Athens, the Greek World

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The Greek World 500-440 BC Account for the democratic reforms of Athens during this period. Athens was greatly affected by the Persian Wars and the aftermath of those wars. Significant changes were made to the internal government of Athens. The changes that took place between 500 and 440 BC were part of the democratisation process, but they must also be seen as responses to the Persian Wars and as consequences of the growing imperialism of Athens. It is also important to understand the interrelationship of the democratic changes with the events of the 5th century. The political changes that occurred in this period can rightly be seen as a turning point in history. In the first half of the 5th century, Athens developed from a land power to become the leading maritime state in Greece. At the same time, Athens underwent major political changes that revolutionised and transformed the state from a moderate to a radical democracy. The 'Radical Democracy' came about when Athens became more democratic with the introduction of a system of changes that allowed greater participation from ordinary citizens. By 508-07 BC, Athens was under the influence of Kleisthenes. He introduced a series of political reforms which turned Athens in a much more dramatic direction. One of the main results of Cleisthenes' reforms was to reduce the power of the upper classes. He did this by introducing the deme system. A deme was a small community or area of land and as of 507 BC every citizen became an equal member of a deme. It did not matter whether that citizen was a pentacosiomedimnoi or a thete. The result of this was to end the special status that the aristocracy had enjoyed for so long. Kleisthenes then abolished the old tribes and created ten new tribes based on the regional divisions of Attica. Kleisthenes was also thought to bring about ostracism. If a political figure was
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