Athens: The City of Theseus

Over 5000 years ago a small settlement developed on top a rocky outcrop that would come to be one of the most famous cities in the Ancient world. These ancient roots would see the Athenians celebrate the fact that they were Pelasgian, or indigenous to the lands. They would not be displaced during the great upheavals of the Bronze Age collapse, which saw so many populations disperse.      

Athens would look back to their Mythological past to help explain why their society had developed the way it did. The hero who was so important to Athens was Theseus, who is most famous for freeing Athens from its debt to king Minos after slaying the Minotaur. He was also seen as the origins of the Idea of a Democratic way of governing.

In reality the path to democracy would have many twists and turns, with the occasional detour. It would take social crisis leading to almost full blow civil war for reforms to be put in place. The appearance of new popular rulers would also emerge; know as tyrants that would see yet more reforms.

Two figures would emerge in the hazy historical record credited with enacting some of these reforms. Draco would be known as the law giver known for his harsh penalties, giving us our word Draconian. While Solon would be seen by some as deserving of the title of the father of Democracy. Though, with these development Athens would still be some way off from being considered a Democracy, and the story would continue. 

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