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Bibliography Includes bibliographical references p. Contents 1. Introduction-- Part I. The Genesis of Coined Money: 2. Homeric transactions-- 3. Sacrifice and distribution-- 4. Greece and the ancient near East-- 5. Greek money-- 6. The preconditions of coinage-- 7.
The earliest coins-- 8. The features of money-- Part II.
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The Making of Metaphysics: 9. Did politics produce philosophy? Anaximander and Xenophanes-- The many and the one-- Heraclitus and Parmenides-- Pythagoreanism and Protagoras-- Individualisation-- Appendix: was money used in the early near East? In this book Richard Seaford argues that a large part of the answer can be found in another momentous development, the invention and rapid spread of coinage which produced the first ever thoroughly monetised society.
By transforming social relations, monetisation contributed to the ideas of the universe as an impersonal system presocratic philosophy and of the individual alienated from his own kin and from the gods in tragedy. Seaford argues that an important precondition for this monetisation was the Greek practice of animal sacrifice, as represented in Homeric Epic, which describes a premonetary world on the point of producing money.
This book combines social history, economic anthropology, numismatics and the close reading of literary, inscriptional, and philosophical texts. Questioning the origins and shaping force of Greek philosophy, this is a major book with wide appeal.
Money and the Early Greek Mind
Money in literature. By transforming social relations, monetization contributed to the concepts of the universe as an impersonal system fundamental to Presocratic philosophy and of the individual alienated from his own kin and from the gods, as found in tragedy. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title.
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Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jul 24, David rated it really liked it Shelves: social-history. I probably should have given this five stars because it's absolutely brilliant. It's an extrmely important contribution to a developing debate on the invention of coinage and its effects on Greek thought: the argument, ridiculously compressed, is essentially that the dual nature of Greek coins, which were at once valuable pieces of metal, that is, whose value seemed to come from their very material substance, but simultaneously, political objects stamped with a collective seal that got some of t I probably should have given this five stars because it's absolutely brilliant.
If it seems far-fetched, the evidence is pretty overwhelming: for instance, the fact that the first Greek philosophers lived in precisely the city Miletus that saw the first coinage, at exactly the time it appeared, and also - though Seaford never talks about this - the fact that exactly the same thing seems to have happened in northern China and the Ganges valley of India at just around the same time coinage was invented there as well.
The four stars is mainly to express my displeasure at Seaford's one major flaw, which is that he's extraordinarily ungenerous - a bit of a Classicist-Hellenophile snob I'd even say. For instance, Marc Shell, who made very much the same argument decades ago, but who is not a a Classicist, is almost completely ignored. Sure, Seaford has written a more detailed and ultimately better analysis and Shell is a bit of a wild and crazy thinker, but he's also obviously brilliant and laid the ground-work for all this.
Fair's fair! Similarly, Seaford only talks about the civilizations of the Near East to disparage them, arguing that they didn't really have egalitarian distribution in sacrifice probably true which is why they never developed coins, in an interesting variation on Bernard Laum's old argument , but goes from there to ultimately argue that those civilizations didn't "really" have money at all - leaving one to wonder what it even means to have "real" money if one can have compound interest rates, expense accounts, and counter-endorsed promissory notes without it.
Still, his own argument is fascinating and important. View 1 comment. Federico rated it it was amazing Jan 29, Ashley Gaskin rated it it was amazing Aug 07, LPenting rated it it was amazing Oct 25, Tom Pepper rated it it was amazing Jan 27, Joel rated it really liked it Aug 25, Juan M rated it it was amazing May 21, Esteban rated it really liked it Dec 28, Com rated it it was amazing Mar 01, David added it Dec 06, Debi added it May 04, Frank marked it as to-read Aug 10, Arcades marked it as to-read Dec 30, Henrique Maia marked it as to-read Jul 21, Dav marked it as to-read Feb 01,