Much has been written about the world’s first democracy, but no book so far has been dedicated solely to the study of enmity in ancient Athens. Enmity and Feuding in Classical Athens is a long-overdue analysis of the competitive power dynamics of Athenian honor and the potential problems these feuds created for democracies.
The citizens of Athens believed that harming one’s enemy was an acceptable practice and even the duty of every honorable citizen. They sought public wins over their rivals, making enmity a critical element in struggles for honor and standing, while simultaneously recognizing the threat that personal enmity posed to the community. Andrew Alwine works to understand how Athenians addressed this threat by looking at the extant work of Attic orators. Their speeches served as the intersection between private vengeance and public sanction of illegal behavior, allowing citizens to engage in feuds within established parameters. This mediation helped support Athenian democracy and provided the social underpinning to allow it to function in conjunction with Greek notions of personal honor.
Alwine provides a framework for understanding key issues in the history of democracy, such as the relationship between private and public realms, the development of equality and the rule of law, and the establishment of individual political rights. Serving also as a nuanced introduction to the works of the Attic orators, Enmity and Feuding in Classical Athens is an indispensable addition to scholarship on Athens.
Andrew Alwine is an assistant professor of classics at the College of Charleston.
"This book is very accessible, so it can be read by both students and specialist scholars, as well as by those outside the area of Greek social history who may be interested in a very carefully articulated explanation of social relations among Athenians."
~David Mirhady, Professor of the Humanities, Simon Fraser University, and coauthor of A New Working Bibliography of Ancient Greek Law (7th–4th centuries BC)
List of Abbreviations for Primary Sources
List of Abbreviations for Journals
Chapter 1: The Social Dimensions of Enmity
Chapter 2: The Rhetoric of Enmity as a Legal Strategy
Chapter 3: The Flexibility of the Rhetoric of Enmity
Chapter 4: Enmity under the Law: The Limits to Vengeance
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