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Isegoria in Herodotus

Author(s): Yoshio Nakategawa

Source: Historia: Zeitschrift fr Alte Geschichte, Bd. 37, H. 3 (3rd Qtr., 1988), pp. 257-275
Published by: Franz Steiner Verlag
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4436057 .
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After Cleisthenes' reforms Athens brought to naught an invasion of the
Army from Peloponnesos and won battles with Boeotia and Chalcis. Thereby
it proved to have grown rapidly to the status of a great power in Greece.
Herodotus (5,78) describes these events as follows:'
&E OU xact' Pv
i cyoeCi b {ci xQia xrnoov&aiov, aL xai 'AOlvacztoL
TvQcwtvvou6REvoL Riv oi'6ba[Wv
3EQLOLXE6vTOIv 'oav T&
bTikoL wV Taiuta 6TL
xatEX6RCvoL Rtv
9XsOEQwO&vTwv &t aw'-t6 Exaco; twvrt
nQOEO1tLftO xatXQy600oaL.
The aim of this paper is to investigate what the word isegorna in this
quotation means. If it is possible to make this clear, it will also shed light on
the characteristics of early democracy and isonomia, which are still somewhat
ambiguous, in comparison with isegoria.
Isegoria, which is found only here in Herodotus apart from other classical
writers, is usually translated "free speech" or "equal right of speech" in
English. 2 But in that case, a question arises: How can free speech or equal right
of speech bring Athens victories in battle? M. Ostwald speaks of this problem
frankly:' "That
refers to a democratic principle here is generally
recognized. What is more difficult to understand is its use here (as also at
Athens now became strong and great. So it is proved not only by one case but also by all cases
that isegoria is a valuable quality. Athenians had had no better ability of war under tyrants' rule
than any of their neighbors; but, once set free from it, they became by far the strongest of all. This
is showed by the obvious fact that in liberty each of them worked willingly for himself, in contrast
with having intentionally acted the coward in the forced labor for a tyrant.
2 This meaning of isegoria seems to have come into being about the end of the fifth century
B.C. and to have been accepted as the first meaning of it since then. Obscurity and problem of
isegoria originate to a certain extent from the confusion between this meaning and the original
meaning "the right of every citizen to address the assembly".
M. Ostwald, "Nomos and the Beginnings of the Athenian Democracy", Oxford 1%9, 109
n. 2.
Historia, Band XXXVII/3 (1988) ? Franz Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden GmbH, Sitz Stuttgart
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Dem. 15.18) as the cardinal principle to describe democracy as such, since
there seems to be no logical connection between free speech and the defeat of
the Boeotians and Chalcidians."
Ostwald's doubts seem to be simple, but in fact they are so important that
we cannot properly interpret the isegoria without answering them. Ostwald
has not set himself to solve the problem. Let us follow the interpretation of
other scholars on this point. F. Jacoby gives his opinion of Herodotus 5,78,
referring to his form of description. He says that Herodotus often inserts
words or sentences that have almost no connection with their context; and
that, interposed quite unexpectedly on the effects of isegoria, 5,78 is an
excursus.4 Criticizing this claim in Part 1 of his work, H. F. Bornitz proves
that for Herodotus the isegoria in 5,78 does not mean an unimportant,
careless, unexpected "excursus", but on the contrary, a necessary and
significant statement that is placed in the main stream of story.5 Nearly all
scholars attach importance to 5,78 as a noteworthy utterance on the situations
of Athens as well as on the historian's political ideas, but they do not agree
about what isegoria means. Their views of it may be classified as follows:
In general it seems to be, openly or tacitly, agreed that isegoria has the
meaning of "free speech" or "equal right of speech". Beside this meaning,
isegorta is:
1. democracy, according to J. E. Powell, E. Howald, K. Wust, M. Pohlenz,
G. Vlastos, H. Strasburger and G. T. Griffith;6 what is closely connected
with the idea of democracy for F. D. Harvey;7 the equivalent of democracy
as well as of isonomia for H. Ryffel;8 an excellent feature or a principle
of democracy, according to H. Apffel, V. Ehrenberg, M. Ostwald and
B. Borecky;9 or
F. Jacoby, "Herodotus", RE, Suppl. 2 (1913), 390.
H. F. Bornitz, Herodot-Studien, Berlin 1968, 2-94, esp. 75ff.
6 E. Powell, A Lexicon to Herodotus, Cambridge 1938, 173; E. Howald, Vom Geist antiker
Geschichtsschreibung, Munchen/Berlin 1944, 15; K. Wiist, Politisches Denken bei Herodot, Diss.
Wurzburg 1935, 61; M. Pohlenz, Herodot: Der erste Geschichtsschreiber des Abendlandes,
Leipzig 1937, 37; G. Vlastos, "Isonomia", American Journal of Philology 74 (1953), 356 n. 65;
H. Strasburger, "Herodot und das perikleische Athen", Herodot (Wege der Forschung 26),
Darmstadt 1%5, 587; G. T. Griffith, "Isegoria in the Assembly at Athens", Ancient Society and
Institutions: Studies Presented to Viktor Ehrenberg on His 75th Birthday, Oxford 1966, 115, cf.
F. D. Harvey, "The Political Sympathies of Herodotus", Historia 15 (1966), 254.
H. Ryffel, Metabole Politeion (Noctes Romanae B.2), Bern 1949, 70.
H. Apffel, Die Verfassungsdebatte bei Herodot (3,80-82), Diss. Erlangen 1957, 61; V.
Ehrenberg, ,,Origins of Democracy", Historia 1 (1950), 527; Ostwald, op. cit., 109; B. Borecky,
,,Die politische Isonomie", Eirene 9 (1971), 9.
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Isegoria in Herodotus 259
2. isonomia, according to E. Wolf, H. F. Bornitz, W. W. How, A. D.
Godley, A. Barguet'0 and H. Ryffel; an important feature of isonomia,
according to G. Busolt, D. Nestle and H. Schaefer.11
Which or what is the true meaning of the isegoria in 5,78? Democracy and
isonomia are not entirely the same; there is a difference as well between
democracy and a feature of democracy. Therefore Ostwald's remark that
identifies isegoria with a democratic principle is not exact. Scholars' views are
divided as mentioned above; or rather, to tell the truth, I think that they do
not closely inquire into the matter. This means that the prevailing views on this
point have some ambiguities, so that it is necessary for me to investigate it
Griffith insists in his monograph that isegoria means "the practice which we
see in operation under the full democracy, of allowing any citizen who pleased
to address the Assembly". 12 Freedom of speech among aristocrats or
magistrates only is, according to him, unworthy of isegonia. This requires the
freedom of any citizen who pleased to address the assembly and is possible
only "in full democracy", which had not yet come into existence at the time of
Cleisthenes' reforms. Democracy had rapidly grown since the attack led by
Ephialtes on the Areopagus. Griffith thinks that the introduction of isegoria
could have fallen within the years 487-62, or more likely the years
immediately after 462. Isegoria reached its full growth in the time of Pericles.
Staying then at Athens, Herodotus was, Griffith says, so profoundly
impressed with observations of isegoria that he used in error this word where
we could have expected him to write of demokratia itself, because it was not
yet familiar with him, while isegoria seemed to him to have been enjoyed since
Next to Woodhead, 13 J. D. Lewis, the third participant in the discussion of
isegoria,'4 interprets isegoria, similarly to Griffith's view, as the right of every
citizen to address the assembly if he wished. He says, "it is my purpose to try
to show that, whatever Herodotus meant by the word, isegoria in its precise
sense probably did exist at Athens after 508 B.C."'5 From this point of view,
he cites classical writers' statements that would be inconsistent, if isegoria were
E. Wolf, Griechisches Rechtsdenken, 3,2, Frankfurt a. M. 1955, 32 n- 1; Bornitz, op. cit., 9,
75; W. W. How & J. Wells, A Commentary on
Herodotus, vol.
2, Oxford
1912, 44; A. D.
Godley, Herodotus, vol. 3, The Loeb Classical Library, 87; A.
Barguet, Herodote, Bibliotheque
de la P1eiade, 387.
"1 G. Busolt & H. Swoboda, Griechische Staatskunde, Munchen 1920, 418; D.
Eleutheria, Tubingen 1967, 55; H. Schaefer, Staatsform und Politik, Leipzig 1932, 117.
12 Griffith, op. cit., 115.
A. G. Woodhead, "U:HrOPIA and the Council of 500", Historia 16
(1967), 129-140.
J. D. Lewis, "Isegoria at Athens: When did it beginn?" Historia 20 (1971), 129-140.
ibid., 131.
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introduced in the time of Pericles. It may be taken as his conclusion that
"Perhaps isegoria was restored or introduced in 510 B.C.""16
Those three monographs, which deal with the time of introduction of
isegoria as the main theme, do not solve the question that Ostwald has brought
forward. The relation between free speech and victories is not yet made clear
by them at all. For the solution of this crux we must investigate not only when
isegoria came into existence but also what it was, paying attention to its
characteristics compared with democracy and isonomia.
We shall begin by examining the view that isegoria means democracy. In
order to have a correct understanding of whether isegoria is equivalent to
democracy or not, we must compare the two both with respect to the
institutional elements and the time of coming into existence.
Otanes' remark in the constitutional debate (3,80ff.) is significant for
inferring Herodotus' view of democracy:"
O acPXoV nQ(oTa
8EvcTEa & toiTwxTv txv 6
7(oLECL oUM6E- 7
R'V &px(
U'EUUV0oV &t
ovUXEaTa &t RadvTa d
Tb ~ ~ ~
xovvaapQL.T0>lO v Ln ETCvTag ^Eag [touvaQXLTjv
&va#p(FL. TWERMa
-V'vbi~ h.u Or;
&'ELV -V yQQ
nOXXQ) EVL T'a n6vTCa."
On this insistence Herodotus in 3,83,1 comments that a Persian noble said
0riEt1o(v nOL-OUCL. But three volumes later, he
relates the same case as follows: 'OT6vca yV6`LTrv &nodtoacOML (o
16 ibid., 140 n 45.
think it is necessary to refer to the importance of considering isegona. The statement of
Herodotus 5,78 is noteworthy in view of the great rarity with which he presents his own opinion
on a political institution (cf. Wust, op. cit., 61; Harvey, op. cit., 255). He evaluates the characters,
the abilities and the achievements of individual statesmen and Polis (8,79,1 on Aristides; 1,59,6 on
Peisistratos; 3,125,2 on Polycrates; 7,139 on Athens); Otanes' praise of isonomia in the
constitutional debate (3,80ff.), which is often regarded as a confession of Herodotus' own thought
(cf. Apffel, op. cit., 85, 89; Wust, op. cit., 56), is, strictly speaking, no less than a remark of a
disputant in the debate. We may guess the facts of that time from speeches of persons in the work,
but we must be skeptical over deducing from it the ideas of the writer himself. Constitutions or
constitutional institutions that Herodotus expresses himself for or against can be found nothing
but isegoria and tyrannis. Therefore it is no doubt of importance to interpret exactly the isegoria
mentioned above.
18 Ruling of the multitude, first of all, wins the most glorious name: isonomia; secondly, they
never do such a thing that a monarch likes to. In this form of government, offices to govern the
people are appointed by lot and held with responsibility and, moreover, every bill is presented to
the assembly. Therefore I give my opinion that we should make an end of monarchy and increase
the power of the multitude, because the whole of the State depends upon the majority of the
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Isegoria in Herodotus 261
(6,43,3). Herodotus' statements seem to indicate
that nkOof0o;
has the same meaning as
nOL1C1aL or
xQaUEcTOaL. Though there is another view on this matter,19 unprejudiced
reading of the text will arrive at a conclusion that those expressions mean the
same thing, as parts of which the appointment of offices by lot, the
performance of officeholder's duties with responsibility and the presentation
of every bill to the assembly are essential.
In these statements, the payment of officials by the state, their annual
change, the secret ballot20 and demagogues' activities in the assembly are not
yet taken account of; these can only come into being in the full grown
Of those three constitutional elements mentioned by Otanes, the responsi-
bility of officeholders may be in fact considered as the euthuna of magistrates,
the examination of their administration at the end of the term of office.2" But
subsequently, what does
& ,&vta
-c xotvov
It can be guessed that the word anaphero implies not only laying a bill before
the assembly22 but also adopting a resolution,23 since it aims at the materializa-
tion of democracy. Of sortition, euthuna and the presentation of every bill to
the assembly in Otanes' claim, each of them is not only proper to democracy,
but also may be found in aristocracy, oligarchy and perhaps even in
democratic kingdom, as it will be mentioned later. According to Hignett,
"Peisistratos is more likely to have been responsible for the institution of the
euthunoi than Solon".24 Therefore the democracy that Otanes desires does not
lie in separate democratic institutions but in a constitution which is formed as a
result of the combination of those three; yet each of them must reach such a
grown stage that it can be regarded as one of democracy.
Now we must decide whether the view that the isegoria of 5,78 means
democracy is correct or not. Isegoria is originally the herald's question:
Cf. Ostwald, op. Cit., 112f.
On the relation between secret ballot and the growth of democracy, cf. V. Ehrenberg, Der
Staat der Griechen, Zurich/Stuttgart 1965, 69.
21 W. Aly, Volksmarchen, Sage und Novelle bei Herodot und seinen Zeitgenossen, Gottingen
1921, 106; cf. C. Meier, Entstehung des Begriffs >Demokratie', Frankfurt a. M. 1970, 49.
There may be a slight shadow of doubt about "assembly", the English equivalent for to
koinon, but it is difficult to find other word. Cf. J. A. 0. Larsen, "The judgement of Antiquity on
Democracy", Classical Pbilology 49 (1954), 2f.
We cannot surmise from Otanes' remark whether or not the people could discuss and amend
bills in the assembly, though it is an important matter for inquiring into isegoria, which existence
most scholars do not recognize in Sparta on account of Plutarch's statement (Lycurgus, 6) defying
it, except A. Andrewes ("The Government of Clssical Sparta", Ancient Society and Institutions:
Studies Presented to Viktor Ehrenberg on His 75th Birthday, Oxford 1966, 15).
24 C. Hignett, A History of the Athenian Constitution, Oxford 1952, 205. But the
according to him, was not examined in the assembly.
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there is no doubt that Herodotus, in whose work this
word is first found in all existing Greek texts, used it in this original meaning.
Isegoria is not a constitution but a practice or a customary institution that
makes free speech in the assembly possible; it is an institution adequate to
democracy, but yet to exist perhaps also under different constitutions from
it.25 Strictly speaking, isegoria in Herodotus is not the same as democracy. For
all that, if one takes it as democracy, one must suppose, as Griffith does, that
Herodotus made a mistake in attributing the introduction of isegoria to
Cleisthenes, and that he used this word where demokratia or isonomia would
have been appropriate.26 But it should be the last thing to ascribe difficulties in
text to writers' mistakes. We must first endeavour to gain historical under-
standing of the isegoria by examining the text with the utmost caution.
Griffith's view is an attempt, adjusting himself to the prevailing opinion,
that isegoria indicates democracy, to explain isegoria in Herodotus with
scholarship. But this opinion is based on vague and preconceived ideas which,
assuming a relationship between isegoria and democracy about the middle of
the fifth century, take the former as a substitute of the latter; this is nothing
less than a reflection of later political views. We shall, however, be able to see
things in a different light by reading the texts carefully. Isegoria might have
been a constitutional element of intrinsic value independent of democracy,
prior to the time when democracy came into existence. Whether or not this is
true, should be decided by looking at contemporary evidence.
When did isegoria and democracy come into existence? According to
Herodotus' statement, which itself will later (in section V) be examined as the
most important problem, isegoria had been put into practice at the latest soon
after Cleisthenes' reforms; while Herodotus and other writers did not clearly
remark on the time when democracy came into existence. Therefore I will try
to deduce it from every side.
1. When was the constitutional debate that contains the description of the
early stage of democracy written? It is mentioned as an event in 512 B.C.,
because it is put in just before Darius' enthronement. But no scholar takes
Herodotus' report of it as representing an established fact among
nobles. Many of them argue that it was invented at Athens in the fifth century;
all find greater or lesser influence of the Greek political ideas, especially those
of the Sophists. But not a few suppose that, even though it was greatly
deformed and altered, there must have been a Persian original. Inquiring
See Aeschylus, Suppliants, 368f., 397ff., 601ff., 942ff.; Euripides, Suppliants, 349ff., 438ff.;
cf. Plutarch, Theseus, 25.
Griffith, op. cit., 116, 127.
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Isegoria in Herodotus 263
the constitutional debate minutely from various sides, H. Apffel deliberately
avoids deciding the time when Herodotus' description of it or its source put in
an appearance. He admits that there was some event in Persia at the base of it,
though isonomia was insisted upon by someone who is probably not Otanes;27
but that many arguments originating in Greece are mingled in it, particularly
Otanes's is much indebted to the trend of thought at Athens and the style of
his statement also is new as compared with the other two.28 It might be
conjectured from the observations of Apffel and other investigators29 that the
description of democracy in debate or its source is a result of Attic situation of
thought about the middle of the fifth century,30 but this is not supported by
solid foundations.
2. Herodotus does not make use of word demokrateomai and demokratia
until his description in volume 4. and 7. This might allow room for us to guess
the time when "democracy" was born, because each word appears here for the
first time in all existing Greek documents. A remarkable case is the above
mentioned Otanes' statement of
'a?xov and isonomia which he put
later (6,43,3) in another expression
It may be conjectured
from this use of the word that Herodotus did not yet know the words
b8-lLoxQatxEoOaL and demokratia when writing Otanes' statement but accepted
them in his work later, because they had been put in circulation.3' We cannot
settle the time when each volume was written, but generally may take the period
when Herodotus wrote the best part of the work to be the forties, and perhaps
the fifties, of the fifth century.32 Granted the presumptions mentioned above, it
will be admitted to think that demokratia and its verb made an appearance about
the middle of the fifth century, and the democracy itself in an early stage also
came into existence in the time not too distant from it.
3. Granted that the appearance of the word indicates the coming into being
Apffel, op. cit., 96. The view that the constitutional debate is not a fiction made by
Herodotus but has a source or tale given by Persians, has gradually become weighty. Cf. K.
Bringmann, "Die Verfassungsdebatte bei Herodot 3, 80-82 und Dareios' Aufstieg zur Konigs-
herrschaft", Hermes, 104 (1976), 266 with n- 3.
ibid., 47,
See, for example, J. E. Powell, The History of Herodotus, Cambridge 1934, 38; Bringmann,
op. cit., 268f., 275; cf. Apffel op. cit., 9-23.
30 On the influences of Sophists, esp. Protagoras, on arguments of the debate, see E. Maass,
"Zur Geschichte der griechischen Prosa", Hermes 22 (1887), 585; J. S. Morrison, "The Place of
Protagoras in Athenian Public Life (460-415 B.C.)", The Classical Quarterly 35 (1941), 12f.; K.
F. Stroheker, "Zu den Anfangen der monarchischen Theorie in der Sophistik", Historia 2 (1954),
383, 389; cf. F. Lasserre, "Herodote et Protagoras: Le debat sur les constitutions", Museum
Helveticum 33 (1976), 66ff., esp. 78ff.
31 G. Vlastos, "IEONOMIA [IOAITIKH", Isonomia: Studien zur Gleichheitsvorstellung im
griechischen Denken, hrsg. von J. Mau & E. G. Schmidt, Berlin 1964, 3 with n 6; Lewis, op. cit.,
130; on an argument against them, see Ostwald, op. cit., 111 n 1.
Cf. Jacoby, op. cit., 365ff.; Pohlenz, op. cit., 212.
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of an actual fact which the word expresses, to what extent can we proceed to
infer our problem? Let us consider it from other angles also. The inference of
the time when democracy came into existence depends upon the view of what
it was; for example, H. Schaefer takes the time later to be the period of
Peloponnesos War because he restricts democracy to a mature stage." The
time of appearance of the word demokratia can, however, be deduced with
objectivity, uninfluenced by the views of modern scholars. It suggests the time
of appearance of what the Greeks, and not we, regarded as democracy. In view
of this it is noteworthy that Ehrenberg pays attention to
peoples' ruling
hand to take a vote in the
Suppliants.34 He argues that this word gives the idea of democracy as well as an
expression for this idea which were both already known to the poet, and that
the use of the word is a certain terminus ante quem for the foundation of
democracy. Even if his argument is convincing, we cannot date the Suppliants
as early as the nineties of the fifth century; this is corrected to be the middle, or
the latter half, of sixties by later studies.35
4. Demo-kratia is a constitution in which the demos hold political power
(kratein); on the other hand, monarchia or oligarchia is that in which a man or
a minority rules a country (archein). Though both - archein and -kratein mean
to hold the affairs of the State,36 the former implies a more traditional and
legitimate rule, while the latter has a sense of power and coercion. We can
perceive the change of political conciousness in the appearance of the latter,
which is later than that of the former.37 It will be allowed to presume the time
of the appearance of -kratein as the word to express the constitution, such as
isokratia, aristokratia, demokratia etc., to be the middle of the fifth
Now it is my task to investigate the time of appearance of the constitution
that the Greeks, and not we, regarded as a democracy. From this point of view
I must inquire into the time when each democratic institution in Otanes'
statement, perhaps the expression of Greek view of democracy about the
middle of the fifth century, really came into existence.
H. Schaefer, "Besonderheit und Begriff der attischen Demokratie im 5. Jahrhundert",
Synopsis, Festgabe fur Alfred Weber, Heidelberg 1948, 500ff.
Ehrenberg, op. cit. (Origins of Democracy), 522.
35 J. A. Davison, "Aeschylus and Athenian Politics, 472-456 B.C.", Ancient Soczety and
Institutions, 95; A. Lecky, "Entscheidung und Verantwortung in der Tragodie des Aischylos",
Wege zu Aischylos (Wege der Forschung 87), Darmstadt 1974, 332.
3' Meier, op. cit., 45. The difference between the two is as follows: ,,Archein kam von
)anfangen(, vorangehen, fuihren<, >regieren, kratein von >siegen<, >stirker sein, >sich bemachti-
gen," (ibid.).
37 ibid., 47ff.; Apffel, op. cit., 62. demokrateomai and isokratia are first appeared in
Herodotus 4,137,2 and 5,92, a 1.
38 Meier, op. cit., 45; V. Schoeffer, "Demokratia", RE, Suppl. 1, 346; cf. A. Debrunner,
Festsc/rnft fir tdouard Tieche, Bern 1947, 11-24.
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Isegoria in Herodotus 265
5. Aristotle ascribes the introduction of euthuna to Solon and the executors of
it to demos.39 Busolt surmises from this that the magistrates on laying down
offices had to submit to an examination of their administration before the
assembly.40 But Hignett is inclined to deny this view; he thinks both the
executors of eutbuna and the electors of euthunai to be the Areopagus down to
the time of Ephialtes' reforms, because euthuna in the assembly is too
democratic for an institution in the Solonian period. According to him, the
existence of the board of logistai which is the office related to euthuna, is not
attested before 454 B.C.; it is most probable that they were instituted at the time
of Ephialtes' reforms or soon after; a democratic euthuna also was probably
introduced in the same period.41 We may agree with this assertion.
6. Aristotle's statement (Ath. Pol., 8,1) that the use of sortition for political
appointment was introduced by Solon has been authoritative. Many scholars
have accepted it, but Hignett also argues against it that officials were not
generally selected by lot until after the expulsion of the tyrants. At any rate
democracy requires that all officials are chosen by lot with the exception of a few
who have to possess technical qualifications. Accordingly the time when the
offices appointed by lot were open to all the citizens in Athens is more important
than the time when sortition was first introduced; it may be surmised with
reason that this was in the middle of the fifth century.42
As we have so far seen, scholars' views of Otanes' statement on "democracy"
in the constitutional debate, the use of word demokratia in Herodotus' work,
8T&ou xQatocra
in Aeschylus' Suppliants, demokratia as a constitution in
which the demos holds kratos, the introduction of the democratic euthuna and
the wide spread of sortition: those all suggest unanimously that the time of
coming into existence of democracy lies in the middle of the fifth century. Even
though some of these pieces of evidence might be questioned, the weight of all of
them together must be highly estimated. Moreover, we can consider other
related democratic institutions or legislations: the opening of the archonship to
Zeugitae in 457/6, the citizenship law of 451/50 attributed to Pericles'
authorship, and the introduction of misthos for juries and councilors of 500 in
the time later than Ephialtes' reforms.
It will not be far wrong to deduce that the democracy at Athens became a
reality in the middle of the fifth century. Between that time and the time of
Cleisthenes' reforms, there is a gulf of more than half a century. What is this gulf
to be taken for? Before inquiring into it, it is needful for us to throw light on
isonomia and its relation with isegoria.
39 Aristotle, Politica, 1274 a 16ff., 1281 b
Aristotle, Athenaion
Politeia, 4,2.
Busolt-Swoboda, op. cit., 847.
Hignett, op. cit., 204f.
42 ibid., 230.
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Many scholars have discussed the time of coming into existence of isonomia
that is, however, difficult to be deduced with authenticity because of
deficiency of the contemporary evidence.43 Therefore I will try to compare
isonomia with isegoria from the institutional point of view, mainly based on
Herodotus' statements. It is widespread acknowledged that isonomia has had a
significance of equality before the law from old times ;44 but scholars differ in
opinion as to whether isonomia means the principle of equality alone, or
whether it is also connected with an established constitution, and if so, how
close the connection is.
Generally speaking, the predominent view is that
isonomza is not a constitution or a form of government itself but a principle or
a slogan,46 and yet that this is accompanied by democratic institutions.
Scholars have attempted to deduce that time since Wilamowitz through the examination of
the Harmodius skolia, in which each of two stanzas contains the word isonomous that seems to be
the synonym of isonomia and is first found in this Greek text. Cf. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff,
Aristoteles und Athen, Berlin 1893, 319; F. Jacoby, Atthis, Oxford 1949, 160, 339
53, 340
V. Ehrenberg, "Das Harmodioslied", Wiener Studien 69 (1956), 57-69; C. M. Bowra, Greek
Lyric Poetry2,
Oxford 1961, 392-396; Vlastos, op. cit., 10 n- 5; -, "Isonomia", American Journal
of Philology 74 (1953), 340ff.; A. J. Podlecki, "The Political Significance of the Athenian
'Tyrannicide'-Cult", Historia 15 (1966), 137-140; Ostwald, op. cit., 121-136. Those scholars'
views on the time of appearance of isonomos or isonomia are no better than surmises. Bowra's view
that presumes the date of the skolia longer to be between 510 and 477 B.C. will be more remote
from mistake. Ostwald argues that two stanzas-of the skolia appeared shortly after 507 B.C., and
regards isonomos as a slogan of Cleisthenes' reforms as well as Ehrenberg. But this view is not so
much based on examination of the skolia as on the historical interpretation of the reforms itself.
Schaefer, and nearly Meier as well, have in common the view that connects isonomia with
Cleisthenes' reforms without considering the skolia. See Schaefer, op. cit., 151; C. Meier, Die
Entstehung des Politischen bei den Griechen, Frankfurt a. M., 1980, 116ff.
" There is a problem of different etymological interpretations on isonomia among scholars
whether it is iso-nomos that means equal law i. e. equality before the law or is iso-nemein that
means equal distribution. Cf. e. g. Vlastos [op. cit., 347ff.] versus Ehrenberg ["Isonomia", RE
Suppl. 7 (1940), 293f.]. Anyway, Ehrenberg on the side of the latter also seems to admit that
isonomia has had the significance of equality before the law (ibid.).
Of three scholars who inquire into the significance of isonomia thematically, Vlastos argues
that isonomia has an inseparable relation with democracy, but is no synonym of it, and that two
words are the same in denotation, but not in connotation; isonomia designates "not a specific
constitution but a standard by which constitutions can be evaluated" ("IXONOMIA
nOAITIKH", 9). Ehrenberg insists that, though he takes isonomia to be in close connections with
democracy, it is not a form of government or a constitution but "the ideal form of community"
(op. cit., 297). Ostwald maintains that "isonomia is not a name for a form of government but for
the principle of political equality" (op. cit., 97); and that it is more closely related to democracy
than to any other form of government, but neither confined to democracy nor identical with it
(ibid., 180). Ostwald insists on "principle" as the property of isonomia most clearly among the
Besides the views of three scholars mentioned above, "Prinzip" (Schaefer, op. cit., 151),
"Schlagwort" (K. Latte, "Der Rechtsgedanke im archaischen Griechentum", Wege der Forschung
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Isegoria in Herodotus 267
The meaning of isonomia is influenced by the difference in texts and periods
that are treated. Even Ehrenberg who regards it as no constitution in
thinks it to be equivalent to demokratia in Herodotus' work alone.4' As it is
the present task to make clear isonomia in Herodotus, let us quote the passages
referring to it and check them one by one to see to what degree and in what
way it is connected with a certain constitution or democratic institutions.
(1) ntxiioo t
RLv ouvo[c
7t6vtwv X6XXLOTOV XEL,t
(2) 6
kyovoCT iv CMet86ov
(3) Having ascended to a tyrant, Maiandrius desired to be the most
righteous of persons; and he declared that he excused himself from the tyrant'
freedom to the
of Samos, in
following statement; d.bE b
d; ,u?oov TIV eQXiV TlO&L;
ZoovoFinv viv .roayoQivw (I transfer the reign
of government to all the citizens and proclaim you isonomia.) (3,142,3).
(4) Aristagoras, tyrant of Miletus, owing to bring citizens of Miletus over to
his side in the revolt from Persia, ,rCi)a
trv tvQcVT (6a
.ioCEC mTi MtLXrTq (first made a pretence of abdicating his tyranny
and gave isonomia to Miletus.) (5,37,2).
Isonomia is called "the most glorious name" in (1). It seems to support the
view that isonomia is not a constitution or institutions but an idea similar to
dike or a desirable slogan. The remark "I proclaim you isonomia" in (3) may
also denote that isonomia is the principle of political equality rather than a
constitution. Ostwald remarks that, if it is a constitution, the verb usually
employed for the establishment of a new form of government should be
xaic*LOTI,L or
R v&aT%t?t
instead of
This seems to be correct.
But on the other hand, the verb to take isonomia in (2) and (4) is ntoLh which
means "to make, create, produce, bring about": to bring its objective word
isonomia to a being. In that case the isonomia seems to connote a real existence
rather than a name or a principle. Indeed, the isonomia in (1) and (3), probably
a principle itself, is stated in each case coupled with Otanes' democratic
institutions and Maiandrius' transferring his reign of government to all
citizens. After all, there seems to be not yet a clear prospect of the relation
between principle and institution in Herodotus' statements on isonomia
among scholars; so it is indispensable for us to inquire into (4) carefully.
45, 91), "Programm" (Meier, Entstehung des Begriffs Demokratie, 41), "Deckmantel" (Busolt-
Swoboda, op. cit., 417f.).
47 Ehrenberg, "Origins of Democracy", 526, 528. Cf. J. A. 0. Larson, "Cleisthenes and the
Development of the Theory of Democracy at Athens", Essays in Political Theory Presented to G.
H. Sabine, New York 1948, 7.
48 Ostwald, op. cit., 108. But cf. Isokrates, Panathenaicus, 178:
ai6coig lWovotdav
cOTfoaL xai blfloLXQCZU(aV.
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First, how far does the effect of k6yq reach in the sentence? Vlastos
interprets it in disregard of this word,49 while Ostwald says "That the grant
was, unlike the abdication, not a sham is shown verbally by the
position of
which refers only to
T1V tUQaVVLbc, not to
LoovoiLvv onfeE."50 I am not inclined to affirm that
in its position
cannot grammatically refer to
roLCE by any stretch of the
imagination, but rather to think that, if kX6yp also referred to it, the verb to
take isonomia would be
instead of zcotcEE; moreover, as Xoyq
does not refer unambiguously to the later sentence
bt xai gv Tfj
Td)VUTO TOVio 9uoLCc, there is no reason to consider that Aristagoras
made a pretense of bringing up isonomia only in Miletus.
Now, provided that the interpretation mentioned above is true, (4) gives
very important evidence on the relation between isonomia and tyrannis. Does
not it mean that isonomia materialized under a tyrannis that was abolished
only in disguise? (4) provides the only evidence against a widespread view
according to which isonomia and tyrannis are incompatible. How are we to
understand this point? Aristagoras had abolished tyrannies in the city-states
of Ionia, to take common action with him in the revolt against Persia; he
then bade each city-state appoint generals for itself (5,38). There is no remark
on the competence of the generals, but it can be easily guessed that the office
of general set up before a war must have been very powerful. Here Ionian
cities seem to have enjoyed isonomia in internal affairs, at the same time they
were under the leadership of generals in military and foreign affairs. It is
natural to surmise that "the same was brought about in Miletus as well." At
that time equality before the law and rule of the law as well as the right of
decision of public policies in the assembly might have been given to the
people, even if not so far as "the right of all citizens to be candidates for
election to high office."51
We must, however, think of the powers and activities of Pericles which
prove the domination of a general before a war. At any rate, it remains
problematical how far isonomia in Miletus was brought into operation and
how long it was preserved. Miletus might have enjoyed, more or less,
isonomia only in Aristagoras' absence, during which he had made a long
voyage to win Sparta to his side and, after he achieved no success in this, to
Athens as well. If isonomia is so temporary and limited, it will be reasonable
to take statement (4) to only suggest, and not to affirm, a compatibility
isonomia with tyrannis. But we must pay attention to what the suggestion
offers because it premises some understanding of what isonomia is.
"Aristagoras abolishes tyranny to establish isonomia in Miletus" (Vlastos, op. cit., 5).
Ostwald, op. cit., 110.
ibid., I111.
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Isegoria in Herodotus 269
Based on the foregoing investigations, let us bring some characteristics of
isonomia to light.
1. Isonomia is not equivalent but closely related to democracy. Being a
name or a principle, it demands a form of government or institutions
guaranteeing real equalities.
2. Isonomia seems to have been an exalted and brilliant name and the desire
of the people, as can be conjectured from the statements, such as "the most
glorious name" in (1) and "the most righteous of persons" who proposed it
sacrificing his own reign in (3). But Aristagoras' words and deeds imply that a
glorious name could be used to a politician's advantage from early times.
Isonomia seems to have had a tendency towards being an onoma euprepes
(Thuc., 3,82,8), or slogan, in itself. This tendency became probably more
marked from the time when Herodotus described to the time when he lived.
3. The use of word isonomia in (4) urges us to examine the actual state of
institutions that it designates. Isonomia has originally a close connection with
law, such as rule of the law, equality before the law, equality maintained
through law etc.52 Moreover, (4) suggests that isonomia demands the
establishment of laws or institutions but does not necessarily guarantee
enforcement and operation of them; that its outward appearance of institution
and legislation cannot always create the real things. Isonomia does not
completely fit in with the actual; there is usually, more or less, a gap between
the two. Just because of this it seems to have been able to modify its real
meaning according to the transition of constitutions from oligarchy, to
democracy, and finally on to monarchy," via perhaps even tyranny.
Now, let us return to the opening quotation from Herodotus, which refers
to the relation between isegoria and strengthening of Athens. Ostwald's
confession of doubt on it that there seems to be no logical connection between
free speech and the defeat of the Boeotians and Chalcidians, comes to the blind
point of studies of isegoria. But he makes no greater effort to clarify what
isegoria is than the other scholars who have hitherto studied it. Well, if we read
it carefully, we will find in the quotation some remarks that may dissolve his
doubt and suggest the cardinal characteristic of isegoria. In the sentence bTiXoL
be ov" xa' Ev
&XXax navtaxI L
what does Ev
mean? I think this does not denote strengthening in
military force but isegoria itself, because if Ev
meant the former,
nav'raxi could have nothing to denote.
Vlastos, "Isonomia", 350; B. Borecky, "Die politische Isonomie", Eirene 9 (1971), 5ff.
53 In Imperial Rome isonomia went so far as to be united with monarcbia that had originally
been the very opponent of itself; see Ehrenberg, "Isonomia", 300f.
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Freedom of speech in the assembly is
X%QiPwa anoubatov in itself and makes the
assembly active; through it the decisive power of the assembly could carry weight
in the administration. It must also have exalted the spirit of every citizen attending
the assembly. If one does not focus one's attention on the strengthening of Athens
but on isegoria, one must understand that isegoria produced ravTaxfl great
effects, of which the victory was the most remarkable. Herodotus, as Ostwald
takes, does not directly connect isegoria to victories. Between the two there is a
connection that every citizen, freed from coercion of the tyrants, must have been
more inclined to work for his own sake. The most important characteristic of
isegoria consists in rousing a sense of community, a sense that the Polis is not a
tyrant's possession but every citizen's own property. So exalted spirit animated
every side of communal life and brought about the brilliant victories of Athens.
From this point of view, let us consider Euripides' Suppliants which will give us
indirect evidence of the significance and the actual state of early isegoria. In this
tragedy Theseus, the king of Athens, says (349-353):
66tcl 0?
xaiL n6Xkft na'61 T66E.
866t1 6'
OATXoVto 4XkaX tou koXyou
xaTEoTT1o' ar"TOv
This country, having a king, is not under a despot's rule, but is rather an
eleutherapolis in which the demos rules, changing magistrates every year (405-7);
it has distinguished itself by written law and equality before the law, which are
nothing less than the essential elements of early isegoria.
The question "TL; OtOc ? t6Xe L
iOl'XvUR' eL% R&oOv #QeLV
(438f.), which Theseus regards as the expression of freedom itself, is according to
usage put before the people to urge speech in the assembly. It is the very
declaration of the principle of isegoria that characterizes the eleutherapolis as well
as isonomia. In this country the poor are not subjected to unjust pressure of the
rich, because they have both
Tiqv &Lxqv
'iiv under the written law; both can enjoy
eleutheria in the same way. In Theseus' speech three words isos, dikaios and
eleutheros seem to be used almost synonymously. Under a tyrant's rule brave
young men, dangerous to him, are put to death, the people's fortunes made by
but swell his hoard and lovely daughters brought up with care are sweet morsels at
his will. In the eleuthera polis, on the other hand, young men are joys for all
citizens, the people accumulate their own wealth by working hard and daughters
are confidently raised with motherly care (cf. ibid., 442-455). The rapid
strengthening of Athens in military force as well can be taken essentially as one of
those effects that were produced on every aspect of the citizen's life
Euripides indirectly proves the truth of the interpretation so far given
Herodotus 5,78. It views isegoria as a state of community.
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Isegoria in Herodotus 271
Next, I will inquire into the time when isegoria came into existence. There
is, excepting Herodotus' statement of 5,78, no evidence to testify directly that
isegoria was in existence and in action effectively about the time of Cleisthenes'
reforms. It must, however, be noted that the statement does not stand alone
but has related ones before and after it in the description of Athens (5,55-91).
Soon after the fall of tyranny it is said: 'AOfvcz, &oivoa xai ItQLV
Tu6T &nLt.UaXXctOE'aL
TVQdvvwv {ytvovro
(5,66,1); and when, seeing
the increasing power of it, Sparta regretted having rendered help to exile the
tyrant and his kinsmen from Athens (5,91,1),
T6Tr bt d; dvtXaciov oL AaxE6a(XLg6VLOL TOVS
xcai Toi
'AOrivaiovu oxwv
(to(gov; o
ne; je( -
Oqp'L, v6q)
(b AekX0F, ov
i6v To
WC6QQonov &V T6 tWiT6V
XaTEX6IeVoV bt {Vnb Tvpcavv(b6o
&O0Evt; xaci
Both pieces of evidence show a close relation between the release from
tyranny and strengthening of Athens;14 the statement of 5,78 to link the two,
making a searching inquire into inner causes, the introduction of isegoria and
consequently the exalting of the sense of community, clearly explains the
astonishing events of the rapid strengthening and the victories of Athens. If
Herodotus was, as Griffith asserts, wrong in believing that the isegoria,
practised in Periclean Athens, had been introduced among Cleisthenes'
reforms, what was the cause of the important historical events repeated three
times by Herodotus? I believe it is natural to accept this isegoria as it is. But it
is not easy to find out other contemporary evidences that support the being of
isegoria. There is only this one statement of Herodotus of discussing the
significance of the oracle
M16LVoV in the assembly before the Battle of
Salamis (7,142f.), excepting later classical writers' remarks.55
Now it will be necessary for establishing the Polis as a free community that,
first, important matters in the administration are decided in the assembly, and
that, second, in actual political life the demos is the influential power without
whose support one cannot acquire and hold leadership in government. What
was the actual state of the assembly and the demos at the time of Cleisthenes'
Cf. similar statement (Arist., Ath. Pol., 23,1), though it is one at later period, of the relation
between democracy and development of the State: T6re
To-ftoV ntOXfXtv
[uxQ6v ai6avoRv1.
Lewis refers to other pieces of evidence against assumptions of nonexistence of isegoria
before the time of Pericles, as follows (op. cit., 140): that Lysias, Aeschines and Demosthenes
speak of isegoria as being due to Solon; that Plutarch allows Sophanes, perhaps a popular warrior,
to seem to use isegoria in the
story of the event at about 490 B.C.; that no ancient writer refers to
any early restriction of isegoria and that the ancient tradition was altogether silent about the
(presumed) origin of isegoria in the time of Pericles.
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reforms? It has been a predominant view since Wade-Gery56 that the Laws of
Cleisthenes that were Psephismata, were moved by Cleisthenes as a private
citizen and duly passed by Boule and Ekklesia under the Isagoras' archonship
(508/7). An unusually strong support of the people would be needed for
passing the Laws in the assembly at which Isagoras, a chief opponent of the
proposer, presided as a chairman. Hignett assumes that Isagoras was daunted
and gave away in face of the insistence of an overwhelming majority.57 In any
case, this event demonstrates the position of the assembly as the supreme
organ deciding the affairs of State as well as the magnitude of the people's
power. Moreover, there are evidences of classical writers on the latter:
[KXCLo0'vr] iv TE TOv 6i,ov
JOXXqI xaETl^tiQ0E xxv dVTL-
OCFtaOLTEWV (Hdt., 5,69,2);
& Toiv b6ijto,r tar sup6ytiaxa
hyFubV Av
xai tov biTovI. lrQooT6TraI (Arist., Ath. Pol., 20,4).
Those both seem to testify that, apart from the immediate post-tyranny
period, the people grew in power enough to gain control of real politics after
Cleisthenes joined forces with them.
It is noteworthy as well that the three statements of Herodotus above all
contrast the existing freedom and might of Athens with its former enervation
and weakness. The contrast of situations in 5,78 vividly emphasizes benefits of
isegoria that were not given to the people under tyrants' rule, but were enjoyed
by the people after Cleisthenes' reforms. There is no doubt that every citizen
did find a fresh delight in the isegoria which he had obtained with such effort.
Indeed, in practice, only an influential minority could speak in the assembly
and lead the affairs of State because at that time they kept the knowledge of
administration and the training of eloquence almost to themselves; moreover,
the influential were quick to speak in the assembly.58
The evidence mentioned above, however, proves that, someone who
disregarded the people's power and desire would have been unable to become a
leader of the State. Even if the people themselves did not play a leading part in
the assembly, they would have been able to find in the speech and behavior of
the leaders an expression of the Polis will, or a spokesman of their opinion that
they lacked under tyrants' rule. Of course mature isegoria in the era of Pericles
had not yet taken shape; but the very sense of isegoria is, in spite of its
unripeness, important for the cohesion and development of the Polis
H. T. Wade-Gery, "The Laws of Kleisthenes", The Classical Quarterly 27 (1933), 21;
Hignett, op. cit., 126f.; Ostwald, op. cit., 149ff.; D. Kagan, "The Enfranchisement of Aliens by
Cleisthenes", Historia 12 (1963), 46. On criticism and different opinion on the view mentioned
above, cf. D. W. Knight, "Athenian Politics, 510 to 478 B.C.: Some Problems", Historia
Einzelschriften 13 (1970), 18ff. and 18 n 26; D. J. Mc-Cargar, "The Relative Date of Kleisthenes'
Legislation", Historia 25 (1976), 393.
Hignett, op. cit., 127.
Cf. Griffith, op. cit., 133
11, 12.
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Isegoria in Herodotus 273
community. Then, could not the people have confidence, or even pride, in the
existing state of isegoria as contrasted with tyrants' oppression? If it was
possible, there is no reason to take Herodotus' statement on isegoria to be
wrong, as Griffith does, or to interpret isegoria as an equivalent of demokratia
or isonomia, as most scholars do. Both of these viewspoints are nothing less
than routes to misunderstanding. Furthermore, it must be noted that, when an
urgent matter arose, the people themselves could speak actively in the
assembly. That is proved by Herodotus' statement (7,142f.) discussing the
significance of the oracle
TELXOg vXALVOV in the assembly.
The investigation so far shows that isegoria must have existed at the time of
Cleisthenes' reforms and is distinguished from demokratia from the stand-
point of the time of establishment as well as from that of institutional elements,
and that it does not also correspond with isonomia on institutional characteris-
tics. This conclusion not only throws light on the relation between isegoria and
the two other terms, but also makes possible certain further inferences
concerning the historical significance of those three.
1. If the claims of section II are correct, there is a gulf of about half a century
between the time of coming into existence of isegoria and that of democracy.
How may we interpret this? The view hitherto most widely accepted seems to
regard Cleisthenes' reforms as the beginning of early democracy and the
period between their time and the middle of the fifth century as a period of
transition to a real democracy. But it will be possible to interpret this period
not as transition but as an age with its own properties, of which the most
important is isegonia
an isegoria not reduced to a feature or an early stage of
democracy. We also need to consider Ch. Meier's view that isonomies, which
came into being about the end of the sixth century, were barely oligarchies on
wider social strata, or at most Hopliten-Politeiai.59 I think that most people's
desires in politics at that time did not lie in demo-kratia, ruling of the demos
(including the unpropertied), such as that characteristic of the era of Pericles,
but in the materialization of a dikaios community, in which the rights of every
citizen were admitted according to his services to the Polis. The prefix is
isegoria means no doubt isos that has the significance of equal as well as that of
dikaios.'0 In early Greek cosmologies dike signifies generally the equilibrium
or balance of powers6"; in Solon's thought as well it is an idea of the Polis
59 Meier, Die Entstebung des Politischen bei den Griechen, 88.
60 Vlastos, op. cit., 19 with
1; Ehrenberg, "Isonomia", 298f.; Borecky, op. cit., 7f.
G. Viastos, Equality and Justice in Early Greek Cosmologies, Classical Philology 42 (1947),
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communiy62 and has a close connection with eunomia, harmonious good
order, which is the principle of the aristocracy based on participation in
politics of every citizen; 'dikaios' keeps the tendency to extreme equality in
check. Early isonomia and isegoria, I think, connoted these meanings of
dike, which we also found in examining the uses of isos, dikaios and
eleutheros in Euripides' Suppliants. We should take early isonomia and
isegoria as the realization of a communal justice, which was more adequate
to oligarchies on wider social strata or to Hopliten-Politeiai than to radical
If we consider the period between the late sixth and the middle of the
fifth century as an age in which a principle of isegoria or an ideal of
&txi, distinguished from the demand of egalitarian principle, was held in
the political mind of every citizen who still took pride in the fighters of
Marathon, then we shall obtain anew the concept of an age that, though it
has been hitherto regarded as a vague transition period, had in itself a
unique essence, characterized by a spirit nearer to the ideal of the Polis
2. Isonomia seems, as stated before (in section IV), to be the principle
that does not always fit in with the actual, though it was probably coupled
with democratic legislations and institutions; isegoria, on the other hand,
gives priority to the material fact." The main point of isegoria does not lie
in whether freedom of speech in the assembly is admitted by the law or
not, or even in whether the principle of isegoria is declared or not, but in
the existing state that the assembly is animated by free speech open to every
citizen, or at least in the situation that people feel the will of their own
community materialized there. It is said in Eupolis (frg. 291): &6eL
{xnd6xeLv ndavtwv
As this evidence
the establish-
ment of laws or institutions is not sufficient for isegoria, which must show
itself materially in the assembly on each occasion.
3. In the course of time, the significance of isegoria seems to have
changed its emphasis from "equality of speech in the assembly" to "free-
See V. Ehrenberg, Die Rechtsidee im friihen Gniechentum, Leipzig 1921, 86; K. Honn,
Solon, Wien 1948, 69f.; G. Vlastos, "Solonian Justice", Classical Philology 41 (1946), 67ff.
esp. 74ff.; E. Wolf, Griechisches Rechtsdenken, 1, Frankfurt a. M. 1950, 194ff.; -, "Mass und
Gerechtigkeit bei Solon", Rechtsphilosophische Studien, Frankfurt a. M. 1972, 146ff.
63 Cf. Borecky, op. cit., 20f.; Meier, Entstehung des Begriffs sDemokratie, 45ff.; Hignett,
op. cit., 157 n- 6.
In the sentence "oux fyv6ovv AlyEibaL 0iaoa T6v
orna16tvov 4I
n6Xrt" (Demosthenes, 60, 28), kayoQ(av is an
to xacaaoT6LEvov.
According to Ostwald, the verb
takes an object that does not usually mean a
principle but a real form of government (ibid., 108). This relation of isegoria with the verb
supplies one more reason to surmise that isegoria is not such a name or a principle as isonomia,
but a real institution or the practice, that is, a material fact itself.
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Isegoria in Herodotus 275
dom of speech" in the social life. Pseudo-Xenophon's remark (Ath. Pol., 12)
testifies to characteristics of isegoria that had already become an important
element of democracy,65 as follows:
8LC" Touft` OUVV
xaiL T0L5 6OVUX015 nQO5 TOV5'
bLC1 TOUt'
7tQ6; TO1) dWTO1, &6'T bETaL 1
toLg [LETO'XWV b8L6 Te
nkXlOog TOTXv O3Xvv xai 6La
vavTLx6v t&d
Toiao obv xai Toi;
irqyoQL'av rodjoatj.
Denying on this evidence the significance of isegoria relevant to the
assembly, E. Wolf says "Zwar bedeutet sie [isegoria] kein Stimmrecht beim
Erlass von Gesetzen (nomoi) oder Volksbeschlussen (psephismata), wohl aber
Gleichstellung im alltaglichen Verkehr untereinander und bei den patriotischen
oder religiosen Festen."" The change of significance, according to him, was a
result of democracy, because with its advance differentiations in law and status
had been become loose, modes of life had been made even, and democratized
customs had taken shape. That interpretation will be reasonable in light of the
context of Xenophon's remark. The legal equality among different status was
not established to the end even "in Athens where people enjoyed freedom of
speech more than anywhere else in Hellas" (Plato, Gorgias, 461 E); but social
freedom and equality seem to have considerably permeated through all
inhabitants over barriers of status owing to isegoria. Eleutheria, the Greek
freedom, puts emphasis on political significance. Moreover, it means liberties
of the nobles or citiziens as well as magnanimity of behaviour, mind and mode
of life originated from these priviledged liberties; and it also means the
freedoms incarnated in racial customs, to do as one wills and finally the
independence of the inner life, while it seems to imply scarcely social freedom.
Xenophon's use of the word isegoria may suggest that it contains, in fact, an
element of social freedom which eleutheria is unable to cover. If so, it is of a
great interest as showing another side of Greek freedom, which seems to have
been so far neglected because of absence of a word to give expression to it.
Waseda University, Tokyo Yoshio Nakategawa
See Polybius, 2,38,6.
Wolf, op. cit., 3,2, 144.
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