The Citizenship Debates, Lysias, and the Metics in Athens after the Restoration of Democracy

Vassilis Vagios


After the restoration of democracy in Athens in 403 B.C. the question of who should be included in the citizen-body was fervently contested. Two of the speeches composed by Lysias for delivery at this period have been interpreted by Bakewell (1999) as constituting a covert proposal of adding an alternative to citizenship by birth: legal naturalization. This paper argues that Bakewell’s interpretation misunderstands the argument of the speech Against Philon which is only concerned with eligibility to serve in the Council, and not with citizenship. Furthermore, the paper questions the validity of what Bakewell (1999) considers as Athenian stereotypes of metics (resident aliens), and concludes that these are more stereotypes held by modern scholars, generated by misunderstandings of the actual composition of the metic community, rather than ancient Athenian views. As the paper is addressed not only to Classicists, but also to scholars of other disciplines who might be interested in the opinions held by host communities towards diasporic communities among them, care is taken to provide enough information to make the paper easily accessed by them too.


Athens; Democracy; Metics; Lysias

Full Text:



Adeleye, G. (1983). “The purpose of dokimasia”. Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, 24(4), 295-306.

Bakewell, G. (1999). “Lysias 12 and Lysias 31: metics and Athenian citizenship in the aftermath of the Thirty”. Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, 40(1), 5-22.

Baslez, M.F. (1988). ‘Les communautés d’Orientaux dans la cité grecque: formes de sociabilité et modèles associatifs’, in Lonis (ed.) L’Etranger dans le Monde Grec, Nancy: Presses universitaires de Nancy, 139-158.

Cohen, E.E. (2000). The Athenian Nation. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Davies, J. K. (1977). “Athenian citizenship: the descent group and the alternatives”. The Classical Journal, 73(2), 105-121.

Harrison, A. R. W. (1968–71). The Law of Athens. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Katayama, Y. (1970). “The social significance of liturgies from the viewpoint of the participation of metics'. Journal of Classical Studies, 18, 40-51 [Japanese with English summary).

Krentz, P. (1980). “Foreigners against the Thirty: IG 22 10 Again.” Phoenix 34, 298–306.

Lape, S. (2010). Race and citizen identity in the classical Athenian democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Manville, P. B. (1990). “The Origins of Citizenship in Ancient Athens”. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Michelini, A. N. (1994). “Political Themes in Euripides' Suppliants”. The American Journal of Philology, 115(2), 219-252.

Munn, M. H. (2000). The School of History: Athens in the Age of Socrates. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Ostwald, M. (1986). From Popular Sovereignty to the Sovereignty of Law: Law, Society, and Politics in Fifth-Century Athens. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Osborne, M. J. (1981–3). Naturalization in Athens. 4 vols. Brussels: Koninklijke academie voor wetenschappen, letteren en schone kunsten van België.

Osborne, R. (1985). Demos: The Discovery of Classical Attika. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sinclair, R. K. (1991). Democracy and participation in Athens. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Todd, S. C. (2000). Lysias. Austin: Texas University Press.

Todd, S.C. (1993). The Shape of Athenian Law. Oxford:Clarendon Press.

Whitehead, D. (1977). The Ideology of the Athenian Metic.

Whitehead, D. (1984b). “A Thousand New Athenians IG2.10+.” Liverpool Classical Monthly, 9(1), 8–10. Cambridge: Cambridge Philological Society.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Vassilis Vagios

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved | Interface | ISSN: 2519-1268