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November 23, 2009


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Thomas Barker

demesmen ?

Bruce Davis

Fair point - quick precis below:
Deme (demos) was the basic unit of political participation in ancient athens. It was brought in to replace the aristo dominated tribal groups and formed the basis of 'democracy' - i.e. the myth that the word demos = common people is a later mis-translation; demos merely refers to the organisation of power through districts rather than family ties. A deme provided citizens for government office by lottery - and you tended to stand with your 'deme' on the Pnyx while voting at the Assembly. Parish council doesn't quite do it as a translation - it is a community which is yours from birth and formed the basis of who you were linked to and the people you would fight with. And lend to/from.

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