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Author(s): Alexander Fuks
Source: Ancient Society, Vol. 5 (1974), pp. 51-81
Published by: Peeters Publishers
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/44080062
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Ancient Society

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The period from the first half of the fourth century to the con
of Greece by Rome, in the middle of the second century B.C
marked by an acute social problem in Greece. In the course o
two centuries dozens of attempts were made in Greece to cha
social-economic position by way of revolution.
Social problem is, for the purpose of this study : the problem
polarity in the distribution of wealth - land, other immovab
erty, movable property, monetary assets and income - am
citizens of the 'polis'. It is also a problem of relations, crea
result of this economic polarity, between the class of the aff
(oi €'ovres, 7rX ovctlol, Svvaroi) and the class that had no or
possessions (ot ovk ¿xovreç, aKTrjfioveç , Trevqres). Or, as the
themselves put it, it is a problem of á va)¡xaXía , á vlgÓttjç .
Social-economic revolution is, for the purpose of this st
comprehensive and significant change in the position of prop
owning. In respect of this study an attempt to bring abou
change, even if abortive, is likewise considered a revolution. T
applies to an internal struggle (araats) in a 'polis', when the c
referred to is the aim, or among the aims, of one of the parti
The term 'Social Revolution', which is commonly used since the time
of W.W. Tarn, is, if taken as defined above, on the whole adequate,
though 'social-economic conflict and social-economic revolution' would
cover the phenomenon we are dealing with rather more closely.
I refer to Greece here in the connotation of « the old world » - the
Greek mainland and the Greek diaspora outside the dominion of the
Hellenistic monarchies. The economic and social problems of the « new
world» that emerged after Alexander the Great, the world of the
Hellenistic monarchies in the Orient, are widely different from those
of Greece and they do not come within the scope of this study.

* This paper was published in Hebrew in the Proceedings of the Israel Academy of
Sciences and Humanities , Vol, V (1973).

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52 A. FUKS

No thoroughgoing
economic conflict and social-economic revolution in Greece in the late
classical and Hellenistic periods.
At the end of the nineteenth century there appeared the first volume,
and at the beginning of this century the second volume, of Robert
von Pöhlmann's well-known book on the history of communism and
socialism in the ancient world 1. Although this broad-based work,
which begins with the so-called ťearly communism' and concludes
with early Christianity, contains some striking phrases and, at times,
significant analytical passages, its value as a scholarly study is drastical-
ly reduced by the author's general approach. The revolutions in anti-
quity and their outcome were intended by Pöhlmann, to serve, in the
final analysis, as a warning to his contemporaries and to demonstrate
the dangers inherent in the communistic and socialistic movement in
Germany of his day. Also, the social-economic revolution in Greece
from the fourth century to the Roman conquest was not conceived
by Pöhlmann as a single theme and received only partial treatment
in his book. And, even the value of his analysis of those parts of the
theme with which Pöhlmann did deal was impaired by the general,
a priori approach of the author 2.
Real investigation in this field began with W. W. Tarn's paper on the
social question in the third century B.C. 3. Although Tarn's pioneering
article is characterized by penetrating depth, it cannot be considered
a complete and exhaustive study of the late classical and Hellenistic
revolution in Greece. Tarn restricted himself in his paper to investigat-
ing the third century only, thus excluding about three generations
of the revolutionary movement before the commencement of the third
century and some three generations from the entry of Rome into
the Hellenic area to the conquest of Greece. Furthermore, even in the

1 Robert von Pöhlmann, Geschichte des Kommunismus und des Sozialismus in der
antiken Welt , 2 vols., Munich 1893-1901. Second edition of the book appeared under the
title : Geschichte der sozialen Frage und des Sozialismus (1912). Third edition (1925) was
prepared by F. Oertel and includes an 'Anhang' by the editor.
2 Pöhlmann's attacks on the marxista are both frontal and implied; for the reaction
of the latter, see e.g. K. Katjtsky, Die Vorläufer des neueren Sozialismus , Stuttgart
1895, p. 15, note.
3 W.W. Tarn, The Social Question in the Third Century , in The Hellenistic Age ,
Cambridge 1923. Tarn dealt with this theme in some of his other publications ; see for
instance: Hellenistic Civilization , London 1930 2, Chap. Ill; Proceedings of the British
Academy 19 (1933), p. 123 ff. ; Cambridge Ancient History VII, p. 732 ff.

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examination of the third century Tarn limited himself to s

standing cases of revolutions, whereas valid conclusions can
only on the study of all the cases of social- economic conflict and
tion and on the evidence of them all.

After Tarn, some scholars added to our understanding of the economic

and social background of the late classical and Hellenistic periods in
Greece 4 ; others dealt, in various contexts and from different view-
points, with single cases or with groups of cases 5. But, the subject
of the social-economic conflict and revolution in the last two centuries
of Greek independence has not yet been accorded a thorough and
comprehensive study.
In this paper I present some results of such an investigation based on
analysis of all the cases and on their cumulative evidence 6.

4 See for instance : M. Rostovtzeff, Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic
World , 3 vols., Oxford 1941 ; F. Oertel, Anhang , apud Pöhlmann {supra, n. 1) ; F.M.
Heichelheim, Wirtschaftsgeschichte des Altertums , 2 vols. Leiden 1938, esp. chaps. VI-VII
in Vol. II ; M.I. Finley, Studies in Land and Credit in Ancient Athens , New Brunswick
1951 ; see albo notes 7-12 below.
5 Th. W. Africa, Phylarchus and the Spartan Revolution , Berkeley-Los Angeles 1961 ;
E. Gabba, Studi su Filarco - Le biografie plutarchee di Agide e di Cleomene , Pavia 1957 ;
D. Asheri, Distribuzioni di terre nelV antica Grecia , Torino 1966; id. Leggi greche sul
problema dei debiti , Pisa 1969; see also A. Passerini, Biforme sociali e divisioni di beni
nella Grecia del IV secolo A.C ., Athenaeum , 8 (1930), p. 273 ff. ; id., I moti politico-
sociali della Grecia e i Romani , Athenaeum, 1 1 (1933), p. 310 ff., even though his conclusions
are, in my view, wrong (see for some pertinent criticisms of Passerini's approach.
A. Aymard, Les premiers rapports de Rome et de la Confédération Achaienne , Bordeaux-
Paris 1938, p. 135-137, n. 16).
6 To appear under the title A History of the Social Conflict in late Classical and Hel-
lenistic Greece (in preparation). Papers published to date, in preparation for this book are :
Agis , Cleômenes , and Equality „ Classical Philology 57 (1962), p. 161 ff. ; The Spartan
Citizen-body in Mid-Third Century B.C. and its Enlargement Proposed by Agis IV ,
Athenaeum 40 (1962), p. 244 ff. ěy Non-Phylarchean Tradition of the Programme of Agis IV,
Classical Quarterly 12 (1962), p. 118 ff.; Redistribution of Land and Houses in Syracuse
in 356 B.C., and its Ideological Aspects, CQ 18 (1968), p. 207 ff. ; Slave War and Slave
Troubles in Chios in the Third Century B.C., Athenaeum 46 (1968), p. 102 ff. ; The Bellum
Achaicum and its Social Aspect , Journal of Hellenic Studies 90 (1970), p. 78 ff. ; Thucydides
and the Stasis in Corcyra : Thuc. Ill, 82-83 versus [ Thuc .] Ill, 84, American Journal of
Philology 92 (1971), p. 48 ff.; Isokrates and the Social-Economic Situation in Greece,
Ancient Society 3 (1972), p. 17 ff. ; Social Revolution in Dyme in Achaia in 116-114 B.C.E.,
Scripta Hierosolymitana 23 (1972), p. 21 ff. ; cf. La Parola del Passato 111 (1966), p. 437 ff.

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54 A. FUKS

1. Economic Backgroun

From the viewpoint o

and revolution three g
The seventh and sixth
extreme economic pol
accompanied by repe
economic changes, bot
by violent methods (th
The classical age in th
Wars to the end of th
tranquillity. The socia
Greek states there exi
large and firmly est
aspirations for econom
the life of classical Greece.

In the first decades of the fourth century there arises again an acute
social problem. At the end of the seventies of this century there
occurs the first known outbreak in a long series of revolutions that,
from now on, will characterize the life of Greece until the Roman
conquest in mid-second century B.C.
The economic processes that tend to explain the renewal of the acute
social problem from the fourth century onwards are mainly these :
the decline of the small and medium land-holding and the formation
of large agricultural property, on the one hand, and the development
of a quasi-capitalistic type of economy in Greek industry, on the other.
These processes are to be discerned both in economically progressive
states, like Athens, and in agrarian states, like Sparta, although with
different emphasis and intensity.
In Attica there is discernible from the middle of the sixth century
onward a slow process of fragmentation of land-holdings as a result
of the Athenian law of inheritance, which did not recognize the first-
born's right of inheritance and envisaged division of the property
between the sons and daughters. The possibility of bequeathing by
means of a will, which Attic law allowed after Solon, gradually worked
in the same direction. The acts of methodical destruction of Attic agri-
culture - the devastation of crops, the cutting down of trees and plant-
ations, the destruction of equipment, the burning of structures - per-

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petrated repeatedly by the Spartan army in the Peloponnesian W

more harm to the small holding which was, due to the process o
mentation, the most common agricultural unit of production in
in the second half of the fifth century, than to the large and m
estates. Many of the small farms were not rehabilitated after the t
seven years of the Peloponnesian War and were offered for sale.
originating in trade, industry and monetary transactions was d
to the agricultural sector of Attica. Comprehensive landed pro
which was chiefly worked by farm slaves, grew when several farm
in various parts of Attica came into the possession of a single in
In Sparta the process of concentration of landed estates
accelerated by the large Persian grants that were given to Spa
the last years of the Peloponnesian War. From the Persian gol
silver a few Spartan families accumulated big fortunes, which c
invested, on account of the particular structure of the Spartan econ
in land only. When, at the beginning of the fourth century, t
of inheritance in Sparta was changed and it was permitted to b
by means of a will and to transfer property in the form of a g
of the Spartan citizen's Jclaros in effect became feasible by m
fictitious gift and fictitious bequest. As a result of this the pr
concentration of landed property in the hands of a few S
families, signs of which were already noticeable earlier, becam
sified. It was not arrested until the middle of the third ce
when there were left in Sparta only some seven hundred own
'the foundation allotment', of whom about a hundred possesse
landed estates in addition to the KÁâpoç , while the rest forf
together with the loss of the 'foundation allotment', also their
Pari-passu with the decline of small-scale and medium farming and
the concentration of landed property advanced the development of the
quasi-capitalistic economy in the industry of the Greek 'polis'.
Although the small workshop (the owner himself, his son or sons,
one or more apprentices - in all some 2-6 workers), which was typical
of the classical 'polis', remained the most common form of industrial
production even in the fourth century, there also developed large
manufacturing units - workshops that employed 20-30 hands, and
in exceptional cases even a hundred or so. The products of these big
workshops, which resembled factories, were to a large extent destined
for export. These new industrial units were based, almost exclusively,

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56 A. FUKS

on slave-labour. Thes
panied by correspond
merce, particularly
monetary economy.
turnover in Greece,
foreign trade, and ne
economic activity.
These processes were
'poleis'; they are disc
also in agricultural ar
of the Peloponnese.
The results of the ch
the first half of the f
rural proletariat of th
holdings ; the expansi
who had lost their land
ment both in the vill
to work their estates
because the new- type
of the basic structure
did not permit the
change in the distr
property, movable pr
'polis' with the conce
of comparatively few
or those who posse
7 T€V7}T€s) 7.

7 Beloch's chapters on fou

Griechische Geschichte III 1
Leipzig 1923, p. 386 ff., 41
kunde I, Munich 1920, p. 169
1921, p. 212 ff. et passim
op. cit., p. 514 ff. ; M. Ro
Cambridge 1921, p. 28 ff.
23 ff., 75 ff.; G. Glotz, Le
Histoire grecque , Paris 193
period in : A.W. Gomme,
Besitz und Erwerb im grie
Beiträge zur sozial-politisc
Suppl. IV), Leipzig 1906; H

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In the period between the conquest of the East by Alexander

Great and the entry of Rome into the Greek area (323 B.C. - ca.
B.C.) no essential change occurred in the economic and social stru
of Greece itself, although Alexander's conquests brought about
changes in the economic and social structure of the ancient wor
In the wake of Alexander's campaign there began a movement of
emigration to eastern countries, both military (mercenaries
Alexander's army and from the forces of the Diadochoi and the
gonoi) and civilian (settlers from Greece throughout Asia and Egy
which continued for about three generations. Although we poss
many details concerning the methods of settlement and its distrib
among various eastern countries, the dimensions of the emigra
from Greece cannot be determined quantitatively 8. At any rat
migration was of considerable size and was undoubtedly able to
temporarily the economic-social tension in many cities of Greece
the eastward migration was certainly unable to affect the econ
social structure of the Hellenic states, nor arrest the economic-
processes that initially appeared in the first half of the fourth centu
On the other hand, the steep rise in prices and the decline in wa
the course of the two or three generations subsequent to Alexa
even exacerbated the social problem in Greece. The financial turn
grew at an unprecedented pace when Alexander poured into the m
market of his new kingdom the colossal treasures of the Achaeme
which in considerable part were diverted to Greece. The price-g
that can be drawn on the basis of epigraphic material shows th
generation after Alexander (ca. 300 B.C.) prices were higher by

1900; P. Guiraud, La propriété foncière en Grece , Paris 1893; id., La main-d

industrielle dans l'ancienne Grèce , Paris 1900. (The most recent book, C. MossÉ,
de la démocratie Athénienne , Paris 1962, does not add much to the earlier works.)
developments in Sparta : P. Guiraud, Propriété , p. 402 ff. ; D. Asheri, Distribu
p. 95 ff. ; A. Fuks, Spartan citizen-body , p. 244 ff. For the inheritance laws in
see : D. Asheri, Athenaeum 39 (1961), p. 45 ff.
8 See M. Rostovtzeff, op. cit., I, p. 157 f. (with n. 79), 332 (with n. 126), 4
Rostovtzeff's criticism there of A. Segré's estimations ( Bulletin de la société ď arch
ď Alexandrie, 29, 1934, p. 265 ff.), which are in Rostovtzeff's view lacking suf
basi». The chapters on the Hellenistic period in K.J. Beloch's, Die Bevölkerung de
chisch-römischen Welt (Leipzig 1896) are still well worth consulting. Important evi
has been assembled in : M. Launey, Recherches sur les armées hellénistiques
1949. V. Tcherikower, Die hellenistischen Städtegründungen (Leipzig 1927),
basic for the whole question of Greek settlement in the east.

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58 A. FUKS

fifty per cent than b

in the fourth century
gradual rise of price
remained static, and
or even a skilled, wor
of the first half of the
and a certain stability
and wages, although
Alexander and wages
lower than before.

The period of two to three generations following the conquest of the

Orient was an era of growth in Greek industry, which now worked
for a market that had expanded as a result of conquest and settlement,
as well as in foreign trade - whose dimensions had become enlarged
and whose compass had been extended owing to the selfsame causes,
and in the financial transactions that accompanied trade and industry.
In consequence of these facts the economic polarity in Greece exceeded
that obtaining before Alexander's conquests 9.
In the period extending from the entry of Rome into the Greek
area, at the end of the third century B.C., to the conquest of Greece
by Rome (146 B.C.), there was added a new factor of considerable
economic significance : Roman warfare on Greek soil. From 215 B.C.
onward the Roman army waged a long series of wars on Greek soil,
beginning with the Macedonian wars (the first and the second), through
the war against Antiochos III ; the war against Perseus, to the 'Achaean
War' of 146 B.C. Roman warfare was unlike Hellenistic fighting and
was accompanied by acts of destruction, confiscations, spoliation, and
mass captivity of free populations. The fact that 150,000 of the inhabi-
tants of Epiros were taken into captivity in a single comb-out serves to
dramatize the Roman methods of warfare on Greek soil 10. Since the

9 This paragraph is based on W.W. Tarn, Social Question , p. 108-124. Though the
data Tarn bases himself upon come from Delos, there is no valid reason to suppose that
the situation was specific for Delos ; we can reasonably suppose that the situation in other
places was not unlike Delos. Tarn's general conclusion is that « the poor were getting
poorer, and the gap between rich and poor was widening » {ibid., p. 126). For some
general lines of the economic developments in Greece, see, for instance, M. Rostovtzeff,
op. cit . I, p. 161 ff., 132, 142, 164, 169 ff., 159, 183 ff.
10 For Epiros see N.G.L. Hammond, Epirus, Oxford 1967, p. 634 ff. On Roman
warfare on the soil of Greece, see e.g. J.A.O. Larsen, An Economic Survey , IV : Roman
Qreece, New Jersey 1959, p. 261 ff., 311 ff.

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economic activity in Greece decelerated from about the middle

third century B.C. because of political and economic develo
in the Hellenistic Orient n, the effect of the Roman military p
on the Greek economy was particularly hard. Thus, in the fir
of the second century the general economic position of Greece,
considerable parts of it, was worse than in the fourth and third cen
and the gap between the 'haves' and the 'have nots' was greate
before 12.
As a result of the economic developments sketched above an acute
social problem arose in the fourth century in Greece and persisted
until the second century. These economic developments and this
social problem are the background of the social-economic revolution
in Greece from the seventies of the fourth century till the conquest
of Greece by Rome in the middle of the second century B.C.

2. Dimensions

In the late-classical and Hellenistic age, from the seventies of the

fourth century to the middle of the second century, I count about
seventy cases of social-economic conflict and social-economic revolution
as compared with about six such cases in the classical period, from the
Persian Wars to the end of the Peloponnesian War.
An examination of the geographical distribution of the cases shows
that the social-economic stasis had spread over the greater part of the
Greek mainland and over other extensive areas of ťthe old world'.
There were many outbreaks in the Peloponnese, besides Sparta, which
was one of the focal points of the revolutionary ferment in Greece,
we learn of social-economic struggles in Corinth, Argos, Sikyon,
Messene, Megalopolis, Phigaleia, Tegeia, Mantineia and Kynaitha, and
towards the end of the period, there is discernible national-social
ferment in most of the cities of the ' Achaean League'.
In central Greece, Boiotia was a region subject to ferment during
a considerable part of the period, and there were also signs of unrest
in Megara and Delphi.
To the north, Aetolia, Thessaly and Perrhaebia, were areas of

11 See e.g. M. Rostovtzeff, op. cit . I, p. 207.

12 See, for instance, ibid. II, p. 737 ff. ; F. Oertel, Klassenkampf , Sozialismus und
organischer Staat im alten Griechenland, Bonn 1942, p. 39-40; J.A.O. Larsen, op. cit.,

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60 A. FUKS

recurrent outbreaks a
second century.
North of these, eve
'stasis' ; at the beginnin
Kassandreia in southe
in the middle of th
movement, which ha
We find many instan
Chios, Syros, Naxos,
occurred in various cities.

In the west, a number of revolutionary crises overtake Syracuse.

The north-eastern region comes into the map of the social-economic
revolution through Olbia and Heraclea Pontica 13.
As a rule the social-economic struggle is confined to a single 'polis'.
But sometimes waves, as it were, of revolution sweep over large areas.
Most of the Peloponnesian states were swept, in the years 225-224, by
the tide of the Spartan revolution, generated by Kleomenes ; the greater
part of northern Greece was drawn into the whirlpool of the war of the
borrowers against their creditors in the years 174-173 B.C.
To the dimension of space there is to be added that of time. There
were states and regions in Greece in which revolutions erupted repeat-
edly, and it is reasonable to assume that these states and regions were
in a state of revolutionary commotion throughout long periods. Fre-
quent outbreaks are evidenced in Sparta, Boiotia, Aetolia and Syracuse.
Moreover, we not only encounter frequent outbursts of social-
economic struggle, but also prolonged periods of revolutionary rule in
these, and in other Greek states.
In 227 B.C. Kleomenes IV carried through a revolution in Sparta ;
the state of Sparta was established on a basis of economic-social

13 Athens is conspicuous by its absence from the map of social-economic revolution

in the late classical and Hellenistic age. Though there was in Athens a social question
throughout the period, as there was in other Greek btates, and both the general public
and the political thinkers were much preoccupied with it, there were no violent out-
breaks in Athens. This is to be explained, in the main, by the fact that there existed in
Athens, even after the Peloponnesian War, a large middle class, by the comparatively
good economic situation in Athens, and by the well-developed system of public welfare.
See : W.S.F. Ferguson, Hellenistic Athena , London 1911 ; J. Sundwall, Klio , Suppl. IV
(1906); A.H.M. Jones, op. cit.t Chap. I; H. Bolkestein, Wohltätigkeit und Armenpflege
im vorchristilichen Altertum , Utrecht 1939; G. Glotz, Travail, p. 184 ff.; P. Guibaud,
Propriété , p. 597.

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equality. This revolutionary regime lasted for five years, until th

revolutionary king was defeated by Macedonia. In 207 B.C. Nab
revived the revolutionary programme of Kleomenes and even wen
farther than he ; his regime endured for fifteen years. In the year
Apollodoros of Kassandreia seized power in the state with the h
of a conspiracy of 'slaves and factory workers' ; the revolutionary
regime was in power in Kassandreia for four years. In 364 B.C. Klearchos
became the tyrant of Heraclea Pontica after he had placed himself
the head of the 'demos', who strove for the Redistribution of Land
Abolition of Debts ; the revolutionary tyranny continued in Herakl
for twelve years.
The number of revolutions, their geographical spread, the fr
quency of the outbreaks, the duration of the revolutionary regime
these are the physical dimensions of the revolutionary movement.
An examination of the place that the social question and the socia
economic conflict take in the consciousness of the contemporaries ad
as it were, a new dimension to the physical dimensions of the soc
economic conflict in late classical and Hellenistic Greece.

3. The Social Question and the Social-economic Conflict in Gre

Contemporary Consciousness

The last two plays of Aristophanes - the Ecclesiazusae (392 B.

and the Plutus (388 B.C.) - were written in reaction to the soci
economic situations in Athens in the early years of the fourth centu
Both are first-rate evidence for the change in the life of Greece in
last years of the fifth century and the early years of the fourth centu
and for the growing preoccupation with the social question and w
of its solution.
In the Ecclesiazusae , the women of Athens establish, after having
seized power, a brand new economic and social order : private property
and the family are abolished and, with them, the situation of « Poverty
versus Riches» (irtvía Kal ttÀovtos) goes overboard. Equality for all,
in all, of all, prevails.
In the Plutus , the wrongs and un justices of the existing economic
order disappear overnight when the God's of Wealth eyesight is
restored. Wealth now dwells in the homes of those who deserve it,
rapacious rich and spéculants go a begging.
The programme of Salvation by Collectivism in the Ecclesiazusae

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62 A. FUKS

is not Aristophanes'
rejects it in the play. A
supposed, rooted in ph
schemes, proposals m
he goes on grappling
confrontation betwee
moral-social doctrine
middle road. Untram
poverty. There is in t
posed, as it were, fro
his economic thinking
The economic- social
same in the Ecclesiazu
grapples with are the
ficant evidence for th
and ways of its solu
beginning of the fourt
Plato's Republic is fir
The Republic, to be da
its metaphysical and o
to the economic-socia

14 This is not the common

work cited supra, note 6. T
still U. von Wilamowitz-M
sen , Berlin 1927, p. 203-211
Munich 1946, p. 359 ff. ;
see especially W. Schmid,
Leiden 1904; W. Meyer, La
see further in the followin
Aristophane, Paris 19023; M
London 1909 (Engl, transi
1908; G. Murray, Aristoph
Paris 1876; A. Körte, Die g
The People of Aristophane
(It hardly needs saying tha
not a few scholars - that A
ideas of Plato's Republic,
Republic ; see for a detailed
1902, p. 345 ff., and more r
bij Aristophanes en Plato,
widely from that of the 'E

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forth both on « the rich » whose lust for riches and power (irX
knows no bounds, and on « the poor » whose craving is to get i
hands the property of the others. Plato's famous dictum abou
actual State, which is « not one, but two States, the one of po
other of rich men ; and they are living on the same spot and
conspiring against one another» (551D) is by no means isolated
Republic ; it is but a pungent formulation of thoughts and sent
frequently expressed in a similar tone in the Republic. This vie
- that of « poverty versus riches » as the root of evil - is most
nent in Books VIII and IX, books of the pathology of the actual
states. But Plato's reaction to the social question of his time is n
fined to this. The model of the ideal state of the Republic is conditi
I believe, in the ultimate analysis, by the economic-social situ
of Greece in his time. Plato's recoil from the evils of the condition
of « poverty versus riches » and of the social-economic ferment leads
him to the severance of any connexion whatsoever between political
power and economic activity. The members of the economic class, who
provide the sustenance of the castes of 'rulers' and 'guardians', belong
to the state in the sense that without them its existence is impossible,
and that the government has to carefully guide them, as it does every-
body and everthing else. But none of the things that make the Ideal
State and the Ideal Life - philosophy, community and togetherness,
the new true education - apply to them. Having thus severed the
nexus between state and economics, Plato soars to heights of un-
tramelled politics. Even what is termed 'Platonic communism' is
essentially political and is based on the exclusion of economic activity
from the state, not on its reorganization. This aristocratic communism
is, to be sure, completely antithetic to the strivings of the masses of the
destitute and needy for a change in the economic-social conditions in
the Greek 'polis'.
In the Laws , more than twenty years after the composition of the
Republic , Plato was still grappling with the same problem. The solu-
tions he proposes in the Laws - an agrarian state of owners of equal,
unalienable, undi visible, and unsaleable allotments (KÁfjpos) worked by
agricultural slaves ; the maximum difference permitted in other forms
of wealth to be in the ratio of four to one, and the government to have
vast powers calculated to ensure strict observance of these economic
regulations - are more realistic than those put forward in the Politeia.
But the same economic-social situation conditioned the Laws and the

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64 A. FUKS

Republic - the situatio

social-economic uphea
The « Hellenic Discou
social- economic probl
fourth century B.C. a
To Isokrates, Greece
the poleis and to inte
internal stasis reached
tion of their rich fello
of a foreign foe who
and they would be be
than to find a treasur
have preferred to cast
needy to benefit from
Greece is replete wit
antistasiotai ( <j<ļ>aya
{apirayal ^/)7y/xaTcov),

15 The main passages in t

395 B-C, 399 E, 405 A-B, 40
420 A-E, 421 A-C, 421 D,
441A, 442A, 445D, 449 A, C
466 A-C, 468A, 470 B-D, 47
B, 497E-498A, 499 B-E, 502
547 B-E, 548 A-C, 549 A-B
556 A-E, 557 A-E, 558 B-D,
572 C, 575 A-B, 577E-578A,
592 D, 608 B, 609A-612E, 6
Tha main passages relating
629D, 630B, 631C, 632 A-C,
678E-679D, 684 D-E, 687 B-C, 689 A-B, 690D, 691C, 696 A-B, 704 D-E, 705E, 708 B-C-
709 A-C, 709E-710A, 710E-712A, 713E, 715 B-D, 727E-729A, 731 D-E, 734D, 735E,
737B, 737E, 738A, 739 B-E, 740A-741E, 742 A-E, 743A, D-E, 744B-745E, 746A, 753 A-E,
754 A-E, 756A-757E, 758 C-D, 759B, 770E, 773 AC, D-E, 774 A, C, 780A-C, 782E-783A,
792 C-D, 801 B, 803C, 804 B-C, 806D-809E, 822E, 828B, 829 A-B, 831 C-E, 832 B-E,
835B-836D, 842D, 846D-847A, 848 B-C, D, 850A, 854A, 855A-B, 856 B-E, 870 A-B,
875A, C-D, 884A, 906C, 913 A-B, 917A, 918 B-C, 919 B-C, 921 B-C, 923 A, D, 928 E-929A,
936 B-C, 942 A-D, 945 C-D, 949E-952E, 956 D-E, 957 D-E, 958 C-D, 960E-963A, 965 D-E.
I list this because little attention has been paid to this theme in the bulky litera-
ture on Plato. I mention below two commentaries on the Reap, and the Legg.
which I found useful : J. Adam, op. cit.; E.B. Englahd, The Laws of Plato, 2 vols,
Manchester 1921 ; see also G.R. Morrow, Plato's Cretan City, Princeton 1960, which
can serve also as an excellent historical commentary on the Laws,

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tion of land (yrjs âvaSaafióç ), and revolutionary changes of c

tions {ttoXitziûv fxeraßoXal). Thus Greece is filled with mult
destitute wanderers on the roads (irXavœiievoi) who are seek
keep alive themselves and their families, of people withou
(£€VLT€vofjL€voi) and without homeland (a^oXiSes), refugees (cfr
and fugitives (a ¿ró/xoAot), vagabonds and evil-doers of
(¿K Twv âXXœv KaKovpyiœv ovv€ppvrjK¿T€s ), creatures who, be
their poverty and distress, are prepared to hire out their so
bodies to anyone who pays them. Unimaginable peril threaten
as a result of the massing in great numbers of these desperad
destroy whomever they encounter on their way (adpoiÇótievoi . .
vófievoi oîs àv ¿vratoví). If Greece does not realize and m
danger, there is no salvation for it.
In the course of over forty years - from the Panegyrikos , p
at the close of the eighties, to the PanathenaiJcos of the en
forties - Isokrates propounds again and again his solution
sore evils ( ávr¡K€ora kolko) of Greece.
Isokrates' basic conception is from the beginning the same :
conquest against the barbarians and the settlement of those u
find a livelihood in Greece, the ejected and the displaced in
the poleis of Greece, in the conquered territory. Details c
Isokrates persistently seeks for many years first for a leadi
later for an individual leader, able to realize his solution, an
cuts the dimensions of war and conquest to the measure of the
tive leader. The programme takes its final form in 346 B.C.,
Philippos. The solution to the critical problems of Greece, p
the Greeks themselves had utterly failed to solve, must be b
about by Philip of Macedón. He is the only man great enough
about peace among the warring states of Greece, to lead thein
mon war of conquest against the national foe, and to settle th
of the poor and the displaced in the conquered territory in As
This is Isokrates' overall solution to the problems of Greec
time, not to the social problem and the danger of social-e
revolution alone. However, the important place occupied by
problem and by the danger of revolution in the thinking and
tion of Isokrates is quite manifest 16.
16 See my paper on Isokrates and the Social-Economic Situation in Greece
Society 3 (1972), p. 17-44; documentation there, in the notes*. This aspect of
thinking has not been adequately studied before; I give below some wor

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66 A. FUKS

Fragments from the

decades ago, throw li
Greek consciousness i
The Second Meliamb
of Greece, who in th
down all who stand in
Truly, he is a father
of Themis, the godde
poet protests - to bo
of sharing with othe
ance'. Or else a tempe
will spew out your go
These are not conve
in the didactic poetr
call to revolution. Kerkidas was one of the statesmen of the conser-
vative 'Achaean League' ; he played a leading rôle in the negotiations
that brought the Macedonian army into the Peloponnese to fight
against Kleomenes and the Spartan revolution, and he fought in the
battle of Sellasia, which put an end to the regime of the revolutionary
king. The Second Meliamb is not a call to revolution, nor a prophecy of
approaching revolution, but a rebuke and a warning. The rebuke and
found generally useful when dealing with Isokrates : G. Mathieu, Les idées politiquea
ď Isocrate , Paris 1925, id., Philippe et Lettrea à Philippe , Paris 1924; A. Momigliano,
Annali Scuola Normale Pisa 5 (1936), p. 97 ff.; P. Wendland, Nachrichten von der
Oeséllschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Beiträge, 1910; J. Kessler, Isokrates
und die panhelleniache Idee, Paderborn 1911; K. Bringmann, Studien zu den politi-
schen Ideen des Isokrates, Göttingen 1965; G. Dobesch, Der panhellenische Oedanke
im 4 . Jahrhundert und der 4 Philippos ' des Isokrates, Vienna 1968; W. Jaeger, Harvard
Studies in Classical Philology, Suppl. I, 1940, p. 409 ff. ; N. Baynes, Byzantine Studies
and Other Essays, London 1955, p. 144 ff. (Evidence for the preoccupation in practice
with the dangers of revolution is to be found in Aeneas Tacticus, Poliorcetica, which
falls into the later part of Isokrates' activity. The theme of this professional writing is
the defence of city under siege. However, the dangers of internal revolution, or of revolu-
tionary collusion between exiles and their fellow -stasiotai in a city, occupy Aeneas
hardly less than an attack by an external enemy. Not every stasis is, to be sure, a social-
economic conflict (see below, note 33). However, it is clear, both from Aeneas' historical
examples and from his hypothetical examples, that he is often referring to stasis of this
type. See expecially : I 3.6-8; II 1.7-8; III 3-7; V 1-2; X 3-26; XI 1; XII 1-2; XIV 1-2;
XXII 6-8, XXIII 6; XXIX 1-12; XXX 1-2; XXXVIII 5. Cf. also L.W. Hunter, AWlov
IIoXiopK€TiKa, Oxford 1927, Introduction and Commentary. See also R. von Pöhlmann,
op. cit., p. 336 ff. (who exaggerates the evidential value of Aeneas' handbook) and
H. Bengtson, Historia 11 (1962), p. 458 ff. (who minimizes it).

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warning are directed to the upper classes, to which Kerkidas h

belonged, and in sum they declare : open your eyes and find w
improve the situation, before it is too late 17 .
The testimony of Utopian literature may be less direct than t
Plato, Isokrates, Aristophanes, and Kerkidas, but the Hell
Utopia does have considerable evidential value with regard
place of the social problem and the social revolution in Greek
In the first Hellenistic Utopia, The Holy Writing ('lepa 'Avaypa<ļ>rj)
by Euhemeros, of the beginning of the third century B.C., there emerge
a state and society that are wholly good. The inhabitants of Panchaia,
whose imaginary location is on island somewhere in the vastness of the
Indian Ocean, live a life of bliss. They are divided into three classes :
priests and artisans, soldiers and shepherds, and land-workers. Pri-
vate property is unknown in the island, except the house in which a
man lives and the garden that surrounds it. Production is organized
by the state and every man hands the fruit of his toil to the State's
depots and storehouses. Each man works according to his capacity and
they receive equal supplies for the satisfaction of their needs. Only
the ruling priests are given double share 18.

17 Text in : Oxyrhynchus Papyri VIII, London 1911, No. 1082 (editio princeps :
A.S. Hunt) ; J.U. Powell & E.A. Barbee, New Chapters in the History of Greek Literature ,
Cambridge 1921 ; A.D. Knox, The First Greek Anthologist , Cambridge 1923 ; J.U. Powell,
Collectanea Alexandrina , Cambridge 1925, p. 201 ff. ; id., Herodes , Cercidas and the Greek
Choliambic Poets , Cambridge 1953, p. 189 ff.
Analysis and discussion in : H. von Arnim, Wiener Studien 34 (1912), p. 1 ff. ; W.W. Tarn
CAH VII, p. 755 ff. ; id., Hellenistic Civilization, p. 102, 246; id., Social Question , p. 137 ;
D.R. Dudley, A History of Cynicism , London 1937, p. 74 ff. ; M. Rostovtzeff, III, p.
1367 ; id., The Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire I, Oxford 1926, p. 3 ;
Th.W. Africa, op. cit. p. 19-20 ; M.P. Nilsson, Griechische RéligionsgeschicUe II, Munich
19612, p. 193-194. See also on Kerkidas, Polybios II 43.2-8; 65.3; 50.1-4.
18 Text in F. Jacob y, Fragmente der griechischen Historiker , No. 63 ; G. Vallauri,
Evemero di Messene , Public.Fac.Lett ., Torino 1956, Vol. VIII, Fase. 3 (1956). See :
R. de Block, Euhémère, Monck 1876; P. van Gils, Questiones Euhemereae , Kerkrade-
Heerlen 1902 ; M.P. Nilsson, op. cit. II, p. 286 ff. ; E. Rohde, Der griechische Roman und
seine Vorläufer , Leipzig 19143, p. 112 ff. ; E. Schwartz, Der griechische Roman , p. 112 ff. ;
F. Susemihl, Geschichte der griechischen Literatur in der Alexandriner-Zeit , Leipzig
1891-1892, 1, p. 318 ; W.W. Tarn, Hellenistic Civilization , p. 41, 112 f. ; id., PBAf p. 43 ff. ;
B.E. Perry, The Ancient Romances , Berkeley-Los Angeles 1967, p. 86 ; H. Braunert,
Rheinisches Museum für Philologie 108 (1965), p. 259 ff. ; A. Pollet, Bulletin Fouad 1
(1947), p. 47 ff. ; H.F. van der Meer, Euhemerus van Messene , Amsterdam 1969;
R. von Pöhlmann, op . cit. II, p. 55 ff.

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68 A. FUKS

The reality from wh

clearly in The Island
second half of the thir
B.C., than in Euheme
In Iamboulos' Island o
life. In this perfect s
family-life, there is no
according to a fixed
the affairs of the Stat
to menial services ren
in the Island of the S
most menial, are perfo
of «poverty versus ri
by the abolition of pr
pervading equality, th
a life of brotherhood
self-assertion (ýiXori
aiáoTovs) 19.
The last two pieces of
ness of the revolution take us to the world of action.
After the battle of Chaironeia, Philip II established a league of the
Hellenic states under the leadership of the king of Macedonia. It is
possible that even before the organization of the 'Corinthian League'
was completed the Greeks were led to make a 'Common Peace' (kolvtj
elpr¡vr¡) among themselves, and undertook not to act against Philip or
his descendants. Both the 'Corinthian League' and the 'Common
Peace' were renewed by Alexander. The 'Common Peace', which was
the basis of the settlement of Greek affairs by Philip and by Alexander,
had two aspects : interstate peace, on the one hand, and peace within
the states, on the other. The member-states of the 'Corinthian League'
obligated themselves by oath not to wage war against each other, nor to
19 Text in Diodorus II 55-60 ; cf. Lucianus, Verae Historiae 1-2. The name 'HÁiottoÁltcli
is derived from ov [viz. to v 'HXlov' ras re vr¡aovs Kal eavrovç npoaayopevovat (Diod.
11, 59, 7). See : J. Bidez, Bulletin de V Academie Belge 18 (1932), p. 244 ff. ; M.P. Nilsson,
op. cit. t p. 49, 503 ff. ; F. Oertel supra, p. 570 ; T.S. Brown, Timaeus of Tauromenium ,
Berkeley-Los Angeles 1958, p. 47; W. Kroll, RE, IX, cols. 681 ff., s.v. Iambulos ;
R. VON Pöhlmann, op. cit. II, p. 305 ff. ; E. Rohde, op. cit., p. 224 ff. ; H. Braunert,
Veröffentlichungen der Schleswig-Holstein Universitätsgesellschaft 57, 1969; W.W. Tarn,
Hellenistic Civilization , p. 112-113; id., PB A 19, p. 9 f. (cf. id., Journal of Roman Studies
12, 1922, p. 140 f.) ; B.E. Perry, op. cit., p. 66 ; H. Pollet, op. cit., p. 55 ff.

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conspire against the Macedonian monarchy ; similarly the Greek st

undertook to preserve the existing regimes and not to permit « Redistr
bution of Land », « Cancellation of Debts », unlawful confiscation
property and banishment, and manumission of slaves for subvers
purposes. The Council of Hellenic States and the king of Macedon
the hegemon, were authorized to use military force to preserve t
political and social-economic status quo and to prevent revolution
changes 20.
A Roman 'political manifesto', directed to Greek public opinion is
additional, and rather surprising, evidence of somewhat similar import.
In 171 B.C. the Roman senate manoeuvred king Perseus of Macedonia
into a position from which the Macedonian could not escape war.
Before Rome launched her military offensive, she addressed a procla-
mation to Greece. The Roman proclamation was discovered on stone
( Sylloge 3 643) in the national centre of Delphi. The gist of the text is :
justification of Roman policy in Greece and condemnation of the Greek
policy of Perseus. After a long string of detailed charges there comes a
number of general accusations : Perseus is both 'a war-monger', who is
embroilling Greece in an armed conflict with Rome, and also 'a revolu-
tionary' who impels the masses in Greece (-ra TrXr¡dr¡) to rise against the
existing regimes, receives exiles into his territory and promises 'aboli-
tion of debts' (xpecoKOTTia) and other revolutionary innovations

20 For the question whether the koivt] cipyvrj was separate from the avpiiaxia or not,
see T.T.B. Ryder, Koine Eirene , Oxford, 1965, Appendix X, where the various possi-
bilities are discussed. Our argument does not depend on the solution of this question.
On the 'Corinthian League', see for instance G. Busolt & H. Swoboda, Griechische
Staatskunde II, Munich 1926, p. 1389 ff. ; C.A. Roebuck, CP 48 (1948), p. 73 ff.: M.P.
Nilsson, op. cit. II, p. 47; W.W. Tarn, CAH VII, p. 74; id., Hellenistic Civilization ,
p. 15, 117 ; id., Social Question , p. 127 f. ; R. von Pöhlmann, op. cit. I, p. 336 ; U. Wilcken,
Sitzungsberichte der bayerischen Akademie , Munich 1917, p. 1 ff. For the sources, com-
mentary and up-to-date bibliography, see H.H. Schmitt, Die Staatsverträge des Altertums
III, Munich 1969, No. 403 (the arguments of D. Asheri, Distribuzioni , p. 112, who
interprets the bans in the document as political, even though the two classical demands
of the social revolution, Abolition of Debts and Redistribution of Land, are included,
are not convincing ; the commonly accepted view is the correct one ; see also below, p. 76 ff.).
The 'Corinthian League' ceased to exist after Alexander's death ; the attempts of Polyper-
chon, in 319 B.C., and of Antigonos and Demetrios in 302 B.C., to reconstitute it failed
(cf. H.H. Schmitt, op. cit.t p. 12 ff. and also No. 446. (It is possible that the the Instrument
of the League of Antigonos and Demetrios included the bans on social-economic revolu-
tion, but the state of preservation of the inscription (Schmitt, No. 446) does not allow
of certainty.)

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70 A. FUKS

(v€a)T€pio¡jLoí). He h
'irremediable disasters
An examination of the sources leads to the conclusion that the Roman
charges were groundless from both the international-political and
the social viewpoint. The king of Macedonia did all in his power to
avoid war with the Republic; and there is no tangible evidence that
he encouraged revolution in the Greek states, although some of his
tactics in Greece could lend support to such an interpretation.
However, this distortion of the truth by the Senate constitutes
evidence of importance for our theme. The danger of revolution existed
in the first half of the second century B.C. just as it had existed since
the fourth century. The point of special interest in the document is the
fact that Rome identifies the king of Macedonia, in an official declara-
tion, with the revolutionary movement and itself with the preservation
of the existing social-economic order 21.
If we combine the two dimensions of the social conflict and revolu-
tion, the physical dimension - the number of revolutions, their
geographical diffusion, the frequency of the outbreaks, the duration
of the revolutionary regimes - and the dimension of the Greek
consciousness - thought and literature, Utopia, international
agreements and propaganda - we are then able to appraise correctly
the place of the social-economic conflict and revolution in the last two
centuries of the independence of Greece 22.

21 On this inscription see, for instance : G. D aux, Delphes au IIe et au Ier siècle ,
Paris 1936, p. 319 ff. ; P. Meloni, Perseo , Rome 1953, p. 241 ff. (The reading of this
long inscription is in some places doubtful; I adopt the readings of the editor in
W. Dittenberger's Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum?.)
There is to be found in Polybios important evidence for the social-economic conflict
in Greece in the time of Roman interference and Roman protectorate in Greece, and for
its place in the Greek consciousness of this period. This evidence is, in part, cumulative
evidence from Polybios' description of various cases of such conflict, in part from the
attitude he takes towards the social-economic-political conflicts of the time. An analysis
of this evidence will be given in the work cited in note 6.
22 In view of the reaction of the contemporaries to and their preoccupation with the
social-revolution it is reasonable to suppose that the number of actual outbreaks was
greater, in all probability considerably greater, than the seventy cases or so we have
succeeded in recovering from the sources extant (see above, p. 59). Such assumption seems
to be strengthened by generalizations such as e.g. « the evil plight of Hellas ... no part
of which now remains that is not teeming full of war, staseis , slaughter and evils innumer-
able » (Isoer., Ep. IX 8, cf. above p. 64 f.), and elsewhere. It is also possible that the first
violent outbreak of social-economic stasis , which we have pinpointed as that of Argos

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4. Types

In the about seventy cases of conflict and revolution located I

distinguish the following main types : (a) new-tyranny; (b) mass
movements ; (c) social-political or political-social stasis ; (d) revolution
guided by the heads of the existing political regime ; (e) comprehensive
revolutionary movements ; (f ) economic-social revolution effected
through regular constitutional processes ; (g) the special form taken by
the social-economic conflict in Greece in the time of the Koman
(a) The fourth and third centuries B.C. were the time of the new
tyranny in the Greek world. Many tyrannies had a clearly social-revo-
lutionary character. The tyranny of Apollodoros of Kassandreia in
Macedonia, in the years 280-276 B.C., can serve as an example of this
group of cases. Apollodoros is described in the sources as a demagogue
who seized power after inciting 'slaves and factory workers' to rebel
(oÍKeraç Kal rovç airo épyaarr¡pícov rexviras). When Apollodoros had
seized power, he confiscated 'the property of the rich and redivi-
ded it among the poor (fieraSiBovs toÎç irévr¡ai) and raised the pay
of the soldiers'. Such redivisions were usually carried out on a basis of
equality, though close associates of the tyrant would, of course, have
received much more than the mass of the poor. At any rate, the under-
lying principle of the distributions in Kassandreia was to bestow
benefits on the poor out of property expropriated from the weal-
thy 23.
(b) An outstanding example of mass movements is the case of Argos.
In 370 B.C. stasis broke out in Argos. The leaders of the populace

in 370 B.C. (below, p. 71 f.), was preceded by others, since generalizations such as the
one cited above are to be found in Isokrates before the end of the seventies.
23 Main sources are : Diodorus XXII 5.1-2 ; Polyaenus, Straiegemata II 29.1 ; IV 6.18 ;
VI 7.1-2; VIII 7.2; Aelianus, Varia Historia XIV 41; Apollodorus, apud : F. Jacoby,
Fragmente der griechischen Historiker , Fr. 88; Dio Chrysostomus XIX 52.1-2; 61.2;
Pausanias IV 5.4-5; Plutarchus, Moralia 555b, 556d, 778e; Seneca, De Ira II 5.1; De
Beneficiis VII 19.7 ; Trogus Pompeius, Prologus 25. See : W.W. Tarn, Antigonos Oonatas ,
Oxford 1913, p. 159-172; id., CAH VII, p. 740; U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff,
Antigonos von Karystos , Berlin 1881, p. 232 ff. ; Ern. Meyer, BE, Suppl. X, cols. 628 ff.,
s.v. Poteidaia.

Some other tyrannies with social -revolutionary tint are, for instance, Euphron in
Sicyon (368-365 B.C.); Chairon in Pellene (336/5 B.C.); Klearchos in Heraclea Pontica
(364-352); early rule of Agathokles in Syracuse (317/6 B.C.); Archinos in Argos (266-
263 B.C.) ; Molpagoras in Kios (towards end of third century B.C.).

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72 A. FUKS

incited the demos aga

spired to overthrow
discovered and the con
of the masses contin
sentenced to death, in
rich men of Argos. Th
and their property wa
growing, the leaders o
greatness of the misfo
their accusations. The
liquidated them in the
Argos. The « frenzy »
What took place in Ar
bution of property in
owners were wiped out,
held in the state was c
of property in a 'polis
state, but the confisc
nominal prices, it is l
among the thousands w
(c) The trait commo
social stasis is that, w
or on the social aspect
Although the cases t
we are confronted in all
their leaders, working
'polis' - the 'Ecclesia',
The story of the inte

Main source is Diod. XV
52 ;
Dionysius Halicarnassius
814 B; Aelius Aristides, Pa
H. Swoboda, Hermes 53 (1918), p. 94 ff. ; R. von Pöhlmann, op. cit. I, p. 341;
TH.W. Africa, op. cit., p. 76 n. 37 ; K.J. Beloch, op. cit. III 1, p. 174 f. ; Ed. Meyer,
op. cit. V, p. 420; G. Grote, History of Greece (Everyman's Library, 10), p. 271 ff. ;
F. Oertel, op. cit. t p. 35. I would include in this group the following : the wars of the
debtors on the creditors in Aetolia (174/3 B.C.) and in Perrhaebia (173 B.C.); also the
outbreaks in Corinth (c. 365 B.C. ; the story of Theokles and Thrasonides), and in Mytilene
(c. mid-fourth century ; the story of Praxis) ; possibly also the troubles in the islands of
Keos (c. 280 B.C.), Naxos (c. 280 B.C.), Syros (250-240 B.C.) and Amorgos (c. 250 B.C.)
were of this type; and, perhaps, also the internal troubles in Crete in 181/0-174/3 B.C.

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of the popular generals, Skopas and Dorimachos, for the task of

lators ( v0ļjL0ypd(ļ)0L ) in order to draw up new laws regarding debts
remission of debts may illustrate this type of internal struggle
(d) The classic example of a revolution guided from above by t
heads of the existing political regime is that of Agis and Kleome
The economic position in Sparta in the middle of the third century
B.C. is described by the contemporary historian Phylarchos thus :
'Wealth flowed into the hands of but few men and poverty prevailed
in the State ... there were left no more than seven hundred citizens
and of these there were perhaps a hundred who possessed land and allot-
ment. All the remainder, a multitude without means and bereft of
civic-rights (ox^os airopos Kal arifios) dwelt in the city in idleness,
hoping for some opportunity for change and revolution' ( Kaipòv
¡jLeraßoXrjg Kal fieraardaecog) (Plut., Agis 5.6-7).
And the revolution came - but not through the agency of the Multi-
tude without means and bereft of civic-rights', but from above.
In 243 B.C. King Agis IV put forward his programme : the redistribu-
tion of land in equal lots, the cancellation of debts, the enlargement
of the citizen-body by Spartans who had lost their rights on account
of their poverty and by resident aliens, and a return to the traditional
Spartan way of life. When the plan was rejected by the gerousia , Agis
brought about a bloodless revolution. One of the points of his plan
- the cancellation of debts - was implemented. But in the internal
struggle that was waged over the rest of the programme, the opponents
of the revolution had the upper hand. Agis was deposed and executed.
Fourteen years later Kleomenes III carried out a military coup .
Agis' plan was fully implemented, and apparently inequality was abo-
lished not only in the ownership of land, but in other categories of

25 The source for the case of Aetolia, 205-204 B.C., is Polybios XIII 1, la, 2. See :
R. Flacelière, Les Aitoliens à Delphes, Paris 1937, p. 310 ff. ; M. Holleaux, CAH
VIII, p. 147 f. ; G. Klaffenbach (ed.), Inscriptiones Graecee IX2, 1, p. xxxii ff. ; B. Niese,
Geschichte der griechischen und makedonischen Staaten , Gotha 1899, II, p. 563 ; III, p. 12 ;
F.W. Walbank, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 22 (1936), p. 25 n. 8; U. Wilcken,
RE, s.v. Alexandros (32). Other cases which I include in this group are : Peloponneso
after Leuktra : Megara (370 B.C.) ; Phigaleia (370 B.C.) ; Sicyon (370 B.C.) ; Phlius (370
B.C.); Corinth (370 B.C.); Mantineia (370 B.C.); also, Mesene (c. 215 B.C.); Itanos
(beginning of third century B.C.); Megalopolis (222-217 B.C.); we should also, possibly,
include in this group the events in Boiotia in the late 3rd century, and, perhaps, the
events round Chairon in Sparta, in 182/1 B.C.

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74 A. FUKS

property as well. Hav

(ïarjv y€voļji€vrjv), Kle
of Greece.

These revolutions wer

Kleomenes had suppor
derable sympathy for t
people (oí véoi) were t
Kleomenes we even he
However, an analysis o
revolution came from
plan, and under the g
(e) A comprehensive rev
in the Peloponese in
volution was at its hei
the forces of the 'Ach
siasm swept the cities
nesian states, includin
destiny to the Spartan r
some going over to th
tion from within. Tru
when it became appare
affairs of Sparta and
Sparta. But in the year
ponese a comprehens
Spartan revolution 27.

26 For sources and analysis

CQ 12 (1962), p. 118 ff. ; CP
cases which belong in the sa
B.C.); Nabis and the revolu
27 Main sources are : Plut
52.1-4; 55.8-9; 56; cf. W.W
Sicyon, Cambridge 1933, p.
1937, p. xxiv ff. I count in t
said that they have tied up
would seem to be almost cer
(Kivrļļia) which swept the P
them being his native Mega
Cities who went over to Kle
Corinth, and Kinaitha.
A kind of comprehensive s
in 174-173 B.C. (Above, not

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(f) An economic-social revolution effected through regular co

tional processes is to be seen in Syracuse in 356 B.C.
At the end of 357 B.C. Dion entered Syracuse at the head of a
army of liberation. The largest city in the Hellenic world was
from the tyranny of the most powerful tyrants' house by Di
experienced statesman and ardent adherent of Plato's philo
The populace welcomed Dion as a saviour and chose him as a « st
autokrator » of the Syracusan democracy. But the liberation fr
tyranny of Dionysios was regarded by the demos as only the fir
on the way to freedom. The next step they hoped for should ha
liberation from want and poverty. It soon became apparent, ho
that this was not the path that the intimate of Plato marked out fo
Syracusans. The rule of the cbest', not political and economic dem
was the ideal of the Platonist who had been placed at the head
state. Thus the tension between the leaders of the popular par
Dion continued to increase, until in the summer of 356 B.C. a g
assembly of the people was convened to decide the dispute. Hi
one of the leaders of the popular party, put three proposals t
ekklesia : the deposition of Dion, the disbandment of his a
mercenaries, and the redistribution among the citizens, in
portions, of the lands and houses within the territory of Syrac
the proposals were ratified by a majority of votes. Thus, by a m
vote of a democratic assembly of the people, Syracuse became
time, a state of equality 28.
(g) Finally, there is the special form that the social-economic s
in Greece took in the period of the Roman protectorate. W
entry of Rome into the Greek area a new factor of great impo
was added to the complex of the social problem and the social revolu
in Greece. It soon became clear that Rome was interested in st
and in the preservation of the social-economic status quo, a
prepared to intervene diplomatically and even militarily in the i
struggles of Greece. In the Greek states a general re-orientati
internal redeployment took place in which both national and
economic factors were interlocked. The internal struggle assume
aspect. The lower classes (o^Ao?, Srjfios , plebs, multitudo) were
onistic to Rome and set their hopes for a change of the econo
28 For sources and analysis see CQ 18 (1968), p. 207 ff. Though keeping to
tutional procedure is to be seen in several cases, this is, it seems, the only case
such procedure was fully adhered to throughout.

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76 A. FUKS

social situation on any

Perseus). Among the up
studia. According to th
on Polybios, tria gener
Greece. First, there we
and soul and were read
Then there were the ne
power the sole hope for
anti-Romans, who we
opposed to Rome. These
struggle. The national p
was to rid Greece of t
hopes and longings of
became closely bound u
and economic-social fac
in the time of the Ro
freedom of the Greeks
is a case in point - it w
economic tinge 29 .

5. Patterns

According to a widely held view there are four patterns to the social-
economic revolution in Greece : expropriation of property, redistri-
bution of land, abolition of debts, and manumission of slaves 30. Accord-

29 For sources and evaluation of the Bellum Achaicum see my The Bellum Achaicum
and its Social Aspect, Journal of Hellenic Studies 90 (1970), p. 78 ff. ; see G. de Sanctis,
Storia dei Romani IV 3, Florence 1961, p. 77 ff. Other relevant cases are : Antiochos III
and the Social Question in Greece ; Rome and Nabis' revolutionary rule ; social-economic
troubles in Macedón in 168/7-143/2 B.C. A case of an attempt at social-economic
revolution after the Roman conquest of Greece is that of Dymai in 116-114 B.C., cf.
Scripta Hierosolymitana 23 (1972), p. 21 ff. ; possibly also the case of Malia in Crete is
later than the Roman conquest. Full details on cases mentioned in text and notes of this
paper, and on other cases, will be given in the work cited in n. 6, supra.
30 See, for instance : W.W. Tarn, Social Question , p. 128 : « The complete programme
of the social revolution under four heads»; id., Hellenistic Civilization , p. 112, 124;
R.F. WrLLETS, Aristocratic Society in Ancient Crete , London 1955, p. 226 : « fear of
social revolution... which developed its four-points programme of abolition of debt,
division of land, confiscation of personal property and liberation of slaves to assist its
progress » ; R. von Pöhlmann, op. cit. I, p. 336 ; cf. also G. Busolt & H. Swoboda, op.
cit., p. 1391 f.

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ing to another current view, there were not four but two patt
- abolition of debts and redistribution of land 31. The two views err -
the first both by commission and ommission, the second by ommission.
Expropriation of property and manumission of slaves are not
specific features of the social-economic conflict and are to be excluded,
while two specific characteristics, economic-social equality, or greater
degree of equality, and motivation of the struggle by 'the situation
of wealth and poverty' are lacking.
An examination of all the cases of social-economic conflict and of
the other relevant evidence results in the following.
(1) Redistribution of Land (yrjç avaSaarļios, yrjç fierdSoaiç) is to
be found in many of the cases of social-economic struggle. The redistri-
bution is made in equal allotments. Sometimes the revolution breaks
out in the name of this demand, sometimes the division of land
results from victory in the internal struggle, without there being a
defined request for it beforehand. One way or the other, yrjs avaSaa-
fjLos is a basic feature and characteristic of the revolution 32.
(2) Abolition of Debts (xpeœv ¿77-0^07777, XP€^V afaois) also occurs
in many of the cases, frequently together with redistribution of land.
At times the call is for the complete abolition of all debts, at times the
demand is for the cancellation of a given category of debts only.
Mostly the movement arises for the purpose of obtaining abolition of
debts, but at times this comes after the establishment of the revolu-
tionary regime, in order to strengthen it. One way or the other, xpeow
arroKOTTTj is a basic feature and characteristic of the social-economic
(3) Economic-social equality (iaorrjs, icroļioīpia) is likewise to be
counted among the basic features and characteristics of the revolution.
Sometimes iaoTrjs, 'equality', or laofjLOLpia, 'equality of landed
property', appears as declared aim of the movement, sometimes
31 M. Rostovtzeff, op. cit. III, p. 1126 ; H. Bolkestein, op. cit., p. 18 ; A.B. Büchsen-
schütz, op. cit., p. 35 ff. ; Fustel de Coulanges, Pohybe et la Grèce, p. 127 ; G. Glotz,
Travail, p. 177 ff. ; A.B. Ranowitsch, Der Hellenismus , Berlin 1958, p. 16.
32 Cases of limited redistribution following on « proscriptive atimia » are not necessarily
indicative of social-economic conflict (see D. Asheri, Distribuzioni , p. 43 ff., in his
chapter on : « Proscrizione e distribuzione agraria »). It is not difficult to discern between
such cases and those indicative of social-economic conflict. Enlargement of the citizen-
body ( àvaiTÁ-qpújais ) is often accompanied by comprehensive Redistribution of Land;
thus anaplerosis sometimes helps to identify cases of social -revolutionary Redistribution
of Land.

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78 A. FUKS

equality, or greater d
struggle, or after victor
(4) Situation of ' pover
strife in the ' polis ' s
social-economic conflict in late classical and Hellenistic Greece.
The words 7 révères, ťthe poor', and 7 tXovgloc, ťthe rich', which fre-
quently occur as designations of the opposing sides in internal
struggle in the 'polis', do not by themselves indicate the character of
the strife, because they not infrequently stand simply for 'the many'
(oí 7toAAo/ ) and 'the few' (òÁíyoi). However, it sometimes transpires
from the evaluations in the sources themselves, or from the analysis
of the course of events, or from both, that the conflict was due to the
fact that the sides were ťthe poor' and 'the rich' respectively. In other
words, that it arose because of the situation of 'poverty versus riches'
(TT€vla Kal 7tÁovtos). Such a motivation of an internal strife is also
a specific characteristic of social-economic conflict and revolution.
There are cases in which all these four patterns are to be found, and
there are other - more numerous - in which we find some of them,
or one only. Each one of these chracteristics is in itself a sufficient
criterion for diagnosing that the event belongs to the social-economic
conflict and revolution.
On the other hand, 'manumission of slaves' and 'expropriation of
property' are not specific characteristics of the phenomenon under
discussion - pace Tarn and several other scholars, who count them
among the classical patterns of social revolution in the Hellenistic
The freeing of slaves as a solution to the problem of slavery is not
to be found at all in Greek experience. A number of slaves are some-
times liberated in order to increase the manpower during a violent
stasis in a 'polis'. Such manumissions are at times also associated with
instances of social revolution, especially with cases of revolutionary
tyranny. But the liberation of slaves is not specific to social revolution,
and likewise occurs in many cases of internal struggle in a 'polis',
which differ in their nature from the social-economic conflict and
revolution. This also goes for 'expropriation of property'. It accom-
panies revolutions and internal struggles of various types and in
different periods of Greek history. It appears in certain instances of
social conflict, but is not specific to it. Together with the 'manumission
of slaves', the 'expropriation of property' must be regarded as a possible

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concomitant phenomenon, not as a basic feature and characteris

social revolution.
Although the types of social revolution are many, both in respect of
the course of events and in regard to the various combinations of the
four patterns, all the cases on which our discussion is based have a
common denominator - the aspiration and hope for a change in the
social-economic position in the 'polis'. It seems to me that the direction
of this hoped for change is towards equality, or greater degree of it 83.
Thus we come to the last question in this study - that of the ideologi-
cal premises behind the facts.

6. Ideological Premises

In most of the cases we are faced solely with actions, and can but
conjecture the underlying assumptions. At times, however, we are
able to grasp some ideological premises. Some ideological reasoning
has been preserved for us in respect of the revolutions of Agis and
of Kleomenes in Sparta, and it undoubtedly holds good for the regime
of Nabis, who regarded himself as following in the footsteps of Agis
and Kleomenes, and also perhaps for the attempts of Cheilon and Chairon.
Also, it is a reasonable assumption that the enthusiasm shown by the
Peloponnesian states for the Spartan revolution was inspired not only
by the acts of Agis and Kleomenes but also by some of their ideas.
Outside the Peloponnese we find an ideological justification only in
connection with the Syracusan revolution.
In the ideology of Agis and Kleomenes there are both social-economic
and national features. The return to the 'Ancestral Constitution of
Lykourgos', is a line of thought emphasized in the thinking of both
Agis and Kleomenes. For both of them the declared ideal was a return
38 For some differention between a « political » stasis and a « social-economic » stasis,
the first being characteristic of the classical age and the latter of the late classical and
Hellenistic age, see my paper Thucydides and the stasis in Corcyrai Thuc. Ill , 82-3
versus [Thuc.] Ill , 84, AJPh 92 (1971), p. 48 ff. The comparison of the stasis in Corcyra
as Thucydides sees it and the approach of the later interpolator, who wrote what is now
ch. 84 in Book III, shows a significant difference. To be sure, we should not think in
terms of purely political or purely social-economic conflicts. In the « classical » conflicts,
on the lines of democracy versus oligarchy, the supporters of democracy were, in the main,
the lower classes, who, by and large, identified the democratic interest with their own
economic and social benefit. Also, in many of « political » staseis there are social-economic
motives, and in many of « social-economic » conflicts there are motives of internal politics,
or of external politics, or both.

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80 A. FUKS

to the glorious past of

and the life of the i
as it existed, or it wa
divine lawgiver' 34.
ment of the life of Sp
to serve as the basis f
The foundation for th
sidered by them to
revolutionary econom
Kleomenes as a return
Equality (laorrjç) is i
to the renewal of Spa
overall economic- soci
The abolition of debt
tion of land, and the
its object the establ
equality had to prevai
according to Kleomen
monetary assests 35. A
and riches' there must
equality, an overall
equal state-education
simplicity as in Spart
common-mess (uvea l
Thus Life of Equality

Equality in the ideology of the Syracusan revolution was less general

and more specific. We have already mentioned earlier 36 that in the
Assembly that took place in Syracuse in the summer of 356 the popular
leader Hippon proposed the redistribution of land and houses. Before
the vote was taken he explained the reasons for his proposal. He argued
that immovable property must be redistributed 'since equality is
the beginning of freedom, while poverty is the beginning of servitude
for the destitute' (œs ¿Xevdcpíaç àpXVv °vaa<v rrjv rrevíav tols a/cr^-

34 See CP 57 (1962), p. 161 ; on the motive of irarpios iroXtreia in Greek political

thought cf. : A. Fuks, The Ancestral Constitution , London 1953.
35 See CP 57 (1962), p. 163 ff. ; also above, note 26.
36 Above, p. 75 and note 28.

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/ logi ) (Plut., Dion 37.5). It appears that the underlying principle

redistribution was 'equality' (Icrórrjç) and that it was carried o
the sake of equality. Moreover, not only does equality appear he
goal, but express theoretical argument is cited in substantiation
idea of equality. The passage cited advances the same idea
- once positively and once negatively - this in the form o
equations : 'equality' (IgÓttjs) = 'freedom' (¿ÁevOepía) ; 'pov
(iT€vla) = 'servitude' (SovÁeía).
Freedom (¿Áevdepía) is both a political and economic con
meaning freedom from tyranny, from foreign rule, or economic fr
'Equality' (laórrjç) sometimes signifies political- juridical equ
sometimes economic equality. Also 'servitude' (SovXela) ha
meanings : political servitude, or economic servitude. But it is b
reasonable doubt that the connotation of the term 'poverty' {ir
is economic and economic only ; and in conformity with this w
to interpret the other three concepts 37. Thus 'equality' in our p
is economic equality, 'servitude' is economic-social servitude of
man to another, and 'freedom' is the freedom of a man from
economic dependence on another.
The idea in general is : there is no true liberty without econo
equality, be the political order what it may; nor is true civic l
in a state possible except on the basis of economic-social equalit
These reasons given for the redistribution of property ha
special connexion with the affairs of Syracuse, though they are
to us from Syracuse in 356 B.C. They are of a general characte
have a general application. It seems probable that such - or sim
reasoning was resorted to not only in the revolution of Syracus
also in other, similar revolutions in regard to which no record h
preserved concerning the premises underlying the facts.

On this examination the Social Question and the Social-eco

Conflict and Revolution emerge, I submit, not as a marginal phe
non but as one of the outstanding processes in the history
classical and Hellenistic Greece.

Jerusalem Alexander Foks

The Hebrew University

See CQ 18 (1968), p. 218 ff.

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