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Cristheni reform: a symbol of formation of Athenian state and formal establishment of democracy

The Christian Reform was a political reform in Athens during early era of city-states of ancient Greece. This reform was inherited from reform of Solon and reform of Peisistratus, followed by era of Pericles, which was a critical period for formation of democratic politics of Athens. His reforms not only marked formal establishment of Athenian democracy, but also formally transformed Athens from a clan and tribal union into a national organization.

1. Divide administrative division into regions: destroy basis of power of nobility.

Athens is located in south of Attica peninsula, where four Ionian tribes originally lived. It is said that Theseus united tribes of Attica into a tribal union, collectively called Athens, and Athens began transition from era of clans to era of city-state. The development of productive forces contributes to differentiation of society. Athens from 10th to 8th centuries before that was divided into three main classes: nobles, businessmen and commoners, which later formed a lowland faction, a coastal faction and a mountainous faction. The basis of survival of nobles is clan and land, and they use their privileges to exploit and oppress common people. The struggle between commoners and nobles has always influenced democratic process in Athens.

Cristheni reform: a symbol of formation of Athenian state and formal establishment of democracy

In early years of Athens, reforms of Solon and Pisistratus were carried out, which contributed to formation of Athenian democracy, but also had great limitations. Solon was a representative of industrial and commercial class, his reforms followed middle line, but limited political and economic privileges of nobility, fundamental interests and living conditions of nobility remained unchanged. Peisistratus became a tyrant with support of common people, he used political power to suppress power of nobility, and his achievements in building system were very limited. In 510 BC with help of Sparta, nobles who fled overseas returned and overthrew power of tyrant.

Cristheni reform: a symbol of formation of Athenian state and formal establishment of democracy


Therefore, if you want to fundamentally weaken interests of nobles, you must start with land and tribal tribes. In 508 BC Christina, a representative of industrial and commercial class, overthrew newly established aristocratic oligarchy and began to implement democratic reforms. First, he abolished four clans and tribes of Athens and divided Athens into 10 administrative districts. The specific measure is to divide Athens into 30 districts: 10 districts are in suburbs of Athens, which in past were main districts of Plains School; 10 districts are in coastal zone, which were main districts of coastal school. in past; in past it was main area of ​​the mountain faction. Each three districts form an administrative district, but these three districts must be suburbs of Athens, coastal zone and interior mountain zone, and it is stipulated that districts that were originally a tribe cannot be connected . This kind of division is called "Trinity District", which can not only destroy basis of aristocratic rule, but also help to calm the violent partisanship in Athens.

Cristheni reform: a symbol of formation of Athenian state and formal establishment of democracy


The administrative division reforms also caused a large number of foreigners and even some of slaves who migrated to Athens to become new Athenian citizens, increasing number of citizens and weakening clan's blood base. After Christina's reform, original tribal alliance officially dissolved and city-state of Athens was formally established.

Second, reform of institutions of city-state: it provides civilians with convenient opportunities to participate in affairs of national government.

During era of clans, three main institutions gradually emerged in Athens: consul, assembly of citizens, and assembly of nobles (also known as senate and assembly of elders). With division of society, power of aristocratic assembly was constantly strengthened, endowed with highest legislative power, judicial power and right to elect judicial consuls, while assembly of citizens exists only in name.

During Solon period, status of citizens' assembly was restored, making it highest decision-making body, and power of aristocratic assembly was initially limited. Solon also established Council of Four Hundred, elected from four tribes, as a permanent body of Citizens' Assembly. According to property, Solon divided citizens into four categories and established that first three categories could participate in a council of 400 people, which allowed industrial and commercial classes to participate in public affairs and violated nobility's monopoly on power. Solon also established a jury, making judiciary independent.

Cristheni reform: a symbol of formation of Athenian state and formal establishment of democracy

Solon's reforms laid foundations of Athenian democracy, and these institutions survived time of Peisistratus. However, power of noble council is still relatively great, and further reforms are needed to completely weaken noble council. After reset of 10 administrative districts, Christeny expanded 400-member council to a 500-member council on that basis, consisting of 50 people selected by lottery from each district. The establishment of a Council of 500 provided a convenient way for civilians to participate in government affairs. Every citizen has two chances to be elected during their lifetime. All council expenses are covered by state so that citizens can participate in politics.

Cristheni reform: a symbol of formation of Athenian state and formal establishment of democracy

Power of Athens

In past, consul was chief executive of Athens, and 9 people were involved in civil affairs, military affairs and justice. The original consuls were to be served by nobles and served for life, with later term limits. After Solon's reforms, phenomenon of monopolization of consuls by nobles was overcome, and industrial and commercial class could also serve as consuls. At beginning of Chrisfeni's rise to power, it was stipulated that consul should be elected by citizens' assembly, then candidates would be chosen by council, and finally by lottery. This made it possible for civilians to also serve as consuls.

In late period of Christfen's reign, a Committee of Ten Generals was created, each tribe chose a commander, and ten generals were chosen by lot as leader. general. The establishment of Council of Ten Generals divided military power of consuls, which led to an internal and external division of labor in country's highest executive body. The position of general follows tradition of citizens serving at their own expense: not only is there no salary, but you also have to pay for equipment. Therefore, only those who have rich family property can be competent. The post of general can only be elected, not by raffle, and can be re-elected.

Cristheni reform: a symbol of formation of Athenian state and formal establishment of democracy

Most of power of public institutions in Athens is on a downward trend. The power monopoly of nobility is constantly decreasing, industrial and commercial class has gained more rights and interests, and common people can also participate in politics. . However, state apparatus in Athens always supported interests of upper class, including nobility, industrialists and businessmen from upper class. The establishment of Committee of Ten Generals is to protect fundamental rights and interests of upper class, while general power of state is handed down.

Third, implementation of pottery expulsion law: a means of preventing tyrants

In ancient Greek city-states, there are roughly three models of government, namely aristocracy, democracy, and tyranny. Among these, tyrannical politics is often a system that emerged from transition from aristocracy to democracy in a city-state. While tyrant model has contributed to development of democracy in a certain period of time, it also significantly threatens democratic politics and interests of citizens. In history of Athens there was tyrannical rule of Peisistratus.

Cristheni reform: a symbol of formation of Athenian state and formal establishment of democracy

The era of Christenus was only after tyrant ruled Peisistratus, and awareness of dangers of tyrant was very clear. To prevent reappearance of tyrants in Athens, Christina enacted a "law to expel pottery". In simple terms, citizens voted by writing down on clay tablets names of those who, in their opinion, threatened interests of city-state. When number of votes reaches more than 6000, vote is considered valid and person with most votes will be banished from Athens for 10 years. Of course, city-state can recall exiles at any time when necessary. During his exile, his property was under protection of city-state.

Cristheni reform: a symbol of formation of Athenian state and formal establishment of democracy

The promulgation of law on expulsion of pottery contributes to crackdown on careerists and politicians, and also helps to curb behavior of officials, which is a guarantee of a democratic system. This law is mainly aimed at descendants of Peisistratus, so in time of Christina it was not really applied. After war of Hippocrates, law on expulsion of pottery began to be officially applied, which was not repealed until 417 BC. A total of 10 people were deported during this period.

The sharding method also has serious drawbacks. Since his right to vote belongs to all citizens, he is largely influenced by emotions of citizens and it is difficult to make a correct judgment. Many citizens are illiterate and do not know quality of officials, so mistakes in voting process are inevitable. Law reform has even become a tool for politicians to eliminate dissidents and will instead threaten democratic system. Therefore, use of pottery method of reference will not be frequent. In 417 BC Giberbol, a representative of populist faction, was exiled and killed by aristocratic faction abroad. After that, common people believed that pottery expulsion law was just a farce, so law was repealed.

Cristheni reform: a symbol of formation of Athenian state and formal establishment of democracy

The reason why Christtheni's reforms are said to have formally shaped Athenian democracy is because his reforms allowed common people to participate in national politics, while Solon allowed only industrial and merchant classes to participate in politics. Of course, in conditions of time, his reforms must have many shortcomings, for example, women and slaves do not have right to citizenship. On this point, editor believes that we cannot go beyond then past and demand harshly from ancients, his reforms were considered best at that time. After Christhenes, Athenian democracy continued to develop, reaching its peak after Hippo-Persian Wars.

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