Postcards from the birthplace of democracy

To be honest it was not much to look at. While throngs of tourists on the streets below rambled along the main drag on the winding route up to the more highly renowned Acropolis, this little patch of space, known as the Pnyx, sat all on its lonesome, with only a couple of people in sight or earshot. 

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But would you believe it if I told you that this was the meeting place of the world’s first known democratic assembly – and that it is believed that this happened over five hundred years before the birth of Christ?

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While in Athens recently, I found it hard to truly comprehend and come to terms with the relics of history that were often thrust into my immediate contact. Awe does not quite capture it; it’s something beyond awe. Bewilderment, perhaps. A small reminder that in case you had forgotten, you are just another insignificant piece of fungus along for the ride on this ball of rock of ours; a ball of rock that is constantly turning and moving the seasons ceaselessly onward. A hundred years ago objectively speaking is a long time for most, at least in terms of individual human experience. To just sit back and consider that over 2500 years ago, right here in this particular location in Athens where one can potter around today, the essential germ of what we know as democracy was arguably born, is a fairly humbling thought.

The view across to the Acropolis from the Pnyx is also somewhat humbling. 

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2 thoughts on “Postcards from the birthplace of democracy

  1. I think you should have said “birthplace of participatory democracy”, as I doubt you can get everyone in Australia to get to one spot to talk and vote on matters.

  2. Well, that’s probably true, although the 2020 summit provide an interesting parallel. One wonders. If the nation decided to take a day of work and fill the nation’s football and cricket stadiums with decision-makers to direct the nation’s policy for the next year, I think you’d probably find that quite a lot of people would turn up at the turnstiles to have their voice counted.

    Of course, there would be a significant amount of people who couldn’t be arsed, but that’s the modern perception of politics for you in Australia.

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