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Athens shift from aristocracy to democracy

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Pretorian
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    Posted: 29 Jul 2019 at 08:20
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Start another thread on the bull, if you haven't already and I'll contribute to it.  The "Apollonian" Apollo really comes in with Pindar, the Theban poet.  Before that Apollo was a more martial god, see Iliad for example, or even a chthonic god, Apollo Oulios.  Also, Homer is not agrarian, but Hesiod, with the 'Works and Days' is.  Hesiod was traditionally thought superior to Homer, as peace was to war.  "Homer" is the oldest of Greek literature, although since he comes out of an oral tradition, that might make it difficult to date him.  Hesiod is next oldest, and Pindar is the next oldest after Hesiod, as far as complete works we have.  That is not to say we don't have fragments older than Pindar, basically quotes, some substantial, that are preserved in other works.

Themistocles is an amazing Athenian leader, basically he was responsible for the shift in Athens, away from an aristocratic (oligarchic) calvary of elites, and an army of citizen hoplites to a fleet where the individual citizens became more important as those who crewed the triremes.  He was instrumental in creating the Athenian major portion of the fleet that defeated the Persians at Salamis.  He later got caught up in scandals (real or perceived), and eventually went over to Persia becoming a local ruler, they appreciated a good man, unlike Athens. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Athena Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jul 2019 at 10:25
I am so glad you mentioned what military technology has to do with political, social and economic order.

It might be important to know that Athens adopted Sparta's idea of all men defending the city and in return have a part in making political decisions.  Athens didn't have money for defense.  When it was invaded, the citizens with nothing to loose simply left the city and waited for the invaders to leave.  Only the large land owners had money to pay for men willing to fight to defend their land and wealth, or to go with them to plunder some other city.   Mostly the warriors were paid with the booty.  But this would not work with a navy attacking enemies in boats that would sink and carry anything of value to the bottom of the sea.   And it did not work with invading forces the size of the Persian invasions.   The invasions of Persia were a new kind of warfare, not the raiding parties of old.   

Sparta on the other hand was nothing but a military force.  Every male was trained for military service and expected to live in the barracks until retirement.  A man's first loyalty was to his military mentor and those he fought with, not a wife and family.   Their military technology demanded every man hold his position in the phalanx.  Mothers told their sons it was better for them to be carried home on a shield than to  be known as a coward who ran.  Those disgraced in military action would never again be welcome in their towns, but would be at the bottom of the pecking order.  The social pressure was so strong, a Spartan fought to the death.  And all of Sparta's needs were provided for by helots, conquered neighbors forced into slavery, leaving the Spartan male with nothing to do but serve in the military.  This is totally different from Athens.  

Pericles'   funeral oration is our best recorded of what made Athens different.


Athens got men to agree to defending Athens with a promise of political rights, but it did not go as far as Sparta to provide all the needs of these men, and they did not house them in barracks but left them with their families and all the responsibility of caring for their families.  The closest Athens came to helping families was to create government jobs, so those without land could earn a wage and still have the time and energy to participate in governing affairs, and such participation in assemblies was mandatory.   Athena's temple became a tourist attraction spreading the new social order of democracy and they had a university that attracted intellectuals and also added to Athens economy.   

I am frustrated with getting information about Apollo.  As I understand Apollo is an old god who was transformed by Hellenism into a god of knowledge and bureaucratic matters such as writing constitutions.  This would have come with Athena's transition into the goddess of Liberty and Justice and Defender of those who stand for Liberty and Justice when her new temple was built.  That is both Apollo and Athena rise in importance with Athens' shifts from an aristocracy to a democracy.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jul 2019 at 15:50
Apollo was important to all Greeks.  I think it was Winkelman who during the Mid/Late 1700s described Greece as 'all sweetness and light.'   (Apollonian).  Nietzsche would later make a distinction between the Apollonian and the Dionysian.  This can be a useful way of looking at it, but Classicists have a complaint against Nietzsche,  Nietzsche did not make a reasoned argument with citations and so forth.  Nietzsche is brilliant, but the people who followed him, trying to do that same kind of forceful argument were not brilliant.  But I don't even know that Athens had a major temple to Apollo, Delphi and Delos were the main centers of Apollo worship.  Delphi preferred the Persians to win.  That probably set back the worship of Apollo some, and opened the way for a more free thinking Athens.

All able citizens (male) would be responsible for defending the polis (Greek city-state), although they may in many cases hire mercenaries as well.  But, the aristocracy (oligarchy) could afford horses and fancy armor and be calvary.  Aristocracy like that, and it does make them important in a society.  When it came to triremes, the calvary ('knights') became obsolete.  With its navy, Athens could hide behind its walls, and make naval excursions.

Early on (Archaic period), Sparta had a strong poetry tradition, but the enslavement of the Messanians (helots), created a kind of reactionary culture, and that kind of sapped the artistic vitality that earlier Spartan culture had.  But, in Homer, you have the two brothers, Agememnon of Mycenae, and Menelaus of Sparta, well originally they probably were both from Sparta, because Sparta had a dual kingship (two kings).  Helen is a minor goddess in Sparta, that is (from my understanding) how you got a wife in Sparta, kidnapping the bride, of course, both families were in on it, and the future bride, probably knew (and was okay with) that happening.  Of course, all manuscripts that we have from antiquity are from Athens, Athens did not (always) get along with Sparta, and so Athens probably rewrote both the Iliad and the Odyssey.  We also know there were different manuscripts from other places, besides Athens (and Sparta), but none of them survive.  Oh, the Athenian aristocrats liked Sparta, and the Spartan constitution by Lycurgus was highly thought of.  Writing constitutions was not for the Greeks, a "bureaucratic" matter, but one of divine inspiration.  
 Also, don't think of Athena as a goddess of liberty and justice, unless your getting that from particular ancient sources.  Athena is Athena, Themis is justice, and I am not very comfortable about bringing in liberty which is more of an Enlightenment notion.  The Greeks believed in slavery, and I don't think they would care for anyone preaching "liberty" to their slaves.  Gods and goddesses pick up new titles and characteristics like dogs pick up fleas, so there may be some ancient source that equates Athena to Justice.  Mythology is not limited by what we would consider contradictions, part of that is the fact that myth is hundreds, if not thousands of years old.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Athena Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jul 2019 at 02:45
 LOL  
Quote Gods and goddesses pick up new titles and characteristics like dogs pick up fleas,..

Athena was known for her strategical skill in warfare.  She was also in favor of patriarchy and that means she would not stand for the liberty of women.  However, we could say Athenians stood for liberty and justice as they understood it.  If you are not "one of us" then what happens to you doesn't matter, but as long as you are "one of us" then we are brothers and we defend each other, if we do argue and compete against each other.  LOL  It is all in the family and that is okay, but women and slaves are not one of us and therefore they are not our equals, but they are there to serve us like the ox.  Aristotle equates having a wife with having a slave and an ox. Big smile  And the US which stood for liberty and justice took the words of Aristotle as seriously as the bible, thanks to Scholasticism- education controlled by the church.  

I think these books "Gods in Every Man" and "Goddesses in Everywoman" by Shinoda Bolen M.D. are vital to our understanding of humans.  She explains each god and goddess as an archetype, and her books are a brilliant  psychological explanation of being human.  It is her book that made me realize the archetype of Athena is the goddess of Liberty, Justice, and Defender of those who defend Liberty and Justice.   We know her as our Statue of Liberty, holding a book because literacy is vital to our liberty.  She is our Lady of Justice who once stood in many court rooms holding a scale because justice is balanced with compassion and wisdom.  And we can see her in the mural in the US Capital Building brandishing a sword, and this image is called the Spirit of America, where she is pictured with other gods.   Poetically we could say they hold the Sword of Justice which is explained in the Holy Grail stories.  Sometimes poetry tells us more of reality than our list of facts.  

Apollo is explained in "Gods in Everyman".  I have notice what kind of god he is, depends on the point of view of the writer.  Those who are into philosophy are more likely to say he is a god of reason.  I have read Apollo became the god of reason when Athens was in turmoil as Athena was changed after the war with Persia, and also as China produced brilliant philosophy during a time of war.  That is when we face big problems, we are also likely to have the most brilliant thinkers, unless a god of Abraham religion is standing in the way of original thought and the word of God can not be changed, without another prophet from this god to correct the old teachings.  


Edited by Athena - 31 Jul 2019 at 02:58
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Aug 2019 at 15:17
Look up lady Liberty; and Athena on wikipedia.  The French Revolution definitely associated Athena with Freedom.  But, I don't think you will find (Athena=Liberty) explicitly expressed before that.  I think every society equates itself with justice, well maybe not the Soviets, but that is a kleptocracy, and there are other kleptocracies which call for justice, but only in a cynical fashion.  Or don't look them up, if you don't want to, if your understanding works for you, you might not wish to disturb that.  Seriously, I mean that.  Jungians can be useful in understanding such things, for mythology, I am more of go direct to the ancient sources.  
 One question I ask myself, is that if you went back to 5th century BC, would an Athenian know what you were talking about if you said Athena is the goddess of Liberty and/(or) Justice?  Or maybe, how long would it take for the Athenian to understand that you were talking about Athena, when you talked about the goddess of liberty and/(or) justice?
  
A fair amount of what I read is ancient poetry, usually in translation though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Athena Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Aug 2019 at 02:40
Suggestion, read the first and last paragraphs and skip all the verbiage in between unless you want more explanation.  

Yes, the Greeks would have totally understood how Athena and Apollo changed everything.  As I said, Athena's new temple explained all this in murals.   That was the moment of Athens shift from aristocracy to democracy.  This shift was a long time coming.  It began with philosophers asking questions such as "how do the gods resolve their differences".  You may notice the early stories are all power struggles and the most powerful in any conflict would get his way.  But eventually the philosophers decided the gods argue until they have a consensus on the best reasoning.  

This makes democracy rule by reason.  Democracy is an imitation of the gods arguing until they have a consensus on the best reasoning.  This could not happen without adjusting the role Apollo and Athena played in the pantheon.  Athena's temple  taught the world about democracy with murals and Apollo became a god of reason.   Apollo's shift goes with Pythagoras realizing the connection between math and music.  You know Apollo and his lyre, a god of music, and Hippocrates saying it isn't the gods that make people sick but an imbalance in body fluids.   

The genius of Athens is they questioned cause and effect with materialist notions and began pulling away from superstitious notions.  

Quote The 6th century BC started the first day of 600 BC and ended the last day of 501 BC.

This century represents the peak of a period in human history popularly known as Axial Age. This period saw the emergence of five major thought streams springing from five great thinkers in different parts of the world: Buddha and Mahavirain India, Zoroaster in Persia, Pythagoras in Greece and Confucius in China. Pāṇini, in India, composed a grammar for Sanskrit, in this century or slightly later.[1] This is the oldest still known grammar of any language.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6th_century_BC

 


It takes only one traveler such as Pythagoras to spread knowledge from one place to another and people were traveling a lot!  I think our prejudice favoring the Greeks and Rome may distort our world view?   

The advent of "legalism" in China may have been exclusive to China or maybe reality is more mystical than we want to admit, but China did attempt law that treated all equally and was based on reason rather than superstition.   But legalism was based on the idea that humans were seriously flawed and must have strong authority over them.  Whereas, in Athens they believed humans could be like the gods, and this becomes rule by reason with liberty, instead of authority over the people.   The Greek relationship with the gods was different, so when the gods stopped resolving their differences with power struggles and began arguing through their differences they got something different from China's legalism, which was a parent over a child, coming from China's ancestor worshiping.  

We may note Locke said the authority of kings might be okay if they didn't think of their subjects as children they must rule over.  Europe having a Christian foundation and God Father we must obey, and this God determining who will rule and who will serve.  Athens gives us a history of humans who become adults capable of ruling themselves.  This is the importance of Athena's temple and how she are Apollo were connected with the powers of reason.  We are as the gods, because we have the power of reason.  WE HAVE LIBERTY.  But education for technology is not transforming our young into adults, and we left moral training to the church, so we are in trouble.   










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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2019 at 14:02
Athena was a goddess of warfare, focused on strategy and the intellectual aspect.  Ares is the god of warfare but moreso of rage and anger.  But, Athena is also the goddess of crafts and weaving, faced off against the mortal Arachne, Arachne lost in a contest of weaving, and Athena hung her on her own weaving.  Along with Hephaestus, Athena is the deity of making things.  When Prometheus stole fire, he also stole crafts for mankind, weaving is the main task of women.  So Athena had aspects for both men and women.

Athena was a virgin goddess, but in some mystic (Orphic??) stories, Athena has a magic pool like Hera and Aphrodite, for restoring her virginity.  Greek mythos is full of contradictory stories, which is why I think that archetypes is not always the best explanation of what is happening for Greek mythos. 

Athens was ruled by the gods, just like all other Greek cities.  There were a few atheists, very few, and they, like Diagoras of Melos, were often hunted down.  Socrates was convicted and sentenced to death for impiety and corrupting the youth.  Modern Philosophers can't imagine how powerful custom and tradition was in antiquity.

One of my favorite aspects of Apollo is Apollo Smintheus, the mouse god.  On one hand, Apollo Helios is (a version of Helios) and is the sun god.  Mouse to sun god, also Delphic, Delic, Paeon, Hyperboreas, Hyakinthios,  I am forgetting a few aspects. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Athena Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2019 at 02:39
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Athena was a goddess of warfare, focused on strategy and the intellectual aspect.  Ares is the god of warfare but moreso of rage and anger.  But, Athena is also the goddess of crafts and weaving, faced off against the mortal Arachne, Arachne lost in a contest of weaving, and Athena hung her on her own weaving.  Along with Hephaestus, Athena is the deity of making things.  When Prometheus stole fire, he also stole crafts for mankind, weaving is the main task of women.  So Athena had aspects for both men and women.

Athena was a virgin goddess, but in some mystic (Orphic??) stories, Athena has a magic pool like Hera and Aphrodite, for restoring her virginity.  Greek mythos is full of contradictory stories, which is why I think that archetypes is not always the best explanation of what is happening for Greek mythos. 

Athens was ruled by the gods, just like all other Greek cities.  There were a few atheists, very few, and they, like Diagoras of Melos, were often hunted down.  Socrates was convicted and sentenced to death for impiety and corrupting the youth.  Modern Philosophers can't imagine how powerful custom and tradition was in antiquity.

One of my favorite aspects of Apollo is Apollo Smintheus, the mouse god.  On one hand, Apollo Helios is (a version of Helios) and is the sun god.  Mouse to sun god, also Delphic, Delic, Paeon, Hyperboreas, Hyakinthios,  I am forgetting a few aspects. 

So what is the intention of your explanation of the gods?  It seems your aim was very Christian?  To prove they were no more than superstitious notions that we can dismiss?    I think that is a mistake caused by Christianity, regardless of if a person is a Christian or not because of how strongly Christianity influences our consciousness and society, and that is very detrimental to our democracy.  

Sparta and Athens had very different relationships with the gods.  Athens was ordered by family order like the gods.  Sparta was ordered by military order and was a socialist military state extremely different from Athens that did not provide for citizens beyond creating as many jobs as they could for citizens without enough property (including slaves) for an income.  

Those jobs were not possible before the war with Persia because Athens didn't have the money of those jobs, nor a treasury for defense, before that war.  After the war, when Athena's temple was rebuilt, it held the treasury for the defense of Athens.  Athena, Athens, war, and wealth were brought together in that war.  

The difference between Athens and Sparta is pretty important to our arguments about military spending and social/economic order.  I see the forum has a thread about socialism not being the answer.  Where is our national wealth going?  Is it going to the people and development of our national parks and tourism,  or national defense?  Yes, we have an increase in social services, and this has meant many jobs, but well- this is getting off topic but I want to leave people with some questions based on the differences between Athens and Sparta.  

How could any city state or nation be ruled by gods?   I don't care how ignorant the masses are, it is obvious which humans have  power and which ones do not.  A god might shake the earth or bless us with a bountiful harvest, and we may believe what we do influences the gods, but day to day, it is humans ruling and we know that!  Always they have used stories to justify the power of those who have power and the lack of power of those who do not have power.  Now what do you think happened to the understanding of the gods when Athens went from a aristocracy to a democracy?   


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Athena Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2019 at 02:44
My understanding of the role Athena plays in democracy comes from Donald Kagan's book "Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy".  As the Christian god has different aspects, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Athena had different aspects.  She also appeared in different guises, Athena Parthenos (fertility), Athena Polis (the people and their purpose), and Athena Promachos (war and wealth).    When the defense treasury went into her temple Athena Promachos was a major shift in the purpose of the people.  Exactly as the US that lived for a love of God and is now living for a love of military might and wealth.  

I would say a major problem for our democracy is not understanding the role Athena and Apollo play in democracy.  Athena, in a round about way, empowered every male citizen, when the defense of Athens required them to win the war with Persia, but as we can see in our democracy, our freedom and equality won in war now enslaves us to war.  Apollo the god of music and creativity, who became the god of reason, is desperately needed.   Not for the science of war, but for the purpose of living by reason, not might.   That is Obama (slow reasoning) not Trump (impulsive action).  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2019 at 04:33
When the term "democracy" is used by Aristotle, it probably has a somewhat negative connotation.  rule of the many, the hoi polloi, "the mob."  Other philosophers and historians used "isonomia" equality of the law.  But, one term caught on, the other did not.  Athena is linked to Athens and thus to Greek democracy.  Apollo has a great but more vague connection with Greek poleis (city-states) in general, he gets to be associated with reason, but at the same time reason becomes more limited, more prosaic in the hands of the philosophers.

I wouldn't compare the aspects of Athena to the trinity or the triune God (three in one).  I have been reading about the trinity lately, and it is god awfully complex, Athena or Apollo is much more straightforward, no need to complicate it.  Or if you want to compare Athena to the trinity, try to figure out what the trinity means first.  I mean, one has a trinity in Hinduism, of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, but besides there being three elements in each, it is not really the same thing as the Christian trinity.
If you look at Joseph Campbell, he would probably consider the Christian trinity as deficient because it doesn't fit into archetypes as cleanly as, say, the Hindu, but they are not really trying to do the same thing.

But, it is good to remember the titles and different aspects of Athena, we talk about "Athena" as if that was one thing, the Greeks on the other hand, probably had these aspects in the back of their minds when they talked about the goddess (or a god).


Edited by franciscosan - 05 Aug 2019 at 04:37
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