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Death to Tyrants!Ancient Greek Democracy and the Struggle against Tyranny$
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David A. Teegarden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691156903

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691156903.001.0001

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Conclusion

Conclusion

Chapter:
(p.215) Conclusion
Source:
Death to Tyrants!
Author(s):

David A. Teegarden

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691156903.003.0008

This concluding chapter provides a simple conceptual framework within which to interpret the long and complex history of tyrant-killing legislation. The framework has two parts. The first focuses on the dynamics of learning and innovation in Athens. The second briefly explores the likely dynamics of learning and adoption outside Athens. Tyrants, ancient as well as modern, fear the collective power of their people perhaps more than anything else. They have accordingly devised and implemented sophisticated practices that work to atomize the population—to prevent the people from doing what they actually want to do. Over 2,400 years ago, however, the Athenians invented a tool—tyrant-killing law—that enabled pro-democrats to draw upon their collective strength and mobilize against nondemocratic regimes despite whatever anti-mobilization practices they might have implemented. And like great technological innovations throughout history, it spread as the citizens of other poleis adopted it in order to gain control of their own political destiny. That helped secure the world's first democratic age.

Keywords:   tyrant-killing law, tyrant-killing legislation, ancient Greeks, Athens, democrats, democracy

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