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date: 05 February 2023



  • Simon Hornblower


Neutrality, a word with no single Greek or Latin equivalent. In Greek, the idea is expressed by terms meaning e.g. ‘keeping quiet’, ‘helping neither side’. Individuals may be neutral between parties, and states between states. The first, domestic, sort of neutrality was allegedly prohibited by *Solon (Ath. pol. 8), and though possibly fiction this is not actually absurd because *Pericles (1), according to *Thucydides (2) (2. 40. 2), later expresses high Athenian expectations about civic involvement. In his analysis of faction (see stasis) at *Corcyra (3. 82. 8) Thucydides says that ‘middle people’ fell victim to both parties; this carries the idea ‘moderate’ as well as ‘neutral’. Neutrality in wars between Greek states, and even in wars between Greeks and ‘*barbarians’, was possible: Archaic *Miletus formalized its neutral status with Lydia then Persia; Argive neutrality in the *Persian Wars (see argos(1)) amounted in Herodotus' view (8.


  • Greek Law
  • Roman Law

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