On a Rocky Hill in Athens, a ‘Democratic Odyssey’ Begins

Could a European People’s Assembly—Politician-Free and Chosen by Lottery—Become a Permanent Branch of Government?

Democracy was first built on a lot of loose rock.

Can democracy now be rebuilt on that very same ground?

Recently, I spent a long afternoon on a dusty and rocky Athens hill called the Pnyx for the first meeting of a novel assembly inspired by the past.

It was the most audacious and beautiful democratic event I’ve ever witnessed.

The Pnyx rises just west of the Acropolis. There, the ancient Athenian Ecclesia, consisting of local citizens mostly chosen by lot, gathered more than 100 generations ago to make all important government decisions. No …

A Letter From Greece, Where a Photo of a Sheep Is Going Viral | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Letter From Greece, Where Quarantined Sheep Go for Walks

A Daily Debate About Safety and Freedom Has Kept Greeks Safe From Sickness

For Athens, I am in the middle of nowhere. It’s early morning, and I have walked up the hill that overlooks our apartment building with my dog, Skeletor, a young, …

For the Ancient Greeks, Immigrants Were Both a Boon and Threat to Homeland Security

Athenians Welcomed Strangers as Workers and Mythic Protectors, but Walled off Dangerous “Barbarians”

Even though the United States is worlds away from ancient Greece, we still sometimes use the Greeks’ vocabulary for describing immigrants and our fear of them. Like the ancient Greeks, …