Status in Ideology and Practice
This chapter summarizes key themes and presents some final thoughts. Through close analysis of various forms of evidence—literary, epigraphic, and legal—this book demonstrated that classical Athens had a spectrum of statuses, ranging from the base chattel slave to the male citizen with full civic rights. It showed that Athenian democracy was in practice both more inclusive and more exclusive than one might expect based on its civic ideology: more inclusive in that even slaves and noncitizens “shared in” the democratic polis, more exclusive in that not all citizens were equal participants in the social, economic, and political life of the city. The book also showed the flexibility of status boundaries, seemingly in opposition to the dominant ideology of two or three status groups divided neatly from one another: slave versus free, citizen versus noncitizen, or slave versus metic versus citizen.
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