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The Hellenistic Reception of Classical Athenian Democracy and Political Thought$
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Mirko Canevaro and Benjamin Gray

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198748472

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198748472.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 25 January 2022

Whatever Happened to Athens?

Whatever Happened to Athens?

Thoughts on the Great Convergence and Beyond

Chapter:
(p.277) 13 Whatever Happened to Athens?
Source:
The Hellenistic Reception of Classical Athenian Democracy and Political Thought
Author(s):

John Ma

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198748472.003.0013

This chapter considers two phenomena, to cap the volume’s explorations of Athens and its story. The first is to gather the evidence for a broad phenomenon, which is contemporary with various shifts in the political culture of late Classical Athens, but overtakes it geographically and chronologically: a ‘great convergence’ of civic practice, institutions, and discourse around a generalized assumption of (acceptable degrees of) autonomy and moderate democracy. The result is a polis which looks, roughly, like Aristotle’s. This great convergence created the conditions out of which the Roman-era polis had to evolve, under its own conditions; the fitful forgetting of the legacy of the Hellenistic polis is the second topic of this paper, exemplified by Plutarch’s Classicism and Pausanias’ Hellenistic memories. ‘Whatever happened to Athens?’ is a question every Classicist should be aware of, since it determines the whole shape of what she is busy with.

Keywords:   Athenian democracy, Hellenistic democracy, great convergence, Plutarch, Classicism

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