It Has Nothing to Do With Big Australian Birds

In the fifth century BC in the City State of Athens, once a year citizens would gather in the Agora. They would take shards of broken pottery, known as ostrako, and write the name of any citizen who they would like to see banished from the city for a period of ten years. He lost none of his status or any of his property or possessions. But the penalty for entering the city before the ten years was up was death.

From the name of the bits of pottery used as ballots, this procedure was known as ostracism.

According to the wikipedia:

Ostracism (Greek ὀστρακισμός ostrakismos) was a procedure under the Athenian democracy in which a prominent citizen could be expelled from the city-state of Athens for ten years. While some instances clearly expressed popular anger at the victim, ostracism was often used pre-emptively. It was used as a way of defusing major confrontations between rival politicians (by removing one of them from the scene), neutralizing someone thought to be a threat to the state, or exiling a potential tyrant. Crucially, ostracism had no relation to the processes of justice. There was no charge or defence, and the exile was not in fact a penalty; it was simply a command from the Athenian people that one of their number be gone for ten years.”

I’m looking at you, Eric Crafton.

If you want to waste the time and resources of the Metro Government on your own tiny-minded attempt to undermine the reputation of our fair city, I think I might like to work on a little petition of my own. Check out Sec. 15.06.-Recall of metropolitan officers.

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4 Responses to It Has Nothing to Do With Big Australian Birds

  1. newscoma says:

    Get your rant on dear.
    It sounds pretty damned good.

  2. fishwreck says:

    I’d sign that petition. Especially if it’s written in Spanish. Or Greek.

  3. sista says:

    Somebody find me a big rock….Warren is going down.

  4. David Bath says:

    I’ve been a fan of a modernized version of ostracism for a long time (about 25 years since I got heavily into classical history), and described how it might work in the modern day, and the advantages of using it on a national rather than local scale. Perhaps this might give you a few ideas. You guys have citizen-initiated referenda and might be able to pull it off. We here in Oz don’t have it.

    See http://www.deadroo.com/index.php/re-introduce-ostracism-into-democracy/ for details. Anyone have some ideas for other modern refinements?

    BTW: Ostriches are from Africa. Here in Oz we have emus, the smaller cousin.

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