There has, in the last few decades, been as much, and almost as bitter, controversy over ancient slavery as over slavery nearer in time and place and more obviously “relevant.” M.I. Finley’s long interest in ancient slavery has made him the foremost expert on this subject—as on Greek and Roman social and economic history in general—in the English-speaking world. He has also been a major contributor to the polemics: he does not suffer fools gladly, and he loves to tell them so; nor is he one to keep ideology out of scholarship.
This book is elusive and, in the end, a little disappointing. We are at once warned that it is not a history of ancient slavery. Nor is it the textbook, the lack of which Finley noted twenty years ago and which has not yet been produced.1 (Wiedemann’s collection of sources should now make it more feasible to write it.) Finley’s book is a collection of four essays, unequal in various respects, the first and much the longest of which (two fifths of the text) is a highly polemical and personal survey of modern writing on ancient slavery, while the other three deal with three aspects of the subject of ancient slavery itself—two of them connected: the emergence and the decline of the ancient “slave society”; the third some reflections on the treatment of slaves.
As would be expected of Finley, the last three essays range widely, well beyond their titles, and they have much of importance to say. Some general premises of Finley’s discussion are undoubtedly true. That the slave was an item of property, like a horse, will not be denied by anyone now. That he “originated from outside the society” was observed long ago by the great German historian Eduard Meyer (1855-1930). However, we must note that this is not an inherent part of the institution: it is a development we can observe. In classical Rome, the sale of a son to a citizen was fictitious. At an earlier period, it was certainly a bona fide transaction. By the fifth century, Greeks developed qualms about holding other Greeks as slaves, as consciousness of a common Hellenism developed. When Greek prisoners of war were sold, it was regarded as a shocking atrocity. In fourth-century Athens, popular “philosophy” equated slaves with barbarians and derived the right to capture and own them from the natural enmity between Greeks and barbarians. Striking passages in the legal show that this speeches of the period show that this was taken for granted.2
As Finley stresses, the slave might form family ties only with permission from his owner. Most did, and they were lasting. We have little evidence about Greece; but in Rome the breaking up of slave families by sale, to judge by the documentary record (which twists the picture toward optimism), was always practiced, though not usual. (Beryl Rawson, in Classical Philology 61, 1966, 70-83, apparently not known to Finley, is basic.) Presumably it was more common among farm slaves, to judge by Cato’s advice that weak or aging slaves should be sold off.
But in this field of family ties a basic difference between Greece and Rome emerges. The Roman slave, at least originally and, in the owner’s actual household, probably always, had his regular place. (Again, this obviously did not fully apply to slaves working for absentee landlords in the country.) The Roman family consisted of the free (liberi—the word is used for “children”) and the slaves, both under the father’s power. The mother was technically among the liberi, though in practice she always had a special status and, in the classical Republic and the Empire, she normally did not legally belong to the family. The male liberi, when they grew up and the father died, became full citizens. The slaves never did. The word “boy” as a form of address to slaves, while certainly (as Finley notes) demeaning, was legally accurate. There was little difference between the slave and the minor son, in the early Roman family. Neither had any legal standing; both could be punished (even executed) or sold by the father at his own discretion.
When Finley remarks that corporal punishment was normally restricted to slaves, he is obviously thinking mainly of Greece (with which he is more familiar—though even there this was not universal) and to some extent of the Roman Empire, where it gradually came to be true, for a few generations. But for centuries, in Rome, not only did the father have absolute power within the family, but the rods (fasces) and axe carried before the higher Roman magistrate were more than merely symbolical. He could use them, at his own discretion, against free and slave alike, with the sole exception—even that not fully established until the second century BC—of Roman citizens.
When we remark that the slave had no legal rights, we must not think of him, in Roman conditions, as thereby distinguished from a society which (as in much of Greece) had full personal, if not always civil, rights. The personal rights of nonslaves on the whole developed very slowly and, under the early Empire, this was in fact soon followed by the development of some rights for slaves (though slaves, like children, of course never had legal personality). It is easy to amalgamate the varied Greek and Roman world into “antiquity”—an error that Finley constantly warns against, but, in this book, has perhaps not always successfully avoided.
The similarity of status between slave and son led to the further consequence that, when the father chose to free the slave (and by the late Republic every household slave would expect to be freed if he lived to see the day), he became the freedman’s legal pseudo-father (patronus, derived from pater); and the freedman, like the son, at once became a citizen and a free member of the family in which he had been a slave. (It was only under Augustus that restrictions were imposed on this process, and social traditions made it difficult to enforce them.)
Originally, the community was naturally involved in the process of freeing a slave. It was the Twelve Tables—the code of laws drawn up by a special commission about 450 BC—that, by allowing free testamentary disposition of movable property, made it possible to free slaves by testament, with the “astonishing” result (as Finley rightly calls it) that any citizen could confer citizenship. The development was probably accidental. Certainly, testamentary manumission remained the only way in which a slave could be freed without the involvement of the community. Of course, social prejudice against slave antecedents was strong among the upper class; but it seems to have been confined to that class. In Greece, laws varied greatly. Indeed, in some systems slaves could apparently never be legally freed: they could only be fictitiously sold to a god, under a contract stipulating their obligations.
The institutions of slavery in the ancient world are as varied as the ancient world itself. Some of that variety can be glimpsed in Wiedemann’s useful little selection. Nearly two hundred and fifty translated passages (some of them quite long), chosen from the whole field of ancient (including early Christian) literature, inscriptions, and papyri, are introduced by a general outline and, in each instance, by an analytical paragraph explaining the background and importance of the passage. They are arranged in twelve categories, and the author has added an excellent short bibliography on each category, as well as brief notes on the sources used. This is truly a work of scholarship, for the general reader. The translations vary in quality (colloquialisms in formal texts are distressingly common), but they are accurate. As the author admits, the arrangement chosen has the disadvantage that differences within the ancient world tend to be obscured.3 He insists that the similarities are more important. But in view of the natural tendency (especially among students, who will no doubt be the chief group to use this book) to foreshorten and simplify distant periods, it is always important to make an effort to stress differences and development.
As for the selection, much of the dreary history of slave wars (historically unimportant) and the length of some passages cited from philosophers and Christians in the section entitled “The True Freedom of the Spirit” could have been cut down, to make room for other things. The topic of the use of slaves for sexual purposes (both domestic and institutional), though well known and important, is totally excluded: perhaps it was judged unsuitable for British students. And a major omission is the inscription from Puteoli in southern Italy (frequently discussed, as now by Finley), which shows that, at least in one city, around the turn of our era, owners who wanted to have their slaves tortured or executed were required by municipal regulation to have it done by the competent public authorities for a set fee. Still, for a first selection this is a good start. Supplements, or selections differently conceived, are bound to follow this pioneer effort.
The institution of slavery, practically universal in human history, does not by itself create what is nowadays called a “slave society.” (There have been only five of them, according to Finley.) Finley does not give a definition, but it seems to mean a society to the functioning of which slave labor is essential. Rome is an excellent example. As for Athens, the case perhaps needs arguing. For, as Finley himself, above all others, has insisted, the land is the basis of any ancient economy; and we know little about conditions on the land in classical Athens. That the estates of the wealthy (not a very large part of Attic land, it seems) were cultivated by a permanent work force of slaves, as Finley holds, is a permissible hypothesis. But it is not a known fact. The suggestion that the place of the citizens whom Solon, shortly after 600 BC, freed from involuntary labor on the land of the rich was taken by slaves, and that this is the origin of the Athenian “slave society”—that suggestion is interesting, but beyond proof.
Indeed, at the first mention of this by Finley, free peasants are linked with those slaves, but the peasants are soon forgotten. Yet the possibility that agricultural work on the lands of the rich was in part done by tenants with the occasional help of free casual laborers must by no means be excluded. We simply do not know the basic facts. As for the ordinary citizen cultivating his smallholding, he no doubt bought a slave when he could afford one, as his cousin, the tradesman in Athens, did. But really widespread use of slaves in small-scale agriculture, such as has recently been speculatively suggested and as Finley seems to accept, is pure fancy. So, how basic were slaves to the economy?
It will not do to claim, as Finley does (decrying “antiquarian” attempts to investigate population figures), that numbers do not matter. If, as Finley believes, slaves made up about 30 percent of the population, then most of them might be accounted for by work in the Laureion mines (where the work force “often ran into five figures”), by domestic service, and by the occasional slave working in the family business, in the city or on the land. As any Marxist—and not only he—well knows, differences in quantity turn into differences in quality. “We have no choice but to speculate,” it is true. But the case for regarding Athens as a slave society in the same sense as the Roman Empire or the American South, though it probably can be made, needs making; and it might entail a shift away from the exclusive stress on the basic function of the land in the Athenian economy.
For Rome, there can be no such doubt. The only question is: when and how did Rome become a “slave society”? Finley, contradicting others, argues that demand for slaves preceded supply; and he would take the Roman slave society back further than some others would (e.g., the British sociologist Keith Hopkins). As to the time when a large supply of slaves became available, the third century BC may be conceded (before that, anachronistic Roman historiography obscures the facts). But the chicken-and-egg question perhaps does not deserve elaborate discussion. Demand and supply grew alongside each other, as the empire expanded along with the amounts of Italian land held by the upper class. On any count, the Hannibalic War (218-202 BC), with the large-scale annexation of Italian land by Rome, which vastly inflated the demand, was followed by the wars in the East, which vastly increased the supply. But by then, as Finley has shown, the system already existed.
Moreover, in Rome there was a special and unique reason why slaves tended to displace free tenants on the lands of the rich, even though (as Finley makes clear) large estates tended to remain aggregates of small and medium-sized farms. By employing free tenants, the wealthy landowner would only have taken upon himself the problems that had made the free peasant lose his land in the first place: above all the simple fact that, as Hopkins has now shown,4 free men were liable to military service in proportions and actual numbers, and for lengths of time, that historians had not previously suspected. By the first century BC, with military service (for a generation or two) much less burden-some, tenancy begins to make an impressive showing: by the time of the civil wars, it is one of the major patterns of land use. All this, however, will need a lot more research before confident conclusions can be drawn from the complex evidence (much of it archaeological). At all events, both here and in the discussion of the decline of slavery, Finley has done us a service by banishing the irrelevant question of economic “profitability”: comparative cost accounting was unknown in antiquity, and any statements we have on the subject are likely to be moral platitudes, supported (at best) by limited observation.
Slavery remained significant—more so than the textbooks allow—in the late Empire; and Christianity was for practical purposes irrelevant. The new religion, as is abundantly clear from its basic texts, at once accepted property as inviolate, except for those who might personally choose a life of holiness—just as marriage was accepted as inviolate, except for those who chose the superior state of celibacy of their own free will. And if the decline of slavery as an economic institution can be demonstrated, neither “profitability” (once again) nor the obvious contraction of markets due to various social and administrative developments will explain it. Such theories, after Finley’s demolition, should never be raised again.
His own suggestion (necessarily tentative) is not entirely new, but it has not before been put in this form. On the land, free peasants and tenants, through legal and political developments, had to seek the protection of powerful men and ended by becoming unfree dependents: coloni in a new sense. In the cities, with the exception of government “factories,” slaves increasingly left productive employment and concentrated in domestic service; while the lower classes again were legally pushed down into a status approaching the unfree. All this will need much more investigation and detailed study. But we can only applaud Finley’s conclusion that there are no marked stages; that changes did not take place at the same pace all over the Empire, leading to neat boundaries. The game of “periodization,” which some Marxist schools took over from nineteenth-century historians and developed (at one time) into a crucial test of orthodoxy, is not worth playing, for Marxists or anyone else.
It is the first essay, from which the book takes its title, that is clearly intended to arouse most controversy. Forschungsgeschichte—the history of scholarship—is always a major part of Kulturgeschichte—the history of culture: it interacts with mores and with intellectual fashions, no less than with political events, both reflecting and at times deflecting them. Finley rightly stresses that controversies over ancient slavery are “deeply rooted in major ideological conflicts.” He draws a rough distinction (he admits it cannot be hard and fast—as indeed his examples show!) between “a moral and spiritual view and a sociological view of the historical process.”
To illustrate the difference, he contrasts the German historian Arnold Heeren (1760-1842) with Friedrich Engels, and (less successfully) Henri Wallon, of whom we shall have a lot more to say, with Benjamin Franklin. For Finley, the history of modern discussions of ancient slavery is essentially not (perhaps) a dialogue, but a failure to establish a dialogue, between these two approaches, of which the “moral-spiritual” has been predominant. That he would not think such a dialogue profitable is clear enough: he is wholly committed to the sociological view, and the “moral-spiritual” attitude seems to him utterly useless, though perhaps still just above the level of what he calls the “antiquarian” approach, which he never even bothers to define or discuss. Finley’s attitude to Wallon’s classic Histoire de l’Esclavage dans l’Antiquité (1847, revised 1879—and still the only such general history) is typical.
Wallon was no “antiquarian.” He was a devout Christian abolitionist and, as Finley points out, his work was written as a contribution to the abolitionist controversy in France. Finley defends him against his present-day critics: the classic work “today…normally receives mere lip service, with a pejorative remark or two about…’the abolitionist prejudices of the time.’ ” (The Columbia University social historian W.L. Westermann and—quite unjustly—Joseph Vogt, the organizer of the Mainz Academy project on ancient slavery, are cited as examples.) Against this, the magnitude of his contribution and the absence of deliberate distortion are rightly stressed. A note (p. 151 n. 8) informs us that in the twentieth century his work has mainly been appreciated in the Soviet Union.
Yet some pages later, the admirer has turned into one of the fiercest critics: “Wallon’s work…was the climax of antiquarianism in this field. His moral fervour also helped divert the subject from the already available…institutional approach…. In sum,…Wallon’s Histoire was a dead end.” Did the Soviet Academy, then, rehabilitate a reactionary? We are not told. Had Finley paid him mere lip service? He attacks Wallon’s interest in the number and proportion of slaves in Athens. “What difference did it make [to Wallon]…whether classical Athens had 100,000, 200,000 or 400,000 slaves? Perhaps there is an answer to that question, but none is to be found in Wallon’s many pages.” He suggests the answer “is lost in irrecoverable individual psychology.”
In fact, quite the opposite. At the beginning of his eighth chapter, containing the (still important) inquiry into the population of Athens, Wallon explains its relevance at considerable length. He concludes that this question of figures becomes the key to social history, dominating the whole subject of the assessment of slavery in Athens. We may not agree with all his arguments; but he clearly knew what Finley, as we saw, vainly tries to deny—that it makes all the difference in the world whether the number of slaves was one half or twice the number of free citizens. Finley, however, seems to have used Wallon chiefly as a stick to beat his opponents with. Once it has served its purpose, it can be broken and discarded. Having defended him against the charge of prejudice, he convicts him of “anti-quarianism.” That term, defined as what is “now called ‘scholarship,’ ” can be used to dismiss a great deal of patient and serious work: it is “of no interest collectively.”
The most astonishing member of this class, by any standard, is August Böckh’s Die Staatshaushaltung der Athener (1817; English translation 1828, by that highly “sociological” historian, G. Cornwall Lewis)—probably the most innovative work in the study of ancient history produced in the nineteenth century. The book begins with the challenging statement that knowledge of ancient Greece is still in its infancy, reproves professional classicists for their obsessive concentration on words and even syllables, and goes on to try, for the first time, to piece together the economy of the Athenian state from the scattered fragments of surviving documents—the very collection of which (the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum) was effectively begun only by Böckh himself. This book, which ultimately made work such as Finley’s possible, is written off as a “purely antiquarian work without significant progeny”! The grinding of axes surely becomes far more than a background noise.
The “new dimension,” for Finley, was not added by new methods or new questions in history, however important: that is still “antiquarianism.” The “new dimension” is limited to “the concept of stages (or periods) in the history of society defined, or determined, by the way the economy…was organized.” We are moving toward Marx. Finley is well aware of the fact that much of what came to be known as “Marxist” (particularly the tight scheme of social-economic periods) is largely due to Engels. It is worth reminding ourselves that, as late as 1869 (after Das Kapital!), we find Marx writing, in a published piece, that the real class conflicts in Rome were between the rich and the poor within the (unproductive) free population: “the productive mass of the population, the slaves, form only the passive pedestal for these conflicts.” Needless to say, this formulation had no future in any branch of Marxist thought. It shows that Marx had no coherent and important ideas on ancient society, despite his attested personal interest in ancient history.
Finley is well aware of this. Indeed, many of his refutations are directed (but never by name) against the formulations of Marx and Engels and their direct followers. Yet it is Marx who is responsible for the “new dimension” in the study of ancient slavery, via two Italians who called themselves Marxists—Ettore Ciccotti and Giuseppe Salvioli—and two Germans who did not. One of the latter is Max Weber—too large a subject, obviously, for Finley’s book or for this discussion. The other, Karl Bücher, is one of Finley’s paradoxical heroes, chiefly because he was attacked and soundly trounced by a much greater figure, who turns out to be one of Finley’s villains: Eduard Meyer.
Bücher’s theory, propounded in 1893, is little more than an elaborate restatement of a common nineteenth-century view of linear evolution as applied to human society. If he had ever read Marx, he certainly did not understand him. For him, history advances from the stage of the self-sufficient household economy (the whole of antiquity) through increasing differentiation in the late Middle Ages to the complex modern structure of industry and trade. Quite apart from the plain ignorance that this shows (Marx, who read his Greek authors in the original, would have laughed at it), nothing could be further from any “dialectical” model. Indeed, under Eduard Meyer’s hammer-blows Bücher ultimately took refuge in claiming that he had only produced a theoretical model and never intended it to be a historical one.
But Meyer, with all his prejudices certainly one of the greatest historians of modern times, is Finley’s bête noire. His essay on the economic development of antiquity (1895), with its tailpiece (an expansion of what had been an appendix) on ancient slavery (1898), was certainly responsible for the fact that Bücher’s naïve evolutionism had no future. Meyer cannot be called an antiquarian. Finley has to fit him into the “moral-spiritual” category in order to deny his importance. Meyer’s unforgivable sin is the “total rejection of all conceptions of historical stages defined by economic structures”—and though he admittedly never worried about Marx, this rejection was “due to hatred and fear of socialism in any form.” Any kind of periodization “was a threat to Meyer’s social and political beliefs, to his world and his world-view.”
In fact, the reader of both Meyer and Finley would have difficulty in recognizing that the latter is writing about the former. Finley’s rhetoric culminates in the statement that “Meyer’s lecture on ancient slavery is not only as close to nonsense as anything I can remember written by a historian of such eminence, but violates the basic canons of historical scholarship….” It should hardly need to be said that this cannot be taken seriously. Its motives are perhaps “lost in irrecoverable individual psychology,” which it is not the historian’s task to pursue. But what is most extraordinary of all is that Finley’s usually meticulous scholarship is overcome by the power of emotion. He seems almost incapable of reading and reporting correctly what Meyer actually wrote. Thus he blames him for a nonexistent inconsistency in his refutation of Bücher. He ascribes to him a view of an ancient “revolutionary proletariat…jealous of the growing body of slaves, lacking skills themselves, unwilling to work for others, and therefore demanding public support…. One need only ask, Which ancient states supported their poor citizens in idleness?”—a view that he rightly describes as “one gigantic fiction.”
But the fiction is not Meyer’s. The unskilled proletariat, unwilling to work and supported in idleness, is contrary to the whole of Meyer’s view of the ancient world. A single extract may suffice.
The democratic state, of course, does not know contempt for manual labor: “it is not being poor that we regard as disgraceful, but not to work one’s way up by labor”—so says Pericles in his Funeral Oration.
Meyer regards the common modern view that physical labor and financial activity were despised as based on the “reactionary theory” of a few Athenian philosophers.
How could Meyer’s view be so extraordinarily misrepresented? How can he be charged with making (in a popular lecture) “a succession of ex cathedra assertions” without giving evidence, and even with “tendentious textual criticism”? (I have not identified what Finley refers to.) Some of the most stimulating of Finley’s essays contain not a single footnote, and are none the worse for it. It must be because Meyer destroyed Bücher’s simple-minded economic evolutionism, which Finley unjustly relates to Marx, and substituted for it a very interesting and in fact far more “dialectical” view of social development: his theme is that the archaic status society moves forward to a classical stage with considerable social mobility (in which slaves, in particular, largely shared—his comparison of them with modern working-people is by no means totally unsound) and then, in late antiquity, to a new “status” society with social mobility largely ended.
It will be obvious that this is very close to Finley’s own view, even though Meyer’s modernism—his stress on the importance of large-scale commerce and industry in the ancient world—is clearly exaggerated, and on this point Finley seems to me to be essentially right. But Meyer was not concerned with any social or political theory: Finley’s psychologizing explanation could not be farther from the truth. Meyer wanted to rid the academic world of a naïve and patently wrong “progressivist” theory; to insist that there can be regression as well as progress, or a mixture of the two in different areas; above all, that it is not the historian’s business to look for “laws” of development at all. This last belief, of course, is precisely what Finley opposes, though it is still shared by many practicing historians. Meyer’s towering figure stood as a symbol of an interpretation of the historian’s task that, to Finley, is a greater enemy than the “moral-spiritual” view that he successfully attacks. Böckh and Meyer, in their different ways, refute Finley’s interpretation of the historian’s task.
The essay ends with a long attack on Joseph Vogt and his circle. Vogt, though he has not done as much significant work on ancient society and slavery as Finley, is responsible, as an editor and organizer, for practically all the significant work on slavery in Greece and Rome that has been done in Germany in the last thirty years. Finley rightly says that its quality is mixed. But he never praises any of it—not S. Lauffer’s study of the Laureion mines, not H. Bellen’s monograph on the escape of slaves under the Empire. And if no specific virtue is admitted, there is an implication that it all forms a political school inspired by an “obsession with Marxism” (Finley’s phrase about Vogt). This implication, both as regards Vogt himself and as regards most of the works that have appeared under his auspices, is simply false; though, as would be the case in any free country, such views are apparent in one or two of the scholars concerned. But here we reach the heart of the matter.
Finley’s chief indictment is against an article by the German historian F. Vittinghoff in Saeculum 11, 1960, in which the views of the Marxist “classics” and of Soviet scholars on ancient slavery are subjected to crushing analysis. This essay was distributed at the International Historical Congress in Stockholm in August 1960, in a deliberate act of confrontation. Its manner now appears deplorably provocative. But the time must be borne in mind. It was (as Finley actually reminds us) a year before the building of the Berlin Wall. Two million Germans had fled from East Germany to the West, and the flight was continuing at the rate of 200,000 a year. Early in 1960, the ruthless collectivization of agricultural land in East Germany had led to outraged protests all over the West and to an impassioned sermon by Bishop Dibelius. Minor acts of provocation—harassment of the access routes to West Berlin; a mass meeting of extremist refugees there, encouraged by the Adenauer government—were almost the common coin of politics. Not only Marxism, but slavery was a very real issue.
Such is the background to the provocation of Stockholm. It is, in itself, irrelevant to the high quality of Vittinghoff’s work. That, as Finley observes, Soviet historians were themselves beginning to say (“in essence, if not in language”) something like it—that they were cautiously dipping their toes in the thawing water—underlines the merits of Vittinghoff’s analysis. It was a time when editorials in the Russian Journal of Ancient History were laying down precisely what historians had to “prove”; when historiography stood defined, in the Great Soviet Encyclopaedia, as (among other things) “the study… of the history of the victory of Marxist-Leninist science over bourgeois pseudo-science.” It was not all that long since Stalin himself had laid down the law about ancient slavery: “The slave revolution destroyed the slave-owners and abolished slavery as a form of exploitation.”
In 1959, as many will remember, a Soviet delegation was allowed to attend the International Classical Congress in London and a leading Russian scholar read a paper. But he refused to answer questions on it, and the whole delegation took no active part in any of the other sessions and was not seen at the social functions. As Finley says, “by the early 1960s” Soviet scholars were allowed to react against the “formalism” (as it could now be called) of their predecessors. Perhaps Vittinghoff and the scene at Stockholm, unpleasant though it was, played a part in liberating discussion from what was so clearly naïve and unacceptable.
Of course, that “formalism” is not identical with Marxism. Finley is right to insist on the point, though few will now deny it. Perhaps, in 1960, exceptionally clear-sighted persons might have seen it. But practically nothing that did not follow the “party line” had yet been written in the ancient field by Soviet scholars or by professed Western Marxists. The genuine contribution of Marxist scholarship to ancient history was still to come.
Marxism, like Christianity, has now reached a point where, on the one hand, its influence is diffused throughout the intellectual community (indeed, the two labels need no longer be mutually exclusive); on the other hand, professing Marxists can be as far apart as a progressive Jesuit and the Moral Majority. Unfortunately, in those who have lived through the old wars, the psychological wounds are deep, as this essay shows. Sir Moses Finley, who has himself demonstrated the immense contribution that enlightened Marxism (and, at other times, enlightened “antiquarianism”) can make to the study of antiquity, shows himself, in this polemical essay, to be a survivor of 1960: an anti-anti-Marxist, whose battle-scars make it as difficult for him to write meaningful Forschungsgeschichte as those of the anti-Marxists did and no doubt still, in many cases, do.
Let us hope, however, that he will now turn to giving us that History of Ancient Slavery that he alone, at least among English-speaking scholars, can write, as a companion volume to The Ancient Economy (1973), which today dominates its field, just as, for two generations, Meyer’s essay did.
October 22, 1981
Slavery in Classical Antiquity, edited by M.I. Finley (Cambridge, 1960), p.v. ↩
See the passages of Lysias and Demosthenes quoted—and misinterpreted, in one instance actually mistranslated—by K.J. Dover, Greek Popular Morality (University of California Press, 1975), p. 92. ↩
It should be mentioned that the second and third pages of the preface have been accidentally interchanged in printing. ↩
Keith Hopkins, Conquerors and Slaves (Cambridge University Press, 1978), pp. 29 ff. ↩