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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This concluding chapter draws together the implications of the ancient evidence for the negotiation and performance of civic obligation and their relation to individual liberty, pointing out along the way resemblances to, and departures from, the Rawlsian world (6.1); there follows a section discussing how the situation in ancient Athens compares to the Rawlsian system of liberty and obligation which emerged in Chapter 2 (6.2). The analyses converge to form the idea that the freedom of the citizen of the Athenian polis was at least partly constituted by fulfiling obligations. This formulation emerges implicitly, through the equation that says that living is a polis, a lifestyle that bestowed obligations, was the best way to be free. Notwithstanding certain historical peculiarities, it is suggested (6.3) that this model may be a useful one for thinking about cities and institutions beyond fourth‐century Athens.

Keywords: Rawlsian; liberty; obligation; democratic Athens; cities (poleis); institutions

Chapter.  9090 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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