What Modern Democracies Didn’t Copy From Ancient Greece

This was an interesting part of their Democracy. The fear of any one demagogue becoming too powerful. I wonder if this system were in place, how would this change politican’s actions. They would have to walk a fine line of wanting to gain power/popularity, but not too much power.


Many modern politicians would surely relish the chance to see rivals banished by popular vote. In fifth century B.C. Athens, this was actually possible. Citizens met annually in the agora—a public center of commerce and politics—and voted on whether any individual was becoming too powerful. The person with the most votes was exiled from Athens for 10 years.

The names of candidates for exile were scratched onto small potsherds and tallied, with a minimum of 6,000 votes required to banish someone. Called ostraka in ancient Greek, these potsherds are the root of the English word “ostracize.”


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