Athenian Democratic Origins

Athenian Democratic Origins : And Other Essays

By (author) Geoffrey de Ste. Croix , Volume editor David Harvey , Volume editor Robert Parker

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In these interconnected essays the late Geoffrey de Ste. Croix defends the institutions of the Athenian democracy, showing that they were much more practical, rational, and impartial than has usually been acknowledged. A major essay provides a new view of Aristotle's use of sources in The Constitution of the Athenians, on which so much of our knowledge of Athenian constitutional history depends. Ste. Croix also argues that commercial factors had much less influence on Greek politics than modern scholars tend to assume, and that there was no such thing in any Greek state as a 'commercial aristocracy'. As always, he works out these general positions with the utmost lucidity and pungency, and in meticulous detail. Though written in the 1960s, these hitherto unpublished essays by a great radical historian will still constitute a major contribution to contemporary debate. The editors and other specialists have supplied an updating Afterword to each chapter, and the book contains a thorough index.

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  • Hardback | 472 pages
  • 137.2 x 213.4 x 25.4mm | 635.04g
  • 27 May 2004
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0199255172
  • 9780199255177

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Author Information

Geoffrey de Ste. Croix was Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History at New College, Oxford from 1953 until 1977. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1972. He published Origins of the Peloponnesian War in 1972 and The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World in 1981; the latter book was translated into Spanish and Greek, and won the Isaac Deutscher Memorial prize for 1982.

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Review quote

... an unusual book on every level ... Here then are missing pieces of two interconnected jigsaws: one, that of the intellectual biography of one of the most striking figures in classical scholarship in the second half of the twentieth-century; the other, that of his contributions to 'Athenian Democratic Origins' and other problems in Greek history ... anyone with a serious interest in either or both of these fields will rejoice in this volume and be grateful to its editors for allowing us to hear again the inimitable scholarly voice of Geoffrey Ernest Maurice de Ste. Croix. Bryn Mawr Classical Review ... no serious reader, converted or not, could emerge unimpressed by the sheer command of evidence and calibre of argument on display here. The jewel of the volume. Bryn Mawr Classical Review (on Chapter 1)

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