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The Fabric of Gifts

Culture and Politics of Giving and Exchange in Archaic Greece

ByBeate Wagner-Hasel

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When the Greek leader Agamemnon took for himself the woman awarded to Achilles as his spoils of battle, the warrior’s resulting anger and outrage nearly cost his side the war. Beyond the woman herself was what she symbolised — a matter of esteem rather than material value. In Archaic Greece the practices of gift giving existed alongside an economy of market relations. The value of gifts and the meanings of exchange in ancient societies are fundamental to the debates of 19th-century economists, to Marcel Mauss’s famous Essai sur le don (1923-4), and to the definition of experiential value by modern philosopher Yanis Varoufakis. In this book Beate Wagner-Hasel analyses the sensory content and the social context of many examples of Greeks bearing gifts: to guests, at sacrificial rituals and at funerals, to brides and to heroes. The fabric of these gifts unfolds a panorama of social networks and models of rulership embedded in a world of pastoral and textile economy. Among the gifted objects that represent this world, textiles offer the clearest representation of social cohesion — the key value ascribed to the gift by the earliest theorists of gift-giving.

Details

Publication Date
Jul 9, 2020
Language
English
ISBN
9781609621735
Category
History
Copyright
All Rights Reserved - Standard Copyright License
Contributors
By (author): Beate Wagner-Hasel

Specifications

Pages
428
Binding
Perfect Bound
Interior Color
Black & White
Dimensions
US Trade (6 x 9 in / 152 x 229 mm)

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