Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. Bethany Hicks

Second Advisor

Dr. Chris Mortenson

Third Advisor

Dr. Steven Thomason

Abstract

The government of Athens has had an uncommon influence through time. This influence is revealed by historians and writers who have examined time and time again this single city. Athens has been critiqued and praised by these writers ever since the city-state gained a position of prominence in the Greek world. The writers were all writing from different viewpoints and backgrounds and these clearly affected the tone and purpose of their writings. The Athenian government developed as a democracy slowly over centuries. This included periods of domination by tyrants such as Cylon, Peisistratos, and Hippias. These periods were often followed by further reforms to the Athenian constitution and the progression of Athens into a democracy. Legendary Athenians Drako, Solon, and Cleisthenes were essential in the formation and application of these democratic reforms. Athens was the first attempt of government by the people at that high of a level as the world had yet seen. This drew the attention of the first western historians, who were Athens' contemporaries, as well as later historians and politicians. These thinkers used Athens as an example for their own purposes, to support their own opinions or ideologies, from Herodotus to the 1800s.

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