From the beginning of the article:
Few scholars have done as much as Mogens Herman Hansen to place Athenian democracy in its practical context. With a Tolstoyan eye for detail and an Aristotelian sense of organic unity, Hansen has made a meeting of the Assembly or a mustering of a military expedition seem almost to take place before our eyes. Nor has he sacrificed a sense of balance to the search for verisimilitude. While underlining the similarities between ancient and modern democracy, Hansen also acknowledges the differences: among them, the breadth of the Athenian notion of politics. As he writes:
We expect administration under a democracy to be in principle pragmatic and apolitical ... The Athenians saw things differently. For them, everything that had to do with the polis was “political”: they were quite capable of distinguishing between initiation, decision, and execution, but they did not distinguish between politics and administration ...
Nor did the Athenians expect their military to be above politics; they recognized rather, as Hansen notes, that the way they fought a war might have major political consequences. In recognition of his methodological mastery, this paper examines the relationship between Athenian democratic politics and naval tactics at one moment in the mid-fifth century BC.