The Pathos of Politics (13) The Greek Platform

The Greek Platform

From the ancient Greeks – 2,500 years ago – we inherited the concepts they used to talk about politics. The terms politics, republic, democracy, aristocracy, and tyranny all descend from ancient Greek political theorists. Moderns share many ancient Greek ideals, including freedom, independence, and self-government, and have the same attachment to democracy that they did.

There were, of course, other political structures contemporaneous to the ancient Greeks. To the immediate east lay the Achaemenid Empire of Persia, with which the Greeks warred. There was no politics in Persia; only an empire of slaves ruled by a king.

Ensconced in the far east was the dynasty of ancient China, isolated and as bereft of contention in political beliefs as the Persians. Confucian codification of despotic tradition is exemplary.