Ancient Exploitation

Christopher Hill

  • The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World: from the Archaic Age to the Arab Conquests by G.E.M. de Ste Croix
    Duckworth, 732 pp, £38.00, December 1981, ISBN 0 7156 0738 3

This is a powerful book, which should be read by all ancient historians and all Marxists. It will not please the orthodox in either group. Dr de Ste Croix has evolved his own personal brand of Marxism, though he relates it carefully to Marx’s own works, and he gives short shrift to his Marxist predecessors in the field. George Thomson, whose Aeschylus and Athens excited me very much when it came out in 1940, is dismissed in three curt sentences. But Dr de Ste Croix is no less critical of his fellow Classical historians, among whom he commonly refers favourably only to A.H.M. Jones and P.A. Brunt. Sir Moses Finley is rarely mentioned except to be criticised.

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