Much Greek vocabulary for bribery is neutral (‘persuade by gifts/money’, ‘receiving gifts’), although pejorative terms like ‘gift-swallowing’ are found as early as Hesiod (Op. 37 ff.). Attic tragedy contains accusations of bribery against e.g. seers like Tiresias (Soph. OT 380 ff.); Thucydides' *Pericles (1) (2. 60. 5, cf. 65. 8) finds it necessary to say that he has not taken bribes; clearly the normal expectation was that politicians did. Accusations of bribery are frequent in 4th cent. orators, partly because you had to prove bribery in order to make a treason accusation (*eisangelia) stick: Hyperides 4. 29 f. Hyperides 5. 24 f. (with D. Whitehead's comm., 2000) implies an Athenian distinction between bribes taken for and against the state's interests; the latter type have been called ‘catapolitical’ (Harvey; but see H. Wankel, ZPE 85 (1991), 34 ff.). See also
J. P. Wild
Capitalism is a contested term, both in the modern world and in historical studies; different theoretical traditions understand it in radically different ways and, hence, disagree both as to its utility in analysing the ancient economy and as to the meaning and significance of a claim that classical antiquity was in any sense capitalist. These questions overlap with other major debates in ancient economic history. This article identifies the theoretical issues and debates involved in the use of the term, rather than engaging with substantive questions about the nature and development of the ancient economy.
T. W. Potter
Eric Herbert Warmington and Martin Millett
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
Albert Brian Bosworth
Marcus Niebuhr Tod and Simon Hornblower
Arnold Hugh Martin Jones and Antony Spawforth
A. N. Sherwin-White and Andrew Lintott
M. I. Finley and Keith Bradley
Contubernium meant a ‘dwelling together’, as of soldiers or animals, but referred especially to a quasi-marital union between slave and slave or slave and free. Since a slave lacked juristic personality, a contubernium was not a marriage but a factual situation, at the pleasure of the slave-owner, creating no legal consequences despite the use of such words as uxor, maritus, or pater, even in legal texts. Children were the property of the mother's owner; no slave-woman could be guilty of adultery; manumission of one or both parents need not extend to their issue. Sepulchral inscriptions indicate that contubernia were highly valued. But how widespread de facto slave ‘families’ were and which social contexts best favoured them cannot be accurately known. Slave-owners always retained the right to separate slave family members, and commonly did so to judge from records of slave sales and bequests.
For bibliography see
Paul C. Millett
Colin P. Elliott
Most currency systems in classical antiquity used precious metals at standardized weights and/or fineness. Debasement describes reductions in currency standards, whether such reductions were openly declared or hidden, or whether they were enacted by legitimate minting authorities or counterfeiters. Some debasements may have been unintentional, the result of imprecisions in the minting process. Often, however, debasements were carried out on purpose and for a wide range of reasons—in response to crises such as wars or famines, or as part of a larger economic or monetary reform. Contemporary responses to debasements varied. Coin-users and money specialists developed techniques to assess the quality of coins. Some polities enacted legal tender laws—sometimes to discourage the use of debased counterfeit coins, but often to require the use of legitimate coinage after it had been debased. The scholarly study of changes in coin standards continues to provide insights into both the practical workings of ancient monetary systems and the abstract notions of value, acceptability, and other embedding frameworks that governed the use of ancient coinage.