The thesis focuses on the examination of two cardinal institutes of Athenian democracy of the fifth and fourth centuries BC: ostracism and graphe paranomon. The intent of the work is to clarify and elaborate on the original intentions of the introduction and maintenance of both the figures and the peculiarities of their use, also with reference to the distortive dynamics of which they were object, within the structure of the democratic polis. The main object of attention is the twofold (even if connected) perspective through which to study the aforementioned institutes: principals of democratic politeia, on the one hand, and instruments of political struggle on the other. The work focuses on a direct examination of ancient sources that report the unfolding of procedures in Athenian political life. Specifically, attention is drawn to the cases of ostracism reported in the Parallel Lives of Plutarch, namely those of Aristides and Cimon to explain that ostracism is invoked for particular and intense competitions among the leaders of the Athenian political elites and to prevent the conflict from culminating in violence, the "overturning of the institutional ideological basis of democracy". Subsequently we proceed to the study of the graphe paranomon through specific orations of Demosthenes, that On the Crown, that Against Androtion and that Against Aristocrates, to try to provide an overview of the possible different applications of the institute. In addition to proposing a formal and substantial comparison between ostracism and graphe paranomon, it is assessed the impact that the elitist tendencies of a democracy of orators have had on the actual use of institutions, and there is also an insistence on the understanding of the motivations that induced Athenian citizenship to establish such means of control internally, providing to highlight the profile of the prevention of attempts to undermine democratic politeia. The goal of this research is to clearly outline the traits of a cultural anthropology absolutely distant from any other type of civilization that we know. To underline and deepen the reasons at the base of a system that provides for the centrality of the public sphere and the clear prevalence of this with respect to the private sphere: in the experience of the poleis the individual expresses his full value only within the space of the demos.
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