Insane and Inspiring Enterprising Stories from History
Insane and Inspiring Enterprising Stories from History

Insane and Inspiring Enterprising Stories from History

Khalid Elhassan - March 30, 2021

Insane and Inspiring Enterprising Stories from History
Broken bits of ancient Athenian pottery, or ostra, with the names of those being proposed for ostracism. Grethexis

1. Ancient Athens Adopted a Creative Method to Get Rid of Unpopular People Without Killing Them

In addition to creating at-large tribes whose members were drawn at random from the citizens of Athens, Cleisthenes continued his enterprising reforms by creating a new council, the boule. It was a democratic body, in which all of Athens’ citizens had the right to speak and voice their opinions on public matters and the affairs of the day. Cleisthenes thus eliminated the parochialism that had plagued Athens for generations, and granted the entire male citizen population access to institutions and powers previously reserved for the aristocracy.

Another of Cleisthenes’ reforms was ostracism. An annual vote would be held in which each citizen could name any person, whose name he wrote down on bits of broken pottery known as ostra, whom he thought was too dangerous or was becoming too powerful. The citizen receiving the most votes would be exiled for ten years, without prejudice to his property while he was gone, or to his citizenship rights upon his return. Cleisthenes’ reforms thus established basic democracy in Athens, and created the constitutional structure by which further incremental reforms were made in future years to transform Athens into a direct democracy.

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Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Coote, Stephen – Drake: The Life and Legend of an Elizabethan Hero (2005)

Cracked – The Guy Who Shipwrecked on a Cannibal Island Then Took it Over

Daily News, The, April 30th, 1938 – Cannibal Capture May Open Way For Sweden in the Pacific

Ehrenberg, Victor – From Solon to Socrates: Greek History and Civilization During the 6th and 5th Centuries BC (2010)

Encyclopedia Britannica – Muqali, Mongolian General

Encyclopedia Britannica – Peisistratos

Forczyk, Robert – Red Christmas: The Tatsinskaya Airfield Raid, 1942 (2012)

Gonick, Larry – The Cartoon History of the Universe (1990)

Hastings, Max – Operation Chastise: The RAF’s Most Brilliant Attack of World War II (2020)

O’Neil, James L. – The Origins and Development of Ancient Greek Democracy (1995)

Plutarch – Parallel Lives

SBS News, October 28th, 2019 – The Little-Known Family Story That Helped Inspire the Pippi Longstocking Books

Stroud, Rick – The Phantom Army of Alamein: How the Camouflage Unit and Operation Bertram Hoodwinked Rommel (2012)

Wikipedia – Francesco I Sforza

Wikipedia – Operation Bertram

Wikipedia – USS Philadelphia (1799)

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