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Ancient History from Below : Subaltern Experiences and Actions in Context

ed. by Cyril Courrier and Julio Cesar Magalhães de Oliveira

Ancient History from Below : Subaltern Experiences and Actions in Context / ed. by Cyril Courrier and Julio Cesar Magalhães de Oliveira. Routledge, 2021. 320 p. (Routledge Monographs in Classical Studies).
ISBN : 978-0-367-42441-1 (hbk) ; ISBN : 978-1-032-07880-9 (pbk) ; ISBN : 978-1-003-00514-8 (ebk)
DOI : 10.4324/9781003005148

Présentation

If ancient history is particularly susceptible to a top-down approach, due to the nature of our evidence and its traditional exploitation by modern scholars, another ancient history—‘from below’—is actually possible. This volume examines the possibilities and challenges involved in writing it.

Despite undeniable advances in recent decades, ‘our slowness to reconstruct plausible visions of almost any aspect of society beyond the top-most strata of wealth, power or status’ (as Nicholas Purcell has put it) remains a persistent feature of the field. Therefore, this book concerns a historical field and social groups that are still today neglected by modern scholarship. However, writing ancient history ‘from below’ means much more than taking into account the anonymous masses, the subaltern classes and the non-elites. Our task is also, in the felicitous expression coined by Walter Benjamin, ‘to brush history against the grain,’ to rescue the viewpoint of the subordinated, the traditions of the oppressed. In other words, we should understand the bulk of ancient populations in light of their own experience and their own reactions to that experience. But, how do we do such a history ? What sources can we use ? What methods and approaches can we employ ? What concepts are required to this endeavour ? The contributions mainly engage with questions of theory and methodology, but they also constitute inspiring case studies in their own right, ranging from classical Greece to the late antique world.

This book is aimed not only at readers working on classical Greece, republican and imperial Rome and late antiquity but at anyone interested in ‘bottom-up’ history and social and population history in general. Although the book is primarily intended for scholars, it will also appeal to graduate and undergraduate students of history, archaeology and classical studies. (Extr. du site de l’éditeur, https://www.routledge.com/Ancient-History-from-Below-Subaltern-Experiences-and-Actions-in-Context/Courrier-Oliveira/p/book/9780367424411)

Table des matières

Ancient history from below : an introduction
JULIO CESAR MAGALHÃES DE OLIVEIRA AND CYRIL COURRIER

PART 1 - Who is below ? Subaltern conditions, languages and communities

Subaltern community formation in antiquity : some methodological reflections
KOSTAS VLASSOPOULOS

Southern Gaul from below : the limits and possibilities of epigraphic documentation
CYRIL COURRIER AND NICOLAS TRAN

PART 2 - Experiences of poverty, dependency and work

Poverty, debt and dependent labour in the ancient Greek world : thinking through some issues in doing ancient history from below
CLAIRE TAYLOR

Destitute, homeless and (almost) invisible : urban poverty and the rental market in the Roman world
CRISTINA ROSILLO-LÓPEZ

Roman agriculture from above and below : words and things
KIM BOWES

PART 3 - Gender, ethnicity and subalternity 155

Hellenicity from below : subalternity and ethnicity in classical Greece and beyond
GABRIEL ZUCHTRIEGEL

Subaltern masculinities : Pompeian graffiti and excluded memories in the early Principate
RENATA SENNA GARRAFFONI

PART 4 - Politics from below : subaltern agency and collective action

Metics, slaves and citizens in classical Athens : rethinking the polis from below
FÁBIO AUGUSTO MORALES

What is below ? The case of the Athenian riot of 508/7 BC
ALEX GOTTESMAN

Slave agency in Livy’s history of Rome : between rebellion and counterconspiracy
FÁBIO DUARTE JOLY

The crowd in late antiquity : problems and possibilities of an inquiry
JULIO CESAR MAGALHÃES DE OLIVEIRA

Epilogue : agency, past, present and future
PEDRO PAULO A. FUNARI