The Discovery of Freedom in Ancient Greece

The Discovery of Freedom in Ancient Greece

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Overview

The Discovery of Freedom in Ancient Greece by Kurt Raaflaub

Although there is constant conflict over its meanings and limits, political freedom itself is considered a fundamental and universal value throughout the modern world. For most of human history, however, this was not the case. In this book, Kurt Raaflaub asks the essential question: when, why, and under what circumstances did the concept of freedom originate?

To find out, Raaflaub analyses ancient Greek texts from Homer to Thucydides in their social and political contexts. Archaic Greece, he concludes, had little use for the idea of political freedom; the concept arose instead during the great confrontation between Greeks and Persians in the early fifth century BCE. Raaflaub then examines the relationship of freedom with other concepts, such as equality, citizenship, and law, and pursues subsequent uses of the idea—often, paradoxically, as a tool of domination, propaganda, and ideology.

Raaflaub's book thus illuminates both the history of ancient Greek society and the evolution of one of humankind's most important values, and will be of great interest to anyone who wants to understand the conceptual fabric that still shapes our world views.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226701011
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 02/28/2004
Edition description: 1
Pages: 427
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Kurt Raaflaub is a professor of classics and history at Brown University. He is author and editor of numerous books, including Social Struggles in Archaic Rome; Between Republic and Empire; Democracy, Empire, and the Arts in Fifth-Century Athens; and War and Society in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds.

Table of Contents

Preface
1. Introduction
1.1. Objectives and State of Research
1.2. History of Concepts: Approaches and Methodology
1.3. Evidence: Value and Limitations
1.4. A "Greek" Concept of Freedom?
1.5. Plurality of Statuses and the Value of Freedom
1.6. Thematic and Chronological Limits
1.7. Doulos and Eleutheros in Greek Bronze Age Society
2. Awareness of Freedom in Archaic Greek Society
2.1. Eleutheros and Doulos in the Archaic Period
The Evidence
Conclusions and Questions
2.2. The Limited Value of Freedom in Early Greek Society
Homeric Society
The World of Hesiod
Conclusions
2.3. Political Awareness of Freedom: Beginnings in Solonian Athens
Individual Freedom as a Political Issue: Liberation from Debt Bondage
Freedom and Citizenship
The Citizen as Slave of a Tyrant: A Political Concept of Servitude
Conclusions
3. The Emergence of the Political Concept of Freedom
3.1. Polis Independence and the Persian Wars
The Persian Wars as Freedom Wars: Origins of a Historical Tradition
Meanings of Freedom in the Persian Wars
Wars and Loss of Freedom in Greece before the Persian Wars
Limited Polis Independence before the Persian Wars
The Defense of Freedom against Non-Greek Powers: Principle and Limitations
The Emergence of the Term "Freedom" in the Persian Wars
3.2. Tyranny and the Citizen's Freedom in the Polis
Sources and Problems
Aristocratic Equality and Opposition to Tyranny
The Emergence of the Term "Freedom" as a Contrast to "Tyranny"
3.3. Reflections in the Religious Sphere: The Cult of Zeus Eleutherios
Early Cults of Zeus Eleutherios and Their Common Features
Zeus Soter and Zeus Eleutherios: Cult Change and Conceptual Development
The Samian Cult of 522: A Historicizing Fiction
Conclusions: Zeus Eleutherios and Power Politics
4. The Concept of Freedom after the Persian Wars: Its Meaning and Differentiation in Interstate Relations
4.1. Contemporary Expectations and the Rise of the Athenian Empire
Empire, Subjection, and Freedom: Problems and Questions
Relationships in the Peloponnesian League
The Douleia of Greek Poleis under Persian Rule
4.2. Freedom and Servitude of a Polis: Terminology and Definitions
The Terminology of Servitude
The Terminology of Domination
The Emergence of the Terminology of Servitude: Time and Reasons
The Emergence of the Phrase Polis Turannos
Conclusions: Elements of Polis Freedom
4.3. Emergence and Meaning of the Concept of Autonomia
Evidence and Questions
The Function of Autonomia and Its Relationship to Eleutheria
The Coining of Autonomia: A Reaction to Athens's Imperial Rule
4.4. Polis Freedom: A Concept of Relative Value
5. "Freedom" in Ideology and Propaganda
5.1. Athens: Freedom Justifies Domination
The Preservation of Greek Freedom and Athens's Claim to Rule
Rule over Those Unworthy of Freedom
Rule in the Best Interest of the Subjects
The Empire as Guarantor of Athens's Own Freedom
Conclusions: Freedom as a Propaganda Slogan
5.2. The Athenian Concept of Absolute Freedom
Absolute Sovereignty
Absolute Self-Sufficiency (Autarkeia)
Absolute Freedom
Conclusions: Freedom through Power
5.3. Sparta's Freedom Propaganda
The Legitimacy and Intensity of Sparta's Propaganda of Liberation
The Realization of the Program: Liberation under Dark Clouds
The Effectiveness of Sparta's Freedom Propaganda
6. Meaning and Function of Freedom within the Polis
6.1. Freedom and Democracy
Freedom versus Tyranny
The Identification of Freedom with Democracy: Evidence
The Equation of Democracy and Freedom: Causes and Time
Confirmation: From Equality of Speech to Freedom of Speech
6.2. Freedom in Democracy and in Oligarchy
Questions
Definitions of Democratic Freedom
Elements of Democratic Freedom
Freedom and Law in Democracy
Democratic Freedom versus Oligarchic Claims to Exclusive Power: The Theory
Corroboration in Practice: The Experiences of 411 and 404
Freedom as the Monopoly of Democracy
An Aristocratic-Oligarchic Counterconcept: The Fully Free Citizen
6.3. Conclusions
7. Summary and Final Considerations
7.1. Summary
7.2. Characteristics of the Greek Concept of Freedom
Abbreviations
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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