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  • Antiquities Before Christianities

    Riccardo Baldissone

    Chapter from the book: Baldissone, R. 2018. Farewell to Freedom: A Western Genealogy of Liberty.


    The chapter traces the emergence of the notion of freedom as part of the construction of a vocabulary of abstractions, which emerge in post-Homeric Greece in the course of the elaboration of the first alphabetical written language. It first describes the Homeric use of the epithet eleutheron, free; it then recalls Pindar’s probable invention of the term eleutheria, freedom, and its further transformations, especially as a target of Platonic irony and as an object of Aristotelian analysis. Moreover, the chapter charts the shifting constellation of locutions that construct various other notions of liberty: in particular, it follows the Greek word autonomia, autonomy, from its appearance in Thucydides’ text as a characteristic of collective entities, to its application to individual subjects. The chapter also sketches the more uncertain development of the Roman lexicon of liberty, through the late recollections of Classical Latin authors.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Baldissone, R. 2018. Antiquities Before Christianities. In: Baldissone, R, Farewell to Freedom. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book15.a

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

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    Published on July 23, 2018