Death to Tyrants!: Ancient Greek Democracy and the Struggle by David A. Teegarden

By David A. Teegarden

Loss of life to Tyrants! is the 1st finished research of historic Greek tyrant-killing legislation--laws that explicitly gave members incentives to "kill a tyrant." David Teegarden demonstrates that the traditional Greeks promulgated those legislation to harness the dynamics of mass uprisings and look after well known democratic rule within the face of anti-democratic threats. He offers precise old and sociopolitical analyses of every legislations and considers various matters: what's the nature of an anti-democratic danger? How might a variety of provisions of the legislation support pro-democrats counter these threats? And did the legislation work?

Teegarden argues that tyrant-killing laws facilitated pro-democracy mobilization either by way of encouraging courageous contributors to strike the 1st blow opposed to a nondemocratic regime and through convincing others that it used to be secure to stick with the tyrant killer's lead. Such laws hence deterred anti-democrats from staging a coup by means of making sure that they might be crushed by means of their numerically enhanced competitors. Drawing on glossy social technological know-how versions, Teegarden seems to be at how the establishment of public legislation impacts the habit of people and teams, thereby exploring the root of democracy's patience within the historical Greek global. He additionally offers the 1st English translation of the tyrant-killing legislation from Eretria and Ilion.

By reading the most important old Greek tyrant-killing laws, loss of life to Tyrants! explains how definite legislation enabled voters to attract on collective energy to be able to protect and defend their democracy within the face of inspired competition.

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In short, pluralistic ignorance was quickly replaced by common knowledge, and that knowledge allowed the 26 Kuran (1989: 60; 1991: 20). In Kuran’s model, each person’s action is as significant as the action of any other individual. In reality, of course, that is not the case: a prominent person’s act, in most circumstances, is more influential than the action of an obscure one. That important nuance does not invalidate the operative dynamic of Kuran’s model: one need only to suppose that, should an influential individual join in a protest, an ordinary individual would consider that act to be equivalent to, say, the actions of two ordinary people.

As a result, nobody publicly opposes the regime, because each person thinks that an insufficient number of people will follow him. In other words, the expected external cost incurred by action is too high. The concepts developed by Kuran make it relatively easy to account for the inability of the Athenians to respond to the coup d’état in 411, in spite of the fact that a significant majority of the population supported the democracy. As noted above, the oligarchs implemented a two-pronged plan of intimidation (including assassination) and propaganda (promising Persian assistance against the Spartans in return for a change of regime).

In particular, the theory explains how the behavior of one individual affects the behavior of other individuals and thus the behavior of an entire group. 8 Thucydides, a primary source for the coup and its accompanying intrigue, wrote that those influential men received a message from Alcibiades, the infamous Athenian then in exile and likely residing with Tissaphernes (the Persian satrap of Sardeis): He desired to return to Athens, he apparently told them, but only if that city were governed by an oligarchy and not the “base democracy” that had exiled him three years earlier.

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