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Courage in the Democratic Polis: Ideology and Critique in Classical Athens

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In this careful and compelling study, Ryan K. Balot brings together political theory, classical history, and ancient philosophy in order to reinterpret courage as a specifically democratic virtue. Ranging from Thucydides and Aristophanes to the Greek tragedians and Plato, Balot shows that the ancient Athenians constructed a novel vision of courage that linked this virtue to fundamental democratic ideals such as freedom, equality, and practical rationality. The Athenian ideology of courage had practical implications for the conduct of war, for gender relations, and for the citizens' self-image as democrats. In revising traditional ideals, Balot argues, the Athenians reimagined the emotional and cognitive motivations for courage in ways that will unsettle and transform our contemporary discourses. Without losing sight of political tensions and practical conflicts, Balot illustrates the merits of the Athenian ideal, provocatively explaining its potential to enlarge our contemporary understandings of politics and ethics. The result is a remarkable interdisciplinary work that has significant implications for the theory and practice of democracy, both ancient and modern.

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Balot Ryan
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Ryan K. Balot is Professor of Political Science and Classics at the University of Toronto. He is the author or editor of three volumes.

Chapter 1 Introduction: A Theory of Democratic Courage

Part I: The Periclean Ideology and Its Critics

Chapter 2 The Periclean Model

Chapter 3 Free Speech, Democratic Deliberation, and Courage

Chapter 4 Writing Courage into Democratic History: Aeschylean and Herodotean Perspectives

Chapter 5 New Faces of Athenian Courage: The Pursuit of Imperialism

Chapter 6 Democratic Courage and the Platonic Laches

Chapter 7 Isocratean Reflections: Athens' Courage, Imperialism, and Eudaimonism

Part II: Equality, Emotion, and Civic Education

Chapter 8 Courage, Equality, and Military Recognition in Democratic Athens

Chapter 9 Revisiting the Chapter 10 The Courageous Passions of Democratic Athens

Chapter 11 Shame, Honor, and the Constitution of Role Models

Chapter 12 Cocky Athenian Men?

Chapter 13 Tragic Explorations of Courage, Freedom, and Self-Knowledge

Part III: Athens' Ideology of Eudaimonism

Chapter 14 Athenian Eudaimonism in Thought and Action

Chapter 15 Eudaimonistic Chapter 16 Conclusion: Three Challenges



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