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Cleisthenes, Father of Democracy, Invented a Form of Government that Has Endured for Over 2,500 Years

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 7:10
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Photo by Leo Von Klenze. A romantic idealized reconstruction of the Acropolis of Athens.

Ancient Athens is best remembered for giving birth to the first democracy in history, a course of action that took many years and several leaders to develop. One of the most prominent figures of that period is without a doubt Cleisthenes, also known as “the father of Athenian democracy.”

Early Life and Rise to Power

Cleisthenes came from an aristocratic Alcmaeonid family of Athens and was born around 570 BC. His father was Megacles, a dominant figure of Athenian politics, and his mother was Agariste, the daughter of Cleisthenes the tyrant of Sicyon, a city west of Corinth. Cleisthenes first came to political prominence when he was made archon (a decorated administrative official) in 525 BC during the reign of the tyrant Hippias. Shortly after, however, his family didn’t continue being favored from the Athenian authorities and as a result Cleisthenes was exiled. Whilst in exile, Cleisthenes claimed support from the sacred oracle at Delphi in order to convince the Spartans to help him remove Hippias from power, as it happened.

Cleisthenes, the father of Greek democracy

Cleisthenes, the father of Greek democracy (Ohiochannel) – Reconstructing the story of humanity’s past


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