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How were moral ideas and behaviour in ancient Athens formulated and made manifest? How did democratic Athens defuse the inevitable tensions that surface in society? In this work, Professor Herman argues that rather than endorse the Mediterranean ethic of retaliation, democratic Athens looked to the courts to dispense justice. Drawing on a method of analysis taken from the behavioural sciences, he describes the exceptional strategy of inter-personal relationships that the Athenian democrats developed to resolve conflict, to increase co-operation and to achieve collective objectives. In a departure, this work investigates moral ideas and behaviour alongside each other and expands the focus of the study to include all aspects of Athenian life, be it societal or economic. Highly illustrated throughout and interdisciplinary in approach, this work offers light on society and behaviour in ancient Athens, which might also serve as a model for similar ancient societies.Read more
- Describes the many subsystems that made up Athenian society's system as parts of an integrated whole
- Treats the Athenian achievement as the product of the exceptional code of behaviour that the Athenians developed to make democracy possible
- Offers an interdisciplinary approach which will stimulate debate among ancient historians and social anthropologists
Reviews & endorsements
"...this is an absorbing and provocative book, aiming at and largely achieving a greatness of spirit seldom seen in academic writing anymore. It will be much argued over by ancient historians. It can also be recommended to historians of other periods as a sustained argument on an important topic, a fine product of wide and long learning." --American Historical Review
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- Date Published: December 2009
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521125352
- length: 496 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 28 mm
- weight: 0.72kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Moral precepts and society
2. Athenian society and government
3. The moral image of the Athenian democracy
4. Representations and distortions
5. The structure of conflicts
6. Revenge and punishment
7. The coercive power of the state
8. Transformations of cruelty
9. Interactions with the divine
10. The growth of communal feeling.
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