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Introduction: Alternatives to the Democratic Polis 13 an oligarchy, it may well have had a constitutional arrangement similar to democracy; while if it was formally a democracy, it was not democratic enough for the d»emos, the common people. Much depended on who was making the judgement, and from what perspective. In the case of Samos, it was mainly a question of practical ideological positions, of what one party or another considered acceptable. In other cases, however, our judgement can be made di¶cult through the perceptions of our sources.
Pol. 29. 5; 30. 6). In a limited space we cannot do more than sketch a little of the constitutional variety in which classical Greece abounded, but the foregoing should serve to demonstrate the diversity which existed within the broad constitutional labels, and the possibility of change, whether gradual or sudRhodes with Lewis (1997) 330; Arist. Pol. 1275B7–8; Plutarch (Dion 53. , and there is no mention of assemblies in the account in the Hellenica Oxyrhynchia (19. 395 bc. Some sort of probouleutic body was the norm for all Greek states, and the evidence is much too fragmentary to establish any general principle behind the (apparent) presence or absence of councils in documents: community size and expense may have been more signiﬁcant factors than ideology (Rhodes with Lewis 1997: 475–8).
Gentlemen) or aristoi (‘the best people’). Theognis at Megara is a case in point. We can see in his poetry that, even when excluded from power, especially by those they considered their inferiors, the self-perceptions of such aristoi did not alter. As Robin Lane Fox and P. J. Rhodes both demonstrate, those who considered themselves among the aristoi did not abandon their ideology even when compelled to live under a democracy. However, competitiveness was also part of the aristocratic ideal, hence the fact that, as Aristotle notes, oligarchies are especially prone to faction (Pol.