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date: 09 December 2022

class strugglelocked

class strugglelocked

  • Paul Cartledge


Class struggle, as a concept and phrase, is indelibly associated with the Marxist tradition of socio-historical analysis and practical political endeavour. ‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles’, is the opening sentence of the first main section of The Communist Manifesto (1848). Karl Marx, moreover, did not only apply the phrase to the societies of Greece and Rome (among others) but also acknowledged his debt to the ‘giant thinker’ Aristotle for demonstrating, as he saw it, the general utility of the concept for historical analysis and explanation. See marxism and classical antiquity. Marx, however, nowhere in his voluminous writings gave an extended and coherent definition of ‘class’, which remains one of the most essentially contested terms of art in all socio-historical theory. His omission has been variously repaired by historians sympathetic to Marxist theory. Conversely, the very applicability and utility of any definition of class for the understanding of Greece and Rome have been equally passionately denied.


  • Ancient Economy

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