[Marxism] class war in ancient Athens

Dennis Brasky dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Thu Apr 6 14:28:11 MDT 2017

The article is only for subscribers. If there are any here, I'd appreciate
a copy.


At first sight – and indeed after careful investigation – ancient Athens
looks anything but an ideal spot for the incubation and development of
democracy, whether direct, representative, or the uneasy compromise that
eventually emerged. Athens prided itself on having been the sole city not
to fall to invaders during the general collapse of Mycenaean dynasties in
Greece *c*.1200 BCE; and even if this claim, like that to autochthony, is
questionable, it indicates, at least in the upper crust, a stubborn
adherence to, and preference for, the type of rule that was vanishing: that
of local royal aristocracies obsessed with blood and lineage, hunting,
horsemanship, and the peculiar sense of honour contingent on successful
warfare and the code of the warrior. To this culture both the gold funeral
masks of Mycenae, with their terrifying impression of inbred contemptuous
power, and the surviving traditions of that world in Homer’s *Iliad* –
hugely popular in a society from which it could hardly have been more
different – bear eloquent witness.


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