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THRASYBULUS - Rachel Heiderscheit

Mr. Scheurell

Democracy and Global Diversity

23 February, 2017

Metic Rights - Address to the Assembly

Citizens! My fellow brothers! I am Thrasybulus and I come before you today to

implore you to give the metics and slaves who fought for our country in the war to be given

citizenship for the good deeds they have done. Many of you believe that these people are

greedy and possess a lack of patriotism (Ober, Norman, & Carnes, 2015, p. 48). However,

many of these metics, these men, fought and some even died in defense for our polis. They

have given back to our city-state many times over. Granting them citizenship is of the utmost

importance to the betterment of Athens. Granting metics the right to citizenship is, no doubt,

one of the greatest decisions of your life. You may be asking yourself, “How does granting

them citizenship benefit me or Athens?” I will present to you three reasons why granting

metics citizenship is going to benefit you, the sons of Athens.

Currently, our numbers are devastated because of the war. You may say,

“Thrasybulus, why does that matter? Our numbers will continue to improve over time and

with the generations to come.” And I say to you, “Citizens, adding these people to our polis

will build our economy in innumerable ways.” When granted citizenship, the metics will be a

part of our Assembly. They will be essential in foreign relations. These people who have

traded and traveled all across Hellas have skills and products and contacts all across the sea

that can help Athens. These people know what other poleis want as far as goods, such as our
olive oil, wine, and pottery, among many other things. Knowing what these other city-states

want and what they are willing to give, will only bring more luxuries and goods into our

beautiful city. Additionally, they know many people in these other poleis that could be

beneficial to us as far as alliances. The metics have sold goods to and traded with those that

help make decisions on alliances. It is known that our metics make their home in Athens, and

if they are in good standing; showing upright morals and the values of our city, we, the people

of Athens, have only more means to build the imperative relationships of alliances across all

of Hellas. The metics also have much knowledge of how these city-states are set up and run.

This gives us the means to communicate best with these cities, in a way that they would

appreciate, so as not to upset the gods or the peoples of their cities. And if, on the chance that

they pose a threat to our powerful city, we know best where their weaknesses lie and can

defend ourselves. “... the polis exists to support not merely life but the good life, and so its

essential characteristics include a communal spirit based on common access to justice

(Rhodes, 1992, p. 360).” As we know from Socrates, true justice stems from the Forms, which

are the ultimate good (Plato, Book VII). If we are to have the ultimate good, and therefore

justice in our land, we need to grant citizenship to these people that can improve our

reputation across all of Hellas and increase our profits in trading with other foreign city-


There are men voting in our Assembly that supported the Thirty Tyrants. Some metics

fought and died for our city-state and yet they have no say in what happens in the polis they

call home? They have made some large and demanding sacrifices for our beautiful and strong

city-state, yet we would refuse to thank them for offering themselves and their resources to
our great city? While the supporters of the Thirty, who were vehemently against our

democracy and the freedom of the people, are still, not only allowed, but encouraged, to vote

for decisions that will affect us for generations to come? Do you have no fear in mind that the

decisions they make now are not setting us up for another try for Spartan rule? Think of your

children, would you want them to be engaged in so bloody a battle as we were? These metics,

who have proved themselves loyal to Athens and to the values of democracy should be

granted citizenship because they have demonstrated actions and values that are

complementary to the actions and values of the Athenian citizen.

There are likely many among you here that believe that these people that we would be

granting citizenship to do not possess all the same values and patriotism that all of you sitting

here before me do. This is why I am here today: to propose a law that contains the stipulation

that those we would be granting citizenship to must prove themselves worthy of our

democratic values before becoming a citizen. There are metics among us such as Lysias. He

was able to send supplies, weapons, and funds to aid myself and other Athenians in the battle

against the Thirty (Ober, et. al., 2015, p. 86). His contributions were crucial to Athens

defeating the Thirty Tyrants. I believe that his commitment to Athens shines through his

status as a metic and that his deeds are reason enough to grant him, and any others who prove

themselves worthy, citizenship to our beautiful city of Athens.

Following all of these statements, I wish to place forward a proposal for a piece of

legislature for the Assembly to vote on as it sees fit.

“Those that prove themselves worthy of democratic values and loyalties in line with

the Athenian polis should be granted citizenship. They will be called to any and all of the
duties expected of a citizen including; but not limited to: serving the Athenian military,

supporting the city financially via liturgies, and being required to attend Assembly meetings.

(Ober, 2015, p. 47) (Deene, 2011, p. 171).”


Deene, M. (2011). Naturalized citizens and social mobility in classical Athens: The case of

Apollodorus. Greece & Rome, 58(2), 159-175. Retrieved from

Ober, J., Norman, N.J., & Carnes, M.C. (2015). The threshold of Democracy. New York, NY:

Norton & Company.

Plato. (2007). The Republic. New York, NY: Penguin Classics.

Rhodes, P.J. (1992). The development of Athenian civic Consciousness. The Classical

Review, 42(2), 360-362. Retrieved from