in law or in fact, an absolute equality of political rights.
The body of fully qualified citizens being sovereign, there was no division of powers in the Greek city; it gave to its most important organs at least an all-embracing authority. But it strove to suppress all intermediary organs between the citizens and the State.
The primary assembly of citizens was, then, necessarily sovereign in theory. The magistrates and the council were only delegates charged with executing its decisions: though variable, and sometimes even extensive, the powers they exercised had no independent basis.
The examination of legal institutions leads to the same conclusions: there was no separation between political or administrative and legal organs; consequently theoretical, and sometimes effective, sovereignty resided in the mass of the citizens acting in assembly or in huge popular juries.
No city of the classical Greek world, of which there are a great number, is exactly the mirror of any other. The institutions and customs of each always preserved original features. To give a general account is tantamount to creating a composite and, therefore, non-existent city.
Social institutions always distinguished several juridical categories. Slavery, in the full sense of the word, was known everywhere. Bondage existed in several cities. The Spartan hilots furnished the best‐ known example, but a very special one since they were bondsmen of the state. Among freemen, a widespread distinction corresponding to the fundamental notion of the citizen's commonwealth recognized the category of resident foreigners or metoikos, well known in Athens. For citizens, indeed, the Greek city was hostile to naturalization and, in a fully democratic period, the Periclean law (451/0) clearly expressed this hostility.
For military purposes and taxation, citizens were divided into tax-paying classes. But the true structure of the civic body was different. The original organization had filiation or family ties as its principle ; a later organization that of residence. Conceived as a means of destroying the nobility's influence, this system had not yet taken root everywhere at the end of the classical period. Even where it existed, it had not supplanted the other (filiation) in all spheres. The classical Greek city still preserved many archaic characteristics.
It was the same in economic matters. The majority of the Greek world lived by the soil, not by industry or commerce. The state tried to intrude as little as possible in economic affairs. Rent was used to exploit wealth. The state had to take care of the provisioning of the population and to assure for its treasury the highest possible return—but nothing more. However much it practised a political and financial imperialism, it is impossible to speak of a true economic imperialism. Further, it did not attempt to utilize taxation as a social instrument. The constant program of Greek revolutionaries put forward the abolition of debts, and consequently of mortgages, and the redistribution of land. It was a program which arose in the conditions of rural life and remained there. The Greek ideal always remained that of the small proprietor making the most of his property. It never adapted to an economy founded on exchange, the production of manufactured objects in great quantity, and maritime trade.
The Working of the Athenian Democracy 1
A. W. Gomme
an organ of control into an organ of administrative action. The criticism explicit in this statement may well be just; but let us forget it, and substitute for "should have" the words "has been normally in other democracies"; the Athenians turned what elsewhere has been an organ of control—the popular____________________