Revolution refers to an attempt to outdo an older regime and cause its effects to be forgotten completely. This is made through some violent changes which may be made in a peaceful or a brutal manner. These changes may be fueled by economic, political, geographic, cultural, and a desire to reduce the oppression of certain conditions. Throughout the history of man, there have been numerous revolutions always motivated by a drive to outdo the present conditions that may seem unfavorable for them. The ancient regimes had such revolutions. In this paper, I have researched on two revolutions. These include, the Athenian revolution establishing a democracy between 507/8 BC and the Babylonian revolt against the rule from the Assyrian empire.
The Athenian revolution
A leader by the name Cleisthenes initiated political reforms. These reforms were aimed at establishing democracy, a government of the people for the people by the people. There was to be a change in the way of governance from authoritarian to a democracy where the citizens would participate in the governing systems. This is because the Athens were initially ruled by chief magistrates or archons. These leaders ruled in their favor. There were harsh rules and the aristocratic leaders only wanted to add to themselves more power. This led to the initiation of the revolutions. Solon a leader was convinced by the laboring class to establish a government that encouraged the participation of its citizens. The democratic system abolished the political distinctions between the Athenian Aristocrats and the middle working class.
Due to the above protests, there was a need to form a democratic government. The government formed was made up of three arms of government. The Ekklesia was one of the arms of the government. It allowed the male adult citizens to participate in public meetings. These meetings were made forty times a year. The Ekklesia was the governing body of Athens. It was able to make laws in issues such as wars and foreign policies. Decisions were made through a simple majority rule.
The other arm was Boule. It was a council of five hundred men who came from the ten tribes of Athens. It was responsible of controlling army horses and ships and also supervised civil workers. These people were chosen by lot and not by vote. The Boule was made up of people who could not be corrupted easily. However, the positions were seen to be given to the wealthy class.
The third arm of government was the Dikasteria. It was a court. People who were in the Dikasteria were chosen by lot from a pool of male adults who were over thirty years. Since there were no police in Athens, the Dikasteria was responsible of getting the law breakers and prosecuting them. It favored the will of the majority. It was often meant to punish their enemies.
The establish of this governance system made citizens of different classes participate in governance. There was freedom among the citizens. Justice became fast and cases would not take more than a day. The rules emphasized that each male adult citizen participate in the law building process. The elected people were subjected to review before holding offices. They would be removed from offices when the assembly decided to do so. There was even a death penalty for inadequacy of performance in office.
However, the democracy had several faults of its own. Some of these problems were that the opponents were few. The democratic decisions were also for a chosen few since it only allowed male citizens adult to participate. It was not inclusive. It led to few opponents since the governments were inclusive. The democratic systems also required military power. It discriminated women since they were not allowed to participate in the meetings. The democratic system also encouraged slavery. It was neither a government of the poor nor the majority. These factors led to the fail of this democratic system. However, the Athenians had longed for a change in the way of governance and for sure they got it. It came with its own advantages and disadvantages.
The Babylonians revolt against rule from the Assyrian empire 615 BC.
There arose a war at Nineveh. It was motivated by a desire to bring to an end the dominance of Assyrians in Mesopotamia. This was because Mesopotamia had sufficient rainfall and irrigation was made only once in a while. It had fertile soils suitable for agriculture. The northern part of Assyria was rich in building stones. It was also close to the sources of metals required for building. It had dense forests which provide the timber for building. However, Assyria had some political problems since it was divided between the southern domination and the third millennium.
To overthrow the Assyrian dominance, there was an attack in Nineveh and the king of the Assyrian government was killed. His name was King Sinsharushkin. In the earlier centuries of the second millennium, the Babylonians were the dominating power in the Mesopotamia. Afterwards, there was an increase in Assyrians invasion. The Babylonians tried many times to resist the invasion but they did not succeed. Nabopolassar, a king in Babylon once noticed that there was a weakening of the Assyrians hold in 626 BC. It took Babylon some ten years to expel the Assyrians from Mesopotamia. After the success, they even started an invasion in Assyria around 616 BC.
The revolt was a major cause of the fall of Assyria. The Assyrian started invading Mesopotamia after Assurbanipal died in the 627 BC. After his death, his brother took over the governance. However, he was killed after a revolt. Between 626/ 625 there was a war to make Babylon to come back to its new position. The Babylonians became victorious in 616 BC in the battle of Arrapha. The Medes once invaded Nineveh in 612 BC. They fought for three months. The King of Assyria was killed during this war. Assyria from then, stopped to become an independent state, never to rise again. Afterwards, Babylonians engaged in a struggle to control Mesopotamia.
The reasons why the Mesopotamia farming valley was considered important to both the Assyrians and the Babylonians were the following. Mesopotamia had very fertile soils. It was supplied with water by the river Euphrates and Tigris. It was also surrounded by many seas where water for irrigation would come from. This came from the discovery of farming techniques between 8000 BC and 6000 BC. The people left early lives of hunting and gathering. There were also favorable weather and climatic conditions that favored farming. The water and the soils were not saline and did not contain minerals that did not favor Agriculture.
Due to these factors, the Babylonians depended wholly for Mesopotamia to provide to its basic needs of food starting from legumes, melons, figs, grapes, vegetables. They also kept domestic animals such as goats, sheep, donkey camels and others. They provided them with milk, wool, skin and transportation services. However, Assyrians discovered the importance of Mesopotamia and begun to invade it. Before the Babylonians had come to their senses, the Assyrians had already settled in Mesopotamia. To reduce this competition of resources, the Babylonians had to fight the Assyrians. This is considered as a revolution since the Babylonians wanted a change of the way they competed for the Mesopotamia valley. They had to fight them away.
overthrow and revolution. Excavations in the Athenian Agora conducted by the American schools of Classical studies primary funding provided by the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI). Available at www.agathe.gr/democracy/overthrow-and-revolution.html
the final end of Athenian democracy. An empire of the mind 56k-ISDN-T1. Available at www.pbs.org/empires/thegreeks/background/48.html
neo-Assyria, neo-Babylonia, collapse (114-538 BC). Funded by the department of defense, legacy resource program and coordinated by the Fort drum cultural resources program and the center for environmental Management of Military Lands (CEML), Colorado state University.
battle of Nineveh by Michael Kerrigan.
Available at www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Nineveh