The 'Snap Vote' of 462/1 BCE: A Note on the History of the Athenian Democracy

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Two events in Athenian history are usually associated with the year 462/1 BCE. One was a military expedition to the Peloponnese to help the Spartans overcome a helot rebellion, the other the so-called ‘Reforms of Ephialtes’. According to older scholarship the two were in fact related and orthodoxy still holds that the absence of 4,000 politically conservative hoplites under the leadership of Kimon paved the way for radical democratic reform - championed by Ephialtes and voted through the Athenian assembly in a ‘snap vote’ by the mass of democratic rowers who remained in the city. This note re-examines the ancient evidence for both events and especially for their timing, and questions the orthodoxy and by extension assumptions about the relationship between war and politics in ancient Athens.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClassica et Mediaevalia
Pages (from-to)81-93
Publication statusPublished - 2014

ID: 128696796