Civil Society History I: Antiquity
Main Characteristics of the Period
Although the term “civil society” is an ancient coinage, its meaning has since undergone such a great change that it is not self-evident to talk about civil society (in the modern sense of the word) concerning antiquity without reservation. However, as will be clear later, the old and the modern usages are not totally unrelated, and it may prove to be illuminative of the understanding of present-day civil societies to look for ancient counterparts.
General Economic and Political Conditions
Throughout this entry antiquity will be understood as classical antiquity, that is, the Greco-Roman world, covering the time span from ca. 600 BCE to 476 CE.
All ancient societies were more or less complex agrarian (or pre-industrial) societies organized politically in states. Since the economic integration of larger areas was extremely difficult due to the underdeveloped technologies of agricultural production and transportation, they could only be integrated by...
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