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Gift and Gain: How Money Transformed Ancient Rome (Neil Coffee) Hardcover Book, (Oxford University Press, 2016) 9780190496432
Gift and Gain: How Money Transformed Ancient Rome (Neil Coffee) Hardcover Book, (Oxford University Press, 2016) 9780190496432
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Title: Gift and Gain: How Money Transformed Ancient Rome

Author: Coffee, Neil

Publisher: Oxford University Press; Publication Date: 2016

Hardcover; ISBN: 9780190496432

Volumes: 1; Pages: 312

List Price in Hardcover: $74.00 Our price: $59.99

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The economy of ancient Rome, with its long-range trade, widespread moneylending, and companies of government contractors, was surprisingly modern. Yet Romans also exchanged goods and services within a traditional system of gifts and favors, which sustained the supportive relationships necessary for survival in the absence of extensive state and social institutions. In Gift and Gain: How Money Transformed Ancient Rome, Neil Coffee shows how a vibrant commercial culture progressively displaced systems of gift giving over the course of Rome's classical era. The change was propelled by the Roman elite, through their engagement in a variety of profit-making enterprises. Members of the same elite, however, remained habituated to traditional gift relationships, relying on them to exercise influence and build their social worlds. They resisted the transformation, through legislation, political movements, and philosophical argument. The result was a recurring clash across the contexts of Roman social and economic life.

Neil Coffee's comprehensive volume traces the conflict between gift and gain from Rome's prehistory down through the conflicts of the late Republic and into the early Empire, showing its effects in areas as diverse as politics, law, philosophy, personal and civic patronage, marriage, and the Latin language. These investigations show Rome shifting, unevenly but steadily, away from its pre-historic reliance on mutual aid and toward the sort of commercial and contractual relations typical of the modern world.

Table of Contents

List of Figures


Chapter 1: Locating the Fault Line: Concepts and Scope

Part 1: The Middle Republic: Adaptation

Chapter 2: Looking Forward from Archaic Rome

Chapter 3: Adapting the Law in the Age of Cato

Chapter 4: Ideological Flexibility: Cato and Ennius

Chapter 5: Life Before Liberality: Plautus and Terence

Chapter 6: The Gracchi and the Failure of Collective Generosity

Part 2: The Late Republic: Exploitation

Chapter 7: Crooked Generosity in the Late Republic

Chapter 8: Cicero between Justice and Expediency

Chapter 9: Sallust and the Decline of Reciprocity

Chapter 10: Caesar's Wicked Gifts

Chapter 11: Atticus: Banker, Benefactor, Paragon

Part 3: The Early Empire: Separation

Chapter 12: Prying Worlds Apart: The Augustan Response

Chapter 13: Seneca's Philosophical Cure

Part 4: Conclusions

Chapter 14: Halfway to Modernity



Index of Quoted Works

General Index

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