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 The Athenian Assembly     Page Developed By: Lauren Spears   2006

What?
It was the regular gathering of Athenian men, where they listened, discussed and voted on decrees that affected everyday life in Athens
The assembly gave all men who had completed their two years of military training (age of 20)
the right to participate, but excluded women, slaves, and immigrants
The council would make proposals and the assembly would vote upon them and amend them
The estimated male population in the 5th century, meaning the number of men eligible to be in the assembly, was around 40,000-60,000
The actual attendance of the assembly is believed to be considerably lower, as Thucydides once mentioned 5000 people being there, but this is thought to be an exaggeration downwards as it took 6,000 people to make a valid vote
Each citizen in the assembly had the right to speak their mind, but could lose their right to participate by commiting various offenses
Citizens who attended the assembly were paid, which ensured that even the poor were able to take time off to have a say in their government
The original meeting place for the assembly was the open space on top of the hill of the Pynx

The voting on important matters such as impeachment and the approval of formal laws were done by a show of hands, toher times a ballot was used

Historical Significance
Some people were more qualified than others to speak their minds on certain affairs and would be taken more seriously. For example a builder's opinion on the construction of a ship would be listened to more carefully than another man was is not a craftsman, no matter how wealthy or powerful he was
When the assembly discussed issues that would govern the whole city, it didn't matter if the person speaking was a blacksmith or politician, wealthy or poor, everyone's opinion was listened to and taken into consideration
The Assembly was the main instrument of Athenian democracy
It discussed important issues related to the constitution, passed laws and elected military leaders and financial office holders, as well as fo
reign policies (make peace or wage war)


The Pynx, the traditional meeting place of the Assembly

Part of a ballot box for the assembly, found in the ancient Agora. 3rd century B.C.




Overview of Athens: #4 is the Pynx

 

Related Links

-http://www.siu.edu/~dfll/classics/Johnson/HTML /L10.html

-www1.fhw.gr/.../en/ politics/341kyriarchia.html

-www.fhw.gr/.../politics/ constitution/ph01s.jpg

-http://www.stoa.org/projects/demos/

article_democracy_overview?page=
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   REVIEW QUESTIONS


  1. Who was allowed to vote and be part of the Assembly?
    1. Everyone who was wealthy enough to afford it
    2. All men who were born in, or immigrated to Athens
    3. Women and men who were born in Athens, but not slaves and immigrants
    4. All men were eligible after their 2 years of military training, excluding slaves, women and immigrants



  2. Who had the right to speak their mind in the assembly?
    1. The wealthy men
    2. Those who lived within the city boundaries
    3. Everyone who was part of assembly
    4. The men who had been part of the assembly for at least 4 years



  3. How many people in the assembly did it take to pass valid vote?
    1. 6,000
    2. 5,000
    3. 12,000
    4. 40,000



  4. How were people compensated for taking time off to go to assembly meetings?

     


    1. They were given a medal
    2. They were paid
    3. Their name was carved in a stone list
    4. Each memeber was given a horse


     

    5.  Where was the original meeting place of the assembly?

     


    1. Pynx
    2. The parthanon
    3. Knossus
    4. White House