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Moses I. Finley
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Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  48 ratings  ·  7 reviews
In this thought-provoking study of slavery in ancient Greece and Italy, Sir Moses Finley discusses how slave societies came into being and considers the moral, social, and economic underpinnings that allowed them to prosper. His comparison of ancient slave societies with their relatively modern counterparts in the New World opens a new perspective on the history of slavery ...more
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Published February 24th 1983 by Penguin Books
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Michael Walker
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, sociology
This book is a classic introduction to the topic of slavery in the ancient world. Finley was a minimalist historian who eschewed the antiquarian historian (those historians content with merely assembling historical "material" without drawing conclusions). I use "minimalist" in the best possible light: one who assembles the data and draws valid conclusions, but thankfully refuses to make learned - and usually invalid, not to say insipid - guesses based on the data. The book is strongly academic r ...more
Joe
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
08/05/2006

And the difference between Ancient and Modern Slavery is...

This is an important topic given the embarrassing fact of the modern return of Slavery in the midst of the European Enlightenment. Indeed, even the United States, the first nation produced by the Enlightenment, was a home to modern slavery. What was this 'enlightened' slavery, and how did it differ from the ancient variety? Hmmm... So, how do we go about distinguishing between ancient and modern slavery? Ancient slaveholders or
...more
Dan
Jul 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ancient Slavery might well be the most enduring of Finley’s books. In a generation that has struggled to get beyond the “New Orthodoxy” that Finley established fifty years ago, this study remains a landmark text. Rarely does a work so clearly display the inadequacy of every analytic model that preceded it.

The title essay surveys of the history of slavery scholarship in classical studies, from the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. Previous schools of interpretation, Finley claim
...more
Shinynickel
Dec 28, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Off this review: http://thebrowser.com/interviews/mary...

I think I’ve chosen these books because all of them made a big difference to me. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them. With Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology by Moses Finley it’s all about politics.

One of the things that people often imagine about studying something as remote as the ancient world is that it’s not engaged with the big issues that we face. Finley was a Marxist refugee from McCarthy who left the US before he was
...more
Kyrke
This man is a genius and there are a lot of extremely interesting viewpoints to be found in this book, but hidden within some bad writing. I am not saying that it is too difficult to understand or even that it is an unpleasant read, but, to me at least, his writing - especially the first chapter - has way too little structure to it for a work of non-fiction. You will come upon heaps of brilliant sentences, but will be left puzzled as to what he intended to get across as a whole.
Nathan Albright
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge-2020
While this book does contain a lot of information about both ancient slavery and modern ideology, it regrettably contains more information than one would want about the latter and not as much as one would want about the former.  As a student of the history of slavery, there is a lot to appreciate here.  But in order to appreciate what it has to say about slavery in the ancient world and its parallels and relevance to the modern world, one has to address the problem of modern ideology and the hea ...more
Robert Monk
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let's begin at the beginning: this book starts off with an out-of-date survey of the state of research into ancient slavery. (That's not an insult; the book was written in 1979, and a lot of work has been done since then.) It discusses a lot of other authors' work, without really summarizing most of it. If you aren't already up on the work of Eduard Meyer and Joseph Vogt, you might find this confusing. I certainly did. Stick with it, however. After that long first chapter, Finley gets into what ...more
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Sir Moses I. Finley was an American and English classical scholar. His most notable work is The Ancient Economy (1973), where he argued that status and civic ideology governed the economy in antiquity rather than rational economic motivations.

He was born in 1912 in New York City as Moses Israel Finkelstein to Nathan Finkelstein and Anna Katzenellenbogen; died in 1986 as a British subject. He was e
...more

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