Spectrum of Statuses
This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, namely to provide a thick description of Athenian status, ultimately broaching larger questions about the relationship between Athenian citizenship and civic ideology. “Civic ideology” here refers to the conception that all Athenian citizens—and only Athenian citizens—were autochthonous (that is, descended from ancestors “born from the earth” of Attica) and engaged in the political and military life of the city. This survey of statuses will demonstrate, among other things, that Athenian democracy was both more closed and more open than civic ideology might lead us to think: on the one hand, only some citizen males exercised full citizen rights; on the other, even noncitizens and naturalized citizens were, to varying degrees, partial shareholders in the Athenian polis.
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