Courage in the Democratic Polis: Ideology and Critique in Classical Athens

ISBN : 9780199982158

Ryan K. Balot
424 ページ
164 x 236 mm

In this careful and compelling study, Ryan K. Balot brings together political theory, classical history, and ancient philosophy in order to re-conceive of courage as a specifically democratic virtue. Ranging from Thucydides and Aristophanes to the Greek tragedians and Plato, Balot shows that the ancient Athenians constructed a novel vision of courage that linked this virtue to fundamental democratic ideals such as freedom, equality, and practical rationality. The Athenian ideology of courage had practical implications for the conduct of war, for gender relations, and for the citizens' self-image as democrats. In revising traditional ideals, Balot argues, the Athenians reimagined the emotional and cognitive motivations for courage in ways that will unsettle and transform our contemporary discourses. Without losing sight of political tensions and practical conflicts, Balot illustrates the merits of the Athenian ideal, provocatively explaining its potential to enlarge our contemporary understandings of politics and ethics. The result is a remarkably interdisciplinary work that has significant implications for the theory and practice of democracy, both ancient and modern.


Chapter 1 Introduction: A Theory of Democratic Courage
Part I: The Periclean Ideology and Its Critics
Chapter 2 The Periclean Model
Chapter 3 Free Speech, Democratic Deliberation, and Courage
Chapter 4 Writing Courage into Democratic History: Aeschylean and Herodotean Perspectives
Chapter 5 New Faces of Athenian Courage: The Pursuit of Imperialism
Chapter 6 Democratic Courage and the Platonic Laches
Chapter 7 Isocratean Reflections: Athens' Courage, Imperialism, and Eudaimonism
Part II: Equality, Emotion, and Civic Education
Chapter 8 Courage, Equality, and Military Recognition in Democratic Athens
Chapter 9 Revisiting the " of Greek Courage
Chapter 10 The Courageous Passions of Democratic Athens
Chapter 11 Shame, Honor, and the Constitution of Role Models
Chapter 12 Cocky Athenian Men?
Chapter 13 Tragic Explorations of Courage, Freedom, and Self-Knowledge
Part III: Athens' Ideology of Eudaimonism
Chapter 14 Athenian Eudaimonism in Thought and Action
Chapter 15 Eudaimonistic " and Resolutions
Chapter 16 Conclusion: Three Challenges


Ryan K. Balot is Professor of Political Science and Classics at the University of Toronto. He is the author or editor of three volumes.