A reformer named Cleisthenes came to power in 508 BCE Athens.
He introduces a strange procedure banishing unpopular politicians. Once a year citizens were asked to write the name of the person they thought should be banished from the city on a fragment of broken pottery. If 6000 votes were counted, then the individual with the greatest number of votes against him had to leave the city within 10 days. He could not return to Athens for 10 years, but after that time he could resume his life as an Athenian.
The system became known as ostracized from the Greek word ostraka (piece of pottery).
It is a measure of success of Cleisthenes that his new system of government lasted for 200 years.
The Athenian seems to have had a genius for political structure, which was demonstrated by the ultimate triumph of democracy in the 5th century BCE.