According to Scottish philosopher David George Ritchie, the ideal of equality "is the idea of a peerage - an order or cast of nobles who recognize each other as in some respects and for some purposes equals, while asserting their superiority to the rest of the nation or the rest of the human race".
The goal of my paper is to analyse the aristocratic character of the equalitarian principles that inspired Athenian democracy (isegoria, isonomia etc.) and so to reassess the well-established view that ancient Athens saw the birth of the first form of governance founded on a formal, impersonal and institutional notion of equality and political rights. The demos will be therefore described as an aristocratic group, tightly defined by kinship and blood, whose superiority was marked by a moral and social code which had its fullest expression in the exercise of arms.
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