It actually started in around 600BC under a wise statesman, Solon, who came up with the idea, which was taken up by the city state of Athens.
Not everyone was happy, basically the wealthy, what a surprise! Therefore in 411 and 404BC the richest merchants, supported by the old enemy, Sparta, led counter revolutions to restore the old dictatorship. They succeeded in 404BC, but only for a year. Democracy then returned for another 80 years until the arrival of Alexander the Great, the King of Macedonia, when he conquered Athens. Fortunately, Democracy had by this time spread to many of the other city states in the Greek archipelago, where it continued to thrive until they were conquered by the Romans.
Athens benefited from their democracy as it heralded one of the most fertile periods of history. From Athens at this time came the philosophers Socrates, Anaxagoras and Plato; the historians Herodotus and Thucydides; and the literature of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. The Athens Democracy allowed a culture to develop that valued intelligence and pleasure, allowing exceptional citizens to achieve brilliance in the arts, medicine, mathematics, and philosophy.
The freedom of thought is the real benefit of Democracy, as it allows Nelson Mandela’s famous quote to become reality “It always seems impossible until it’s done”.
Let you children learn about this with our factional musical “Athens – The birth of Democracy” which can be downloaded at https://bit.ly/2KUf2sj.
You can even download it in Greek, as it was performed in Athens in 2010!