09 April 2010

Book: The demos as tyrant and ignoramus (in German)

Of possible interest to those able to read books in German: "Der Demos als Tyrann und Banause: Aspekte antidemokratischer Polemik im Athen des 5. und 4. Jahrhunderts v. Chr." (The demos as tyrant and ignoramus: aspects of anti-democratic polemic in 5th and 4th century BC Athens; my rough translation) by Thomas Morawetz (Peter Lang, 2000):


Publisher's description (my translation): "It was surprisingly difficult for anti-democratic elites in Attica to effectively discredit the unloved demos as bearer of democracy. This book wants to outline a consistent transformation of anti-democratic polemic from the 5th through the 4th century BC. While in the 5th century the critics targeted the political style of the entire demos, in the 4th century they were preoccupied ever more deeply with the private life style of the individual citizens. This is demonstrated here, on the one hand, through the development of the concept of the ignoramus (Banause), on the other hand through the history of a linguistic formula still known today: The 'liberty to do as one pleases' was then, according to the available sources, discussed for the first time, with the initial aim to disqualify the demos as tyrant."

Thomas Morawetz is a German journalist. He holds a doctorate in History from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.

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