The Greeks destroyed documents or erased parts of them when they had served their purpose or for any reason were no longer wanted. Sometimes this was due to a change in the political climate: e.g. in 200 BCE the Athenians decided to delete all references to the Antigonids in public documents.
I examine particular erasures from the fifth and fourth centuries: these range from the correction of simple errors, via rewording to meet the wishes of honorands, and updating e.g. when alliances were reaffirmed, to changes of policy as when the Spartans removed Pausanias’ couplet from the Serpent Column.
M. I. Finley sought to rescue the ‘demagogue’ as an essential ingredient in Athens’ democratic processes. This paper explores the interactions of politicians and the assembly.
There is some evidence for pressure on men to attend and to vote on a particular side. There were many occasional speakers and proposers in addition to the few most active politicans. We should not think of a series of duels; and experienced assembly-goers were not mere ‘spectators of speeches’. Speakers could be supported by cheers or heckled. Nobody could count on the assembly’s voting as he wanted consistently time after time.
Politicians sought to cultivate an image, whether the aloof, magisterial image of Pericles or the extravagantly populist image of Cleon. Orators had to master a range of strategies to succeed, but there was not a simple division between élite politicians and a lower-class demos to whose tune they had to dance.
In a world in which it was easy to contrast slavery as being ruled by others with freedom as the power to rule others, it might have been said that subjection to a tyrant was bad but being a tyrant was good if one could get away with it. But in the fourth century Plato and Aristotle created a contrast between kings as good rulers and tyrants as bad rulers, which has been standard ever since. However, recent studies have tried to move away from the polarisation of good kings and bad tyrants, and look more generally at the nature of monarchic rule in Greece. This article explores the topic of tyrants and the use of the notion of tyranny in classical Greece, at the end of the sixth century and in the fifth and fourth.