The symbiosis between democracy and war: The case of ancient Athens

Pritchard, David (2010). The symbiosis between democracy and war: The case of ancient Athens. In David Pritchard (Ed.), War, democracy and culture in classical Athens (pp. 1-62) Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.

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Author Pritchard, David
Title of chapter The symbiosis between democracy and war: The case of ancient Athens
Title of book War, democracy and culture in classical Athens
Place of Publication Cambridge, U.K.
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Publication Year 2010
Sub-type Research book chapter (original research)
Open Access Status Other
ISBN 9780521190336
Editor David Pritchard
Chapter number 1
Start page 1
End page 62
Total pages 62
Total chapters 15
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subjects 210306 Classical Greek and Roman History
Formatted Abstract/Summary
This chapter analyses this military revolution of fifth-century Athens and evaluates what contributions this edited collection makes to our understanding of the symbiosis between democracy and war in world history. It divides into eight parts. Part one studies the character of Athenian war-making in the century before the democracy to set benchmarks against which the military changes of the fifth century can be measured. Part two canvasses the post-508/7 increases in the scale and frequency of Athens’ campaigns and the participation-rate of its citizens as soldiers. In addition this part clarifies what was innovative about the numerous military reforms of fifth-century Athens and identifies as two major causes of its military revolution the large public income from the Athenian Empire and the demographic advantage which the city had over its rivals. Part three explains that although there is a prima facie case that democracy is the third major cause of this revolution in military affairs, disciplinary and cultural factors have discouraged sustained analysis of democracy’s impact on war. The next two parts of this chapter make clear how the collection as a whole suggests that the democracy of classical Athens affected its war-making in a pair of divergent ways. Part four details how the dynamic of mass adjudicators and elite performers in competition led to a pronounced militarism, which encouraged lower-class Athenians to be soldiers in larger numbers and to start wars much more frequently. But part five explains how the foreign-policy risks of this pro-war culture were reduced by the open debating of proposals for war, which also facilitated military innovations and efficiency and helped develop the initiative of the Athenians on the battlefield. Part six employs the military record of fourth-century Athens to determine the importance of democracy relative to the two other major causes of the of the previous century’s revolution in military affairs. Part seven acknowledges the limits of this volume’s treatment of the impact of military affairs on Athenian democratisation and, in light of the collapse of our longstanding understanding of this relationship, proposes new directions for research into the causes of democracy’s emergence and consolidation in ancient Athens. Part eight, finally, canvasses the value of ancient Athens as a case study for political scientists and policymakers. In particular it spells out how explanations of Athenian foreign policy can help identify underlying assumptions about contemporary democracy and the waging of war and suggest new ways for thinking about their interaction.
© Cambridge University Press 2010
Keyword Athenian democracy
Democratic foreign policy
Democracy and war
Classical Athens
War, democracy and culture in classical Athens
War, culture and democracy in classical Athens
UQ cultural history project
Q-Index Code B1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Description: xviii, 460 p. : ill. ; 26 cm.

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Created: Tue, 03 Nov 2009, 17:05:28 EST by Dr David Pritchard on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry