The idea of accountable office in ancient Greece and beyond

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6 Scopus citations


While leaders in many times and places from ancient Greece to today have been called to account, it has been claimed that leaders in ancient Athens were called to account more than any other group in history. This paper surveys the distinctive ways in which Athenian accountability procedures gave the democratic people as a whole a meaningful voice in defining, revealing, and judging the misuse of office, and in holding every single official regularly and personally accountable for their use of their powers. By then assessing a drastic case of unaccountability in a certain moment of Athenian history - the rule of the Thirty in 404-403 BCE - and how accountability was ultimately imposed on them, the paper concludes with thoughts about what might deepen and restore trust in the accountability of public officials today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-40
Number of pages22
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


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