Male citizens in Athens could vote on all the decisions that affected the city and serve on juries. However, democracy was not open to everyone. Citizen women and children were not allowed to vote. Slaves and foreigners living in Athens (known as metics) were banned from participating in government.
The city was also a great centre for art and literature. Writers, artists and philosophers flocked to Athens, where they could work and think in freedom. For many centuries afterwards, anyone interested in learning would go to Athens to study.