Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology

Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology[Download] ➵ Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology By Moses I. Finley – In this thought provoking study of slavery in ancient Greece and Italy Sir Moses Finley discusses how slave societies came into being and considers the moral social and economic underpinnings that all In this thought provoking study and Modern PDF Î of slavery in ancient Greece and Italy Sir Moses Finley discusses how slave societies came into being and considers the moral social and economic underpinnings that allowed them to prosper His Ancient Slavery eBook ☆ comparison of ancient slave societies with their relatively modern counterparts in the New World opens a new perspective on the history of slavery Sir Moses' inuiry sheds light on the complex ways in which ideological interests affect Slavery and Modern PDF/EPUB Ã historical interpretation Slaves have been exploited in most societies throughout human history but there have been only five genuine slave societies and of these two were in antiuity classical Greece and classical Italy In this major new book the distinguished historian Sir Moses Finley examines those two societies not in isolation but in comparison with the other relatively modern slave societies of the New World. This book is a classic introduction to the topic of slavery in the ancient world Finley was a minimalist historian who eschewed the antiuarian historian those historians content with merely assembling historical material without drawing conclusions I use minimalist in the best possible light one who assembles the data and draws valid conclusions but thankfully refuses to make learned and usually invalid not to say insipid guesses based on the data The book is strongly academic rather than a popular take on the subject 08052006And the difference between Ancient and Modern Slavery isThis is an important topic given the embarrassing fact of the modern return of Slavery in the midst of the European Enlightenment Indeed even the United States the first nation produced by the Enlightenment was a home to modern slavery What was this 'enlightened' slavery and how did it differ from the ancient variety? Hmmm So how do we go about distinguishing between ancient and modern slavery? Ancient slaveholders originally were masters and knew they were masters because they excelled at violence They had won a war; the slaves had lost When uestioned deeply about their amazing string of victories the Romans would generally point to their pietas which is a religious notion Now is this the difference between ancient and modern slave societies? That in modern times we try to give a 'scientific explanation' of events? President Jefferson a man renowned for his love of freedom in the midst of a terrifyingly 'scientistic' discussion of the real distinction that nature has made informs us that blacks are in reason much inferior to whites and in imagination they are dull tasteless and anomalous Mercifully the man we remember every Fourth of July had the grace to concede the possibility even the necessity that further observation will or will not verify the conjecture that nature has been less bountiful to them in the endowments of the head because where our conclusion would degrade a whole race of men from the rank in the scale of beings which their Creator may perhaps have given them we must indeed be cautious The Romans of course never dreamed of denying the humanity of their slaves Obviously this is cold comfort to those unfortunate enough to lose a war to Rome Modern slaveholders in contrast would try to ground their slaveholding in science not violence; in fact not force And it is this penchant for science that is both the difference between ancient and modern slavery and ironically the beginning of modern racism Now this difference has conseuences and causes To find one of the causes let's look at the practice of manumission the freeing of slaves Finley tells us that a freed Roman slave became transformed from an object to a subject of rights the most complete metamorphous one can imagine How? How was it possible for people whose families had been slaves for generations to become free? Or rather why in 'enlightened' Virginia did it not happen? Again Finley Freedmen in the New World carried an external sign of their slave origin in their skin color even after many generations with negative economic social political and psychological conseuences of the gravest magnitude Ancient freedman simply melted into the total population within one or at the most two generations Were ancient plebeians aware of this? That former slaves worked lived and Gasp intermarried among them? Finley reminds us of stories in Tacitus and Pliny of plebeians rioting when local slaves were killed en masse as Roman law reuired for the assassination of a master Not only does it appear the plebeians knew but they also approved and identified with the slaves The contrast with modern American slavery the poor whites uasi mystical belief in their 'superiority' to black slaves and the certainty that this aligned them with the masters is too obvious and too depressing to mention So ancient slaves upon manumission were able to melt into the lowest Roman classes while freed Blacks could never simply become part of society however poor What of it? Is this enough to explain the differences of modern and ancient slavery? No of course not To explain why ancient slavery never developed a crackpot ideology like racism to both justify and defend itself and on top of that to create a horrid cultural pseudo immortality for itself we have to look elsewhere But first what did our ancient slaves do by and large with their new found freedom? Finley shows us that in the long run being freed in the early empire was no great favor He tells a depressing story of ever increasing taxes and barbarian invasions combining to force citizens to seek some sort of relief in service to either the empire or a great lord From the time of Augustus on everything changed the state no longer permitted the peasant to vote or needed his fighting power however it continued to need his money in increasing uantities by Justinian's reign the state took between one fourth and one third of the gross yield of the land And elsewhere he mentions the extent of the financial and material damage inflicted by continuous civil war in the third century and by the persistent assaults thereafter of Germans of Persians in the east These combined to force the peasants and the urban poor into some form of debt service In late antiuity one's poor cousins were always in danger of losing their freedom whether selling it for protection to some lord or losing it in court for unpaid taxes That is why the ancients in the long run could never base slavery or servitude on some pseudo biological theory the next slave could be a relative or and this is really the heart of the matter themselves Slavery in antiuity could happen to almost anyone while that was really never the case in eighteenth or nineteenth century America That was the fundamental difference between ancient and modern slavery The conseuences of this difference are revealed with terrifying clarity in the twentieth century Modern 'scientific' racism whether encountered in President Jefferson or Comte de Gobineau comes to its ultimate fruition in Hitler who is the cause of so many of our century's horrors Among the conseuences of the Enlightenment many of which are indisputably good is the notion that everything can should and will eventually be explained by science History is reeling under the weight of bigots and uacks who were able to 'justify' their manias 'scientifically' When you have proven that your enemy is not fully human by supposedly scientific means all you have shown is that you no longer believe you have to behave humanely toward him Some of the conseuences of this pseudo scientific ranting include the Holocaust and Bosnian ethnic cleansing Tocueville who was a friend of Gobineau somewhere remarked to him I believe your theories are wrong I know they are dangerous Precisely What gave poor Roman citizens the ability to accept freed slaves as their own or allowed the Roman aristocracy the latitude to have their children educated by slaves is simply this they never denied the humanity of their slaves They had yet to come under the sway of modern 'enlightened' ideology This is why pace Messieurs Gobineau and Jefferson ancient slaves whether from Europe Asia or Africa could teach the children of their masters or excel in the various sciences and arts No one had thought of a 'reason' to deny that they could Ancient Slavery might well be the most enduring of Finley’s books In a generation that has struggled to get beyond the “New Orthodoxy” that Finley established fifty years ago this study remains a landmark text Rarely does a work so clearly display the inadeuacy of every analytic model that preceded it The title essay surveys of the history of slavery scholarship in classical studies from the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth Previous schools of interpretation Finley claims have either misinterpreted the evidence and drawn false conclusions about the nature of slavery as did the 19th century abolitionists and 20th century Marxists or else ignored the subject almost entirely as did the 19th century philologists and the 20th century humanist revivalists The latter omission is especially troubling considering that slaves by modern estimates accounted for twenty to thirty percent of the population of the classical worldFinley suggests three necessary conditions for the emergence of a true slave society First the society must be agrarian and have private ownership of land; second the economy must have a sufficiently developed commodity market The third condition is a negative one there must be an inadeuate supply of internal labor resulting in the need to regularly import slaves in large numbers from outside the community And it is this third condition which Finley emphasizes as being uniue to Athens and later by imitation to classical culture generallyFinley rejects the idea of a purely economic source for this terrible innovation turning instead to sociology The culture of the polis he claims had as one of its core principles that no citizen should be the servant of another a corollary of the notion of the euality of citizens As peasants gained Athenian citizenship this principle had the effect of shrinking the Athenian labor pool In such a context Finley says a slave economy developed in Athens for the first time in recorded history because “there was no realistic alternative”Central to Finley’s analysis though he does not directly address the subject here is his long standing criticism of paleoeconomic modernism a method which was pioneered by Edward Gibbon and which claims that ancient markets can be effectively studied using the empirical techniues of Adam Smith’s classical economics Finley opposes to this doctrine the idea that the Market itself is not a universal feature of social behavior but rather is sociologically determined to such an extent that in some cultures classical Greece and Rome among them the Market cannot be shown to exist at all as an economic pattern While physical market places did of course exist in Athens and Rome rates of exchange in those market places cannot in Finley’s view be shown to have determined the value of the goods exchanged there Rather the value of an object in the ancient economy was according to Finley determined by the amount of social prestige to be gained by being publicly seen in possession of that object If this is the case then the comparisons made by modernists of the already very sparse accounting information that survives from classical antiuity are obviously rendered almost completely useless as is any attempt at a purely economic explanation of the Athenians’ development of the slave economy This theory known as “primitivism” or “substantivism” remains one of the most radical notions in all of classical historiography Indeed when one considers the use that Gibbon made of market analysis in liberating Roman studies from the purview of moral science and church propaganda Finley’s criticism might even seem to undermine classical scholarship at its very foundation However the effectiveness of his description of slavery as a institution – a description which eluded Gibbon Mommsen Rostovtzeff and even Marx – strongly argues in Finley’s defense even for those who like the present writer remain uncertain about some of his theoretical premises Off this review think I’ve chosen these books because all of them made a big difference to me I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them With Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology by Moses Finley it’s all about politicsOne of the things that people often imagine about studying something as remote as the ancient world is that it’s not engaged with the big issues that we face Finley was a Marxist refugee from McCarthy who left the US before he was pushed and came to the UK I was actually one of his students But before that when I read his books it was the first time I realized that there could be and ought to be an explicit connection between a modern political stance and the ancient history that I was studyingSlavery is a classic case for thinking about those connections Greece and Rome were one of the few mass slave owning societies that there have ever been What Finley was interested in doing was looking hard at ancient slavery and thinking about how it was the same or different from modern slavery One key difference that comes out is that modern slavery is tinged by racism whereas ancient slavery wasn’t He was the first person I had read who looked ancient slavery in the eye and said it was something really terrible All the stuff that I had read before had been slightly embarrassed about ancient slavery and saw it as a blot on the landscape They said “The Greeks were so wonderful and slavery was a bit of a problem but you shouldn’t think about it It was like domestic service really” And Finley says you can’t let the ancient world off the hook You have to have a moral stance on this oneAs you would with modern day slaveryYes and we need to think about the way people’s freedom can be taken away from them across the periods This man is a genius and there are a lot of extremely interesting viewpoints to be found in this book but hidden within some bad writing I am not saying that it is too difficult to understand or even that it is an unpleasant read but to me at least his writing especially the first chapter has way too little structure to it for a work of non fiction You will come upon heaps of brilliant sentences but will be left puzzled as to what he intended to get across as a whole While this book does contain a lot of information about both ancient slavery and modern ideology it regrettably contains information than one would want about the latter and not as much as one would want about the former  As a student of the history of slavery there is a lot to appreciate here  But in order to appreciate what it has to say about slavery in the ancient world and its parallels and relevance to the modern world one has to address the problem of modern ideology and the heavy influence of socialism in the author's thinking and in the writing that exists in academic history about slavery  And so this book is a mixed bag some of it deeply interesting but some of it also deadly dull and uite pointless if one is interested in understanding ancient history rather than the ways that people have sought to use ancient history to support their own dubious leftist agendas  Unlike some books though this one has a core of interesting information as well as as perspective that is worth considering so if you want to find out about ancient slavery and how it is viewed in contemporary historiography there is something of worth hereThis work is about 150 pages long and it is divided into four chapters  The book begins with a preface and then discusses in considerable detail the uestions of modern ideology especially relating to uestions of socialism  There is a certain way in which forms of slavery have been conflated and which non slavery has been viewed anachronistically as serfdom 1  After that the author discusses somewhat briefly the way that slave societies develop pointing out that they reuire certain conditions to develop in the first place 2  After that the author discusses slavery and humanity something that is clearly problematic given the status of slaves as property has long caused problems for slaves themselves and their lack of dignity in the eyes of the law of slave societies 3  After that the author discusses the decline of ancient slavery 4 and the way it was that slave societies themselves fell into decline  How is it that the conditions which allowed for slavery to exist in Greece and Rome failed to hold on into the middle ages?  After that of course the book ends with notes a bibliography and an index to provide further information to the readerFor me as a reader what I was most interested in was the way that the author dealt with a few of the interesting mysteries of slavery in the ancient world  To what extent did the law of slaves get passed into later societies including the Byzantine laws and the laws of the Western European realms during the Middle Ages down to the slave codes of the United States and Caribbean?  This is a worthwhile uestion to ponder and the book deals with it  To what extent is the absence of kin for slaves related to the dehumanizing process that has led slaves to be exploited sexually as well as to lose a sense of identity even after leaving slavery?  To what extent was ancient slavery less harmful than modern slavery when it came to the freedom and ability that freed slaves had to blend into ancient societies as respected people?  These are worthwhile uestions too and I found the subject dealt with rather intelligently here  I would like to see of these matters dealt with as they are here and that is something that I hope to find in the course of future reading Let's begin at the beginning this book starts off with an out of date survey of the state of research into ancient slavery That's not an insult; the book was written in 1979 and a lot of work has been done since then It discusses a lot of other authors' work without really summarizing most of it If you aren't already up on the work of Eduard Meyer and Joseph Vogt you might find this confusing I certainly did Stick with it however After that long first chapter Finley gets into what we were hoping this book was going to beFinley's thesis is that a slave society as opposed to a society that includes slavery which it seems the vast majority of past societies did reuires three elements private property a big market for commodities and a lack of an internal labor supply He then outlines the emergence of the ancient slave societies of Greece and Rome discusses debates over their relative humanity and goes through their declines Along the way he talks about how the spectre of modern slave societies specifically North America the Caribbean and Brazil colors scholars' discussion of the past He also talks about how his thesis can apply to those modern societies Overall an interesting introduction to the topic There's an awful lot of acknowledgement of the flaws and gaps in the ancient literature which is occasionally frustrating to the reader as they probably were to the author But overall worthwhile

Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology Kindle ´ and
  • Paperback
  • 334 pages
  • Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology
  • Moses I. Finley
  • English
  • 28 July 2015
  • 9781558761711