Ancient Slavery and the Ideal of Man


Book Details

Author  Joseph Vogt
Publisher  Harvard University Press
Publication Date   January 1, 1975
ISBN  0674034406
Pages  240

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This collection of essays represents Vogt's personal contribution to the collective enterprise; the English edition is translated from the second German edition of 1972, which included three additional papers and a supplement bringing his earlier work up to date.

The distinctive features of Vogt's approach to ancient slavery are his social awareness and sympathetic commitment, and his refusal either to ignore or be dominated by the dogmas of the left and the structures of sociology. His systematic investigation of ancient slave wars, which is the centre of this collection, is a reasoned refutation of more extreme Marxist interpretations, and a brilliant demonstration that a pragmatic approach to the analysis of a general phenomenon can lead to conclusions as far-reaching as any a priori system. Other outstanding essays investigate with subtlety and insight the position of slaves in literature and in utopian theory, the concept of the slave of God in early Christian thought, and the extent to which rigid distinctions between slave and free were eroded by the daily contact between individuals in different social roles, and by their inability to forget that both masters and slaves were human beings, with personal loyalties and friendships. The volume ends with two essays on the interrelationship between ancient and modern attitudes to slavery since the Renaissance.

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