Aristotle: Athenian Constitution

(320 BCE)

The Athenian Constitution, attributed to Aristotle, is a commentary on the development of constitutional democracy in ancient Greece. The transliterated Greek title is Athenaion Politeia, so Greek scholars often refer to the text informally as the Ath. Pol. or the A.P. The text of Athenian Constitution, portions of which have not survived, is essentially a history of ancient Greece from a political, constitutional perspective. Thus it traces the progression of Greek rulers and the constitutional reforms they initiated—or in some cases their suppression of constitutional rights and privileges—up to the year 403 BCE This historical survey comprises parts 1 through 42, each part essentially a brief chapter. Following this survey is an account of the Athenian constitution in Aristotle's own day, encompassing parts 42 to 69. Aristotle's text is not to be confused with a text by the ancient Greek historian Xenophon with the same title.

Some scholars argue that the Athenian...

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Columns of Olympieum (Temple of Olympian Zeus) with Acropolis in background (Library of Congress)

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