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The limits of altruism in democratic Athens [electronic resource] /
Matthew Christ.
imprint
Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2012.
description
x, 215 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
1107029775 (hardback), 9781107029774 (hardback)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2012.
isbn
1107029775 (hardback)
9781107029774 (hardback)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Machine generated contents note: Introduction: the philanthropic Athenian?; 1. Helping behavior in classical Athens; 2. Helping and democratic citizenship; 3. Helping and community in the Athenian lawcourts; 4. "Helping others" in Athenian interstate relations; Conclusion: helping and the Athenian experience.
abstract
"The Philanthropic Athenian? Athenians in the classical period (508-322 BC) were drawn to an image of themselves as a compassionate and generous people, who rushed to the aid of others in distress at home and abroad. Litigants in the popular courts appeal to this ideal when they call upon large panels of jurors collectively to intervene and help them against their unjust opponents with a favorable verdict. Speakers delivering funeral orations for the state's war dead portray Athenians as valiant rescuers of their Greek neighbors from mythical times on. Tragedians bring on stage mythical instances of Athenians helping desperate suppliants from other states. Orators addressing the Assembly sometimes invoke this tradition of helping others when urging their audiences to vote in favor of intervention abroad. In light of how prominently this heroic image of Athenians as noble helpers figures in public discourse, we can have little doubt that this was a central element of civic ideology. It is reasonable to ask, however, what relation this image bears to actual Athenian behavior at home and abroad and to what extent it simplifies or distorts Athenian attitudes toward helping others. This study focuses on how helping figured in Athenians' relations with their fellow citizens, their city, and other Greek city-states rather than on the role of helping in the more intimate relationships of family members and friends. The latter subject has drawn considerable scholarly attention in recent decades in work on the Athenian family and friendship, and there is a general consensus that Athenians, like other Greeks, were under strong pressure to help their family members and friends"--
"This book argues that, contrary to how Athenians idealized themselves, they felt little pressure as individuals to help fellow citizens and did not feel strongly obliged as a group to help peoples of other states"--
catalogue key
8673805
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 183-196) and indexes.
A Look Inside
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This text argues that, contrary to how Athenians idealized themselves, they felt little pressure as individuals to help fellow citizens and did not feel strongly obliged as a group to help peoples of other states.
Description for Bookstore
Athenians in the classical period (508–322 BC) were drawn to an image of themselves as a compassionate and generous people who rushed to the aid of others in distress at home and abroad. This book argues that, contrary to how Athenians idealized themselves, they felt little pressure as individuals to help fellow citizens whom they did not know.
Description for Bookstore
Athenians in the classical period (508-322 BC) were drawn to an image of themselves as a compassionate and generous people who rushed to the aid of others in distress at home and abroad. What relation does this bear to actual Athenian behavior? This book argues that Athenians felt little pressure as individuals to help fellow citizens whom they did not know and did not feel strongly obliged as a group to help peoples of other states through collective actions.
Library of Congress Summary
"This book argues that, contrary to how Athenians idealized themselves, they felt little pressure as individuals to help fellow citizens and did not feel strongly obliged as a group to help peoples of other states"--"The Philanthropic Athenian? Athenians in the classical period (508-322 BC) were drawn to an image of themselves as a compassionate and generous people, who rushed to the aid of others in distress at home and abroad. Litigants in the popular courts appeal to this ideal when they call upon large panels of jurors collectively to intervene and help them against their unjust opponents with a favorable verdict. Speakers delivering funeral orations for the state's war dead portray Athenians as valiant rescuers of their Greek neighbors from mythical times on. Tragedians bring on stage mythical instances of Athenians helping desperate suppliants from other states. Orators addressing the Assembly sometimes invoke this tradition of helping others when urging their audiences to vote in favor of intervention abroad. In light of how prominently this heroic image of Athenians as noble helpers figures in public discourse, we can have little doubt that this was a central element of civic ideology. It is reasonable to ask, however, what relation this image bears to actual Athenian behavior at home and abroad and to what extent it simplifies or distorts Athenian attitudes toward helping others. This study focuses on how helping figured in Athenians' relations with their fellow citizens, their city, and other Greek city-states rather than on the role of helping in the more intimate relationships of family members and friends. The latter subject has drawn considerable scholarly attention in recent decades in work on the Athenian family and friendship, and there is a general consensus that Athenians, like other Greeks, were under strong pressure to help their family members and friends"--
Main Description
Athenians in the classical period (508-322 BC) were drawn to an image of themselves as a compassionate and generous people who rushed to the aid of others in distress, both at home and abroad. What relation does this image bear to actual Athenian behavior? This book argues that Athenians felt little pressure as individuals to help fellow citizens whom they did not know. Democratic ideology called on citizens to refrain from harming one another rather than to engage in mutual support, and emphasized the importance of the helping relationship between citizen and city rather than among individual citizens. If the obligation of Athenians to help fellow citizens was fairly tenuous, all the more so was their responsibility to intervene to assist the peoples of other states; a distinct pragmatism prevailed in the city's decisions concerning intervention abroad.
Table of Contents
Introduction: the philanthropic Athenian?
Helping behavior in classical Athens
Helping and democratic citizenship
Helping and community in the Athenian lawcourts
"Helping others" in Athenian interstate relations
Conclusion: helping and the Athenian experience
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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