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Many people like to see Athens as the 'birthplace of democracy'. In reality, even during its heyday the ruling classes and families of Athens carefully saw to it that all jobs and functions that carried any real power were reserved only for their family members. The mass-meetings that were held to decide on issues were always carefully orchestrated and on the very occasional instances that things did not go their way it remained up to them to decide in what way decisions would be implemented.

So school will probably expect you to answer 'democratic', but in reality Athens always was an olichargy dominated by its upper-class families and clans.

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Q: How was Athens government like?
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