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Article

Tazuko Angela van Berkel

Reciprocity is a modern concept used in classical scholarship to denote the principle and practice of voluntary requital, both of benefit-for-benefit (positive reciprocity) and of harm-for-harm (negative reciprocity). The concept originated in the discipline of economic anthropology, but has been fruitful in the analysis of social, erotic, financial, political, and religious life in the Greek world. As a principle, reciprocity structures the plot of Homeric epics and Attic tragedy. It is also a phenomenon reflected on in diverse genres: its political meaning is explored in Homeric depictions of leadership crises and in Xenophon’s leadership theory. Presocratic cosmologies and early Greek historiography experiment with reciprocity as an explanatory principle. Attic tragedy and moral philosophy expose the implications and shortcomings of the ethical norm of reciprocity.

Reciprocity is a modern concept used in classical scholarship to denote the principle and practice of voluntary requital.1 Although the principle applies to both the requital of benefit-for-benefit (positive reciprocity) and of harm-for-harm (negative reciprocity, for instance revenge or retaliation), most debate has focused on positive reciprocity as an economic and interpersonal principle. The underlying intuition, that giving goods or rendering services imposes upon the recipient a moral obligation to respond, appears to be a universal.

Article

S. Douglas Olson

The Deipnosophistai (“Learned Banqueters”) of Athenaeus of Naucratis (fl. c. 200 ce)—nominally an account of a great dinner party or series of dinner parties in Rome—preserves an enormous number of fragments of otherwise lost Greek literature. On a superficial level, the text is concerned with luxury, and it accordingly offers rich anecdotal treatments of banqueting customs, fish, cakes, cups, sexuality, and the like, along with a wealth of detailed philological observations. Its larger interest is in recalling the extraordinary wealth of the Greek literary and cultural tradition, and in using that tradition to discuss contemporary intellectual, literary, and social issues. The text is preserved in a single manuscript whose gaps can be partially filled from an ancient epitome.Athenaeus was the author of the Deipnosophistai (“Dinner-sophists,” i.e. “Learned Banqueters”), a massive compendium of ancient Greek literature in the guise of a report of events at a great dinner party or series of dinner parties. His .