University of California Press, Feb 26, 2004 - History - 208 pages
In Works and Days, one of the two long poems that have come down to us from Hesiod, the poet writes of farming, morality, and what seems to be a very nasty quarrel with his brother Perses over their inheritance. In this book, Anthony T. Edwards extracts from the poem a picture of the social structure of Ascra, the hamlet in northern Greece where Hesiod lived, most likely during the seventh century b.c.e. Drawing on the evidence of trade, food storage, reciprocity, and the agricultural regime as Hesiod describes them in Works and Days, Edwards reveals Ascra as an autonomous village, outside the control of a polis, less stratified and integrated internally than what we observe even in Homer. In light of this reading, theconflict between Hesiod and Perses emerges as a dispute about the inviolability of the community's external boundary and the degree of interobligation among those within the village.
Hesiod's Ascra directly counters the accepted view of Works and Days, which has Hesiod describing a peasant society subordinated to the economic and political control of an outside elite. Through his deft analysis, Edwards suggests a new understanding of both Works and Days and the social and economic organization of Hesiod's time and place.
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agore agricultural regime ancient Greece Archaic period arete Argolid argues argument Ascra and Thespiae Attica autarky balanced reciprocity basileus Bintliff and Snodgrass Boeotia Boserup cereal complex context contrast crops cultivation Dark Age Days debt described by Hesiod discussion dispute dmo¯s Donlan draft animals Édouard evidence exchange external elite farm farmer grain Greece Greek Halstead Hanson harvest Hesiod describes Hesiod’s Ascra hierarchy historical Homer individual household Johnson and Earle kerdos kings of Thespiae ko¯me labor land lines Magagna Mele Millett moreover neighbors obligation oikos one’s Orchomenos organized passage peasant community peasant society Perses plowing poem poem’s polis political economy population density produce prosperous provides reference relations relationship role Sahlins season settlements sharing short fallow regime siod slaves Snodgrass 1985 social formation social storage Solon specific status stratification subsistence economy suggests surplus synoecism Tandy Theogony Thespiae’s thete threshing tion trade village of Ascra wealth