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Peasant-Citizen and Slave: The Foundations of Athenian by Ellen Meiksins Wood

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By Ellen Meiksins Wood

The arguable thesis on the heart of this research is that, regardless of the significance of slavery in Athenian society, the main exact attribute of Athenian democracy used to be the unheard of prominence it gave to unfastened hard work. wooden argues that the emergence of the peasant as citizen, juridically and politically self reliant, bills for a lot that's notable in Athenian political associations and culture.

From a survey of historic writings of the eighteenth and 19th centuries, the point of interest of which distorted later debates, wooden is going directly to take factor with contemporary arguments, comparable to these of G.E.M. de Ste Croix, concerning the significance of slavery in agricultural construction. The social, political and cultural effect of the peasant-citizen is explored in a fashion which questions essentially the most loved conventions of Marxist and non-Marxist historiography. This ebook can be of serious curiosity to historic historians, classicists, anthropologists and political theorists, in addition to to a much wider examining public.

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Assuming that the societies of antiquity are comparable to other pre-industrial societies—and there is no reason to think otherwise—a high mortality rate of about 40 per thousand would have been compensated by a high birth rate (about 40 to 45 per thousand). 5%. 5% is quite considerable: if this continues year after year, the cumulative effect means that a population will double in 140 years. It seems likely that for most of the time the ancient world did not keep up such growth rates for long.

Models derived from anthropology may throw some light on the life of Paleolithic bands from about 30,000 to 40,000 years ago, that is bands of members of the genus Homo sapiens. It is doubtful whether such models also hold good for the Neanderthal and other early humans. A community of hunters-gatherers must have employed clever strategies to survive: they tried to provide food and other essentials such as animal skins for clothing and tents and raw materials for tool making with a minimum of effort and a minimum of risk.

Initially, in the 10th and 9th millennia BC, agriculture was restricted to the Fertile Crescent stretching from Israel into Iran, although it cannot be excluded that already in this period much farther to the east in various places an independent development toward agriculture had taken off. For the rest, however, in vast areas the Paleolithic lived on. In the course of the 7th millennium BC, the agricultural way of life spread via Anatolia (modernday Turkey) to Greece and the Balkans, and in the 6th millennium along the river valleys of the Danube and the Rhine further to Western Europe.

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