A History of Trust in Ancient Greece

October 31, 2020
A History of Trust in Ancient Greece

An enormous amount of literature exists on Greek law, economics,and political philosophy. Yet no one has written a history oftrust, one of the most fundamental aspects of social and economicinteraction in the ancient world. In this fresh look at antiquity,Steven Johnstone explores the way democracy and markets flourishedin ancient Greece not so much through personal relationships asthrough trust in abstract systems—including money, standardizedmeasurement, rhetoric, and haggling.Focusing on markets and democratic politics, Johnstone draws onspeeches given in Athenian courts, histories of Athenian democracy,comic writings, and laws inscribed on stone to examine how thesesystems worked. He analyzes their potentials and limitations andhow the Greeks understood and critiqued them. In providing thefirst comprehensive account of these pervasive and crucial systems,A History of Trust in Ancient Greece links Greek political,economic, social, and intellectual history in new ways andchallenges contemporary analyses of trust and civil society.