Peter Liddel

in Civic Obligation and Individual Liberty in Ancient Athens

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780199226580
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191710186 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Classical Monographs


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Interpretations of Athenian liberty have too often been taken out of their historical context. This introductory chapter attempts to remedy this problem by outlining the traditional distinctions between ‘ancient’ and ‘modern’ liberty, and ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ liberty. It demonstrates the range of modern scholarly and philosophical interpretations of ancient Greek liberty with particular reference to the work of Benjamin Constant and Isaiah Berlin and its reception (1.1 and 1.2). Turning to the ancient evidence, it examines presentations of eleutheria (liberty) in Attic oratory and inscriptions (1.3), the notions of liberty as living as one pleases (1.4), freedom of speech (parrhesia) (1.5), and rights (1.6). Chapters 1.7 and 1.8 develop the notion of civic obligation and introduce its relevance to an interpretation of liberty in ancient Athens.

Keywords: ancient liberty; modern liberty; positive liberty; negative liberty; constant; Berlin; Eleutheria; freedom of speech (parrhesia); rights; civic obligation

Chapter.  14372 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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