Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2009.01.14
M. Lagogianne-Georgakarakou, K. Bourazeles (ed.), Edoxen tei boulei kai toi demoi: H athenaike demokratia milaei me tis epigraphes tes. Athens: Ministry of Culture, 2007. Pp. 151. ISBN 9789608986213.
Reviewed by Marijana Ricl, University of Belgrade (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Word count: 740 words
The Epigraphical Museum and the Hellenic Parliament Foundation for Parliamentarism and Democracy in cooperation with the University of Athens organized an exhibition of inscriptions dealing from the activities of officials and bodies of the Athenian democratic polis. The book under review is the catalogue of this exhibition, . Along with the editors, M. Lagogianni-Georgakarakou, director of the Epigraphical Museum, and K. Buraselis, professor of Ancient History at the University of Athens, a team of collaborators from the Epigraphical Museum and the University of Athens (S. Aneziri, P. Grigoriadou, E. Zavvou, A.A. Themos, N. Birgalias, A. Ramou-Chapsiadi, Ir.-L. Choremi) made contributions to the text.
The catalogue deals with almost every aspect of the Athenian democratic state, adducing numerous inscriptions that illuminate its daily functioning. Moreover, the most important exhibited inscriptions are edited and commented upon, with excellent photographs of the stone supplied in each case. This significantly increases the usefulness of the catalogue.
The first part of the catalogue, entitled Η γέννηση της δημοκρατίας και των ψηφισμάτων (The birth of democracy and voting), provides a general introduction to the history of the Athenian polis, its institutions, society, reformers, and tyrants. As the first preserved decree of the Athenian people, the decree on the cleruchs on Salamis (Meiggs-Lewis 19882, 14, Fornara 44 B and A. Matthaiou, Ηορος 8-9, 1990-91, 10-13) is examined: a photograph, a text, a translation into Modern Greek and a concise commentary are provided.
The second part, entitled Όψεις της δομής και της λειτουργίας της διαμορφωμένης αθηναϊκής δημοκρατίας (Observations on the structure and operation of the formative Athenian democracy), deals firstly with the officials and the collective bodies of Athens from Cleisthenes until the end of the classical period. An important part of this study is devoted to the allotment machines, known as kleroteria, of which the one dated in 162/1 BC (IG II2 2864a) is illustrated. The process of election by lot of the nine archons, the boule, the juries, and minor state officials is explained in detail and changes in the procedure noted. Other chapters of the second part examine decision-making and forms of decrees, legislation, public buildings and cults, foreign policy and honorary decrees for Athenian citizens and foreigners. As integral parts of these chapters, editions and commentaries of a number of inscriptions presented at the exhibition are included. To mention just a few: Draco's law on homicide (IG I3 104), the decrees on the priestess and the temple of Athena Nike (ibid. 35-6), the decree of Kleinias (Meggs-Lewis 19882 46), the decree on the alliance of Athens and Leontini (ibid. 64), the "charter" of the Second Athenian Confederacy (Rhodes, Osborne 2003, 22), the decree of Themistocles (Meggs-Lewis 19882 23), the decree on the foundation of the Athenian colony at Brea (ibid. 49).
The third part of the catalogue, entitled Οι περιπέτειες της αθηναϊκής δημοκρατίας κατά τον 5ο αι. π. χ. (The adventures of Athenian democracy during the 5th century BC), deals with the regimes of the Four Hundred and of the Thirty Tyrants and the restoration of full democracy. Three honorific inscriptions, for Thrasyboulos from Kalydon and seven other individuals involved in the murder of Phrynichos (IG I3 102), for Eucles, the fearless fighter for democratic restoration in 403 BC, and for his son Philocles (IG II2 145 and Hesperia 10, 1941, 266), are singled out and presented as documents contemporary to these momentous events in Athenian history.
The final part of the catalogue, Αγώνες, περιορισμοί και προσαρμοστικότητα της αθηναϊκής δημοκρατίας· απο την αναμέτρηση με τη μακεδονία έως και τα ρωμαϊκά χρόνια (Struggles, limitations, and adaptability of Athenian democracy: from the confrontation with Macedonia until Roman times) is devoted to the changing situation in Athens in the Hellenistic and Roman period. Among the adduced inscriptions, the most important one is the decree on the anti-Macedonian alliance of Athens with Areus of Sparta and his allies, the so-called Chremonidean psephisma (IG II2 686+687, between 268/7 and 265/4 BC).
The catalogue closes with a bibliography, an index of personal names, terms and toponyms and a concordance of ancient literary sources.
The catalogue of the exhibition Ἔδοξεν τῆι βουλῆι καὶ τῶι δήμωι. Η αθηναϊκὴ δημοκρατία μιλάει με τις επιγραφής της (The Athenian democracy speaks with its inscriptions), with its well composed and beautifully illustrated editions and commentaries of the most important public inscriptions of democratic Athens, will be continually consulted by all who have recourse to this valuable book, especially those involved in teaching Athenian history to undergraduates.