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    The Greek Praise of Poverty: Origins of Ancient Cynicism (Paperback) By (author) William Desmond

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    DescriptionWilliam Desmond, taking issue with common popular and scholarly views of the ancient Greek Cynics, contends that early Cynics like Antisthenes and Diogenes were not cultural outcasts or marginal voices in classical culture; rather, the Cynic movement through the fourth century B.C. had deep and significant roots in what Desmond calls "the Greek praise of poverty." Desmond demonstrates that classical views of wealth were complex and allowed for the admiration of poverty and the virtues it could inspire. He explains Cynicism's rise in popularity in the ancient world by exploring the set of attitudes that collectively formed the Greek praise of poverty. Desmond argues that in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., economic, political, military, and philosophical thought contained explicit criticisms of wealth and praise of poverty. From an economic and political point of view, the poor majority at Athens and elsewhere were natural democrats who distrusted great concentrations of wealth as potentially oligarchical or tyrannical. In contemporary literature, the poor are those who do most of the necessary work and are honest, self-sufficient, and temperate. The rich, on the other hand, are idle, arrogant, and unjust. These perspectives were reinforced by the Greek experience of war and the belief that poverty fostered the virtues of courage, strength, and endurance. Finally, from an early date, Greek philosophers associated wisdom with the transcendence of sense experience and of conventional values such as wealth and honor. The Cynics, Desmond asserts, assimilated all of these ideas in creating their distinctive and radical brand of asceticism. Desmond's work is a compelling reevaluation of ancient Cynicism and its classical environment, one that makes an important contribution to scholarship of the classical and early Hellenistic periods.

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  • Full bibliographic data for The Greek Praise of Poverty

    The Greek Praise of Poverty
    Origins of Ancient Cynicism
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) William Desmond
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 240
    Width: 150 mm
    Height: 229 mm
    Thickness: 20 mm
    Weight: 386 g
    ISBN 13: 9780268025823
    ISBN 10: 0268025827

    BIC E4L: PHI
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: S2.1
    LC subject heading:
    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1QDAG
    BIC subject category V2: HPCA
    Ingram Subject Code: PH
    Libri: I-PH
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 25230
    BISAC V2.8: PHI002000
    LC subject heading:
    BISAC V2.8: HIS002010
    BIC subject category V2: 1QDAG
    LC subject heading:
    DC22: 183.4
    LC subject heading:
    Thema V1.0: QDHA
    Thema geographical qualifier V1.0: 1QBAG
    Edition statement
    annotated edition
    University of Notre Dame Press
    Imprint name
    University of Notre Dame Press
    Publication date
    15 February 2006
    Publication City/Country
    Notre Dame IN
    Author Information
    WILLIAM DESMOND is assistant lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at University College Dublin, Ireland.