In the Hellenistic period, Greek teachers, philosophers, historians, orators, and politicians found an essential point of reference in the democracy of Classical Athens, and the political thought which it produced. This volume brings together historical, philosophical, and literary approaches to consider varied responses to, and adaptations of, the Classical Athenian political legacy across different Hellenistic contexts and genres. The volume examines the complex processes through which Athenian democratic ideals of equality, freedom, and civic virtue were emphasized, challenged, blunted, or adapted in different Hellenistic contexts. It also considers the reception, in the changed political circumstances, of Classical Athenian non- and anti-democratic political thought. The continuing engagement with rival Athenian traditions meant that Classical Athenian discussions about the value or shortcomings of democracy and civic community continued to echo through new political debates in Hellenistic cities and schools. The volume also looks forward to the Roman Imperial period, examining to what extent those who idealized Classical Athens as a symbol of cultural and intellectual excellence drew on, or forgot, the Classical Athens of democracy and vigorous political debate. Addressing these different questions allows the volume not only to track changes in practices and conceptions of politics and the city in the Hellenistic world, but also to examine developing approaches to culture, rhetoric, history, ethics, and philosophy, especially their relationships with politics.
- political thought