Selection by lot in ancient Athens: From religion to politics

1. The ancient world
By Paul Demont

The part played by sortition in Athenian democracy in the fifth and fourth century BC is still a focus for political scientists. But the use of lots for choosing leaders also had a religious background in Archaic and Classical Greece. This paper traces two processes of secularization, in some ways similar, in other ways different, but linked together by the Western tradition of classics, in the polytheism of Ancient Greece, and in the monotheism of modern Europe.


  • sortition
  • religion
  • chance
  • secularization
  • Aquinas
  • Gataker (Thomas)
  • Plato
  • Fustel de Coulanges
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