Books of the month
May - 2023
POVERTY IN CLASSICAL ATHENS
Realidades e imágenes de la pobreza en la Atenas clásica (Peter Lang, 2022, 522 pages, US$101.95), by Aida Fernández Prieto, departs from a broad definition of poverty, which encompasses not only economic, but social and cultural aspects, to understand poverty in Classical Athens in its various facets. Through literary and legal sources, the author seeks an approximation to the Athenian conception of poverty and the terminology used in the sources. Thus, the author explores the socioeconomic and legal situation of poor citizens and non-citizens, as well as the strategies and resources that these people have to deal with their situation, in which physical and symbolic spaces the phenomenon of poverty manifests itself and, finally, the way in which the poor and destitute are represented and the uses of these images in Athenian literature.
DIRT AND MARGINALISATION
In Dirt and denigration: stigma and marginalization in Ancient Rome (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2022. p. 250, 99 €), Jack Lennon explores how categories of dirt, pollution, and contamination were associated with processes of social, economic, political and ritual exclusion and stigmatization in Rome and Roman Italy between the 2nd century BCE and the 2nd century CE. Lennon explores processes of marginalization through attributions of impurities to the practices of pimps, prostitutes, actors, gladiators, undertakers, as well as foreigners and enslaved people. Lennon also seeks to demonstrate how stigmas of dirt would be disseminated and perpetuated by all social levels, as well as to trace the role that these notions assumed in supporting or undermining social and political hierarchies. It should be noted that the verb “denigrate” carries a negative connotation, which demonstrates how Lennon's arguments in favor of ambiguities and persistence regarding stigma, dirt, and exclusion are paradoxically true.