The Ideology of Democratic Athens: Institutions, Orators and the Mythical Past

Matteo Barbato

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The debate on Athenian democratic ideology has long been polarised around two extremes. A Marxist tradition views ideology as a cover-up for Athens’ internal divisions. Another tradition, sometimes referred to as culturalist, interprets it neutrally as the fixed set of ideas shared by the members of the Athenian community. This book addresses this dichotomy by providing a unitary approach to Athenian democratic ideology. By analysing four different myths from the perspective of the New Institutionalism, it demonstrates that Athenian democratic ideology was a fluid set of ideas, values and beliefs shared by the Athenians as a result of a constant ideological practice influenced by the institutions of the democracy. It shows that this process entailed the active participation of both the mass and the elite and enabled the Athenians to produce multiple and compatible ideas about their community and its mythical past
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages264
ISBN (Electronic)9781474466448
ISBN (Print)9781474466424
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Publication series

NameNew Approaches to Ancient Greek Institutional History


  • democracy
  • orators
  • ideology
  • myth
  • social memory
  • institutions
  • Athens
  • Greece
  • New Institutionalism


Dive into the research topics of 'The Ideology of Democratic Athens: Institutions, Orators and the Mythical Past'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this