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Comic Book / Democracy

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"If we stand for anything, it's the fact that it doesn't end! It never does!"

Democracy is a comic book written by Alecos Papadatos, Annie Di Donna (who have also worked in Logicomix) and Abraham Kawa in 2015.

It opens on 490 B.C. with Athens at war. More specifically, the night before the infamous Battle of Marathon. The Hero of the story, Leander, who has witnessed the transition from tyranny to democracy, retells this story to his friend, in order to calm him down, but along the way, he attracts a bigger audience.

He starts back when he was still a teen and he lived with his father, Promachus, and his two slaves, Nefert and Gavrion, in Athens. That's until his father is murdered during a rebellion (where one of the tyrants is murdered as well) and he is forced to flee and seek help to Delphi, hoping he would find help.

Unfortunately, he discovers that Delphi isn't what he thought it would be (and that is confirmed through meetings with Hero, a Pythia in training). On an attempt to find a solution to his problem, he comes in contact (and developed a bond) with Goddess Athena, the patron goddess of his city-state.

Alongside, he meets Cleisthenes, an ostracized citizen, who plans on returning to Athens and take matters into his own hands, convincing the now adult Leander to come with him and help him.

The idea for the story was given when Alecos helped his daughter write an essay about Cleisthenes and the birth of Democracy. It is, by far, his last work, as he currently works on a graphic novel about the life of Aristotle.

Not to be confused with a video game by the same name.

Democracy contains examples of:

  • 0% Approval Rating:
    • The Athenians are not very fond of their current tyrants. During the Panathenaea, they greeted Hippias with boos and yells.
    Athenian No.1: BOO!
    Athenian No.2: Down with the tyrants!
    Athenian No.3: Go to the crows!
    • They didn't like the Spartans either, because they tried to abolish their counsil, a big insult for them. After they managed to get rid of them, they accompanied them by laughing at their failed attempt, 'till they left the city.
  • 24-Hour Armor: In all scenes they appear, the Spartans are seen wearing an armor.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: One of the most common weapons here is a spear, which is used by both the Athenians and the Spartans.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: During the chaos surrounding Hipparchus' death, Promachus is the only one who is seen smiling.
    Promachus: (smiling) They killed the tyrant!
    Echekrates: (angrily) He died!
  • Adapted Out: The 1,000 Plataeans who came and help the Athenian army are not mentioned.
  • After Action Patch Up: Cleisthenis treats Leander's wound, after the Scythian archer stabs his (Leander's) hand.
  • An Aesop: Always seek out the truth. Even if it turns out that you hate it. It's better than staying in the dark.
  • The Ageless: Implied to be the case with Athena, Apollo and Dionysus, as they are literally gods!
  • Age Lift: In Real Life, Harmodius was a teen when him and Aristoghiton murdered Hipparchus. In the graphic novel, while his age is never mentioned, his design resembles that of an adult, probably to not make it Squick, as him and Aristogeiton were lovers.
  • Aggressive Negotiations: In the scene where Leonidas converse with his older brother, Kleomenes, and suggests him to leave Athens, Kleomenes reacts by pulling out his sword and threating to kill him. Weirdly enough, Leonidas remains calm throughout the conversation.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Gender-inverted. After Hero rejects Leander's offer to come with het at Athens, he meets and fall for Danae, a gorgeous courtesan and proud of her position. Echekrates, Leander's rival, also falls for her, and she ends up choosing him.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Hero, being a Pythia in training means that a common characteristic about them is that they give mysterious and complicated answers.
  • Anachronism Stew: The Spartans are seen carrying shields with the iconic "Λ" upon them. While it's true, records state that the shields were like this in The Peloponnesian War, not in the late 6 century BC.
  • Animal Reaction Shot: The bull was less than pleased at the idea of being sacrificed.
  • Answer Cut: Leander does this quite frequently in the first chapter, after he's abroad and wonders how his father is doing in Athens.
  • Anti-Intellectualism: Echekrates' plan to have Isagoras elected was by putting emphasis on Cleisthenes' cunning tricks. Leander tries to stop him, but Echekrates mocks him and puts him down. Leander's fear that he is unable to speak, or that he's able to speak, but still have his words misrepresented is a major obstacle that he has to face for his complete Character Development.
  • Armor Is Useless: The Spartans, given their profession, are heavily armoured, but this proves utterly useless when the Athenians rebel against them.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • As stated in the Age Lift entry, Harmodius was actually a teen when him and Aristogeiton murdered Hipparchus, but they change his age, so his relationship with Aristoghiton wouldn't be squicky.
    • While the myth with Hero and Leander did exist, it's believed that it was written in the 1st century A.C. (and the story takes place 600 years earlier). Still, chances are that they myth might be older than we believe.
    • Records state that when Hippias learnt about his brother's murder, he acted rationally. Here, he is seen crying over his death.
    • They were no executions taking place after Hipparchus' murder at Panathenaea. The authors just added it for Rule of Drama. It's true, however, that Hippias behaved stricter after this event and executed many citizens.
    • Solon never failed at his goals (except maybe from bringing a consent between the opposite social classes). It was just a way to make Cleisthenis appear more provocative to the eyes of the audience.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: Both played straight and inverted with Cleisthenis. When he first meets Antinor, he doesn't carry a holy and he straightup insults the Pythias right in front of them, only to instantly praise them the next moment. During his second meeting, he is far more calm and resistant and Antinor acts like he has never seen him before.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: When the Athenians rebel against the Spartans, the Spartans, at first, try to hold them down, only for Leonidas to order them to retreat and seek security in Acropolis.
  • Athens and Sparta: The story is not about their animosity, but it features these city-states as Foil to each other and to show what path each one chose.
  • Audience Surrogate: Leander's everyman personality makes it far more easy for the readers to relate to him and get a glimpse of how the Archaic Athens used to look like.
  • Awful Truth: Leander finds out that the reason why Harmodius and Aristogeiton killed Hipparchus was, not because they were sick of the tyranny (as he originally thought), but because they were lovers and he tried to separate them. Needless to say, he didn't take it well.
  • Badass Army: The Persians. As Leander puts it, they have never lost a battle against the Greeks.
  • Badass Cape: Except from their armours, all the Spartans wear red capes and they are the most fearsome warriors in the Ancient world.
  • Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: While Peisistratus started as a tyrant, he cared about his people, tried to help them in any way, by giving money even to his enemies, creating new trading roads and an effective police consisting of Scythian archers, being a general and beautifying the city with squares. Even some people call the days he ruled an "Age of Gold".
  • Bandage Wince: Leander didn't let Gavrion take care of his wounded hand. Although, his anger might stem from the previous events.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The main character, Hero and Danae, who all have appealing facial characteristics and are on the good side (although Dane flip flops at what benefits her the most). However, both the tyrants are ugly-looking and extremely hated leaders (for good reasons).
  • Berserk Button:
    • The Athenians seems easy to control, right Kleomenes? Heh, you shouldn't abolish their counsil.
    • Under any circumstances, never ever break Leander's vessel. It's one of the few things that triggers him.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Aristogeiton is Betty and Hipparchus is Veronica (a chief magistrate with great power) to Harmodius' Archie. When Hipparchus separates Armodios and Aristoghiton, the last two plan on killing him.
    • Hero is Betty (modest and reliable, though she is a bit aloof) and Danae is Veronica (alluring, exotic, Ms. Fanservice) to Leander's Archie.
    • Leander is also Betty (calm, low key, a passionate vase painter) and Echekrates is the Veronica (edgy, cunning and manipulator) to Danae's Archie.
  • Blood Knight: The Spartans are arguably this, being more aggresive than the Athenians, dismissing conversations and calling them more "whinny" than babies when they are trapped in Acropolis.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Leander is The Hero of the story and he wears a blue loincloth.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The graphic novel ends by showing the Athenians charging towards an inclusive battle in Marathon. Historically, the battle was a greek victory. Word of God stated that the novel was concluded this way was not only to create suspense, but to show that the "battle for Democracy" never ends.
    Leander: If we stand for anything, it's the fact that it doesn't end. It never ends!
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the beginning of the fifth chapter, Athena, Apollo and Dionysus appear wearing modern-day clothes, dancing a traditional Greek dance and making a lecture about history and mortals' fate, specifically intended to the audience.
  • Brutal Honesty: Let's just say that Cleisthenis doesn't hold his tongue back.
    Cleisthenes: So what do you suggest?
    Isagoras: An understanding. I think Athens is big enough for the both of us. We might, say, arrange it so that, while one of us is magistrate, the other provides only a token opposition. And so on, of course. One of your men can be magistrate one year, followed by one of ours the next. We can take turns.
    Cleisthenes: No.
    Isagoras: No? What do you mean, no?
    Cleisthenes: I won't insult you by by saying your scheme is exactly like the arrangement the tyrants had, for we are no tyrants, are we? Neither will I offend you by saying you are a fat, low-class, unoriginal and overly ambitious stooge.
  • Central Theme: Democracy is hard. And if we want to make sure it works out well, we should be careful not fall into our own desires.
  • Character Development: Leander started the story as a naive teen, who cared little about the future of his city-state and acted immaturely to whatever truth upsetted him. With the help of Athena, and a bit with Kleisthenis, he learns that putting yourself in a pathetic situation and waiting for others to solve your problems will not save you and that it's better to take action. At the end of the story, he becomes a man.
  • Color Motifs: Almost every character has one.
    • Light blue for Leander, since he wore a light blue Loincloth ever since he was a teen. Also because he is The Hero of the story and blue is associated with heroism.
    • Yellow for Hero and generally, to the Pythias. She wears a yellow dress. It might be to showcase her effeminate, since in Ancient Greece, yellow was considered a girly colour.
    • Purple for Echekrates. He wears a purple toga. Purple is for wealth and power and he is a fortunate with the power to convince mere people through his words.
    • Green for Isagoras. He also wears a green toga. In some cases, green is associated with villainy and he is a secondary villain next to Echekratis.
    • Gray for Cleisthenes. He wears a gray toga. Gray represents lack of joy and he is hardly seen smiling.
  • Coming of Age Story: The story of "Democracy", apart from retelling how this policy was formed, is also about the young protagonist reaching adulthood and learning the balance between the seduction of a virgin and the seduction of a Bacchae.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: 10,000 Athenians VS 100,000+ Persians. There were also 1,000 Plataeans who helped the greek army, but they are not mentioned.
  • Cultural Posturing: The moment Leander sets his feet at Delphi, Antenor immediately takes him to a tour and shows him the "Room with the Treasures", the warehouse where they stock the other city-states' sacrifices and gifts. He says that they have it, so their riches will discourage the other ones.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Plenty.
    • Cleisthenes:
    Cleisthenes: (to Echekrates) Lavish party, Echekrates. Your old partner, Promachus, never knew how to spend his money. It's a good thing you took it, then.
    • Kleomenes and Isagoras have an interesting conversation when they are trapped in Acropolis:
    Isagoras: We are stuck here for three days! Is this how you command? Get out and beat the crap out of them!
    Kleomenes: Shut up! You don't even know how to command your own ass!
    • The poet towards his brother, Kynegeiros, when they discuss about the separation of the clans.
    Kynegeiros: I was ten. Why I don't remember it?
    The poet: Because you are still ten.
    • A conversation between an Athenian Member of the Parliament and a Spartan general:
    The Athenian: I am a member of the Parliament, Spartan. I have rights.
    The Spartan: You have the right to shut up. Do that.
    • Heck, even Echekrates:
    Echekrates: Good countrymen, I have no idea where this young man (Leander) gets his intelligence… but I'll wager it's from the same place he got his oratory skills.
    • Promachus has his fair share of moments too.
    Hipparchus: It pains me doubly, for the man was my friend, and I trusted him.
    Promachus: Gods… like we have nothing to worry about, but prophecies.
  • Democracy Is Bad: Yes, even though this graphic novels tells how this system was created. Echekratis and Isagoras are not fond of it, being aristocrats. In fact, Isagoras refers to it as a "cunning plan" for Cleisthenis to regain his power. King Kleomenes believes that this system will destroy both Athens and Sparta.
  • Democracy Is Flawed: But on the other hand, it improved the life of many citizens, persuading them to protect their city, not because some ruthless ruler told them to do, but because they loved and cared about it. The Battle of Marathon remains, to this day, a remarkable example of what compassion, heroism and self-sacrifice can do. Women and slaves (as well as slaves' sons) could not have a vote though…
  • Den of Iniquity: The symposium that it's shown in the third chapter takes place in a room full of gorgeous courtesans and crazy jugglers.
  • Dies Wide Open:
    • The bull that is sacrificed in the first chapter.
    • When Nefert is killed, her eyes are still open.
  • Disaster Democracy: When the Athenians get rid of the Spartans and of Isagoras' followers, they install a new system, called… democracy.
  • Disney Villain Death: When the counselors who were hiding in Acropolis surrender at last, Leander says that they threw some of them from a cliff.
  • Doting Parent: Promachus does whatever he can to ensure a future for his son. Not an easy task, considering the taxes and the way Athens is ruled from the two tyrants.
  • Elite Mooks: The Scythian archer who serves as Echekratis' bodyguard. In the fourth chapter, he stood against Leander in his attempt to kill Echekratis.
  • The Empire: The Persians.
  • The Everyman: According to the authors, a reason of their choice of retelling the birth of democracy through the eyes of a fictional character (rather than the ones of a Real Life person) was so the audience would put themselves into his shoes.
  • Evil Overlord: Downplayed with Isagoras. He is not the Big Bad of the story (Echekratis occupies this role), but he was voted chief magistrate (a very powerful position in Ancient Athens).
  • Evil Plan:
    • Echekrates plans on strengthening the power of the fortunate. To do so, he must convince them to vote for Isagoras, who has a high influence on them.
    • Cleisthenes' plan as well. But, unlike Echekratis, he has good intentions. It's just that bribing the Pythias in order to get the oracle he wants and calling the Spartans (who, mind you, were Athenians' Arch-Enemy) are not exactly good actions.
    • Isagoras suggests to Cleisthenes that one of them should be chief magistrate the first year and the next one, the other will be. Cleisthenes immediately neglects the idea, saying that it's the exact same of the tyrants'.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The graphic novel's title is "Democracy" and the story is about how… well, Democracy was formed.
  • Final Speech: Given by Leander just before the end of the graphic novel, after which the Athenian army rushes off to battle.
  • Food Porn: The fish that Leander tastes in Chapter 1.
  • Foreign Money Is Proof of Guilt: Not money, but the clasp that King Kleomenes rewards Echekrates with (along with Echekratis' bodyguard and him strutting) is what convinced Leander that Echekratis was the one who killed his father.
  • Forced to Watch: Leander sees his dad being killed in front of his eyes.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • To describe the chaos surrounding the Panathenaea after the tyrant Hipparchus is killed, Leander says "The world was broken, as suddenly as a vase fallen from its shelf". Yeah, about that…
    • Leander says to Thersippus that back when he was a teen, things were simple, either because everyone felt the same at that time, either because his father was still alive, indicating Promachus' death.
  • Friend or Foe?: The Spartans did AGREE to help the Athenians get rid of the tyrant Hippias (and succeeded). But, even Cleisthenes (who was the one to call them) doesn't want them in their city-state after they are done, implying that he only saw them as pawns to his plan.
  • The Ghost: Hero's dad is mentioned by her uncle, but we never meet him. The only thing that we know about him is that he wanted his daughter to be Pythia.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Scythian archer's eyes when he burns Leander's home. Even Leander associates those eyes with the ones of a predator.
  • A God Am I: The Persians believe that they are so strong, they can build bridges upon the sea. Kynegeiros thinks that that's bullshit.
  • Golden Age: How some view the days that Peisistratus ruled. Promachus doesn't exactly agree, but he does find them better than the current ones.
  • Gorgeous Greek: Leander, Hero and Danae. All three of them have good bone-structure and appealing facial characteristics.
    • It's even lampshaded by Leander when he first meets Danae.
  • Gorn:
    • A good example of this would be the last fight between the Athenians and the Spartans, where there's a lot of blood.
    • Another good one would be the image depicting Promachus being hit by an axe.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am a Dwarf Today?: It's very important that there's no doubt they are Athenians.
  • Historical Domain Character: Plenty of Real Life people appear in the story, like Cleisthenes, Hipparchus and Hippias, the two tyrants, Isagoras, Kleomenes, Leonidas, Kynegeiros and the Poet (who is actually Aeschylus).
  • Home Guard: How Leander and the Poet are presented. Their true professions are vase painter (for Leander) and as for the Poet, well, it's pretty obvious… But they fight the Persians out of love for their city-state.
  • Hope Spot: The Spartans have a hard time restraining the Athenians, so they quickly retreat to Acropolis. While they managed to reach it, they were surrounded by all sides and got trapped for three days, with 200 Members of the Parliament to feed (and, did we mention they had no food?).
  • Hourglass Plot: The Character Development of Leander's two potential Love Interests. Hero, who starts off alluded and mysterious, if distant, descends into openness and forms a relationship with the protagonist, while Danae is presented as seducing and not caring about her status as a courtesan, until Cleisthenes' reforms are put into action and loses her influence and esteem.
  • Hunk: Cleomenes' brother.
  • Hypocrite:
    • The Scythians are the police and they are supposed to protect the Athenian citizens, but they are stealing food from the merchants whenever they want.
    • For someone who advised his son to guard himself and be careful around people, Promachus openly states his disdain and makes snarky comments about the two tyrants in every counsil meeting.
  • Interclass Friendship: Leander (a free man) is friends with Gavrion (a slave).
  • Ironic Echo:
    • When Leander spots an owl, he says "Look at those plumes!". The exact SAME thing that Athena had said during one of their conversations.
    • "We will manage" said by Nefert to calm down a distressed Leander, after their house is burned and he has witnessed the murder of his father. He recalls these words when he stares at the statue of Goddess Athena, the protector of their city-state.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Both Leander and Hero when they first met.
  • It's What I Do: Leander, a passionate painter, states that when he was 16, his mind was full of paintings. Later, he uses his passion to inspire the Athenian citizens, by creating a vessel depicting the murder of the tyrant Hippias.
  • Karma Houdini: Isagoras is the only villain who manages to get away, due to shaving his head and beard to become unrecognisable.
  • Karmic Death: Echekrates, the orator, being in the mercy of the Athenian citizens, attempts to negotiate and asks them for a guarantee for their safety. The Athenians' response? Beating him to death!
  • Large and in Charge: King Kleomenes of Sparta, who is the largest character drawn here.
  • Leave No Survivors: Echekrates and Isagoras order that all the Alcmaionides families (along with those who came in contact with them) should leave the city-state.
  • Loincloth: Some characters (as well as the protagonist) wear this.
  • Love at First Sight: Happens to Leander, twice:
    • The first time, when he is in Cardia and he meets Hero. He calls her "the summer".
    • The second time, when Danae visits him because she has heard good things about his works and he is bewitched by her beauty.
  • Low Fantasy: The genre of the graphic novel is Historical Fiction. Although it retells the events that lead to the birth of democracy as accurately as possible (with the help of a fictional protagonist), Goddess Athena comes and helps The Hero whenever he is in trouble.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Averted. When the Scythian archer stabs Leander's arm, he reacts badly to this and loses every hope. During the current time of the story, it's alright (even though it never healed properly), but back then, he was unsure if it would ever be like before.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • Does Athena really comes and helps Leander, or is that all in mind, as a way to cope with his anxiety and his father's death? He is the only one who can see her and hear her (granted, she may be visible only to him) and the other characters are confused when they see him talking to himself.
    • Leander's dream when he is unconscious depicts Apollo, Athena and Dionysus talking about the rebellion and the impact it will have later in history. Was a way for them to communicate with him, or did he imagine it?
  • Meaningful Name: Echekrates derives from the greek words "echei"(has) and "kratos"(power), which translates to "the one who has power", as seen by his successful attempts at convincing people through his words.
  • Missing Mom: Leander's mom is not in the story and it's not known what happened to her.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Leander is seen wearing only a Loincloth in all the scenes and he has nice facial features.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Danae is designed with much more notable curves, at least, compared to her Foil, Hero. There are even some panels depicting her naked back and her having a shower.
  • Narrator All Along: Leander, who retells the story as a morale-boosting tale, first to calm down Thersippos and later, to his comrades, when they got interested.
  • No Name Given: The poet is never given a name, but the Useful Notes states that he is actually Aeschylus.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Leander's reaction upon seeing his father murdered in front of his very eyes
      • And Thersippus reaction upon hearing this.
      Thersippus: Gods… I-I'm sorry, Leander, I didn't know…
    • Leander's reaction when Antenor shows him the treasury of Delphi and realizing that he has to take care of it.
    • Cleomenes and Isagoras witnessing the revolution of the Athenians against the Spartans for the control of the city.
    • The terror in Promachus' eyes when he sees his son coming near at him (while he himself is trapped under someone) and a Scythian archer is about to kill him (and probably killing Leander after he is done with him) says it all.
    Promachus: Leander… run home! Run…
  • One-Liner:
    • Cleisthenes is famous for these, especially with Isagoras and Echekrates.
    • The Poet's "Because you are still ten", when his brother asked why he couldn't remember the separation of the clans.
    • Kleomenes' "Shut up! You don't even know how to command your own ass!" to Isagoras.
  • One Sided Battle: The Spartans, despite their harsh military training, have no chance of winning when the Athenians rebel against them. They overwhelm them and they have to seek security to Acropolis.
  • Only Friend: Smintheas, a slave boy at Delphi is this to Leander.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Compared to the craziness associated with Delphi, both Hero and Leander seem to be the only sane ones.
    • The Poet and Leonidas as well, at least compared to their aggresive brothers.
  • Onrushing Army: The Athenians charged into battle against the Persians this way, in order to avoid their arrows.
  • Patriotic Fervor: After Leander's story, the Athenians are ready to face the Persians and defend their beloved and now democratic city-state.
  • The Pollyanna: Nefert worries for Leander as much as Gavrion does, but she's also more optimistic and at least try to keep her life as normal as she can.
  • The Power of Love: Leander and Hero have to believe in their love for each other, if they want to be together.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Scythian archer is the personal guard of Echekrates.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Spartans, obviously…
  • Purple Is Powerful: Echecrates, an aristocrat with huge political influence, is dressed in purple.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Athenians manage to get rid of the Spartans and install Democracy, but only after many of them had died in the rebellion against them.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: While much more historical accurate compared to some other works that shall not be named, it has some unrealistic moments. For example, there 're no records saying that Leonidas accompanied his brother, Kleomenes, to Athens, as seen in the graphic novel. The authors say that this would be a nice possibility.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Leander wanted at first to revenge his father's death and kill the Archer. Keep in mind that in Ancient Greece, it was common for The Hero to take revenge for his father's death by killing the murderer.
  • Red Herring: When we first meet Echekrates, we fall into the wrong assumption that he is one of the good guys, since Promachus smiles at him and even Echekrates praises Leander. It's only a couple of seconds later that we find out that this guy means bad new when Leander asks his father who his friends was, only for Promachus to reply that he isn't his friend.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • The Poet is the Blue Oni to his brother's Red Oni.
    • Hero is the Blue Oni to Leander's Red Oni.
    • Leander is also the Red Oni to Echekrates' Blue Oni.
    • Leonidas is the Blue Oni to Kleomenes' Red Oni.
    • Solon was the Blue Oni to Peisistratus' Red Oni.
  • Rousing Speech: Leander delivers one to the Athenian army before they face the Persians.
    Leander: If we stand for anything, it's the fact that it doesn't end. It never does. Endings take us back to plots. Back to thinking we're the good ones and all the others are bad. And that kind of thinking always brings out those who act by themselves, for themselves. The great men. The leaders. Those that would be tyrants, and those who would save us from tyrants. Those that take peoples' dreams… and make them their own.
  • Satellite Character: Smintheas, a slave that Leander meets at Delphi, serves merely as his Only Friend.
  • Savage Wolves: Subverted. Leander doesn't meet any wolf throughout the story, but he associates the Scythian's eyes with that of the wild animal, for their merciless and viciousness.
  • Scars are Forever: Leander's scar at his forehead, after the Scythian archer hits him. Eighteen years later, and it's still visible!
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • Cleisthenis can't stand watching his fellow citizens fighting each other, so he announces that he leaves Athens, in an attempt to bring peace among themselves (which fails, by the way).
    • After negotiating with his brother, Kleomenes agrees to return with his army to Sparta, instead of facing the Athenians again.
  • She Didn't Make It: Nefert is killed by Echekrates.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Dream Sequence that Leander had after he fell unconscious features Athena, Apollo and Dionysus wear modern-day clothes and dance syrtaki, which is a clear reference to Zorba the Greek.
    • The answer "You will go, you will return not in the war shall you die" to the question "Will I come back from the war?" indeed existed and the priestess would answer it in two ways, depending on where she would stop for breath: "You will go, you will return, not in the war shall you die" or "You will go, you will return not, in the war shall you die".
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When the Athenians surround Acropolis and are ready to attack the people inside, Echekrates steps outside and asks for mercy, only for the Athenians to grab him by the toga and kill him.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Discussed by Echekrates during his talk about Isagoras and Kleisthenis. He points out that Isagoras, unlike Kleisthenis, isn't from a noble family, nor takes action, like calling the Spartans or bribing the priests at Delphi to get help, but instead, he remains at the city-state and seeks equality for both the rich and the peasants. Although this might be a trick to make him appear more likeable to the citizens, since bribing priests in Ancient Greece was a taboo.
  • Sleazy Politician: Echekratis and Isagoras. They both plan to strengthen the power of rich men.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: To put it simply, the Athenians are on the Idealist side and the Spartans on the Cynical side.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Leander and Hero, for two reasons. The first is because Hero is a Pythia and she ought to stay at Delphi (while Leander wants to return beck to Athens) and the second is because she took seriously a myth about two lovers with the same names as theirs and who ended up dead, due to their love.
  • Stripperiffic: Some of the Athenian citizens (including the protagonist himself) wear nothing but a Loincloth.
  • Stealth Insult: When Leander accuses Echekrates that him and Isagoras tried to bribe Cleisthenes, Echekrates insults his intelligence and his oratory skills. In Ancient Athens, it was important for every male citizen to have oratory skills, something that Leander lacked (or wasn't very good, to begin with).
  • Sword Fight: Leander was about to have one with Echekrates, but he was stopped by his Scythian archer.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Kleomenes and Isagoras are 100% sure that the Athenians won't react when they announce the abolition of the Parliament. How wrong of them! The Athenians reacted by raising a fierce and bloody rebellion and force the Spartans to retreat to Acropolis.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Averted. Despite Leander's story being, on a small extent, full of fantasy elements (particularly, the scenes where he talks with Athena), he stays true to the actual facts (or at least, what we know from what we've got).
  • Unstoppable Rage: Leander flints into one of these after his father is murdered and his house is set on fire.
    • Also, when Echekrates breaks his masterpiece.
  • Villainous Valor: Despite being in a complete disadvantage, the Spartans try (at first) to hold down the Athenians. They fail and are forced to retreat to Acropolis.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene:
    • Leander. The only clothe that he wears is a blue Loincloth.
    • Some background characters are also drawn shirtless.
  • We Can Rule Together: Isagoras suggests to Cleisthenes that it would be a good idea if one of them could be chief magistrate the first year and the next one, the other would be. Cleisthenes, however, turns it down, saying that it's the exact same of the tyrants'.
  • We Have Reserves: King Kleomenes announces that the Athenians' Parliament will be replaced by an Order of Spartans to keep everything under control. The Athenians weren't fond of the idea and they showed it in a… not so peaceful way.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Implied with Leander from the way he looks at his father and asks for advice before he sets off to Cardia.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Frankly, this is the best word to describe Cleisthenes. He changed a whole city-state and created a new policy through scams. He bribed Delphi into announcing an oracle saying that the Spartans should help the Athenians to get rid of the tyrant and, when they were done, he didn't want them anymore. Thought, to his defence, the Athenians wouldn't want to follow Solon's way and the tyrants' methods lead to submission. So, he had no other choice…
  • Where Do You Think You Are?:
    • Antenor tells that Athenian messengers that in order to get rid of the tyrant, they must ask for Sparta's help. This prophecy is completely different than the one that Pythia forsaw. When Leander talks about it with Hero and suggests that Cleisthenis might have planned it, Hero replies that yes, since it was obvious from the start.
    • Apparently, abolishing the Parliament was such a huge insult to both the Goddess and the Athenians, that they decided to express it through a… bloody and nasty rebellion.
  • Women Are Wiser:
    • Hero in comparison to Leander. Unlike him, she takes awful news pretty casually and thinks in a more sophisticated and logic manner.
    • To a small extend, Danae. She was the one to propose him the idea of creating a gallery to show his work and inspire people this way, instead of using rhetoric, because he just don't have it.
  • You Killed My Father: Echekrates and his Scythian archer killed Leander' father. Leander, full of rage, wanting to take revenge, seeks help at Delphi.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Leander, with a couple other Athenians, stood between Acropolis and the Spartans and refused to let them pass.

''And whatever idea we're on our way to… I have no word to describe it.''