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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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The Paths Not Taken

The Paths Not Taken

(p.140) 5 The Paths Not Taken
Creating a Constitution

Federica Carugati

Princeton University Press

This chapter deploys the available comparative and counterfactual evidence to show that, in the absence of the new constitution, Athens' development in the fourth century would have lagged. It discusses the comparative evidence from the Greek polis of Syracuse in Sicily and from Rome under the Republic. Rome and Syracuse experienced crises similar to that of Athens but responded in different ways. The chapter also counterfactually reconstructs Athens' developmental potential under an alternative constitutional option—namely, oligarchy. It identifies the commercial port of Piraeus as central to Athenian prosperity and it shows that, had Athens been ruled by an oligarchy, Piraeus' potential would not have been fully tapped. The chapter concludes that an oligarchic Athens would have looked a lot like a retrenched state with limited growth potential.

Keywords:   constitution, Athens, Greek polis, Syracuse, Rome, oligarchy, Piraeus, retrenched state

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