A changing political cultureThe decades after the Persian defeat saw a new dynamism in Athens. This was the period of the great dramas, such as Aeschylus' The Persians, performed in 472. It was also a time of a new polarization in politics. In the 480s comic dramas became part of the political festivals and Cleisthenes’ device of ostracism began to be used by the people against prominent nobles, sometimes for reasons that can seem frivolous. The ostracisms were signs of a changing political culture in which traditional aristocrats found their assumptions challenged by the advocates of democracy.
- The Areopagus Council, the governing body, lost its powers, and the rulers (the arkhontes) became democratically elected. Decision-making now rested with the Assembly.
- The Areopagus continued as a court but after a first hearing they had to pass on cases to one of the panels of public jurors (see below).