The aim of the essay is to study two aspects of Greek heritage in Europe: democratic citizenship and the issue of otherness. Parts of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesean War will be taken into account in order to deal with the former aspect, the latter will accounted for by reference to one of Aeschylus’ works. The overall experience of the Athenian polis should be neither underestimated nor overevalued, which means that Athens’ contribution to active citizenship and deliberative democracy is challenged if one considers the relevance of oligarchic practices in the life of the city. In a similar manner, the primacy of « the native » vs the barbarism of the Other is partially questioned by a notable attention to the prosecuted foreigner. Greece’s past is multifacetted and contradictory and it should be analized in a balanced way. It is crucially urgent for Europe to transcend itself while leaving aside the simplistic image of an idealized Greece.
Ancient Greece, Thucydide, Eschyle, citizenship, alterity