Ancient Economy - download pdf or read online

By M. I. Finley

ISBN-10: 0520025644

ISBN-13: 9780520025646

"Technical development, financial development, productiveness, even potency haven't been major pursuits because the starting of time," pronounces M. I. Finley in his vintage paintings. The states of the traditional Mediterranean international had no recognizable real-property industry, by no means fought a commercially encouraged conflict, witnessed no force to capital formation, and assigned the administration of many significant companies to slaves and ex-slaves. briefly, to review the economies of the traditional international, one needs to start by means of discarding many premises that appeared self-evident prior to Finley confirmed that they have been lifeless or deceptive. on hand back, with a brand new foreword through Ian Morris, those sagacious, fertile, and infrequently combative essays are only as electrifying at the present time as while Finley first wrote them.

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The history of the word philanthropia ("love of man") illustrates the distinction. 6 Originally it was employed to define a divine quality or a beneficent act by a god, and that sense survived to the end of antiquity, in Christian as in pagan usage. Soon, however, philanthropia also came to be attributed to highly placed human beings, in the sense of a humane feeling or simply an act of kind- Orders and Status 39 ness or courtesy. When individuals or communities appealed to a monarch or high functionary to redress a grievance or grant a favour, they appealed to his philanthropia.

The condition of the Orders and Status 41 free man," wrote Aristotle (Rhetoric 1367a32), "is that he not live under the constraint of another," and it is clear from the context that his notion of living under restraint was not restricted to slaves but was extended to wage labour and to others who were economical{y dependent. There is a clue in Greek linguistic usage. 1s A plousios was a man who was rich enough to live properly on his income (as we should phrase it), a penis was not. The latter need not be propertyless or even, in the full sense, poor: he could own a farm or slaves, and he could have a few hundred drachmas accumulated in a strong-box, but he was compelled to devote himself to gaining a livelihood.

In "practice things were different. " 41 Another scholar proves Cicero irrelevant by making a complicated case for the possibility, perhaps probability (but no more), that two of the leading manufacturers·of Arretine pottery in this same period were members of landowning senatorial families. 42 Yet another assures us that, all in all, "little in this respect separated the senator from the wealthy non-senator". 43 If only social and economic history were so simple. Cicero states what he claims to be a prevailing social judgment (similar sentiments abound in both Greek and Roman literature), and he is brushed aside by the enumeration of a few men who did not obey his precepts.

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Ancient Economy by M. I. Finley


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