Athens After the Peloponnesian War


The Thirty and the Restoration of the Democracy

Xenophon, who may have served in the cavalry under the Thirty (e.g. Hell. III. iv. 2 – 7; for his horses cf. An. III. iii. 19), gives a detailed account in Hell. II. iii. 11 – iv; Diodorus and Justin follow Ephorus (who was not here using Hell. Oxy.) in giving accounts favourable to Theramenes, who played an important part in making peace with Sparta and bringing the régime into existence but then fell out with the extremists; Ath. Pol. 34 – 8 has a version in which the order of events is changed to minimise Theramenes ‘ responsibility for the Thirty ‘ s misdeeds, and has an additional board of Ten invented to portray Rhinon in a good light (cf. pp. 295 – 6), but 39 – 40 contains valuable information on the reconciliation; Lysias ‘ speeches (XII) Against Eratosthenes and (XIII) Against Agoratus are important. The term Thirty Tyrants, often found in modern books, is apparently due to Ephorus: fourth - century Athenians referred to them as ‘ the oligarchy ‘ or ‘ the Thirty ‘ .

Probably Athens ‘ peace treaty with Sparta in 404 did not prescribe a change of constitution (Xen. Hell. II. ii. 20, Diod. Sic. XIII. 107. iv, Andoc. III. Peace 11 – 12, contr. Ath. Pol. 34. iii, Diod. Sic. XIV. 3. ii, vi, Just. Epit. V. 8. v); but it may have contained some reference to tradition which could be exploited to imply the ‘ traditional constitution ‘ (cf. p. 170), and, since the democracy had lost the war and for the foreseeable future the navy was to be unimportant, the change is not surprising. The treaty did require the restoration of exiles, mostly oligarchs from 411 – 410, among them Critias (cf. pp. 175 – 6). The council of 405/4 is said to have had an oligarchic bias (Lys. XIII. Agoratus 20); a man called Agoratus was used to give evidence against prominent democrats (Lys. XIII. Agoratus); in the upper - class hetaireiai five ‘ ephors ‘ (using a Spartan word) were appointed, and with ‘ phylarchs ‘ as tribal agents they intimidated citizens before meetings of the assembly (Lys. XII. Eratosthenes 43 – 7).

Early in the summer, with that champion of narrow oligarchies Lysander present, an assembly was held at which Dracontides proposed the appointment of a board of thirty, to revise the constitution and in the meantime to act as a provisional government. Theramenes spoke (not against, as his apologists alleged); Lysander remarked that, by not demolishing the walls soon enough, the Athenians were in breach of the treaty, and they must accept the change; opponents walked out; and the motion was carried. According to Lysias the Thirty were to be ten nominated by Theramenes, ten nominated by the ‘ ephors ‘ and ten chosen from those present (a show of representing all shades of opinion); we have a list of the Thirty, including Critias, Dracontides and Theramenes, which as far as it can be checked is compatible with the suggestion that they comprised three from each tribe (Xen. Hell. II. iii. 2 [list], 11, Diod. Sic. XIV. 3. v – 4. i, Ath. Pol. 34. iii, Lys. XII. Eratosthenes 71 – 6).

Xenophon agrees with the sources most favourable to Theramenes that the new régime began mildly, but there is no sign of mildness in Lys. XII. Eratosthenes , where it is claimed that Theramenes was as bad as the other oligarchs. Officials and a council of five hundred were appointed; the Thirty did not draw up a new constitution, but they annulled the laws which had weakened the council of the Areopagus (cf. pp. 40 – 4), and they removed from the laws qualifying clauses (e.g. those invalidating a will drawn up under improper pressure), according to Ath. Pol. because these provided opportunities for jurors to exercise discretion. They condemned democrats denounced by Agoratus, but also ‘ sycophants ‘ accused of making a living through prosecutions and threats of prosecution (Xen. Hell. II. iii. 11 – 12, Diod. Sic. XIV. 4. ii, Ath. Pol. 35. i – iii, Lys. XIII.Agoratus 34 – 5).

If Xenophon has the right order of events, the degeneration began with the request (opposed by Theramenes) for a Spartan garrison. A reign of terror began; when Theramenes protested, Critias and others drew up a list of three thousand men who were to retain some rights; after a further protest those not on the list were disarmed. When Theramenes objected to a plan to kill rich metics for their money (for the plan cf. Lys. XII. Eratosthenes , esp. 5 – 8), he was denounced at a meeting of the council by Critias. Theramenes replied, Critias did not trust the council to condemn him but removed him from the three thousand and then, in the name of the Thirty, condemned him (Xen. Hell. II. iii. 13 – 56, cf. Diod. Sic. XIV. 4. iii – 5. iv). Theramenes was a controversial figure at the time and has remained so ever since: a man of principle or a trimmer who finally guessed wrongly? It is at any rate possible that he was genuinely unhappy both with full democracy and with extreme oligarchy, and that, when memories of 411 were still fresh and he was the man who had made the treaty which had ended the war, he thought that in 404 he would be able to get the kind of régime that he wanted, but the extremists were too ruthless for him.

Those not on the list of the three thousand were excluded from the city, and many went into exile, given refuge in defiance of Sparta ‘ s orders by Megara, Argos and Thebes. The democrats ‘ fight back began during the winter of 404/3, when Thrasybulus (for whose earlier career cf. pp. 175 – 7) with about seventy supporters set out from Thebes and occupied Phyle, on the slopes of Mount Parnes in north - western Attica. Gradually more men joined him; an attempted blockade was frustrated by a snowstorm; when his force had grown to seven hundred he made an attack on the oligarchs ‘ camp and defeated them (Xen. Hell. II. iv. 1 – 7, Diod. Sic. XIV. 5. v – 6, 32 – 33. i). The Thirty grew worried, and prepared two possibilities for a safe retreat by sentencing to death all the men of Eleusis and Salamis (Xen. Hell. II. iv. 8 – 10, Diod. Sic. XIV. 32. iv, Lys. XII.Eratosthenes 52, XIII. Agoratus 44). A few nights after his victory Thrasybulus took advantage of the demolished walls to move to the Piraeus, and occupied Munichia, the hill on the side towards Phalerum. After the re storation there was to be a distinction between the ‘ men of Phyle ‘ , who had joined Thrasybulus when that was still a risky thing to do, and the ‘ men of Piraeus ‘ (e.g. the opening lines of R&O 4; Harding 3 translates a different reconstruction). The oligarchs attacked, but they were beaten off, and Critias was among those killed (allegedly his funeral monument depicted Oligarchy setting fire to Democracy and had an inscription referring to the hybris of the accursed demos : schol. Aeschin. I Tim. 39 [82 Dilts] = Critias 88 A 13 DK).

The three thousand, or a body claiming to represent them, deposed the Thirty, most of whom withdrew to Eleusis, and to replace them elected a new board of Ten. There may have been hopes among the democrats that the Ten would be more tractable, but if so the hopes were not fulfilled. There was further skirmishing; the democrats ‘ numbers continued to grow, and they prepared to besiege the city. Both the city and the oligarchs at Eleusis appealed to Sparta, and Lysander arranged for money to be lent for hiring mercenaries, while he went by land to Eleusis and his brother Libys went by sea. Later, however, king Pausanias gained the support of three of the ephors, and took an army of Spartans and allies to Athens (but the Boeotians and Corinth refused). After making a show of force, he arranged for both sides to send envoys to Sparta, and Sparta sent commissioners to help him make a settlement (Xen. Hell. II. iv. 10 – 38, Diod. Sic. XIV. 33. ii – vi, cf. Lys. XII. Eratosthenes 58 – 61). Ath. Pol. 38 distinguishes between the original Ten, who proved hostile to the democrats, and a second Ten, including Rhinon, who worked for reconciliation: Rhinon managed to continue his career under the democracy, and this is presumably a device to separate him from the original anti -democratic stance of the Ten.

The settlement of summer 403 was that the democracy was to be restored in Athens but, for those unhappy with that arrangement, Eleusis was to be available as a semi - independent state; there was to be an amnesty for all except the Thirty, the Ten and those officials most closely associated with them, and even for them if they successfully submitted to euthynai (Eratosthenes, attacked by Lysias [XII] for killing Lysias ‘ brother Polemarchus, was one who attempted this: we do not know the outcome). To ease the settlement Archinus foreclosed on the period during which withdrawal to Eleusis was allowed, and he introduced the procedure of paragraphe , under which a defendant could plead for a prosecution in breach of the amnesty to be disallowed (Isoc. XVIII.Callimachus 2 – 3). Thrasybulus wanted to be generous in rewarding citizens and non - citizens who had fought on his side, but Archinus resisted that too, and eventually, in 401/0, limited rewards were decreed, probably including citizenship for non -citizens who had been at Phyle (IG ii 2 10 = R&O 4 ~ Harding 3). In that year the oligarchs at Eleusis hired mercenaries to attack Athens, but those in the city marched out against them and Eleusis was once more fully incorporated in the Athenian state (Xen. Hell. II. iv. 38 – 43,Ath. Pol. 39 – 40).

We know from a fragment of a speech by Lysias (XXXIV. Traditional Constitution) that a man called Phormisius proposed that citizenship should be restricted to landowners; but the full democracy was restored, and indeed with the number of citizens halved by the plague and the war the exclusion of the thetes from offices was no longer enforced (Ath. Pol. 7. iv – 8. i). However, Pericles ‘ citizenship law (cf. p. 60), allowed to lapse during the war, was re affirmed and strengthened (Ath. Pol. 42. i, Dem. LVII. Eubulides 30, [Dem.] LIX. Neaera 16). The state officially made a fresh start: oaths were sworn, the laws were to be applied to acts committed in and after 403/2, and Athens offi-cially adopted the Ionian alphabet (the alphabet which we regard as the standard Greek alphabet) in place of its local alphabet (Theopompus FGrH 115 FF 154 – 5), thus formalising what was in fact a long process already under way. We shall see that the understanding of democracy was to change after the middle of the fourth century, but after 411 – 410 and 404 – 403 nobody active in politics would admit to being an opponent of democracy.

Laws and Decrees

On the first restoration of the democracy, in 410, the Athenians had begun to compile their first coherent code of laws since the time of Solon. What was perhaps envisaged as a short and simple task turned out not to be, and was still unfinished when the Thirty came to power (cf. p. 176). They began a legal reform of their own (cf. p. 294). In 403 the democratic compilation was resumed, and the code and the religious calendar associated with it were completed in 400/399 (see particularly Lys. XXX. Nicomachus , accusing one of the commissioners of malpractice in connection with the compilation; Andoc. I. Myst. 81 – 9).

In the sixth and fifth centuries laws were made by decree of the assembly, and the same enactment could be termed law (nomos) or decree (psephisma , ‘ thing voted ‘) according to how one thought of it. The procedures used between 403 and 399 involved boards of nomothetai , ‘ law - enacters ‘ (Andoc. I. Myst. 83 – 4); the Athenians decided to make a distinction between (superior) laws and (inferior) decrees (Andoc. I. Myst. 87, 89), and set up a procedure for enacting further laws, by nomothetai after the assembly had set the machinery in motion, after 399. The word nomosembraces law and custom. Herodotus had observed that different peoples have different nomoi and each consider their own the best (III. 38); many of the sophists of the late fifth century had contrasted nomos , as human convention, which could have been decided otherwise, with physis , nature, which is unalterably as it is, and some had represented laws as a device used by some members of society to constrain others, as regulations which one might disobey if it was to one ‘ s advantage and one could get away with it (for variations on that theme see P. Oxy. xi 1364 = Antiphon the Sophist 87 B 44 DK, Hippias of Elis in Pl. Prt. 337 d 1 – 3, Thrasymachus in Pl. Resp. I and Callicles in Pl. Grg.). That way lay the jungle, and the distinction between laws and decrees, in Athenian practice and in Aristotle ‘ s philosophy (e.g. Eth. Nic. V. 1137 b 11 – 29, Pol. IV. 1292 a 4 – 37), was in part an attempt to rescue law for the respectable side of the fence. It may also have been an attempt to make future attacks on the democracy more difficult.

The theory was that permanent decisions applicable to all should be embodied in laws, decisions for particular occasions or particular individuals in decrees (cf. also the orators, e.g. Dem. XXIII. Aristocrates 86 – 7, 218). In practice, I suspect, the code of 399 was taken as a starting - point, so that it required a law to modify the code of laws, but other matters – including all questions of foreign affairs, even treaties intended to last for ever – could still be decided by decrees. One area which was regulated by law was finance: there are decrees which add to the burden of the assembly ‘ s expense account (on which cf. p. 299) and call on the nomothetai to increase the allocation to that account (e.g. IG ii 2 222. 41 – 52). Our corpus of inscribed laws from fourth - century Athens is gradually growing, but we still have far more decrees than laws. The evidence for fourth -century law - making is problematic, but it seems likely that at first the procedure was so restrictive that it was rarely used; later it was made easier and was used more frequently. Procedures for detecting and eliminating contradictions suggest that the Athenians aimed to have a coherent code with no contradictions, but by the third quarter of the century that aim was no longer achieved, and in 330 conflicting laws on the proclamation of crowns could be cited (Aeschin. III. Ctesiphon 32 – 48, Dem. XVIII. Crown 120 – 1; cf. pp. 378, 382).

The procedure for the enactment of decrees by the assembly after probouleusis by the council remained as it had been in the fifth century (cf. pp. 62 – 3); but the use of ad hoc boards of syngrapheis to draft some decrees was discredited by the syngrapheis who ushered in the oligarchy of 411, and instead in the fourth century the assembly sometimes instructed the next meeting (e.g. IG ii 2 125 = R&O 69 ~ Harding 66). The language of inscribed decrees becomes more informative, and by the second half of the century a distinction had become established between formulae mentioning the council, used when the assembly enacted what had been recommended to it by the council (‘ Resolved by the council and people ‘ , etc.: e.g. IG ii 2 110 = R&O 38), and formulae not mentioning the council, used when the assembly enacted something not recommended by the council, either because it rejected or rewrote the council ‘ s recommendation or because the council ‘ s probouleuma was open and made no recommendation (‘ Resolved by the people ‘ , etc.: e.g. IG ii 2 337 = R&O 91 ~ Harding 111, where an open probouleuma is followed by the assembly ‘ s decree). Fourth - century decrees are divided fairly evenly between the two categories, which suggests that council and assembly were both taking their decision - making duties seriously (but from the middle of the third century the assembly tended to rubber - stamp the council ‘ s recommendations).

Institutional Changes

The last change in the constitution chronicled by the Athenaion Politeia was the restoration of democracy in 403, ‘ from which the constitution has continued to that in force today, continually increasing the power of the masses ‘ (41. ii). Certainly there was no single point at which a major change in the constitution occurred, until the failure of a rising against Macedon led to the introduction of an oligarchic régime in 321; but there were a number of single changes at different points. It is hard to maintain that Athens became ever more democratic. Some scholars have argued that, on the contrary, the democracy of the fourth century was less extreme than that of the fifth; I argue that changes made in the early fourth century were in the spirit of the fifth - century democracy, but some changes made later (cf. pp. 367 – 74, 379 – 80) were not.

Soon after the restoration payment was introduced by Agyrrhius for the one civic duty for which it had not been provided before, attendance at the assembly: originally 1 obol but raised to 2 and then to 3 by the time of Aristophanes ‘ Ecclesiazusae , in the late 390 ‘ s (Ath. Pol. 41. iii, Ar. Eccl.183 – 8, 289 – 92, etc.). Payment was not for all who attended, but for a limited number or perhaps for those who arrived by a specified time: the aim may have been to encourage punctual attendance as much as a large attendance, but after the recent bouts of oligarchy it was no doubt considered important to strengthen the democracy ‘ s assembly. Payment for holding many routine offices is not positively attested in the fourth century, and some have argued that many of the old stipends were abolished, but more probably the silence is accidental. Most of the payments which are attested had been increased by the time of the Athenaion Politeia (62. ii), but jurors ‘ pay remained the 3 obols fixed by Cleon (cf. pp. 61 ; also 124 – 5). The assembly needed six thousand or more men to attend on the same day (which will have become harder to achieve from the reduced number of citizens at the end of the Peloponnesian War: cf. p. 296), as the courts did not, and it appears that 3 obols were still sufficient to attract the numbers of jurors that were needed.

More will be said about financial matters later (cf. pp. 367 – 73), but one important change belongs to the early fourth century. In the fifth century there was a single state treasury, into which revenue was paid and from which expenditure was made on the authorisation of the assembly; c. 411 that was amalgamated with the treasury of the Delian League (cf. pp. 64, 100). In the fourth century there was a merismos (allocation) of funds to different spending authorities – the assembly, the council, etc. – which were free to use their funds as long as they presented satisfactory accounts at the end of the year (Ath. Pol. 48. i – ii; first attested in IG ii 2 29 = R&O 19, of 386). This devolved budgeting suggests that the Athenians were thinking about what they could afford to spend in different areas; but the combination of devolved budgeting and insufficient funds produces inflexibility, since if all the money has been allocated it is impossible to provide more in one area without taking away from another.

During the first half of the century two changes were made in the organisation of government. In the second half of the fifth century meetings of the council and assembly had been presided over by the prytaneis , the fifty members of the council from one tribe who served as standing committee for a tenth of the year (cf. p. 63). That was still the case probably at the time of Aristophanes ‘ Ecclesiazusae (prytaneis 86 – 7, no mention of proedroi), and possibly until c. 384/3 (possible date of law in [Dem.] LIX. Neaera 89). Not later than 379/8 that duty had been transferred to a new board of proedroi , ‘ presidents ‘ , one member of the council from each tribe except the current prytany, picked by lot each day (Ath. Pol. 44. ii – iii; first attested CSCA v 1972, 164 – 9 no. 2).

Until at least 368/7 inscriptions show that the principal secretary of the Athenian state, responsible for publishing decrees and laws, was a member of the council, elected for one prytany from a tribe other than the current prytany; by 363/2 the secretary was appointed by lot for a whole year and from the whole citizen body, but before long each tribe in the regular order was in turn providing the secretary (Ath. Pol. 54. iii; decrees of 368/7 IG ii 2 104 = Tod 134 contr. IG ii 2 105 + 523, 106, 107 = R&O 34, – , 31 ~ Harding 52, – , 53; decrees of 363/2 IG ii 2 109, 110, 111 = R&O – , 38, 39 ~ Harding – , – , 55). For the old -style secretary the standard title was ‘ secretary of the council ‘ ; for the new either that could be used or ‘ secretary by the prytany ‘ (a strange title for the new secretary, which has to be interpreted as meaning ‘ prytany by prytany ‘ throughout the year), and in the hellenistic period this second title became standard. Ath. Pol. 54. iv mentions a secretary ‘ in charge of the laws ‘ ; but laws like decrees were published by the principal secretary, and inscriptions attest a parallel secretary ‘ in charge of the decrees ‘ (e.g. IG ii 2 223 C = Agora xv 34. 3, 1700. 216 = 43. 230); neither is found before the middle of the century. Ath. Pol.

Ill. 20 Athens: ballots used in lawcourts. American School of Classical Studies at Athens: Agora Excavations


54. v mentions an elected secretary who read out documents at meetings of the council and assembly: this was important when papers could not be distributed, and was considered a skilled job.

Proedroi whose identity was not known before the day of the meeting could not be bribed (cf. below, on jurors); but there is no indication that the prytaneis were accused of taking bribes or were considered dangerously powerful, and the creation of the proedroimay be rather or also a further embodiment of the fifth - century principle of distributing work as widely as possible. Efficiency was not a high priority in democratic Athens (cf. p. 64); but expecting each tribal contingent of councillors to contain at least one man capable of serving as the principal secretary for just one prytany in his life, while it tells us something about expectations of literacy among politically active Athenians, was perhaps an excessive defiance of efficiency. The change to a secretary who, though still not eligible for reappointment, served for a whole year and was appointed from the citizen body at large, is one of a number of moves in the direction of effi-ciency which we see from the middle of the fourth century. There was a growing body of secretaries, serving the courts and various officials, and men attracted by this work could hold different secretarial posts in different years.

One judicial change we have noticed above: the introduction of paragraphe as a procedure to have a prosecution dismissed if, whatever its other merits, it was in breach of the amnesty of 403; later it was extended to allow other grounds for dismissal. There was a major change in the trial of private suits, those in which only the injured party could prosecute. In the fifth century the smaller cases had been decided locally by the thirty dikastai kata demous , the larger by a jury in the same way as public suits (cf. pp. 60, 65). But in the last years of the Peloponnesian War the dikastai kata demous stopped travelling to the demes, and the events of 404 – 403 made thirty an inauspicious number, so in the fourth century there were forty of them, and they continued to work in the city. For the larger private suits, for sums over 10 drachmae, a new procedure was created. Each citizen (probably only of hoplite status or above) spent his last year on the military registers, when he was aged 59, as a public arbitrator (diaitetes): the larger private suits went first to one of these, and then to a jury only if one of the parties appealed. This will have reduced the money spent on juries, at a time when Athens was short of money but had accepted the extra burden of paying for attendance at the assembly: the use of all men, or all but the poorest men, in a year - group as arbitrators was a substitute consonant with the fifth - century understanding of democracy (Ath. Pol.53).

Another feature compatible with democratic principles was the increasingly elaborate way of assigning jurors to courts (by the fourth century jurors were voting with manufactured ballots, described in Ath. Pol. 68: cf. ill. 20). Six thousand men over 30 years old were enrolled each year. In the late fifth century each magistrate had a panel of jurors assigned to him for the whole year, so that it will have been known in advance which jurors would decide which case. Bribery will have been easy, and there was a notorious instance in 410 or 409 (cf. p. 155). In the early fourth century the six thousand were divided into ten sections for the year, so that jurors would still have the same colleagues during the year, but sections were allotted to courts day by day (Ar. Eccl. 681 – 8, Plut. 277 – 8, 972). By the second half of the century the ten sections were still used, with approximately equal numbers in each tribe; each juror had a ticket (pinakion), bearing his name, demotic and section letter; and at the beginning of each day when the courts were to meet there were elaborate allotment procedures (some involving the placing of jurors ‘ tickets in allotment - machines: cf. ill. 21) to assign jurors and magistrates to courts. This will have made it impossible to predict which jurors would serve, with which colleagues, in which courts, for which magistrates; indeed, the development acquired a momentum of its own, and generated more levels of arbitrariness than were needed to achieve the desired result (Ath. Pol. 63 – 6; many bronze pinakia survive).

Ill. 21 Athens: allotment - machines for assigning jurors to lawcourts. S. Dow, ‘ Aristotle, the Kleroteria and the Courts. ‘ HSCP 50 (1939): 1 – 34. Reprinted with permission of the Department of the Classics, Harvard University


Fourth - century judicial procedures may have seen an increasing use of written documents. We cannot date changes, and in any case practices may have become increasingly frequent before they were made compulsory; but by the 350 ‘ s it was a requirement that prosecutors should submit a written document when initiating their cases, and in court witnesses no longer gave their evidence orally but simply acknowledged the correctness of a document prepared in advance. Certainly when a private suit went to a court on appeal against an arbitrator ‘ s decision (Ath. Pol. 53. ii), and apparently when a public suit went to a court from the magistrate ‘ s preliminary hearing (there is a lid from one of these jars which mentions an anakrisis), documents were placed in a sealed jar and only those documents could be used in the court.

Originally different bodies and officials had kept their own records; but late in the fifth century a new council - house was built beside the old, and the old came to be used as a central record office; the rebuilding and enlargement of the Pnyx, where the assembly met, is probably the work of the restored democracy (cf. p. 181).

Politics and Politicians

The split between political and military leaders which had begun in the generation of Cleon (cf. pp. 125 – 7) continued in the fourth century, and military leaders are often found taking employment abroad when not commanding for Athens. Civilian leaders are often referred to as politeuomenoi , ‘ politicians ‘ , or rhetores , ‘ speakers ‘ (the latter already by Aristophanes, e.g. Ach. 38). This development presented problems for a demos which liked to control its leaders: officials were appointed for one year and were subject to various checks, and military officials, who could be reappointed, were appointed by election; but men who were simply habitual speakers in the assembly and lawcourts held no office through which they could be called to account, and if things turned out badly could claim that the decisions had been taken not by themselves but by the assembly or a jury.

Already in the early fifth century it had been possible to prosecute a leading man for deceiving the people, by promising a success which did not materialise (Miltiades in 489: Hdt. VI. 136). By 415 there existed the graphe paranomon , which could be used against a decree and its proposer (cf. pp. 42, 63), and the fourth century added the graphe nomon me epitedeion theinai against a law and its proposer (‘ prosecution for enacting an inexpedient law ‘ , Ath. Pol. 59. ii; in fact either illegality or inexpediency could be alleged in either suit). The code of laws completed in 399 included a consolidated law on eisangelia , the procedure used for major offences against the state (cf. p. 42), and one possible charge there was ‘ being a rhetor and taking bribes to speak contrary to the best interests of Athens ‘ (Hyp. IV. Euxenippus 7 – 9, where Hyperides stresses that this is aimed atrhetores and not at ordinary citizens). When there was no concept of ‘ loyal opposition ‘ , and the understanding of gift - giving and bribery was such that giving bribes in the interests of one ‘ s own state was acceptable (cf. p. 57 , on Pericles), it is not surprising that accusations of bribe - taking were frequently made and are hard for us to evaluate.

Aeschines invoked against Timarchus in 346/5 a dokimasia of rhetores , which we should perhaps see as an equivalent for non - office - holders of the dokimasia which men appointed to offices had to undergo (Aeschin. I. Timarchus 28 – 32; cf. the questions asked at the dokimasia of archons,Ath. Pol. 55. iii). This may have been instituted at the beginning of the century. There was no list of approved rhetores , to which politicians were added after passing a dokimasia , but if a man thought a rhetor unworthy he could institute a dokimasia against him; Aeschines ‘ prosecution of Timarchus is the only known instance of this. Ostracism remained theoretically available, but was not used after 415 (Ath. Pol. 43. vi; cf. pp. 164 – 5). For the next century prosecutions of leading political and military figures were frequent, sometimes on charges directly connected with their public careers, sometimes on other charges but still with their public careers in the background. The Athenians did not distinguish clearly between political or military misjudgment or misfortune and illegal conduct, and charges such as speaking contrary to the best interests of Athens encouraged the blurring of that distinction.

As in the fifth century, there was nothing resembling the party politics and party organisation of modern states (though Athens came nearer to that in the time of Philip of Macedon than at other times: cf. p. 377). Politicians were perceived primarily as individuals, though particular men might be known for championing particular policies, such as friendship with Thebes, and might have particular associates and particular opponents. I believe that in the earlier part of the fourth century most men had similar hopes for Athens most of the time, but at crucial turning - points some men turned more promptly than others. (Most of what follows is focused on foreign affairs: for more details and references see chapters 18 – 21 .)

Men prominent in the early years of the restored democracy included Thrasybulus, the leader of the returning democrats; Agyrrhius, the introducer of assembly pay and a councillor and secretary in 403/2; and Anytus, one of the men of Phyle. Archinus, a man of Phyle but careful to avoid democratic triumphalism (cf. p. 296), is not heard of afterwards.

There are two important trials known to us which were held in 400/399. Andocides had been involved in the religious scandals of 415 and had had oligarchic sympathies (cf. p. 166); he returned under the amnesty of 403 and held various religious offices; but he allegedly fell foul of the aristocratic Callias on personal grounds and of Agyrrhius by beating him to a tax - collecting contract. He could not now be prosecuted directly for what he had done in 415, but in autumn 400 his opponents claimed, probably wrongly, that his case was not covered by the amnesty: we have his defence (Andoc. I. Myst.) and part of a speech for the prosecution (Lys. VI. Andocides). His formal prosecutors were men with oligarchic connections, including Meletus (Andoc. I. Myst. 92 – 5); his supporting speakers were men of democratic respectability, including Anytus and perhaps Thrasybulus (Andoc. I. Myst. 150: ‘ Thrasyllus ‘ MSS); he was acquitted.

In spring 399 the philosopher Socrates was prosecuted, accused of impiety in that he was religiously unorthodox himself and corrupted the young by teaching them his unorthodoxy (Xen. Ap. 10, Diog. Laert. II. 40 [see box]). As formulated, that did not break the amnesty, but those whom Socrates was alleged to have corrupted included men involved in oligarchy, such as Alcibiades and Critias, and Socrates had himself remained in Athens under the Thirty, though he had not obeyed them (Pl. Ap. 32 c 4 – d 8, cf. Xen. Mem.I. ii. 31 – 8), so the prosecution had a political dimension. Whether Socrates had ever held the views on heavenly bodies and on rhetoric as a skill to be used in bad causes as well as in good which are attributed to him in Aristophanes ‘ Clouds remains uncertain, but some Athenians had come to be worried by such views. The formal prosecutor was Meletus, perhaps the prosecutor of Andocides (though the name is not rare), but associated with him was Anytus, one of Andocides ‘ defenders. Notoriously, Socrates was convicted, and, since he did not propose a serious alternative penalty, condemned to death.

The prosecutor ‘ s oath in the case was like this (it is still now preserved in the Metroum, Favorinus says): ‘ This public prosecution was made and sworn to by Meletus son of Meletus, of Pithus, against Socrates son of Sophroniscus, of Alopece: Socrates is a wrongdoer in that he does not recognise the gods whom the city recognises but introduces other new divinities; he is a wrongdoer also in that he corrupts the young men. Penalty: death. ‘ (Diogenes Laertius, II. 40)

The author of the Hellenica Oxyrhynchia liked identifying groups of politicians and attributing political stances to them (cf. p. 282 , on Thebes). For 396, when Demaenetus, allegedly with the secret backing of the council, was caught taking a trireme to join the Persian fleet commanded by Conon, he reports that the council denied responsibility. The distinguished and elegant = the respectable and property - owning were content with the status quo and did not want to quarrel with Sparta; a group centred on Thrasybulus, Aesimus and Anytus thought it would be dangerous to fall foul of Sparta, while a group including Epicrates, a man of Piraeus, and Cephalus, a defender of Andocides, had been eager for war even before they took Timocrates ‘ money; and the many and democratic had been anti - Spartan but through fear acquiesced in the disowning of Demaenetus (Hell. Oxy. 9 – 10. ii: there is not much support for this division between rich and poor, but see Ar. Eccl. 197 – 8).

To make sense of Athenian politics it is worthwhile to see how far particular men are associated with particular policies, or are regularly found to be cooperating with or opposed to other men. In what follows I shall comment from this angle on Athens ‘ involvement in the affairs of the wider Greek world in the first half of the fourth century (cf. above, esp. chapter 20).

In 395 Thrasybulus was no longer unwilling to quarrel with Sparta: he proposed the alliance with Boeotia, and commanded the Athenian force sent there (Xen. Hell. III. v. 16; Plut. Lys. 29. i, Paus. III. 5. iv). After the victory at Cnidus in 394 Conon became the first living man to be honoured with a statue in the agora. The comedian Plato represented Epicrates and Phormisius (the man who had proposed limiting citizenship to landowners) as receiving rich bribes from the Persian King (frs. 119 – 23 Kock/Edmonds = 127 – 31 Kassel & Austin), and Plut. Pel. 30. xii and Ath. VI. 251 a – b have a story of Epicrates ‘ responding successfully in the assembly: interpreting fragments of a lost comedy is dangerous, but it is possible that this is not simply a comedian ‘ s fantasy and they did serve on an embassy to Persia.

Thrasybulus perhaps went through a period of unpopularity (cf. Ar. Eccl. 202 – 3, 356). When Sparta turned to diplomacy, the Athenian envoys who proposed accepting the revised terms of 392/1 included Andocides and Epicrates: the assembly, unwilling to abandon the Asiatic Greeks, rejected the terms and condemned them in absence; the prosecutor was Agyrrhius ‘ nephew Callistratus, who was to become a leading figure in the 370 ‘ s and 360 ‘ s (Philoch. FGrH 328 F 149 ~ Harding 23). Aggressive policies followed. Iphicrates, the first commander of the mercenary force established at Corinth with Persian money, tried but failed to get control of the city; ships were sent to support Evagoras against the Persians in Cyprus; and in 390 Thrasybulus had his highly successful Aegean campaign, reminiscent of the fifth - century empire and extending to the Asiatic territory claimed by the Persians. He died in 389, and was given a lavish tomb in Athens (Paus. I. 29. iii), but there were accusations of embezzlement and suggestions that he might have become tyrant of Byzantium (cf. Lys. XXVIII. Ergocles 5, Ar. Plut. 550), and two men who had been with him were put on trial (Lys. XXVIII. Ergocles , XXIX. Philocrates). Agyrrhius succeeded him in the Aegean: he was not very successful, but the Athenians continued to take an active line in general. Iphicrates fought against Sparta in the Hellespont. Chabrias, a leading military commander from now until the mid 350 ‘ s, went to support Evagoras against Persia c. 388, and the decrees for Erythrae and Clazomenae shortly before the King ‘ s Peace show that Athens did not want to abandon the Asiatic Greeks to the barbarians and had not changed its policy. Iphicrates was to establish a particular connection with Thrace, marrying the sister (probably) of the future king Cotys not later than 387/6 (Dem. XXIII. Aristocrates 129, Anaxandridas fr. 41 Kock/Edmonds = 42 Kassel & Austin).

In 387 Sparta tricked the Athenians and regained control of the Hellespont, and after that Athens did have to agree to the King ‘ s Peace and the abandonment of the Asiatic Greeks. Cephalus was the author of the amendment expressing indignation about the trick (IG ii 2 29 = R&O 19). When Athens found a way forward in the new world after the Peace, he and Aesimus were two of the envoys sent to Chios to receive its oath to the alliance (IG ii 2 34 – 5 = R&O 20 ~ Harding 31. 39 – 43). One man disappears from view for some time: Agyrrhius was found guilty of embezzling public money and, unable to repay, spent several years in prison (Dem. XXIV. Timocrates 135).

We learn from one of Lysias ‘ speeches (XXVI. Evandrus) of an odd episode in 382. The man originally appointed archon for 382/1, Leodamas, on the oligarchic side in 404 – 403 (Arist. Rh. II. 1400 a 32 – 6), was successfully challenged in his dokimasia by a Thrasybulus (of the deme Collytus, whereas the more famous Thrasybulus was of Stiria; he was a man of Phyle, he was one of the generals tricked in 387, he had been Amphictyon of Delos, one of the men appointed by Athens to administer the sanctuary of Apollo there, and he appears in Aeschin. III. Ctesiphon 138 – 9 in a list of Theban sympathisers). The man appointed as substitute was Evandrus, more implicated in the oligarchy than Leodamas. He was challenged by a friend of Leodamas (Lysias ‘ speech was written for this challenger) and defended by Thrasybulus – and his appointment was upheld. Twenty years after the event involvement with the Thirty could still be cited against a man, but it was clearly not the most important consideration.

Among those who supported the liberation of Thebes in 379/8 were Cephalus and a nephew of Thrasybulus of Collytus (Din. I. Demosthenes 38 – 9); and Thrasybulus served with the men involved in the organisation of the Second Athenian League on the embassy to Thebes of IG ii 2 43 = R&O 22 ~ Harding 35. 72 – 7. Agyrrhius had emerged from gaol in time to be the proposer of the grain - tax law of 374/3 (SEG xlviii 96 = R&O 26); and his nephew Callistratus became one of the major figures of the 370 ‘ s – 360 ‘ s. Diodorus includes in his account of the League ‘ s foundation the appointment as generals of Timotheus, Chabrias and Callistratus (XV. 29. viii), but he may be wrong to include Callistratus among the generals. Callistratus was active in politics in Athens – it was he who was responsible for at any rate the name of the syntaxeis collected after a while from the League members (Theopompus FGrH 115 F 98 = Harding 36) – while Timotheus and Chabrias in the early years commanded Athens ‘ forces. Timotheus was Conon ‘ s son, here beginning his career, while Chabrias was the general most closely linked with Callistratus; both were honoured with statues, Chabrias for his victory off Naxos in 376, Timotheus for Alyzia in 375. Iphicrates was for many years an enemy of Timotheus ([Dem.] XLIX. Timotheus 66): he was sent to fight for Persia against the Egyptians when Chabrias was recalled from fighting for the Egyptians; in 373, when Timotheus was in trouble for not going promptly enough to Corcyra, Iphicrates, back from Egypt, joined Callistratus in prosecuting him ([Dem.] XLIX. Timotheus 9) – and Timotheus took over Iphicrates ‘ position on the Persian side against the Egyptians. In 372 Iphicrates took Callistratus (‘ though not a friend ‘) and Chabrias as fellow generals to Corcyra.

In summer 371 the Athenians were becoming alarmed about Thebes, and invited the Thebans to a peace conference in Sparta. Xenophon names eight Athenian delegates, who seem to have had a range of views, and gives speeches to three: the aristocrat Callias, full of his own importance; Autocles, hostile to Sparta as his family consistently was; and Callistratus, arguing successfully for reconciliation between Athens and Sparta (Xen. Hell. VI. iii). The only previous evidence for Callistratus ‘ hostility to Thebes is that Diodorus has Thebes excluded from the peace of 375 after argument between him and Epaminondas (XV. 38. iii), but that is not to be relied on: it is better to see the Athenians in general as pro - Theban before 371 and anti - Theban after, and Callistratus as one of the first to make the change.

After Leuctra Callistratus had Iphicrates sent to oppose the Thebans ‘ return from the Peloponnese in 370/69 ([Dem.] LIX. Neaera 27), and Iphicrates ‘ lack of success suggests that he was unhappy with that task; Chabrias did better against the Thebans in 368. An Athenian commander in the Peloponnese in 366, Timomachus, was a son - in - law of Callistratus ([Dem.] L. Polycles 48). Callistratus himself was the proposer of the frustrating decree of 369/8 which explained to Mytilene Athens ‘ change of alignment: the justification of opposition to Sparta in the 370 ‘ s survives but the justification of Athens ‘ new policy does not (IG ii 2 107 = R&O 31 ~ Harding 53. 35 sqq.). Not all Athenians accepted the change: in the alliance of 369 with Sparta Cephiosodotus, still afraid of Sparta, insisted on an alternation of command every five days rather than Spartan command on land and Athenian at sea (Xen. Hell. VII. i. 12 – 14). Unfortunately we know nothing about the Athenian delegates to the peace conference in Persia in 367: one, Timagoras, accepted rich gifts from the King, supported Pelopidas and was prepared to accept his proposed terms; the other, Leon, objected and on their return had Timagoras condemned.

In 366 we have the first attested appearance of a man who was to serve often as general during the next forty years, Chares. He was transferred from the Peloponnese for the unsuccessful attempt to recover Oropus for Athens; we do not know how they were connected with him or Oropus, but Callistratus and Chabrias were prosecuted and acquitted in connection with Oropus. The prosecutor was Leodamas, who had opposed Chabrias ‘ honours in 376; Callistratus ‘ defence is said to have inspired the young Demosthenes; Plato is said to have spoken for Chabrias (Arist. Rh. I. 1364 a 19 – 23, Plut. Dem. 5. i – iv, Diog. Laert. III. 23 – 4). Chares then failed in an attempt on Corinth; and in 361/0 he gained a bad reputation for supporting oligarchs in Corcyra. The politician to whom Chares seems to have been closest is Aristophon, active from the democratic restoration until he died at the age of about a hundred in the 330 ‘ s but prominent from the late 360 ‘ s onwards; he was allegedly prosecuted in seventy - five graphai paranomonbut never convicted (Aeschin. III. Ctesiphon 194). At this time, after Chabrias had suppressed the original revolt in Ceos, he was sent back to deal with the further trouble and proposed the surviving decree. In connection with some aspect of this affair he was prosecuted by Hyperides (on whom cf. p. 377) and narrowly acquitted (IG ii 2 111 = R&O 39 ~ Harding 55; schol. Aeschin. I. Timarchus 64 [145 Dilts]; Hyp. I V.Euxenippus 28). He proposed a decree dispatching forces to the north in 36 2 /1 ([Dem.] L. Polycles 4 – 6), and prosecuted Leosthenes when he was defeated by Alexander of Pherae in 361 ([Dem.] LI. Trierarchic Crown 8 – 9).

At some time in the 360 ‘ s Timotheus and Iphicrates were reconciled, and Timotheus ‘ daughter married Iphicrates ‘ son Menestheus ([Dem.] XLIX. Timotheus 66). Both Timotheus and Iphicrates were involved in Athens ‘ wars in the Aegean and the north, though never together. Many generals found themselves prosecuted for their failures in these wars, including Timotheus ([Dem.] XXXVI. Phormio 53).

Callistratus and Chabrias remained active to 362, but in 361 there was major trouble, of which we know only the outcome: Callistratus was prosecuted, probably on a charge of not speaking in Athens ‘ best interests, and in his absence was condemned to death; he appears in exile to have helped the Macedonians to increase their tax revenues ([Arist.] Oec. II. 1350 a 16 – 23); later he risked returning to Athens but was put to death (Hyp. IV. Euxenippus 1 – 2, Lycurg. Leocrates 93). Chabrias left Athens in 361 to fight once more for the Egyptians against Persia.

Familiar names persist to the Social War of 356 – 355. In Athens ‘ attempts to reach a satisfactory agreement with the successors of Cotys in Thrace, Chabrias, back from Egypt, in 358 accepted what Demosthenes called the worst terms yet (but seems not to have suffered for it); Chares in 357/6 achieved the final settlement, of which Demosthenes approved (Dem. XXIII. Aristocrates 163 – 73). In that year Chabrias and Iphicrates were among the generals who swore to the alliance with Carystus after Athens ‘ success in Euboea (IG ii 2 124 = R&O 48 ~ Harding 65. 19 – 23: on the list of generals who swore cf. pp. 274 – 5). In the Social War, in 35 6 /5 Chares was the general defeated off Chios, and Chabrias, not now a general, was killed. In 355 Timotheus, Iphicrates and Menestheus because of the weather refused to join Chares in fighting at Embata, where he was defeated. Chares then joined the Persian rebel Artabazus. Aristophon prosecuted the others; Timotheus was fined and went into exile, Iphicrates and Menestheus were acquitted, and Timotheus and Iphicrates both died soon after (Diod. Sic. XVI. 21, Nep. XI. Iph. 3. iii, XIII. Tim. 3, Isoc. XV. Antid. 129, Din. I. Demosthenes 13 – 14 = III. Philocles 17).

In general, there seems to be more long - term consistency in men ‘ s personal friendships and hostilities (though the reconciliation of Timotheus and Iphicrates warns us not to rely too much on that contention) than in their political stances (though some men remained friends of Thebes when that was no longer fashionable). The major turning - points in Athenian foreign policy are the abandonment of subordination to Sparta in the 390 ‘ s and the realisation that Sparta was less of a threat than Thebes from 371 onwards, and here we see some men making the change sooner than others, though most Athenians did in the end make the change. On internal matters there is no evidence that in the early fourth century there were serious disagreements or that particular men stood for distinctive policies.


On the régime of the Thirty see Hignett , History of the Athenian Constitution , ch. 11 and apps. 13 – 14; Krentz , The Thirty at Athens. On the working of the constitution in the fourth century see in general Sinclair , Democracy and Participation in Athens ; Hansen , The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes.

On laws and decrees see M. H. Hansen , ‘ Nomos and Psephisma in Fourth - Century Athens ‘ , GRBS xix 1978, 315 – 30, ‘ Did the Athenian Ecclesia Legislate After 403/2? ‘ , GRBS xx 1979, 27 – 53 = his The Athenian Ecclesia , 161 – 76(- 177), 179 – 205(- 206). On the enactment of laws in the fourth century see the different views of D. M. MacDowell, ‘ Law - Making at Athens in the Fourth Century bc ‘ , JHS xcv 1975, 62 – 74; Rhodes, ‘ Nomothesia in Fourth - Century Athens ‘ , CQ2 xxxv 1985, 55 – 60; M. H. Hansen, ‘ Athenian Nomothesia in the Fourth Century bc and Demosthenes ‘ Speech Against Leptines ‘ , C & M xxxii 1971 – 80, 87 – 104, ‘ Athenian Nomothesia ‘ , GRBS xxvi 1985, 345 – 71.

For the suggestion that the purpose of assembly pay was to secure a punctual attendance rather than a large attendance see P. Gauthier, ‘ Sur l ‘ institution du misthos del‘ assemblée d‘ Athènes‘ , in Piérart (ed.), Aristote et Ath è nes , 231 – 50. On the widespread continuation of payment for office - holding see M. H. Hansen, ‘ Misthos for Magistrates in Classical Athens ‘ , SO liv 1979, 5 – 22, ‘ Perquisites for Magistrates in Fourth - Century Athens ‘ , C & M xxxii 1971 – 80, 105 – 25 (disbelieving); Gabrielsen ,Remuneration of State Officials in Fourth - Century bc Athens(believing). On the merismos of revenue to different spending authorities see Rhodes , The Athenian Boule , 99 – 101. On the institution of the proedroi see The Athenian Boule , 25 – 7 with (1985 reissue) 306. On the secretaries see The Athenian Boule , 134 – 41; A. S. Henry, ‘ The Athenian State Secretariat and Provisions for Publishing and Erecting Decrees ‘ , Hesp. lxxi 2002, 91 – 118.

Among a great many studies of the trial of Socrates, see Guthrie , A History of Greek Philosophy , iii. 380 – 5; also Stone , The Trial of Socrates (regarding Socrates as an authoritarian élitist who deserved his fate). On politicians of the early fourth century see R. Sealey , ‘ Callistratos of Aphidna and His Contemporaries ‘ , Hist. v 1956, 178 – 203 = his Essays in Greek Politics , 133 – 63; Rhodes, ‘ On Labelling Fourth - Century ‹ Athenian › Politicians ‘ , LCM iii 1978, 207 – 11. On politics and society see Strauss , Athens After the Peloponnesian Wa r .

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