The Origins of the Statesman–Demagogue Distinction in and after Ancient Athens

The Origins of the Statesman–Demagogue Distinction in and after Ancient Athens Abstract: This article argues against the assumption that Athenian political practice involved an evaluative distinction between terms signifying the good “statesman” and the bad “demagogue.” Terms now translated “demagogue” are used by Aristophanes, Thucydides, and other Athenian orators and historians in a neutral, or even positive, sense. Instead, the evaluative distinction is built by Plutarch out of Platonic analysis, Aristotelian vocabulary, and the Thucydidean classification of Athenian politicians. The article concludes with reflections on the context of Moses Finley’s classic analysis of Athenian demagogues, and on the implications of the argument for political practice and thinking today. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the History of Ideas University of Pennsylvania Press

The Origins of the Statesman–Demagogue Distinction in and after Ancient Athens

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Abstract

Abstract: This article argues against the assumption that Athenian political practice involved an evaluative distinction between terms signifying the good “statesman” and the bad “demagogue.” Terms now translated “demagogue” are used by Aristophanes, Thucydides, and other Athenian orators and historians in a neutral, or even positive, sense. Instead, the evaluative distinction is built by Plutarch out of Platonic analysis, Aristotelian vocabulary, and the Thucydidean classification of Athenian politicians. The article concludes with reflections on the context of Moses Finley’s classic analysis of Athenian demagogues, and on the implications of the argument for political practice and thinking today.

Journal

Journal of the History of IdeasUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: May 4, 2012

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