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Slavery and Honour in the Ancient Greek World - 11-12/06/2019, Edinburgh (Scotland)

Slaves made up around a third of the population of fourth-century Attica, and constituted a significant proportion of the populations of other Greek communities. Yet they are often neglected in studies of Greek honour, in no small part because of the focus of our sources on citizen men, but also because of the tendency in normative sources, most notably Aristotle’s discussion of the natural slave in Politics book I, to exclude slaves from a share in timê.

Yet a closer look at the full range of evidence throws up a rather more complicated picture than this ostensibly straightforward image of ‘social death.’ Other texts fully recognise slaves’ humanity and philotimia, enlisting it into the strategies of coercion practised by the slave-owning classes. Honour as bestowed by masters on slaves was contextual, and could be viable in some contexts (e.g. the oikos) and not in others (e.g. the polis). The nature of social relations with slaves was made more complex in cases of public and sacred slavery, and in cases of co-ownership and sub-ownership. Furthermore, the slave community itself was perfectly capable of evaluating the actions of its members and according differing degrees of respect and recognition. Honour as something worth striving for and something to be bestowed cross-cuts status boundaries and was operative in a wide variety of social and institutional contexts. It is this kaleidoscopic picture that this conference seeks to explore.

FECHA/DATE/DATA: 11-12/06/2019

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: The University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Scotland)


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Tuesday 11/6/2019

9-9:45 David Lewis & Mirko Canevaro: Slavery and Honour in Ancient Greece: Past Approaches and Future Directions

9:45-10:45 Douglas Cairns: Honour and the Rhetoric of Slavery in Herodotus

Tea and Coffee 10:45-11:15

11:15-12:15 Kostas Vlassopoulos: The Multiple Honours of Enslaved People in Antiquity

12:15-1:15 Paulin Ismard: Honouring Slaves in a ‘Timocratic Society’: About the Changing Borders of the Community

Lunch 1:15-2:30

2:30-3:30 Mirko Canevaro: Recognition, Imbalance of Power and Agency: Honour Relations and Slaves’ Claims vis-à-vis Their Masters

3:30-4:30 Bianca Mazzinghi Gori: A Share in τιμή: Respect and οἰκειότης Between Masters and Slaves in Menander

4:30-5:30 Nick Fisher: Whose Honour, whose Shame? Hybris, Slavery and the Athenian Law once more

Wednesday 12/6/2019

10:00-11:00 Deborah Kamen: ‘Privileged’ Slaves and Honour in Classical Athens

Tea & Coffee 11-11:15

11:15-12:15 Jason Porter: The Privilege that Costs Nothing? Occupations, Hierarchies and Honouring Slaves in Ancient Greece

12:15-1:15 Gabriel Cabral: Helot Dishonour and Spartan Identity

Lunch 1:15-2:30

2:30-3:30 Sara Zanovello: Sanctuary Slaves and their Social Relations

3:30-4:30 Ambra Ghiringhelli: Chosen by the Gods: Slave Leaders and Religious Authority

Tea and Coffee 4:30-4:45

4:45-5:45 David Lewis: Greek Slavery and Honour: Institutional and Prototypical Approaches

5:45-6 Douglas Cairns (closing remarks)

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