Top 10 Ancient Greek Politicians

Along with Egypt and Rome, Greece is considered the greatest of ancient civilizations in the popular culture. It lasted from 6th century BC to the ca. 600 AD. So-called “Classical Greece” is framed by the 5th and 4th centuries BC. The era following the “Classical Greece” was started by the military campaigns of Alexander the Great. The Greek culture was very successful in spreading itself all over the Mediterranean and it was able to heavily influence the Roman Empire despite the fact that the Greek civilization consisted of more than 1500 city-states, very often hostile to each other. Because of the spread of Greek philosophy, it is often said that the ancient Greece laid the foundations of the western civilization and is being called “cradle of Western civilization”. Among other things that Greece gave to the world, few are often highlighted – especially Olympic Games and the democracy, or the “Demokratia”. Here is the list of famous ancient Greek politicians who were building world´s original democracy.

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10. Solon (638 BC – 558 BC)

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We do not know much about Solon as his works survived only in fragments. Nevertheless, it is enough to include him on the list of greatest ancient Greek politicians. He witnessed the political and economic crisis connected to the end of so-called “Archaic period”. His political reforms were based on the decrease of the influence of aristocracy and installation of the system in which any wealthy man was allowed to hold the ruling post. His reforms did not succeed in tackling the immediate crisis but he planted the seeds of democracy and paved the way for the future success of the “Classical Greece”.

9. Diocles of Syracuse (unknown, historical records are given for the period of 413 BC to 408 BC)

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The Diocles of Syracuse was a politician in the city-state of Syracuse at the time of the famous military victory over Athenians in 413 BC. The Diocles was an engine of application of two major measures: “The term limit for the exit of the magistrates” and “The nomination of a group of experts in charge of composing laws”. Another important law came also from the group of lawmakers led by Diocles, it forbid to carry the weapons in agora under the penalty of death.

8. Cleisthenes (born ca. 570 BC)

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Despite being a nobleman, he fully accepted the ideas of Solon and when he helped to overthrow the last dictator of Athens and became the city-state leader, he fully applied democratic principles. After he was given the power, he created the government and introduced the constitution according to his principles.

7. Demosthenes (384 BC – 322 BC)

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As an Athenian ruler, he stood in opposition to Philip II of Macedon and subsequently against Philip´s son Alexander the Great. He was considered to be a great orator and speaker. Cicero himself described him as tho following: “he stands alone among all the orators”. He should not be forgotten among ancient Greek politicians.

6. Echedemos (born ca. 190 BC)

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Echedemos was born to an important noble family of the Athenian aristocracy. Both Greek and Roman historians gave him a credit for his diplomatic efforts during the conflict of Aetholians and Romans in 190 BC when he served as a leader of Athenian embassy.

5. Philocrates (mentioned 340 BC)

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An Athenian lawmaker who is famous among Greek politicians especially because of his important role in negotiating the so-called Peace of Philocrates between Athens and the king Philip II of Macedonia after the battle of Olynthos (348 BC). However, a few years later he was prosecuted for corruption. He was accused of taking bribes from Philip.

4. Demonax (around 550 BC)

0Lucian of SamosataImage Credit: The Lucian of Samosata Project

This one of the ancient Greek politicians is not as famous as many others but he played an important role in the process of stabilization of the state of Cyrenaica. Demonax, a distinguished Mantinean was chosen to help with the reform of Cyrenaica constitution.

3. Themistocles (524 BC – 459 BC)

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Themistocles was a champion of Athenian lower classes. They elected him a ruler in 493 BC and as a leader, he focused on building a strong navy capable of challenging the might of Persian Empire. The military power of Athens allowed the strongest of Greek states to its golden era. Themosticles didn´t make it into the popular culture or common knowledge of those who are not educated in the history of an ancient Greece but he is sure to be named among famous ancient greek politicians.

2. Pericles (495 BC – 429 BC)

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Pericles has a special position among ancient Greek politicians, during his life he was called “the first citizen of Athens”. He was an Athenian leader during the Peloponnesian War and during his era, a lot of iconic Athenian architecture structures were created (including the Parthenon).

1. Plato (ca. 425 BC – ca. 348 BC)

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If you are surprised that on the top of the list of the most famous ancient greek politicians is the philosopher and not a career politician, you should remember that Plato is an author of maybe the most fundamental work of the political theory – a dialogue called The Republic. In it, he defined the desirable character of a city-state.

These ancient Greek politicians listed above are not only representatives of an interesting historical era. They were at the beginning of the democracy and help it to spread its word. For centuries, the democracy was sometimes defeated, sometimes it was victorious and sometimes it lead to such a things as Top 10 Surprising Events in US History were.

Post Author: SparkInList Staff

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