The constructive forward-thinking characteristics that shaped Athenian democratic government give the modern world its actual derivation of the word democracy. The demesmen or citizens of Athens came together astutely to set up representative power in order to supercede the earlier oligarchic control by the aristocracy. According to the Athenian Constitution the prevailing governing assembly or Ekklesia was comprised of all registered Athenian males over eighteen years of age whose parents were citizens of Athens (Moore, 1983:182). Ephebes, the newly-registered Athenian young adults, were required to undergo military training for a year and serve on patrol as guards for another year prior to attaining to full citizenship (Moore, 1983:184).
The councils of decision-makers, with the exception of a few elected officials, as well as the jurors were selected by lot from each of the tribes of the deme. The Council members that drew up the program for the plenary session once for each prytany or term (Moore, 1983:142) were also chosen by lot every year from the citizenry, and the resolutions of the Boule answered to the courts of the people or dikasterion (Moore, 1983:185). Nearly everything was determined by lot, whether it was the office of the King Archon and the Polemarch (Moore, 1983:195) or the free market advisers (Moore, 1983:191), most Athenians were selected for civic duties by chance. The chairman of the Prytanies or the committee of the Boule or Council, who kept the city seal and held the keys to the place where the treasury and public records were stored, was rotated in that office daily and could not serve twice (Moore, 1983:186).
Casting lots was the usual means of appointment with two notable exceptions. First, in the religious sphere ten sacred officials in charge of expiation were elected to offer the sacrifices required by the oracles for religious rites. Another ten of these were chosen by lot to oversee the annual rituals (Moore, 1983: 194). Secondly, in the area of the armed services all military leaders were likewise elected officials. Cavalry commanders and military officers were chosen by the Prytany. Ten strategoi or generals, were elected from the whole citizenry and served more generally as a court of chief magistrates (Moore, 1983:142), but these magistrates were always answerable to the electorate as to their conduct in office, and with the vote of the Prytany could be tried in the dikasterion or the public courts for any violations of electoral trust (Moore, 1983:201).
The fact that sacred and military offices would have been important elected positions is not surprising in that these responsibilities concern public matters that are of weighty importance in the management and stability of the public well-being. Both require well thought-out choices for competent and worthy individuals in order to guarantee the security of the state, unlike other duties which ought to be representative and inclusive of all citizens, such as jury duty and the day-to-day matters of governance, as well as initial service in the lower ranks of the military.
Athenian democracy is not entirely similar to modern concepts of genuine participatory rule by the people. Athens' Constitution, like any modern constitution, set out the design and ideal of the democracy it