Athens: The Truth about Democracy

Jul 18, 2023 | History, Videos

The rise of democracy in Ancient Athens is a remarkable story. Bettany Hughes takes us on a journey to uncover the truth behind the Golden Age in her documentary, ‘Athens: The First Democracy’. With exploration of pre-historic bones and ancient artifacts, she reveals how this barren rock became one of the most influential civilizations 2,500 years ago.

The Western world proudly promotes democracy and free speech as cornerstones of modern civilization, but what was life really like in Athens? Bettany uncovers evidence that this supposedly democratic city was built on slave labor, controlled by aristocrats, and where women were veiled and men aggressively expanded overseas. The film charts the story of Athens’ battle against Xerxes’ mighty Persian fleet at Salamis, as well as their building of the Parthenon – a symbol of Athenian power.

From sophisticated voting systems to smooth-talking politicians using spin tactics, Bettany Hughes gives us an insight into a fascinating society which helped shape our modern world. She also shows us how a culture can struggle with its own definition of democracy – those who didn’t vote were labeled ‘idiotes’. This documentary offers viewers an enlightening look at democracy’s formative days, leaving them with a greater understanding of its power and potential.

So take some time out to watch Bettany Hughes’s revealing documentary on the first democracy in history – ‘Athens: The First Democracy’. You’ll be amazed at what you learn about a civilization which has had such an impact on our lives today!

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David B