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Athenian Decree for the Defenders of Democracy

Marcello Valente    Università di Torino    



After the overthrow of the oligarchic régime of the Thirty and the restoration of democracy, Thrasybulus proposed to grant citizenship to those who had fought in defence of democracy, among which there were several slaves. His decree was dismissed on a technicality by Archinus. Shortly thereafter, Archinus approved a decree granting only formal honours to those (citizens and foreigners) who had fought in defence of the Athenian demos. The decree preserved in this inscription displays the grant of honours to foreigners and metics who had fought for democracy. The fragmentary state of the document does not allow us to establish with certainty what kind of honours they received: the most likely are citizenship or isoteleia. The identification of this inscription with Archinus’ decree is, however, to be rejected on the basis of the granted honours. Possibly, the document could be another Thrasybulus’ decree or a law proposed by someone within his political circle. The decree, passed only later on, aimed at rewarding the defenders of democracy. Another debated issue concerns the number (one, two or three) of categories of recipients included in this stele, which is probably related to their individual contributions in the struggle for the defence of democracy. The type of reward and the date of the decree (between 404/3 and 401/0) push us to reconsider the matter of the status of the orator Lysias at the time of the trial against Eratosthenes: was he a citizen, an isoteles or a simple metic? Moreover, the list of the rewarded people, whose names appear together with their jobs, is a significant piece of evidence about Attic society at that time.

June 29, 2018
Jan. 10, 2018
March 5, 2017

Keywords: EratosteneSchiaviTrentaArchinoIsoteleiaDecretoLisiaDemocraziaTrasibuloCittadinanza

Link AXON 174
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