Athenian Patronage and Active Political Participation


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  • アテナイのパトロネジと積極的政治参加
  • アテナイ ノ パトロネジ ト セッキョクテキ セイジ サンカ

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From the late fifth century, those who participated regularly in politics as quasi-professional politicians mamly came from wealthy families This was because politicians received no remuneration for their 'active political activities', such as moving decrees and bringing accusations, and they could not engage in their own work themselves while they were engaged in these political activities Moreover they were required to perform liturgies and sometimes faced the danger of being prosecuted by their political rivals and being heavily fined In addition to these economic aspects, those who belonged to the upper class had an advantage with regard to political knowledge and information Only in exceptional cases did men from the middle or lower class have any chance to learn rhetorical skill, for getting a rhetorical education required considerable expense It also cost money to get a speech written by a logographer Other fields of political knowledge and information (e g news on foreign affairs, knowledge about finance) were also nearly concentrated in the hands of those who were constantly engaged in politics or had access to the necessary resources, that is, men from a rich family or from a family of influence traditionally Despite these circumstances, however, some sources show that not a few citizens from the middle or lower class did some active political activities Some acted regularly, others occasionally How could they become active in politics ? Many of them had some relations with the wealthy citizens or the political leaders They took part in political activities through what's called 'patronage' They could get economic and political support from their patrons And then they performed active political activities reciprocally for their patrons Besides they could get necessary information and knowledge about their political activities from their patrons without leaving their own work for a long time In some cases, the Athenian citizens recognized them as politicians on the basis of their patron's influence Thus it was patronage that enabled and prompted citizens from the middle or lower class to be active, even if occasionally, in the politics of the Athenian democracy, where economic constraints and the concentration of political knowledge and information ensured that quasi-professional politicians played central roles According to M H Hansen, in addition to the political leaders, there was an important group of politically minded citizens who were active, even to the extent of proposing decrees, but not regularly And these citizens amounted to some 300-600 at any given meeting of the ecclesia If the circumstances under which the patronage was employed are taken into account, it is possible to guess that most of the group might be consisted of citizens from the middle or lower class Then much more citizens from the middle or lower class might be engaged in the active political activities, if only occasionally, through patronage than usually believed



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