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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 April 2006, 20:46 GMT 21:46 UK
The Greeks: For Better or Worse

The ancient Parthenon temple
How much do British politics owe to the Ancient Greeks?

How much do British politics owe to the Ancient Greeks?

Both less and more than you might think. In a new Sunday Supplement series, Paul Cartledge, Professor of Greek History at the University of Cambridge, considers this legacy in "The Greeks: for Better or Worse".

In the first programme, "Chuck 'em out or vote 'em out", he explores how ancient Greek political practices shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of the contemporary scene when it comes to the practical power of the voter.

We all know about "sending people to Coventry" but what about its more fearful ancient version - ostracism? This was the system by which a politician could be banished from Athens for ten years, - then, as now, a political life-time. Could British voters find a use for this tool today?

In the concluding part of his series, Paul Cartledge asks what lessons we can learn from the way citizenship was regarded in ancient Athens and Sparta.



BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The Greeks: For Better or Worse
Part One


The Greeks: For Better or Worse
Part Two



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