Athenian Democratic Origins: And Other Essays

Athenian Democratic Origins: And Other Essays

Athenian Democratic Origins: And Other Essays

Athenian Democratic Origins: And Other Essays


This is a defense of the Athenian democracy by a great radical historian. Geoffrey de Ste. Croix shows how even its oddest features made sense, and illustrates the different factors influencing Athenian politics--for instance, trade and commercial interests mattered very little. Though written in the 1960s, these hitherto unpublished essays remain fresh and innovative.


The core of this book is a collection of essays on which Geoffrey de Ste. Croix was working in the 1960s. They were interconnected in theme, and as numerous cross-references show were envisaged as a single book. a colleague rashly referred to them in 1966 as ‘to be published shortly’; and the essays that now appear as chapters 1–2, 4–5, and 7 existed by then as typescripts with full notes. Chapter 8 too was very likely designed for a place in the volume, since it connects thematically with chapter 1. Publication was delayed by the circumstance that one chapter, entitled ‘The Causes of the Peloponnesian War’, grew into the large book The Origins of the Peloponnesian War (1972). Ste. Croix would probably have returned to the essays on completion of Origins of the Peloponnesian War, had not an invitation to give the J. H. Gray lectures for 1972–3 in Cambridge intervened; from that lecture course emerged the gigantic Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World (1981), and the old interests in Christianity and the Later Roman Empire revived by the writing of that deceptively-titled book claimed all Ste. Croix’s attention for the rest of his life.

The essays, however, still appear as ‘forthcoming’ in the authorised bibliography included in the Festschrift for Ste. Croix. in that list, the essays mentioned above have been joined by two that exist only as working drafts but may always, given their themes, have been envisaged as forming part of the book (chapters 3 and 6), and by four on different topics. We here publish all these except one, which is quite different from the others in period and theme (a lecture on ‘Some Greek views on the origin of man and civilisation’). We have grouped at the start, and in the intended order, those that certainly or possibly had a place in the volume planned

Forrest, egd 245.

For a biographical sketch, with a list of published obituaries, see Parker in pba 111, 2000 Lectures and Memoirs, 447–78, or more briefly in the forthcoming Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Those citing his works are asked to note that the full point after Ste. in Ste. Croix was defended with great vigour against editors by the name’s owner.

Crux, xii.

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