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Center 1: The Agora
 a market and a
meeting place
 people bought
and sold goods,
such as fruit,
bread, tools
and clothing at
the agora
 where citizens,
metics, and trusted slaves set up stalls to sell
 a place where people could exchange news
and opinions
 was near government buildings, therefore many
citizens met in the agora to discuss
government/political issues
Question: Why was the Agora important to the
democracy of ancient Athens? What could you
compare the agora to in modern democracy?
Center 2: Pnyx Hill [pu-NINKS]
 the Assembly would meet at a large open area
at the top of the Pnyx hill
 members of the Assembly would make speeches,
debate, listen, discuss and vote on the Pnyx hill
 A citizen who wanted to address the Assembly
would stand on a rock platform so he could be
seen and heard
 As the meeting place for the Assembly, the
world’s first democratic government, Pnyx Hill
remains an important archaeological site and
tourist destination in Greece today
Question: “Pnyx” is a Greek word that means what?
Center 3: The Assembly
 the Assembly (aka ekklesia)met on the Pnyx Hill
 all citizens, whether rich or poor, had the right to
make a speech and vote
 members of the assembly made decisions on issues
like: war and peace, treaties with other city-states,
religion, taxes, and the proper construction of ships
 members would make speeches, debate, listen,
discuss and finally vote
 Direct democracy- citizens vote directly on
government decisions
 voting was most often a show of hands
 occasionally Assembly members used stones to
represent their decision
 a white stone might indicate that a citizen
supported a certain decision, while a brown stone
indicated the opposite position
 citizens voted by dropping their stones into large
jugs, which were then separated and counted
 the decree or decision was then announced
 Decree- a decision made by people who are in
Question: What is the
difference between
representative democracy
and direct democracy?
Center 4: Ostracizing Members of the
 once a year, members of the Assembly could
vote to exile one person (possibly someone who
was seen as a threat to the state or an enemy of
 members would scratch the name of this person
on a broken piece of pottery called an
“ostrakon”. Broken pottery was plentiful and free,
and was used as a type of ancient scrap paper!
An example of “ostrakon”
 This is where the English word “ostracize” comes
 the officials then sorted the names into separate
piles, and the person with the highest number of
votes was exiled for 10 years
 the person chosen had 10 days to leave the city.
If he attempted to return, the penalty was death
Task: Look up and record the dictionary
definition of “ostrasized”.
Center 5: The Boule (aka The Council of
 was a council of 500 members (hence the name
Council of 500) which met at the Bouleterion
 members were chosen on a yearly basis and
could only serve on the council twice but never
two years in a row
 members were drawn by lot from the group of
Athenian (male) citizens who were over 30 years
 a “lotting” machine (pictured below) helped the
citizens of ancient Athens draw the names of
people at random for the Boule. Lead discs
inscribed with names were put in the slots.
 the Boule made decisions about Athens’ day-today affairs
 members of the Boule were paid, so that citizens
without wealth could afford to devote their time
to government
Question: In what way
does the selection
process for the Boule
(Council of 500)
reflect fairness and
Center 6: Athenian Courts
 If Athenians felt that they had been wronged by
someone, or if they thought someone was not
acting in the best interest of society, they would
bring their complaint to a magistrate
 Magistrates were citizens and officers of the court,
who were chosen by lottery for a one-year term.
 Sometimes magistrates would set a fine as a
punishment. Other times, they would send the case
to trial.
 Male citizens over 30 could be chosen
 A jury usually had between 501 and 1500 people
 Jurors were chosen by lottery on the day of the trial
 Metics could be involved in legal cases, but they
could not serve on juries
Defendant versus Plaintiff
 Defendant: the person who is accused of a crime in
a court case
 Plaintiff: the person who brings a complaint about
another person to court
 A woman defendant in a jury trial needed to have
a male citizen speak for her
 In ancient Athenian times, the plaintiff and the
defendant had to be able to speak well to
convince the jury of their position
 Wealthy Athenians sometimes hired professional
speech writers to help them make more effective
 When both sides had been heard, the jury would
vote on whether the defendant was innocent or
 If the defendant was found guilty, the jury would
vote on the punishment
Klepsydra (Water Clock)
 To ensure that plaintiffs
and defendants has an
equal amount of time
to make their case in
court, water clocks
were used
 Each got the same
amount of water in the
 When the water ran
out, his time for
speaking was over
Questions: 1) Why do you think Athenian jurors were
chosen on the day of the trial?
2) How many jurors sit on a jury in the Canadian court
system today?