationalism throughout Europe and inspired by the Enlightenment ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity.
  2. A Poet’s Declaration: The revolution officially began after Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the Greek flag at the Monastery of Agia Lavra in Peloponnese, symbolizing the call to arms. However, it was rumored that the war of independence was actually declared a few days earlier by Alexandros Ypsilantis, a Greek national hero, in the Danubian Principalities.
  3. International Support: The Greek fight for independence was not just a local effort; it garnered substantial international support from prominent figures such as Lord Byron from Britain, who notably spent his own money and later died in Greece, contributing to the Greek cause. This international backing was crucial for the morale of the Greek fighters and helped in diplomatic efforts later on.
  4. The Battle of Navarino: A pivotal point in the Greek War of Independence was the Battle of Navarino in 1827, where the combined fleets of Britain, France, and Russia defeated the Ottoman and Egyptian fleets. This naval battle marked a significant turning point that led to the eventual independence of Greece.
  5. Recognition and Autonomy: Greek Independence was formally recognized in 1830 by the Treaty of London. However, full sovereignty and the delineation of the Greek borders were not achieved until later. It allowed the foundation of the modern Greek state, under the governance of King Otto from Bavaria.
Share and discuss Greek history!

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