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Creating a ConstitutionLaw, Democracy, and Growth in Ancient Athens$
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Federica Carugati

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691195636

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691195636.001.0001

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Athens before the Crisis

Athens before the Crisis

(p.21) 1 Athens before the Crisis
Creating a Constitution

Federica Carugati

Princeton University Press

This chapter supplies the necessary context for the discussion of institutional change. First, it provides an account of the early development of Athens' laws and legal institutions. Second, it reconstructs Athens' political and economic structure in the period that preceded the constitutional crisis. Third, it offers an analysis of the reasons behind the collapse of democracy: namely, a combination of external pressures and a crisis of legitimacy rooted in the Assembly's inability to credibly commit to policy. The chapter also selectively reviews elements of Athens' archaic development, focusing in particular on the work of the early lawgivers. It focuses on the polis' fifth-century political system and economy. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the reasons behind the collapse of the fifth-century democracy.

Keywords:   institutional change, Athens, constitutional crisis, fifth-century democracy, Assembly, policy, lawgiver, polis

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