There has been an increasing interest in the meaning and importance of friendship in recent years, particularly in the West. However, the history of friendship, and the ways in which it has changed over time, have rarely been examined. Friendship: A History traces the development of friendship in Europe from the Hellenistic period to today. The book brings together a range of essays that examine the language of friendship and its significance in terms of ethics, social institutions, religious organizations and political alliances. The essays study the works of classical and contemporary authors to explore the role of friendship in Western philosophy. Ranging from renaissance friendships to Christian and secular friendships and from women's writing to the role of class and sex in friendships, Friendship: A History will be invaluable to students and scholars of social history.