Christopher Herdan Hedetoft

Christopher Herdan Hedetoft

Ph.d. stipendiat

Aktuel forskning

What made the laws and decrees of ancient democratic governing bodies legitimate? Who led whom in the direct democracies of ancient Greece? How were leaders and leadership qualities cultivated and reproduced? Did people in ancient democracies often reach consensus and how did they enact sound decisions? These are the kinds of questions I wish to explore in my project Leadership in Democratic Athens and Rhodes - Ideals and Realities of Leadership in Ancient Greece.

Democratic leaders of the ancient world, like Pericles and Demosthenes of Athens, never fail to capture our imagination. However, while there is no shortage of academic publications on the “Great Men” of ancient Greece, we are nevertheless left with a remarkable lacuna in our understanding of the relationship between norms and ideas of leadership on the one hand and its reality and practice on the other. This project proposes to fill that lacuna.

The project will investigate the connection between ideals and practices of leadership in the ancient direct democracies of Athens and Rhodes during 400 BCE – 100 CE. Specifically, I intend to shed light on the questions of how and to what extent ideas and values of leadership were instilled into and possibly shaped members of the elite as well as deliberative groups of citizens. The purpose is to uncover if or in what measure leaders in democratic poleis (both individuals and decision-making bodies) practiced values and principles of leadership, or whether we can discern a gap between the ideals and exercise of leadership and power.

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