By Benjamin Isakhan, Stephen Stockwell

ISBN-10: 0230299466

ISBN-13: 9780230299467

ISBN-10: 1349318876

ISBN-13: 9781349318872

This ebook explores the interesting concept that there's even more democracy in human historical past than is mostly stated. It establishes that democracy used to be constructing throughout better Asia prior to classical Athens, clung on through the 'Dark Ages', frequently shaped a part of indigenous governance and is constructing this present day in unforeseen methods.

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Initially Wenamun’s hieroglyphic for assembly resisted translation, but it has now been transcribed as mw’d, which is close to the Hebrew word mo’ed, which is typically translated as ‘assembly’ (Wilson, 1945: 245). 2–3). The Report of Wenamun establishes that the Phoenicians did have a word for ‘assembly’, even if it was borrowed from the Hebrew. With or without the philological 40 Pre-Athenian Democracy connection, there is a clear inference that Zakarbaal’s assembly is something more than an elitist oligarchic council, and the possibility is raised that Byblos was bicameral at the time.

Unfortunately, the Phoenicians were ill-served by their stationery. The papyrus on which they used their phonetic alphabet to record their business and their diplomatic and political history has mostly rotted; ‘the archives of the Phoenicians’ described by Flavius Josephus are long gone (Josephus, 1700 [75]: I). The sciences – genetic, forensic, archaeological and linguistic – still have a long way to go before there is anything near a definite, authoritative view of Phoenician political culture; but new work, and old, deserves rigorous consideration.

Voting and elections Another way by which we commonly judge classical Athens to be democratic is through the various voting and elective mechanisms it employed in order to reach a final decision or to designate particular citizens to positions of power. When it came to issues concerning domestic or foreign policy, the Athenian assembly of the fifth century voted by a show of hands, but an exact count of the votes was never apparently undertaken. This changed in the fourth century, when the assembly was required to mimic the procedure of the People’s Court and to vote by placing small discs of bronze in urns (Hansen, 1999 [1991]: 130, 147).

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The Secret History of Democracy by Benjamin Isakhan, Stephen Stockwell


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