Life and Government in Athens

Overview

In the fifth century B.C., Athens, the leading city of ancient Greece, experienced a golden age in the areas of literature, philosophy, politics, and art, among others. To a large degree, these accomplishments were made possible by a government that was based on the principle of demokratia, or rule by the people. Athenian direct democracy produced great achievements, but also often led to great injustices, as in the case of the philosopher Socrates.

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Victor Davis Hanson, the Wayne and Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History at Hillsdale College, is also a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of classics emeritus at California State University, Fresno. He earned his B.A. at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his Ph.D. in classics from Stanford University. In 2007, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal, and in 2008, he received the Bradley Prize from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. He is a columnist for National Review Online and Tribune Media Services, and has published in several publications, including Commentary, the Claremont Review of Books, The New Criterion, and the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of numerous books, including The Savior Generals: How Five Great Commanders Saved Wars That Were Lost - From Ancient Greece to Iraq, A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War, and The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.