Ancient Justification for Democracy

The ancient Greeks fancied themselves the champions of Freedom while looking down upon the Persians as enslaving entire populations.

After the defeat of the Persians in the late 400s, a Greek known as Otanes asked: how could monarchy be a harmonious and coherent system when it permits the ruler to do whatever he wishes, to be accountable to no one? For arrogance will grow within him as he enjoys all the good things at hand…,

He went on to say: the rule of the majority, however, not only has the most beautiful and powerful name of all, equality, but in practice, the majority does not act at all like a monarch. Indeed, the majority chooses its magistrates by lot, it holds all of these officials accountable to an audit, and it refers all resolutions to the authority of the public.

You see, Otanes realized the single ruler is unconstrained and therefore a dangerously outrageous, jealous, and violent oppressor of his subjects.

Wow, it seems Herodotus, in Book 3 section 8, was commenting on something that would occur again one thousand five hundred and forty eight years later.