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Title: Marx and the Failure of Antiquity Author(s): Neville Morley Source: Helios. 26.2 (Fall 1999): p151. Document Type: Article Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1999 Texas Tech University Press http://www.ttup.ttu.edu/JournalPages/Helios.html Full Text: There is one great fact, characteristic of this our 19th century, a fact which no party dares deny. On the one hand, there have started into life industrial and scientific forces, which no epoch of the former human history had ever suspected. On the other hand, there exist symptoms of decay, far surpassing the horrors recorded of the latter times of the Roman Empire. In our days, everything seems pregnant with its contrary. Machinery, gifted with the wonderful power of shortening and fructifying human labour, we behold starving and overworking it. The new-fangled sources of wealth, by some strange weird spell, are turned into sources of want. The victories of art seem bought by the loss of character. At the same pace that mankind masters nature, man seems to become enslaved to other men or to his own infamy. Even the pure light of science seems unable to shine but on the dark background of ignorance. All our invention and progress seem to result in endowing material forces with intellectual life, and in stult ifying human life into a material force. (Marx and Engels 1980: 655-56) Thus Karl Marx, in a speech delivered at the anniversary of the People's Paper in 1856. I want to begin with his second sentence, "There have started into life industrial and scientific forces, which no epoch of the former human history had ever suspected." By the midnineteenth century, it had become impossible, at least for those who studied political economy, to ignore the enormous differences between their own experience of the world and what they knew of life in earlier periods, even classical antiquity. In the sphere of production, if not necessarily elsewhere, the vast superiority of modem society was evident. As Marx and Engels observed of the bourgeoisie in the Communist Manifesto of 1848, "It has been the first to show what man's activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts and Gothic cathedrals" (1968: 38). A century before, David Hume had sought to counter the argument that the modem world was less populous than antiquity, an argument that was taken to prove the corrupting effects of "luxury" (in other words, increasing material wealth) on modern society. Besides emphasizing the limited scale of trade and industry and the depressing effects of slavery, he pointed to recent developments in the techniques of production: "All our later improvements and refinements, have they done nothing towards the easy subsistence of men, and consequently towards their propagation and increase?" (1) By Marx's time, it was quite unnecessary to make this sort of case, let alone in such a tentative manner; 100 years of continued development of productive forces had effectively concluded the argument. It was clear, moreover, that the expansion and development of the economies of northwestern Europe, especially in England, had brought about equally far reaching changes in almost every other sphere of life. As one French political eco nomist wrote as early as 1817, "We are in an entirely new condition of society." (2) For many economists, this was reason enough in their studies to ignore antiquity, and indeed history in general: if the past is so clearly different from and inferior to the present, what possible relevance can it have for the analysis of contemporary society? (3) In contrast to the
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works of the pioneers of political economy like Adam Smith, James Steuart, and Thomas Malthus, who drew extensively on historical (especially classical) examples and evidence, later writers seem to have tacitly accepted John Stuart Mill's argument that "the usefulness of history depends upon its being kept in second place," at times the verification but never the foundation of social science. (4) Indeed, far from the past illuminating the present, the study of contemporary society might now be expected to increase understanding of the past by revealing the eternal principles of political economy which operated in all societies--even if earlier societies had failed to allow full scope for the development of man's natural proclivity for exchange. This line of thought inspired a few ostentatious displays of erudition, among them Thomas de Quincey's analysis of a passage in The-ophrastus' Characters, which concluded, rather smugly, "it was not Greek, it was Political Economy, that could put it to rights." (5) For the most part, however, antiquity was simply ignored, or mentioned simply to highlight the superior power of modern technology or the massive scale of present-day commerce. (6) The ancients' glaring failure to develop the productive forces of their society or to investigate the workings of the economy with any sophistication meant that the period held little interest for students of economic matters. The transhistorical validity of economic theory was simply taken for granted, left implicit in every passing reference to premodern societies. Historians of antiquity were much slower than political economists in directing their attention to the economic aspects of ancient society. (7) When at length they did so, there is little sign in their writings of a coherent attempt to come to terms with what seemed to most economists to be the obvious differences between antiquity and modern society. Indeed, many ancient historians failed to acknowledge any such differences, or declined to take them seriously. Theodor Mommsen, for example, depicted Rome as dominated by the interests of capitalists, and offered a direct comparison between the problems of contemporary society and the fall of the Republic, both attributed to the "evils inseparable from a pure capitalist system." (8) Political economists had been happy to talk of "capital" in antiquity, but they were under no illusions as to the limited development of trade and the subordinate position of "capitalists" in Greece and Rome, if indeed such a class ever existed. They believed that their categories o f analysis were transhistorical, not that there were no significant differences between past and present societies. Clearly, however, ancient historians spent little time reading political economy; how else could Eduard Meyer have been able to remark that "the later period of antiquity was in essence entirely modern"? (9) Such explicit methodological statements, which do at least acknowledge the possibility that antiquity might also be characterized as different from modern society, are extremely rare. For the most part, so-called "modernizing" accounts of the ancient economy have been identified as such on the basis of their implicit, even unconscious, assumptions rather than on any explicit theoretical agenda, and identified not by their authors but by historians who seek to promote a very different approach to the subject. (10) That is not to say that the accusations are generally unfounded. Of the, admittedly few, historians before the 1950s who paid much attention to ancient economic affairs, most were quite happy to use terms such as capital, capitalist, bourgeoisie, market, and economy, without feeling any need to justify this choice of vocabulary. (11) This seems to be less a matter of their accepting the claims of economists to offer universally applicable terms of analysis--at any rate there are no other signs in the ir works of wide reading in economic theory--than a wholly unconscious tendency to see the past in terms of their own experience. Insofar as the differences between ancient and modern were not elided altogether, they were seen to be quantitative rather than qualitative, a matter of the scale of trade and industry rather than its nature. For Mommsen,
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the greatest change in Italy since Roman times was not the decline of slave labor or other changes in the organization of production, but the introduction of crops like oats, rice, potatoes, and tomatoes (2: 362 n.). The first explicit critique of this approach to the economy of antiquity is found in the writings of Marx. Superficially, his characterization of the differences between ancient and modern society resembles that of the political economists--except that Marx spares the time to snipe at modernizing philologists in general and Mommsen in particular. (12) The themes of limited development of trade and industry, the institution of slavery, and the low level of ancient technology can all be found in his writing, as can an emphasis on the extraordinary and unprecedented power at the disposal of modern society. To quote the Manifesto again: The bourgeoisie, during its reign of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature's forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground--what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour? (Marx and Engels 1968: 39) However, it is clear in Marx's writings, as it is not in earlier commentators, that all these aspects of antiquity's failure to develop economically are closely connected. Moreover, for the most part they can be seen as reflecting and revealing, rather than constituting, the fundamental differences between past and present. Marx sought to move the analysis from a comparison of ancient and modern trade, or technology, or agriculture, to a comparison of two qualitatively different forms of society: Even in those agricultural economies of ancient times which show most analogy with the capitalist rural economy, Carthage and Rome, the similarity is more with a plantation economy than with the form truly corresponding to the capitalist mode of exploitation. A formal analogy, though one which proves to be completely deceptive in all essential points as soon as the capitalist mode of production is understood--even if not for Herr Mommsen, who discovers the capitalist mode of production in every monetary economy--such a formal analogy is to be found nowhere in mainland Italy in ancient times, but only perhaps in Sicily. (Marx 1981: 923) The qualitative difference between capitalism and earlier social formations inevitably affects, and so can most easily be recognized in, the degree of development of productive forces; the low level of ancient technology is best seen as a symptom of this difference. This goes against the popular image of Marx as a technological determinist, an image that is based above all on the notorious passage in The Poverty of Philosophy: "The hand mill will give you a society with the feudal lord, the steam mill a society with the industrial capitalist." (13) In fact, Marx had remarkably little to say about technology in later (mature) works like the Grundrisse and Capital. He did note that the failure of antiquity to develop its productive forces was not due to absence of key innovations; the two inventions that played a major part in the development of industry in later periods, the clock and the watermill, were both inherited from the ancients. (14) What mattered was the employment of technology in industry, somethin g that the prevailing values of ancient society generally discouraged. The continuous revolution in the process of production, so characteristic of capitalism, Marx in fact saw as specific to capitalism, where production is dominated by competition and the
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drive to accumulate exchange value. (15) An obsession with increasing productivity and harnessing science to this end is, for Marx, not a universal human instinct but something unique to a particular form of society; the "failure" of the ancients to develop their technology is one sign that ancient society as a whole was organized along very different lines. One of the most significant differences between past and present is found in the dominance of exchange value and the market in capitalism, whereas earlier societies had been concerned with obtaining use value: The product of labour is an object of utility in all states of society; but it is only a historically specific epoch of development which presents the labour expended in the production of a useful article as an "objective" property of that article, i.e. its value. It is only then that the product of labour becomes transformed into a commodity. (Marx 1976: 153-54) In societies where use value predominates, the process of production itself is organized in a significantly different manner, since it is not driven by the insatiable desire for exchange value but aims at satisfying limited wants (Marx 1976: 344-45; cf. Meikle 150-53). In antiquity, many areas of economic life remained largely untouched by the desire to amass exchange value rather than use value. The use of capital in commerce, Marx noted, was seen by the ancients as the function of capital par excellence (and, one should add, seen as socially undesirable), whereas today that is merely one particular function of capital (Marx 1981: 444). "There appears here the universalising tendency of capital, which distinguishes it from all previous stages of production"; in the modern world, capital permeates every aspect of production, even agriculture (Marx 1973: 540). In antiquity, in contrast, money and the market played only a limited role in society; taxes and payments in kind predominated except in a few trading n ations and in the army (Marx 1973: 103). It was of course the limitations of ancient society in this respect which prevented Aristotle--"the great innovator who was the first to analyse the value-form, like so many other forms of thought, society and nature"-from fully grasping how different goods may be considered equivalent for purposes of exchange. (16) Another crucial difference between ancient and modern was of course the institution of slavery. The classical political economists had generally agreed that slavery was a, if not the, major point of difference between antiquity and the modern era. They disagreed violently as to whether slavery inevitably led to economic stagnation or whether, on the contrary, it might, at least in certain societies, have served as an "accelerator of progress," promoting division of labor, increasing demand for goods, and so forth. (17) Marx has little to say on this question because it is irrelevant to his concerns. What mattered to him was not the quantitative question of the level of productivity of a particular form of labor--as if production could be abstracted from its social context--but the qualitative differences between societies classified precisely in terms of their relations of production, the means by which surplus labor is extracted from the laborers: The sporadic application of co-operation on a large scale in ancient times, in the Middle Ages, and in modern colonies, rests on direct relations of domination and servitude, in most cases on slavely. As against this, the capitalist form presupposes from the outset the free wage-labourer who sells his labour-power to capital. (Marx 1976: 452)

Slavery is simply not compatible with capitalism except as an anomaly. Conversely, because free wage labor played little or no part in the ancient economy, it makes no sense to talk of capitalists or capitalism in antiquity: This error is no way greater than that of e.g. all philologists who speak of capital in antiquity, of Greek, Roman capitalists. This is only another way of expressing that labour in Rome and Greece was free, which these gentlemen would hardly wish to assert. The fact that we now not only call the plantation owners in America capitalists, but that they are capitalists, is based on their existence as anomalies within a world market based on free labour. (Marx 1973: 512-13) The effects of this fundamental difference can be seen not only in the obvious superiority of modern productive techniques but most significantly in the course of earlier historical developments: In Capital I have referred on several occasions to the fate which overtook the plebeians in ancient Rome. They were originally independent peasants, cultivating their own plots of land. In the course of Roman history they were expropriated. The same development which separated them from their means of production and subsistence also gave rise to large landed property and large financial capital. Thus, at a certain moment, there were on the one hand free men stripped of everything except their labour power, and on the other hand, the owners of all this accumulated wealth, ready to exploit their labour. But what happened? The Roman proletarians did not become wage earners, but an idle mob, more abject even than the erstwhile "poor whites" of the southern states of the USA. Beside them grew up a system of production which was not capitalist, but was based upon slavery. Thus we see that events of a striking similarity, but occurring in different historical contexts, produced quite different results. (18) And, again, more briefly: "In the ancient world the effect of commerce and the development of merchant's capital always resulted in a slave economy ... However, in the modern world, it results in the capitalist mode of production" (Marx 1981: 332). Marx's emphasis on the fundamental differences between ancient and modern societies has obvious methodological implications for the study of precapitalist economies. Marx accepted that the writings of the political economists provided an adequate, though scarcely complete, description of the workings of capitalism: "The categories of bourgeois economics ... are forms of thought which are socially valid, and therefore objective, for the relations of production belonging to this historically determined mode of social production, i.e. commodity production." (19) Clearly, however, one cannot take it for granted that terms and categories devised to analyze this form of society will be applicable to another, quite different, social formation. To continue the quote from Capital: "The whole mystery of commodities, all the magic and necromancy that surrounds the products of labour on the basis of commodity production, vanishes therefore as soon as we come to other forms of production." Certainly the assumptions that e conomists make about human behavior-positing a propensity to trade and barter, for example, or a drive always to maximize utility-and their idea of "natural" social relations are not in fact natural or universal but are specific to one historical society: One thing, however, is clear: nature does not produce on the one hand owners of money or commodities, and on the other hand men possessing nothing but their own labour power. This
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relation has no basis in natural history, nor does it have a social basis common to all periods of human history. It is clearly the result of a past historical development, the product of many economic revolutions, of the extinction of a whole series of older formations of social production. The economic categories already discussed similarly bear a historical imprint. (Marx 1976: 273) It is still permissible to draw on modern categories of analysis in seeking to understand the past--in part because "all epochs of production have certain common traits, common characteristics," in part because bourgeois society retains within itself traces of the earlier social formations "out of whose ruins and elements it built itself up": (20) Human anatomy contains a key to the anatomy of the ape... The bourgeois economy thus supplies the key to the ancient, etc. But not at all in the manner of those economists who smudge over all historical differences and see bourgeois relations in all forms of society. One can understand tribute, tithe, etc. if one is acquainted with ground rent. But one must not identify them. (Marx 1973: 105) In other words, although modern categories and vocabulary may sometimes be useful, the most productive intellectual tools will always be those that enable the historian to determine the specific nature of a given society and the underlying logic of its development. Much of this is very similar to the "primitivist" approach to ancient economic history associated with Moses Finley, who drew on the arguments of Max Weber, Johannes Haesbroek, and Karl Polanyi. (21) There too we find an emphasis not only on the limited development of the ancient economy compared with the modem era, but also on the inapplicability of modem economic theory to premodern economies; there too we find the argument that the economy cannot be studied in isolation but must be seen in the context of society as a whole. Indeed, I find it striking that Finley makes no acknowledgement in his writing of what is at the very least a significant resemblance, a parallel line of thought, if not a full-blown intellectual debt. (22) It is scarcely an excuse that Marx never produced a full scale study of the ancient economy . (23) As I hope to have indicated in this brief survey, even Marx's brief passing comments on antiquity are far more sophisticated and provocative than those of most of his contemporary, and indeed later, historians. Nevertheless, Finley offers Weber as his intellectual ancestor, and generally quotes Marx only in contexts where he believes Marx's analysis can be shown to be inferior to Weber's (on the nature of the ancient city, for example, or on the relative merits of "class" and "status" as categories for analyzing ancient society). (24) Perhaps the explanation for this lack of acknowledgement can be found in the two major differences between Finley's primitivism and Marx's approach to the failure of the ancient economy. That they often say similar things about the ancient economy and about the way it should be studied should not obscure the fact that they approach the subject from very different perspectives. (25) First, there is the matter of their different theories of history. Finley and Marx shared the basic assumption that the (ancient) economy needs to be studied in the context of society as a whole rather than in isolation. (26) However, as is well known, Marx examined individual societies with the aim of developing an overall theory of historical change; he was concerned not only with analyzing societies in their own right but also in identifying the dynamics that lead to one social formation developing out of another--above all, of course, the dynamics of the transition from feudalism to capitalism. There is plenty of scope for deba te on how exactly Marx envisaged this process, and on how his ideas may be
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developed in conjunction with more detailed historical research. (27) His basic assumption, however, is clear: that it is both desirable and possible to discern the elements of a coherent narrative within the apparent chaos of past events. (28) Antiquity is not, therefore, to be considered in isolation; it has a particular place in the story of the development of human society, and it is worth studying because of its importance for the course of that development. Finley and Weber offer no such "grand narratives"; Weber's work has indeed been praised precisely on the grounds that it is free from such teleological and ideological theorizing (Wood 146). That is not to say, however, that these writers actually are immune to the tendency to find stories in the past; their accounts rest on implicit, even unconscious, and certainly unsophisticated narratives. As Wood has argued, Weber takes capitalism as the telos, the destined end of human history, and analyzes earlier societies in terms of the degree to which this "natural" development was obstructed. (29) Finley's work, meanwhile, rests on a theory of history which revolves around a single dramatic change--the rupture that created an absolute distinction between capitalist and precapitalist societies. Finley offers no explanation of what brought about this change, except insofar as he seems to accept Weber's characterization of the late medieval city as the locus of development (1981: 3-23; 1985: 12549, 191-96). His acco unt of the ancient economy is couched in negative terms, often offering little more than a catalogue of the ways in which antiquity was not modem. Such a catalogue was undoubtedly necessary at the time, as an answer to the "modernizing" historians whose accounts obscured or ignored all differences between ancient and modern, but it does not offer much of a way forward. Marx's theory of history seeks to identify the continuities as well as the differences between social formations, and to explain both; Finley sees only difference, and tends simply to assert it rather than explore or explain it. The second obvious difference lies in the explicit political agenda that underlies Marx's study of history--a difference that has proved generally unacceptable to professional ancient historians, but that undoubtedly gives Marx's analysis its force and ensures its continuing relevance and importance? (30) There is no doubt that Marx was interested in antiquity for its own sake, and especially for the sake of its literature, but that interest was always subordinated to his life's work, the critique of capitalism. (31) The importance of the study of history is that it reveals capitalism to be a historically situated, limited form of society; it has not always existed, and there is no reason to believe that it always will exist. The example of classical antiquity shows that it is possible for a highly sophisticated society to be organized along quite different lines, and it thus emphasizes the possibility of the development of a new form of non-capitalist society in the future. It certainly serves as a standpoin t for criticizing the illusions, limitations, and sheer inhumanity of capitalism. Thus, from the Grundrisse: In bourgeois economics--and in the epoch of production to which it corresponds--this complete working-out of the human content appears as a complete emptying-out, this universal objectification as total alienation, and this tearing-down of all limited, one sidedness as sacrifice of the human end-in-itself to an entirely external end. This is why the childish world of antiquity appears on one side as loftier. On the other side, it really is loftier in matters where closed shapes, forms and given limits are sought for. It is satisfaction from a limited standpoint: while the modern gives no satisfaction; or, where it appears satisfied with itself, it is vulgar. (Marx 1973: 488) It should be clear that for Marx, the "failure" of antiquity, its manifest inferiority to modem society, was by no means absolute. In the sphere of production it was certainly true--but the triumph of capitalism had its human costs: "All our invention and progress seem to result in
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endowing material forces with intellectual life, and in stultifying human life into a material force." (32) In almost every other respect, especially in cultural and human development, antiquity seemed far superior--a belief that led Marx to defend the innocence of the "childhood of humanity" from colonization by capitalism, to insist on its special nature, to urge that its truth should be reproduced at higher stages of human society. (33) Nevertheless, for all this romantic yearning for an unrecoverable past, Marx was under no illusions as to the necessity of antiquity's passing, the ultimately progressive character of historical development. The failure of antiquity lies above all in the fact that, due to the limited development of the productive forces of ancient society, freedom, self-determination, and the fruits of civilization could be enjoyed by only a few. Only capitalism, for all its evils, holds within itself the possibility of a new form of society that will be able to extend these privileges to all. (34) NEVILLE MORLEY is Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Bristol. He is the author of Metropolis and Hinterland: The City of Rome and the Italian Economy (Cambridge 1996) and Writing Ancient History (London 1999). He is currently writing a book on trade in classical antiquity. (1.) See Hume 385-89, 410-11, 412-13. (2.) De Sismondi 2: 434. (3.) See Harte, Kadish. (4.) Mill 44-45: see generally Morley. (5.) De Quincey 194: "The case illustrates perfectly the uselessness of mere erudition in contending with a difficulty seated in the matter--substantially in the thing--and not in the Greek or Latin expression." (6.) E.g., Senior 70; Say 90, 116-17, 300 n. (7.) See Morley 96-97. (8.) Mommsen 2: 386-87; see also 3: 68-69, 4:521. Cf. Marshall 731: "We cannot wonder that many writers have thought they have found much resemblance between [Rome's] economic problems and our own. But the resemblance is superficial and illusory. It extends only to the forms, and not to the living spirit of national life." (9.) Meyer 1: 89; cf. 173-74: "The first epoch of antiquity, the Homeric and parallel periods, stands on the same level as the first epoch of the Christian-Germanic peoples, and ought similarly to be called a Middle Ages; the high point of antiquity corresponds to the modern age." (10.) The modernizing position is sketched by Pearson and Hopkins. The best known critique is found in Finley 1985; for a briefer treatment, see Finley 1979, e.g., 13: "The relationship between trade and politics in classical Greece still seems to be treated most of the time as if there were no conceptual problems, as if, in Rostovtzeff's s language, it is only a question of facts. And that means, necessarily, that the concepts and generalizations which are constantly

being brought to bear, expressly or tacitly, are modern ones, even when they hide beneath of the mask of 'common sense.'" (11.) E.g., Rostovtzeff 1957: 93: "From the economic point of view urbanisation meant the formation of a city bourgeoisie, of a class of landowners, traders and industrialists, who resided in the city and who developed an energetic business activity on capitalistic lines." It is significant that in another work (1941: 1125-26) he felt the need to apologize for his flattering portrait of the urban bourgeoisie of the Hellenistic world, but not of course for his use of the term in the first place. (12.) E.g., Marx 1973: 512-13 and 1981: 923 (both quoted below); 1976: 271 n. 2: "In encyclopedias of classical antiquity one can read such nonsense as this: In the ancient world capital was fully developed except for the absence of the free worker and of a system of credit.' Mommsen too, in his History of Rome, commits one blunder after another in this respect." (13.) Marx and Engels 1976: 166. For a full critique of the traditional view of Marx as a technological determinist, see Wood 10845. Key earlier works on Marx's theory of history include Hobsbawm, Cohen. Shaw, and Elster 235-397. (14.) Marx 1976: 467-68; letter to Engels, dated to 28 January 1863 (= Marx and Engels 1934: 142): "The two material bases on which the preparations for machine-operated industry proceeded within manufacture during the period from the sixteenth to the middle of the eighteenth century ... were the clock and the mill (at first the corn mill, specifically the water mill). Both were inherited from the ancients." (15.) Marx 1976: 1050: "All this conflicts with, for example, the antiquated view typical of earlier modes of production according to which the city authorities would, for instance, prohibit inventions so as not to deprive workers of their livelihood." (16.) Marx 1976: 151-52. On Aristotle's investigation of the problem of value, see Meikle, esp. 184-90, and 197 n. 31 on Marx's debt to Aristotle. (17.) See Morley 103-04. (18.) Letter to the editor of the Otyecestvenniye Zapisky, end of 1877 (= Marx and Engels 1934: 354-55). This was perhaps intended to correct, or at least clarify, a footnote in Capital (Marx 1976: 888 n. 23), where an account of the eighteenth-century expropriation of the British yeomen reminded him of Appian's description of the fate of the Roman peasants. Cf. Carandini, esp. 327-28. (19.) Marx 1976: 169. Generally on Marx's critique of political economy, see McCarthy. (20.) Marx 1973: 105; discussed by Wood 139-40. (21.) See above all Finley 1985. Key earlier works in the primitivist tradition include Weber 1976; Hasebroek; Polanyi; Polanyi, Arensberg, and Pearson. Their ideas, and Finley's in particular, are discussed by Frederiksen and Jongman 28-39.

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(22.) Privately, Finley did acknowledge the importance of Marxism in his intellectual development, namely, for teaching him that history is not an autonomous activity and that different aspects of human behavior cannot be treated in isolation (quoted by Saller and Shaw in their introduction to Finley 1981: xi). (23.) This seems to be offered as a reason for Finley giving only a very cursory summary of Marx's comments on ancient slavery (1980: 40-41). (24.) E.g., Finley 1981: 18-19; 1985: 50, 183-84, 191-92. (25.) Contra Engels 136-42, esp. 136. (26.) It is not clear from his writings how far Finley accepted or rejected the idea that modem capitalist economy could profitably be treated as entirely separate from society. (27.) See, e.g., the papers in Hilton and in Hilton and Philpin. (28.) For a Marxist perspective on "grand narratives" in history, see Callinicos 1995, esp. 95128. For works on Marx's theory of history, see note 13 above. (29.) This is seen clearly in Weber's account of the decline of Rome (1976: 65-66), where he discusses the various impediments to the development of capitalism in antiquity. See also 1976: 358-65: 1958: 218; 1978: 201. 351; and Wood 158-67, 171-73. (30.) Callinicos 1995: 64: "Professional historians tend to oscillate in their treatment of Marx between the denunciatory and the dismissive." De Ste. Croix 45: "An analysis of Greek and Roman society in terms of class, in the specifically Marxist sense, is indeed something threatening, something that speaks directly to every one of us today and insistently demands to be applied to the contemporary world, of the second half of the twentieth century." See also Callinicos 1983. (31.) White 284: "He laid siege to every plan for creating a merely contemplative history." On Marx's love of ancient literature, see de Ste. Croix 23-25, Lloyd-Jones 143-52, Prawar. (32.) See note 1 above. (33.) Marx 1973: 110.11. On this passage and its intellectual antecedents, see Kondylis 6475, Muller, Sannwald 159-203, Schmidt. (34.) Ball 140 characterizes Marx's view of capitalism as "political possibilism." See also Elster 513-31. WORKS CITED Aston, T. H. and C. H. E. Philpin, ed. 1985. The Brenner Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe. Cambridge. Ball, T. 1991. "History: Critique and Irony." In The Cambridge Companion to Marx, ed. T. Carver. Cambridge. 124-42.

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Callinicos, A. 1983. The Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx. London, Chicago, and Melbourne. -----. 1995. Theories and Narratives: Reflections on the Philosophy of History. Cambridge. Carandini, A. 1988. Schiavi in Italia. Roma e Bari Cohen, G. A. 1978. Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence. Oxford. Elster, J. 1985. Making Sense of Marx. Cambridge and Paris. Engels, D. 1988. Roman Corinth: An Alternative Model for the Classical City. Chicago. Finley, M. I. 1979. "Classical Greece." In Second International Conference of Economic History, I: Trade and Politics in the Ancient World, ed. M. I. Finley. New York. 11-35. -----. 1980. Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology. London. -----. 1981. Economy and Society in Ancient Greece, ed. R. Saller and B. D. Shaw. London. -----. 1985. The Ancient Economy. 2nd ed. London. Frederiksen, M. 1975. "Theory, Evidence and the Ancient Economy." JRS 65: 164-71. Harte, N. B. 1971. "Introduction." In The Study of Economic History: Collected Inaugural Lectures 1893-1970, ed. N. B. Harte. London. xi-xxxix. Hasebroek, J. 1933. Trade and Politics in Ancient Greece. Trans. L. M. Fraser and D. C. MacGregor. London. Hilton, R. H., ed. 1976. The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism. London. Hobsbawm, E. 1964. "Introduction." In Karl Marx: Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations, ed. E. Hobsbawm. London. 9-65. Hopkins, K. 1983. "Introduction." In Trade in the Ancient Economy, ed. P. Garnsey, K. Hopkins, and C. R. Whittaker. London. ix-xxv. Hume, D. 1882. Essays: Moral, Political and Literary, I, ed. T. H. Green and T. H. Grose. London. Jongman, W. 1988. The Economy and Society of Pompeii. Amsterdam. Kadish, A. 1989. Historians, Economists and Economic History. London. Kondylis, P. 1987. Marx und die griechische Antike: Zwei Studien. Heidelberg. Lloyd-Jones, H. 1982. Blood for the Ghosts. London. Marshall, A. 1961. Principles of Economics. 9th ed. London.
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Say, J.-B. 1880. A Treatise on Political Economy. New York. Schmidt, E. G. 1985. "Okonomie, Kunst und Antike bei Marx." Eirene 22: 5-20. Senior, N. 1854. Political Economy. 3rd ed. London. Shaw, W. H. 1978. Marx's Theory of History. London. Sismondi, S. de. 1817. Nouveaux principes de l'economie politique. Paris. Ste. Croix, G. E. M. de. 1983. The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World: From the Archaic Age to the Arab Conquests. Corrected version of 1981 ed. London. Weber, M. 1958. The City. Trans. D. Martindale and G. Neuwirth. New York. -----. 1976. The Agrarian Sociology of Ancient Civilizations. Trans. R. I. Frank. London. -----. 1978. Economy and Society, ed. G. Roth and C. Wittich. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London. White, H. 1973. Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe. Baltimore and London. Wood, E. M. 1995. Democracy Against Capitalism: Renewing Historical Materialism. Cambridge. Morley, Neville Source Citation (MLA 7th Edition) Morley, Neville. "Marx and the Failure of Antiquity." Helios 26.2 (1999): 151+. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 11 Sept. 2013. Document URL http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA80849874&v=2.1&u=leicester&it=r&p=EA IM&sw=w

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