By Vincent Farenga
Combining modern political philosophy with old, literary, and philosophical texts, this research examines a sequence of exceptional people who promoted justice in early Iron Age, archaic, and classical Greece. From the sooner classes, Homer's Achilles and Odysseus have been represented as heroic people who also are prototypical voters, and Solon the lawgiver, wrote the scripts of statute legislation and the jury trial. The book's concentration later turns to dialogues among a citizen's ethical autonomy and political legal responsibility in democratic Athens.
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Additional resources for Citizen and Self in Ancient Greece: Individuals Performing Justice and the Law
Taylor helps us develop this example further by pointing to another term in the classical Athenian vocabulary with which visiting Persians would have struggled: “freedom” (eleutheria). For a person from a despotic culture, Taylor explains, “This notion of freedom, as a status within a certain kind of practice of self-rule, seems utterly devoid of sense. . What our Persian observer [can] not see . . is the way in which ‘equal,’ ‘like,’ ‘free,’ and such terms as ‘citizen,’ help define a horizon of value.
Whitley’s division into “stable” and “unstable” seems too rigid, especially the claim that each type experienced “quite different” social formations (1991b: 184); Thomas and Conant also reject this rigid distinction (1999: 102). 7:32 P1: KDA 0521845599c01 CUNY041B/Farenga 0 521 84559 9 January 9, 2006 42 citizen and self in ancient greece picture of class differences and leadership. Also, crosscultural, ethnographic models of authority and leadership don’t correspond with great precision to Aegean communities.
I claim that, first, Early Iron Age communities created a heroic self when they used funerary ritual, especially lamentation, to render justice to deceased warrior chiefs (basileis); and, second, that around the time of state formation this heroic self achieves a degree of autonomy when performances of the Iliad enable Homer’s Achilles to manipulate scripts of lament and deliberation, effecting a self-transformation into a prototype for the citizen. I divide my inquiry into three unequal parts.
Citizen and Self in Ancient Greece: Individuals Performing Justice and the Law by Vincent Farenga