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Anti-corruption in HistoryFrom Antiquity to the Modern Era$
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Ronald Kroeze, André Vitória, and Guy Geltner

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198809975

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198809975.001.0001

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Corruption and Anticorruption in Democratic Athens

Corruption and Anticorruption in Democratic Athens

(p.21) 1 Corruption and Anticorruption in Democratic Athens
Anti-corruption in History

Claire Taylor

Oxford University Press

The chapter examines a major corruption scandal that involved the Athenian orator Demosthenes and an official of Alexander the Great. This episode reveals how tensions between individual and collective decision-making practices shaped Athenian understandings of corruption and anticorruption. The various and multiple anticorruption measures of Athens sought to bring ‘hidden’ knowledge into the open and thereby remove information from the realm of individual judgment, placing it instead into the realm of collective judgment. The Athenian experience therefore suggests that participatory democracy, and a civic culture that fosters political equality rather than reliance on individual expertise, provides a key bulwark against corruption.

Keywords:   corruption, anticorruption, Athens, democracy, Demosthenes, treason, prosecution, rhetoric, epistemic democracy, collective judgment

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