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Movies In Ancient Greece

Movies In Ancient Greece

Kids learn about the civilization and history of Ancient Greece including the government, philosophy, science, Athens, Sparta, daily life, people, art, architecture. Greek Theatre and its origin from Ancient Greece in the forms of Tragedy, Comedy and Satyr. How the oligarchy wins lessons from ancient Greece Ganesh Sitaraman Opinion. A few years ago, as I was doing research for a book on how economic inequality threatens democracy, a colleague of mine asked if America was really at risk of becoming an oligarchy. Our political system, he said, is a democracy. If the people dont want to be run by wealthy elites, we can just vote them out. The system, in other words, cant really be rigged to work for the rich and powerful unless the people are at least willing to accept a government of the rich and powerful. Ganesh Sitaraman looks at what two recent books Classical Greek Oligarchy by Matthew Simonton and Oligarchy by Jeffrey Winters can teach us about defending. From a distance, each column looked straight, no matter which of the three designs the ancient Greeks used. But up close, the columns might actually tilt a bit, or. The Parthenon. History, importance, and aesthetics, from ancientgreece. org. Movies In Ancient GreeceMovies In Ancient GreeceIf the general public opposes rule by economic elites, how is it, then, that the wealthy control so much of government The question was a good one, and while I had my own explanations, I didnt have a systematic answer. Luckily, two recent books do. Oligarchy works, in a word, because of institutions. In his fascinating and insightful book Classical Greek Oligarchy, Matthew Simonton takes us back to the ancient world, where the term oligarchy was coined. One of the primary threats to oligarchy was that the oligarchs would become divided, and that one from their number would defect, take leadership of the people, and overthrow the oligarchy. To prevent this occurrence, ancient Greek elites developed institutions and practices to keep themselves united. Among other things, they passed sumptuary laws, preventing extravagant displays of their wealth that might spark jealousy, and they used the secret ballot and consensus building practices to ensure that decisions didnt lead to greater conflict within their cadre. Appropriately for a scholar of the classics, Simonton focuses on these specific ancient practices in detail. Movies In Ancient GreeceMovies In Ancient GreeceBut his key insight is that elites in power need solidarity if they are to stay in power. Unity might come from personal relationships, trust, voting practices, or as is more likely in todays meritocratic era homogeneity in culture and values from running in the same limited circles. The ruling class must remain united for an oligarchy to remain in power. While the ruling class must remain united for an oligarchy to remain in power, the people must also be divided so they cannot overthrow their oppressors. Oligarchs in ancient Greece thus used a combination of coercion and co optation to keep democracy at bay. They gave rewards to informants and found pliable citizens to take positions in the government. Movies In Ancient GreeceThese collaborators legitimized the regime and gave oligarchs beachheads into the people. In addition, oligarchs controlled public spaces and livelihoods to prevent the people from organizing. They would expel people from town squares a diffuse population in the countryside would be unable to protest and overthrow government as effectively as a concentrated group in the city. They also tried to keep ordinary people dependent on individual oligarchs for their economic survival, similar to how mob bosses in the movies have paternalistic relationships in their neighborhoods. Reading Simontons account, it is hard not to think about how the fragmentation of our media platforms is a modern instantiation of dividing the public sphere, or how employees and workers are sometimes chilled from speaking out. The most interesting discussion is how ancient oligarchs used information to preserve their regime. They combined secrecy in governance with selective messaging to targeted audiences, not unlike our modern spinmasters and communications consultants. They projected power through rituals and processions. At the same time, they sought to destroy monuments that were symbols of democratic success. Instead of public works projects, dedicated in the name of the people, they relied on what we can think of as philanthropy to sustain their power. Oligarchs would fund the creation of a new building or the beautification of a public space. The result the people would appreciate elite spending on those projects and the upper class would get their names memorialized for all time. After all, who could be against oligarchs who show such generosity An assistant professor of history at Arizona State University, Simonton draws heavily on insights from social science and applies them well to dissect ancient practices. But while he recognizes that ancient oligarchies were always drawn from the wealthy, a limitation of his work is that he focuses primarily on how oligarchs perpetuated their political power, not their economic power. To understand that, we can turn to an instant classic from a few years ago, Jeffrey Winters Oligarchy. Winters argues that the key to oligarchy is that a set of elites have enough material resources to spend on securing their status and interests. He calls this wealth defense, and divides it into two categories. Property defense involves protecting existing property in the old days, this meant building castles and walls, today it involves the rule of law. Income defense is about protecting earnings these days, that means advocating for low taxes. The challenge in seeing how oligarchy works, Winters says, is that we dont normally think about the realms of politics and economics as fused together. At its core, oligarchy involves concentrating economic power and using it for political purposes. Democracy is vulnerable to oligarchy because democrats focus so much on guaranteeing political equality that they overlook the indirect threat that emerges from economic inequality. Winters argues that there are four kinds of oligarchies, each of which pursues wealth defense through different institutions. These oligarchies are categorized based on whether the oligarchs rule is personal or collective, and whether the oligarchs use coercion. Warring oligarchies, like warlords, are personal and armed. Ruling oligarchies like the mafia are collective and armed. In the category of unarmed oligarchies, sultanistic oligarchies like Suhartos Indonesia are governed through personal connections. In civil oligarchies, governance is collective and enforced through laws, rather than by arms. Democracy defeated oligarchy in ancient Greece because of oligarchic breakdown. With this typology behind him, Winters declares that America is already a civil oligarchy. To use the language of recent political campaigns, our oligarchs try to rig the system to defend their wealth. They focus on lowering taxes and on reducing regulations that protect workers and citizens from corporate wrongdoing. They build a legal system that is skewed to work in their favor, so that their illegal behavior rarely gets punished. And they sustain all of this through a campaign finance and lobbying system that gives them undue influence over policy. In a civil oligarchy, these actions are sustained not at the barrel of the gun or by the word of one man, but through the rule of law. If oligarchy works because its leaders institutionalize their power through law, media, and political rituals, what is to be done How can democracy ever gain the upper hand Winters notes that political power depends on economic power. This suggests that one solution is creating a more economically equal society. The problem, of course, is that if the oligarchs are in charge, it isnt clear why they would pass policies that would reduce their wealth and make society more equal. As long as they can keep the people divided, they have little to fear from the occasional pitchfork or protest. Indeed, some commentators have suggested that the economic equality of the late 2.