Constitution of Athens

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Constitution of Athens,

treatise by Aristotle or a member of his school, written in the late 4th cent. B.C. It was lost until discovered on Egyptian papyrus in 1890. It is a history of the Athenian government and an account of its operation in the time of Aristotle. It is a valuable historical source.


See tr. by H. Rackham (rev. ed. 1961); study by J. H. Day and M. Chambers (1962).

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References in periodicals archive ?
author of The Constitution of Athens, for example, remarks that Solon
The Constitution of Athens states that all the citizens
Constitution of Athens and Plutarch; ten years according to Herodotus).
Although we know from The Constitution of Athens and Plutarch that
(20.) The Constitution of Athens is not an actual constitution, but
Teubneri, 1886), fragments 381-603; hereafter Aristotelis qui ferebantur librorum fragmenta collegit Valentinus Rose; Aristotle's Constitution of Athens and Related Texts, trans.
On this point see Aristotle's Constitution of Athens, 7.
Other references to Herodotus are: Aristotle's Constitution of Athens, 14, where he is cited as the source of one of the hypotheses concerning the identity of Phya, the woman accompanying Pisistratus in his dramatic entrance to Athens; Rhetorica 3.16.1409a27, where his writing is presented as an example of the "free-running" style of prose; Rhetorica 3.16.1417a7 (Herodotus, Historiae, 2.30), where Aristotle refers to the historian's style as an example of the form of narration that discredits one's adversaries.
The next important step forward in the rehabilitation of Kleisthenes was the discovery and publication in 1891 of Aristotle's Constitution of Athens: Chapters 20-22 offer the longest and most detailed account we have of Kleisthenes' work, and Chapter 29 confirms Herodotos' statement that it was Kleisthenes who gave Athens its democratic constitution.
In short, I think it is essentially correct to have the anniversary of Athenian democracy now, and not in 2039 when our grandchildren may meet to celebrate Ephialtes, or back in 1907 when, in the light of the recently discovered Aristotelian Constitution of Athens, our great-grandfathers might have got together to commemorate an alleged Solonian democracy, with its popular courts manned by jurors, its Council of Four Hundred, and the sanction of impeachment to the Council of the Areopagos for overthrowing the democracy.
Our understanding of Athenian democracy is based on Herodotos, Thucydides, Xenophon, Demosthenes, Aischines, the Aristotelian Constitution of Athens and a large number of inscriptions.
Historians who credit Ephialtes with the introduction of Athenian democracy never do it because of what they read in Plutarch or in the Constitution of Athens. Instead, they base their belief on the following two arguments.

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