The Acharnians Questions and Answers
by Aristophanes

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According to Aristophanes, what are the problems with democracy as a form of government?

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Aristophanes's Acharnians was produced in 425 BC during the Peloponnesian War. The Persian War, in which different Greek city-states had united to fight off a foreign invader, Aristophanes viewed positively, as an example of great bravery and a high point in the character of Athens. Unlike the defensive war against the Persians, the war against Sparta seemed to Aristophanes to express the way in which Athenian democracy had moved from a reasonable limited franchise to control of the state by an undisciplined and self-serving rabble and the demagogues that manipulated the greed and ignorance of the rabble for their own ends.

Athens consisted of an urban center surrounded by farms. Aristophanes in the Acharnians represents the viewpoint of the country gentry, who owned and gained wealth through farming, and tended to be conservative and anti-war. Spartan tactics during this period of the war involved attacking the farms and the countryside of Athens every year, but lacking naval power or a...

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