Greek History Essay Example Pdf

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  Are there any special insights to be had from analysing Greek history in terms of either class or status? Greek history cannot be viewed as complete without analysing the class structure and status, as most of the historical evidence we have acquired from the classical period have come from inscriptions and sculptures made by one particular class of people, who had a high status in society. Thusly it is not necessarily about gaining special insights as it is gaining as complete an insight into Greek Ancient history as possible, though special insights will inevitably present themselves. This side of Greek history has only been focused on since these issues have come to the fore in modern times what with Marxism and communism rising in the 20th Century; these issues of class and status come under classical scrutiny because it is inevitable that they were as relevant then as they are now because human nature does not change and you will see clear comparisons.

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Only men native to a particular city-state who were free and owned land were entitled to the full protection of the law in a city-state and be considered citizens. The Athenian social structure consisted of the population being divided up into four classes based on wealth. This differs from Sparta where all male citizens who finished their education were considered equal. So it is clear that insights can be gained from analysing Greek history because both class and status are issues that classical historians must understand in order to have as complete as possible outlook on Greek history. People who were not part of the free land owning citizens were known as metics. Foreigners who moved into the city were part of this group, so too were slaves who had been freed. It can certainly be argued that this is exploitation of and looking down on certain groups of people showing us a special insight into how the different classes saw each other and the status each acquired. This insight could not be attained without analysing the class or status. Because they did not have the technology we have today in antiquity, G. E. M. de Ste. Croix argues in his book ‘The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World’ that the dominant wealthy classes continued to dominate by demanding a lot more than was actually necessary from the lower classes. Such things as slavery, serfs, debt bondsmen and many other methods were employed to stop the lower classes from rebelling by keeping them busy. This is backed up by people such as Aristotle, who wrote in his ‘Politics’ that men (meaning citizens of the state) were rational animals but slaves and women were not capable of reason. He called slaves “animate tools” whose only use was to obey the commands of the rich masters.

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