March 19, 2015

Classical ways of handling classes

Regular readers of this blog know that El Cabrero is a total Greco-Roman classics geek. Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Virgil, Plutarch, name it. Bring it.

When I first started reading about Greek  and Roman history, I was struck by how much of it was shaped by class conflict and how they found different ways of working it out, at least for a while. I remember thinking "wow, the history of all hitherto existing society REALLY is the history of class struggles, at least a good part of the time" to paraphrase a certain out of vogue political economist whose name escapes me at the moment.

Anyhow, from the NY Times, here's an interesting look at classical approaches to class conflicts by way of Athenian democracy, the Roman republic and the politics of Aristotle.

One thing has been clear to me for a long time: the doom of the Roman republic came when they lost the ability or will to work out class compromises. Good thing that would never happen here, huh?

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