Athens, Greece; 508 BCE

The Pnyx is a hill outside Athens that came into use when Kleisthenes introduced democracy in 508 BCE. He had been within reach of political office earlier in his life, but was forced into exile by his main rival, Isagoras, who announced that Kleisthenes was cursed and would bring ruin to the city. Installed as archon (ruler), Isagoras continued to expel people from the city – hundreds of them – in a way seen as unjust. He provoked a popular uprising when he tried to close down the council that was there to advise him. At that point, Kleisthenes took over as leader and reformed Athens’s institutions to introduce what ...

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