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The Athenian Nation - Edward Cohen

The Athenian Nation

Paperback Published: 1st December 2002
ISBN: 9780691094908
Number Of Pages: 272

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Challenging the modern assumption that ancient Athens is best understood as a "polis," Edward Cohen boldly recasts our understanding of Athenian political and social life. Cohen demonstrates that ancient sources referred to Athens not only as a "polis," but also as a "nation" ("ethnos"), and that Athens did encompass the characteristics now used to identify a "nation." He argues that in Athens economic, religious, sexual, and social dimensions were no less significant than political and juridical considerations, and accordingly rejects prevailing scholarship's equation of Athens with its male citizen body.

In fact, Cohen shows that the categories of "citizen" and "noncitizen" were much more fluid than is often assumed, and that some noncitizens exercised considerable power. He explores such subjects as the economic importance of businesswomen and wealthy slaves; the authority exercised by enslaved public functionaries; the practical egalitarianism of erotic relations and the broad and meaningful protections against sexual abuse of both free persons and slaves, and especially of children; the wide involvement of all sectors of the population in significant religious and local activities. All this emerges from the use of fresh legal, economic, and archaeological evidence and analysis that reveal the social complexity of Athens, and the demographic and geographic factors giving rise to personal anonymity and limiting personal contacts--leading to the creation of an "imagined community" with a mutually conceptualized identity, a unified economy, and national "myths" set in historical fabrication.

Industry Reviews

"A most interesting book and a thoroughly stimulating read... It is a highly welcome contribution."--Balbina Babler, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
List of Abbreviationsp. xix
Introduction: Athens as Paradox--Athens as Nationp. 3
Anomalous Athensp. 11
An Anomalous Polisp. 11
An Anomalous Ethnosp. 22
Women in an Anomalous Democracyp. 30
The Local Residents of Attikap. 49
Astoi and Politaip. 50
New, Old, and Former Athenians: The Historical Contextp. 63
Attikismos: Becoming Part of Attikap. 70
An Ancient Construct: The Athenian Nationp. 79
Motherland and Mythp. 82
Fatherland and Nationalismp. 91
A Modern Myth: The Athenian Villagep. 104
"Not Knowing One Another" in Attikap. 106
Anonymity and Mobility: The Reality of Deme Lifep. 112
Wealthy Slaves in a "Slave Society"p. 130
Unfree Wealth and Power: Slave Entrepreneurs and Civil Servantsp. 132
"Corrective Interpretations": Evidence Rejected, Preconceptions Maintainedp. 137
An Athenian Explanation for the Athenian Slave Economyp. 141
The Social Contract: Sexual Abuse and Sexual Profitp. 155
An Academic Fantasy: Sexual Exploitation as Political Entitlementp. 159
Equal Employment Opportunity: Prostitution Not "the Special Preserve of Foreigners"p. 167
Consensual Sex: "Prostitution by Contract," Not Statusp. 177
Works Citedp. 193
General Indexp. 229
Index of Passages Citedp. 235
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691094908
ISBN-10: 069109490X
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 1st December 2002
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 16.51  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.23