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Feeding the DemocracyThe Athenian Grain Supply in the Fifth and Fourth Centuries BC$
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Alfonso Moreno

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199228409

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228409.001.0001

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(p.309) Conclusion
Feeding the Democracy

Alfonso Moreno (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The Conclusion argues that the origins of Athenian dependence on imported grain date to the reforms of Solon in the early sixth century. It was at this time that Athens discovered or adapted the cleruchy as a social and economic tool, that the Athenian elite became involved in leading the city's first imperialist adventures overseas, and that Attica began to specialize in the intensive cultivation of cash‐crops. The Athenian democracy led to the intensification of all of these trends, and to the creation of an ideological system, deployed in rhetoric, to mask the serious incongruities between popular and elite interests. A need for imported grain drove Athens at different times to depopulate neighboring Aegean landscapes in order to extract grain surpluses, or to enlist the help of foreign kings, acting as Athenian citizens and benefactors. A supply system of such ruthlessness, sophistication, and ambivalence lay at the heart of Athenian democracy.

Keywords:   Solon, sixth century, kings, depopulation, landscape, cleruchy, rhetoric, democracy, Attica

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