Myrthe Bartels

Junior Core Fellow
Period of Stay: 
October 2022 – June 2023
University of Pisa, Italy
Project Title: 
Democracy and the Common Good in Ancient Greek Political Thought
Project Abstract: 

This project seeks to investigate how ancient Greek intellectuals in the 4th century BC criticized contemporary democratic political culture for promoting indulgence and luxury. While most studies of ancient thinking about democracy focus on the democratic constitution, this project studies ancient ideas about democratic political culture. Focussing on two case studies, the first addressing how thinkers such as Aristotle and Theopompos of Chios construed the differences in commercial practices in democracies and in a harmonious, theoretical society characterized by “political friendship,” the second on indulgence and excessive attachment to freedom in Plato’s Republic, the project explores why ancient intellectuals considered democracies especially liable to foster a political culture centred on trade and private wealth, and oblivious of the common good.