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Politics in the Ancient World and Politics

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Chapter Summary

This chapter combines some reflections about the historical content of Finley's book Politics in the Ancient World, with some reflections on how it fits into the author's politics. A lot has happened in the history of politics, including Greek and Roman politics, in the intervening thirty years. What is most dated is, its conception of power, which is fairly strictly a matter of state-power. Two ancient-history problems are in need of discussion to understand Finley's thinking in Politics: one concerns the nature of the ancient economy, the other concerns social class. Politics in the Ancient World offers, in a sense, a class-based analysis, and it is much concerned with material interests; but it neglects the spanizontes biou of Athens, and its way of treating the politics of the non-rich Romans is insensitive to their more radical leaders and methods and has nothing to do with Marx.

Keywords: ancient economy; Athens; Greek politics; Marx; Politics in the Ancient World; Roman politics



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