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MARXISM AND ANCIENT HISTORY Author(s): R. I. Frank Source: Arethusa, Vol. 8, No. 1, MARXISM

MARXISM AND ANCIENT HISTORY Author(s): R. I. Frank Source: Arethusa, Vol. 8, No. 1, MARXISM AND THE CLASSICS (Spring 1975), pp. 43-58 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: Accessed: 05-03-2019 20:26 UTC

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R. I. Frank

IP Rom the first Marxist thought relied on history for demon

tion of its theories, and in turn Marxists have re-interpreted th

in terms of those theories. The study of Antiquity has been p

fully influenced by this. In what follows three large topics are

sidered: (1) basic elements of Marxist theory; (2) some outst

examples of Marxist studies of Antiquity; (3) recent work on a p

lar problem, the fall of the Roman Empire.

In the beginning was the Word. So let us begin with the b

text of Marxist historical analysis:

Das allgemeine Resultat, das sich mir ergab und, einmal gewonnen, meinen Studien zum Leitfaden diente, kann kurz so formuliert werden: In der gesellschaftlichen Produktion ihres Lebens gehen die Menschen bestimmte, notwendige, von ihrem Willen unabhängige Verhältnisse

ein, Produktionsverhältnisse, die einer bestimmten

Entwicklungstufe ihrer materiellen Produktivkräfte ent sprechen. Die Gesamtheit dieser Produktionsverhältnisse

bildet die ökonomische Struktur der Gesellschaft, die

reale Basis, worauf sich ein juristischer und politischer

Uberbau erhebt, und welcher bestimmte gesellschaftliche

Bewusstseinsformen entsprechen. Die Produktionsweise

des materiellen Lebens bedingt den sozialen, politischen

und geistigen Lebensprozess überhaupt. Es ist nicht das

Bewusstsein der Menschen, das ihr Sein, sondern

umgekehrt ihr gesellschaftliches Sein, das ihr Bewusstsein

bestimmt. Auf einer gewissen Stufe ihrer Entwicklung geraten die materiellen Produktivkräfte der Gesellschaft

in Widerspruch mit den vorhandenen Produktionsverhältnis

sen oder, was nur ein juristischer Ausdruck dafür ist, mit

den Eigentumsverhältnissen, innerhalb deren sie sich


Arethusa Vol. 8 (1975) 1.

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/. Frank

bisher bewegt hatten. Aus Entwicklungsformen der

Produktivkräfte schlagen diese Verhältnisse in Fesseln

derselben um. Es tritt dann eine Epoche sozialer Revolu

tion ein. Mit der Veränderung der ökonomischen Grund

lage wälzt sich der ganze ungeheure Uberbau langsamer

oder rascher um. In der Betrachtung solcher Umwälzungen muss man stets unterscheiden zwischen der materiellen,

naturwissenschaftlich treu zu konstatierenden Umwälzung

in den ökonomischen Produktionsbedingungen und den

juristischen, politischen, religiösen, künstlerischen oder philosophischen, kurz, ideologischen Formen, worin

sich die Menschen dieses Konflikts bewusst werden und

ihn ausfechten. Sowenig man das, was ein Individuum ist, nach dem beurteilt, was es sich selbst dünkt, ebensowenig kann man eine solche Umwälzungsepoche aus ihrem

Bewusstsein beurteilen, sondern muss vielmehr dies

Bewusstein aus den Widersprüchen des materiellen Lebens, aus dem vorhandenen Konflikt zwischen gesell

schaftlichen Produktivkräften und Produktionsverhältnis

sen erklären. Eine Gesellschaftsformation geht nie unter,

bevor alle Produktivkräfte entwickelt sind, für die sie

weit genug ist, und neue höhere Produktionsverhältnisse

treten nie an die Stelle, bevor die materiellen Existenz

bedingungen derselben im Schoss der alten Gesellschaft

selbst ausgerbrütet worden sind. Daher stellt sich die

Menschheit immer nur Aufgaben, die sie lösen kann, denn

genauer betrachtet, wird sich stets finden, dass die

Aufgabe selbst nur entspringt, wo die materiellen Bedin

gungen ihrer Lösung schon vorhanden oder wenigstens im

Prozess ihres Werdens begriffen sind. In grossen Umrissen

können asiatische, antike, feudale und modern bürgerliche

Produktionsweisen als progressive Epochen der ökonomis

chen Gesellschaftsformation bezeichnet werden. Die

bürgerlichen Produktionsverhältnisse sind die letzte antagonistische Form des gesellschaftlichen Produk


The general conclusion at which I arrived and which,once reached, became the guiding principle of my studies can

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Marxism and Ancient History 45

be summarised as follows. In the social production of

their existence, men inevitably enter into definite rela tions, which are independent of their will, namely rela tions of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on

which arises a legal and political superstructure and to

which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the

general process of social, political and intellectual life.

It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their

consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the

material productive forces of society come into conflict

with the existing relations of production or — this merely

expresses the same thing in legal terms - with the

property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto.

From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era

of social revolution. The changes in the economic founda

tion lead sooner or later to the transformation of the

whole immense superstructure. In studying such trans

formations it is always necessary to distinguish between

the material transformation of the economic conditions of

production, which can be determined with the precision of

natural science, and the legal, political, religious,

artistic or philosophic - in short, ideological forms in

which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it

out. Just as one does not judge an individual by what he

thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the con

trary, this consciousness must be explained from the

contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing

between the social forces of production and the relations

of production. No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been

developed, and new superior relations of production

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R. J. Frank

never replace older ones before the material conditions

for their existence have matured within the framework of

the old society. Mankind thus inevitably sets itself only

such tasks as it is able to solve, since closer examina

tion will always show that the problem itself arises only

when the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least in the course of formation. In broad

outline, the Asiatic, ancient, feudal and modern bourgeois

modes of production may be designed as epochs marking progress in the economic development of society. The

bourgeois mode of production is the last antagonistic form

of the social process of production 1

That statement was written in 1859, and it is an important and striking fact that after more than a century Marxist analysis still remains with

in the framework it describes. Certain features of that framework

deserve emphasis here:

(1) Positivism. Marxist thought begins with the claim to be scientific, to have discovered the principle of causation in society's development, and to have identified the successive stages in that

development. These successive stages constitute a progressive series, in which change occurs because of general forces and marks a transition from lower to higher forms. The process is explicable in terms of laws, evolution, and process — all generally applicable to

all human societies. Marxist thought is therefore scientific and positivistic; "scientific history, in principle just as physics does,

singles out from the unique course of events partial phenomena that

repeat themselves."2

To some, including most Marxists, the use of the term positiv ism here will seem unwarranted and hostile. To this the response

must be that a distinctly positivistic element appeared very early in

Marxist thought and has persisted to this day. An example: in 1907

Edward Aveling, an associate of Marx and in fact his son-in-law,

published a work of popularization in which he compared Marx to

Darwin and defined the Hegelian law of quantitative alteration in

terms of the variations in carbon compounds caused by the addition of

CH2.3 This tendency is present in Marx's works, and it has continued;

witness Lenin's doctrine of the five stages of development, to be

found in the histories of all peoples without exception. That doctrine

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Marxism and Ancient History 47

is still binding on historians of Antiquity

is held by some Marxists elsewhere.4

Furthermore, it is not a priori impossible that society and culture may be explicable in terms of regularities and laws just as

nature is. To reject that possibility out of hand is prejudiced and

primitive. Positivism must be taken seriously.

(2) Historicism. "Man is only individualized through the process of history."5 In this and in many other places Marx insists that change and development are the subject of history, rather than

essences or absolute values. He even on occasion stressed individual

ity and contingency. Here is a striking example, which happens to

be of particular interest here:

Now what application to Russia can ray critic make of

this historical sketch? Only this: If Russia is tending to become a capitalist nation after the example of the West

ern European countries, and during the last years she

has been taking a lot of trouble in this direction - she

will not succeed without having first transformed a good

part of her peasants into proletarians; and after that,

once taken to the bosom of the capitalist regime, she will experience its pitiless laws like other profane

peoples. That is all. But that is not enough for my critic. He feels himself obliged to metamorphose my historical

sketch of the genesis of capitalism in Western Europe

into an historico-philosophic theory of the marche general

[general path] imposed by fate upon every people, what ever the historic circumstances in which it finds itself,

in order that it may ultimately arrive at the form of econo

my which will ensure, together with the greatest expan sion of the productive powers of social labour, the most

complete development of man. But I beg his pardon. (He

is both honouring and shaming me too much.) Let us

take an example.

In several parts of Capital I allude to the fate which

overtook the plebeians of ancient Rome. They were

originally free peasants, each cultivating his own piece

of land on his own account. In the course of Roman his tory they were expropriated. The same movement which

divorced them from their means of production and sub

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R. I. Frank











other, in

all the acquired wealth in possession. What happened? The Roman proletarians became, not wage labourers but a mob of do-nothings more abject than the former "poor

whites" in the southern country of the United States, and

alongside of them there developed a mode of production which was not capitalist but dependent upon slavery.

Thus events strikingly analogous but taking place in dif

ferent historic surroundings led to totally different results.

By studying each of these forms of evolution separately

and then comparing them one can easily find the clue to this phenomenon, but one will never arrive there by the universal passport of a general historico-philosophical theory, the supreme virtue of which consists in being

super-historical .6

In its continuing insistence on the role of "historic surround

ings," and on the distinct character of the successive stages of

human history, Marxist thought is profoundly historicist. That is, it does not look at the past according to the premises and values of the

present, nor does it flatten out differences by reference to transcendent

categories: Man, the Human Condition, Freedom, etc. Rather, it

insists on the differences and discontinuities in human history, and

on the "pastness" of the past.

(3) Philosophy. At the same time Marx argued from a set of

convictions about man's essential nature and needs. Historical

development was evaluated according as it led to the fulfillment of

"man's nature." This has continued to be a fundamental feature of

Marxist thought. The classic text is in Engels. After describing how private property destroyed the primitive community and led to class

antagonisms, he concluded with a denunciation of civilization based

on private property and a prophecy that one day property would again

be communal, antagonisms would disappear, and the essential values

of tribal society would be revived.

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Marxism and Ancient History 49

The dissolution of society bids fair to becom

tion of a career of which property is the

because such a career contains the elements of self

destruction. Democracy in government, brotherhood in

society, equality in rights and privileges, and universal education, foreshadow the next higher plane of society

to which experience, intelligence and knowledge are

steadily tending. It will be a revival, in a higher form, of

the liberty, equality and fraternity of the ancient gentes.7

Engels is quoting here from Lewis Morgan,8 who in turn draws upon

the vocabulary and ideals of the Enlightenment. Marx, too, shared the

vision of a time when class antagonisms would vanish, as the quota tion with which I began shows. Thus nineteenth century Utopian

thought entered Marxism, and it has continued to be an important

feature of Marxism to this day.9

Here, then, Marxism relies on a set of philosophic and moral

ideas about Man, an "anthropology." Hence a moral opposition to

those things which are judged to be obstacles to the realization of

Man's essential nature, such as alienation, class conflict, and in

equality. Hence too a focus on the changes in history which have

transformed a society and brought it closer to the time when these obstacles will be removed. Ultimately, then, the focus of Marxist

thought is fixed on the point in the future when man will at last ful

fill himself; it has "the mission of raising humanity to a higher


Our conclusion, then, is a paradox. A system of thought which

calls itself materialist is in fact — at least in the context of con

temporary thought — fundamentally idealist. Marxism is profoundly

influenced — indeed, shaped — by a vision of the way things ought

to be. Right or wrong, this vision has spurred Marxist scholars to ask

basic questions and construct great syntheses. That is why their

work has had such influence and impact.

Another conclusion: Marxism includes elements which are dis

parate and even, perhaps, inconsistent. The relative importance of

these elements, the relation of each to the ideas of the Founder, and

possibilities for harmonizing them are all vast subjects. Fortunately

they need not concern us here.

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50 R.l. Frank


1. Pre- and proto-history: The basic work here is Engels' study

of the institution of private property and its effects, in which a fully

developed general scheme of the stages of human society is pro

pounded." The work, perhaps the most influential text in the Marxist

canon, was based on the best of contemporary scholarship which had

been excerpted and commented upon by Marx. Engels used these notes,

and they have recently been published with a valuable analysis.12

The general scheme of stages has remained a basic factor of Marxist

anthropology and history in the Communist sphere, despite reserva

tions by those who emphasize empirical research, variations, and

diffusion; the classic formulation is by Stalin.13 The importance of

this schema is fundamental, for it provides the "scientific basis"

for the theory of the "primitive community," which was without

private property and consequent antagonisms, and which is the model of the society of the future where cooperation will prevail. Western

Marxists adhere to this doctrine, in a somewhat more sophisticated

form, but still relying upon the category of "historical necessity."14

The crucial problem here is the theory that land was originally held in common by the primitive community. Marx insisted on this:

man's being was originally based on his existence "as a member of a


in land than he could speak."15 This was in fact the opinion of most

scholars in the nineteenth century, among them Mommsen, as Fustel

de Coulanges noted in an irritated review of the question. He argued in opposition that the only thing proven was that land had been held

in common by the family and clan, and that this cannot be equated with communal ownership.16 There the argument still rests, since

Marxist scholars ignore the distinction,17 whereas non-Marxists stress family ownership.18 Jan Pecirka has published a useful Marxist review

of the problem.19

An isolated individual could no more possess property

2. Ancient Near East: Marx distinguished a separate Asiatic

mode of production, which was subsequently dropped by Marxists, especially those in Communist lands.20 In 1957 the concept, with its

special emphasis on political authority ("despotism") was revived

and expanded in a fundamental work by an East German scholar,

Elisabeth Welskopf.21

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Marxism and Ancient History 51

In the same year a remarkable work

by Karl Wittfogel, an ex-Marxist wh

fluenced by contemporary cold war con

criticized for this, and for extending it other hand, it presents a clear analysis

tion systems in Egypt, Mesopotamia,

vincingly explains the basic differences

societies of Asia and the pluralist societ

of the most ambitious and challenging w

3. Greece: Gilbert Murray, in his ina

announced that "Greece, and not Gree

study."25 No one has continued this trad

Thomson, at once thorough philologist major work he has given the best availa

institutions, with particular referenc

institutions, and basic ideas in the H

work did the same for the plays of Aesc

are probably the best introduction in E

relating literature to society with all t

beia combined with unusually illuminating insights. For example,

Thomson argues that the basic Greek concept of fate and destiny

(moira) was derived from the duties and privileges associated with

membership in the clan ("the economic and social functions of primi

tive communism"): that this membership was symbolized by marking

the baby's clothes with the clan totem which survived in the "tokens"

(gnorismata) of Menander's comedies, and that at the center of

Aeschylus' attitudes is the consciousness that there had once been

a time when moira was supreme.28

Plato and Platonism are at the center of two notable interpreta

tions of Greek intellectual history. Benjamin Farrington published in

1936 a fairly conventional sketch of ancient scientific thought; Socrates appears as a foe of scepticism, Plato as a supporter of mathematics versus physics.27 Three years later he published a

Marxist and much more original account; Plato's ideas are related to

contemporary class conflicts and - its most striking feature — the

full significance of Epicurus as an opponent of Platonism is de

veloped.30 Oligarchic reaction and religion, he argues, stifled ancient

enlightenment and science.31

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R.I. Frank









racy, and

a larger






to his aristocratic values and politics.33 The work is a remarkable

argument for the inherent connection between conservative politics and idealist philosophy. At the same time it has many passages of

close analysis, such as a subtle discussion of the semantic con

nection between "temperate" (söphrön) and punishment in aristocratic


A very unusual and quite specifically Marxist work is Elisabeth

Welskopfs study of leisure in ancient Greece, the role it plays in

Aristotle's thought, and the significance this has for modern society.

The conceptual basis rests on a careful study of Marx's and Lenin's

speculations on the subject. The central idea is that in a socialist

society all will enjoy the freedom which in ancient Greece was the

prerogative of a small elite.3S

4. Hellenistic World: A valuaDie point 01 departure is pruviaeu

by a long review of Rostovtzeff's basic study by the leading Russ

historian, Abram Ranowitsch. Precisely because he generously

ognizes the enormous learning and scope of the work Ranowit

essay shows very clearly the basic differences between Marxist a bourgeois historiography." It is especially interesting to see that

criticizes Rostovtzeff just as strongly for "modernizing" as fo

antipathy to class conflict. We also owe to Ranowitsch a penetrating analysis of Hellenis

tic society in which the views of Max Weber, Rostovtzeff, and C. Welles are criticized in the light of Marxist theory." The basic po

at issue is the character of feudalism, and the applicability of

concept to ancient societies remains a basic problem for Mar

scholarship." That may explain why surprisingly little Marxist w

has appeared on this epoch.

5. Roman Republic: Marxist studies of this period have ne

sarily been much influenced by the ideas of Marx and Engels,

took a great interest in it as a period of class conflict and transit

One element of their thought is that they generalized from condi

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Marxism and Ancient History 53

in the city of Rome during the years 1

the entire Roman world; hence the man


As a representative example of Marxist study of this period

one may take the authoritative work of N. A. Maschkin on the revolu

tionary period ending with the Augustan settlement.40 The basic problem

here is that the Roman Revolution did not lead to the downfall of the

slave system. Hence this work, and other Russian works on the

period, could not clarify what actually happened "since it was already assumed what ought to have happened."41 The factual errors and the

faults of scholarly argument which have resulted from this approach

in Maschkin's work have been detailed and examined with crushing

force by Matthias Gelzer.42


When we turn to the Roman Empire, and in particular to the

centuries when it disintegrated, we find instead a literature of high

quality and originality. This probably is due to the fact that it is in

this period that the transition from a slaveholding to a feudal society

occurs, one of the great turning points in humanity's history.43

Here I should like to draw attention to two outstanding works on

the period. Both proceed from Marxist assumptions, but both display

an unusual degree of independence as well as an exemplary respect

for the evidence. The result is that together they mark a turning point

in the historiography of the subject and a high point in the develop

ment of Marxist scholarship.

The first, by the Russian historian E. M. Staerman, covers the period from ca. A.D. 150 through 238.45 The preface strikes an inde

pendent note from the first by resolutely stating that the slaves,

although the major exploited group,did not form a revolutionary class and were not fitted to lead the other exploited groups.46 In her intro

duction, a fine example of historiography, she indicates that she

follows on the path marked out by Rostovtzeff: the crucial turning

point was the crisis of the third century. Thus she tacitly rejects the

entire line of orthodox argument which had focused on slave revolts

in the fourth century, and she had already insisted that the real key

to the situation was the development of the colonate and feudal

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54 R. /. Frank

relations in





lhis leads to the major contribution ot otaerman s work: identi

fication of the major conflict in the period as that between owners of latifundia and owners of villae. The former were outside the economic

sphere of the cities, and there the colonate developed and with it the

beginnings of feudalism; the villae, on the other hand, were on lands

dependent on the cities (territoria) and continued to be worked by slave labor. This, of course, must be regarded as an hypothesis still

to be proven.48 Nevertheless, it does fit better many of the phenomena

of the civil war period, such as the fact that peasants often sided with

their landlords against the government and its army. Therefore the views of Rostovtzeff must be corrected. For example, the rebellion of 238 cannot be explained as he hoped: "One cannot really see any

solidarity between peasants and soldiers against the cultured classes in the events of 238."4' Rather it was a struggle of latifundia owners

and their peasants versus the governor and his soldiers. The result

of such struggles was that the latifundia became autonomous and

their owners became lords. Thus Santo Mazzarino has concluded,

following Madame Staerman's analysis, that "There was indeed a

social revolution in the West, but it did not strike at the aristocracy

Rather, it reduced the curiales to the status of the tax-paying peas

ants. The country conquered the city."50

But the great strength of Staerman's work is her attention to

the intellectual currents of the age and their relation to the different

social classes engaged in a cruel struggle. Phaedrus, Philostratus,

Dio Cassius, Apuleius, and other writers are carefully analyzed and

placed in historical context. Here she is well served by her thesis:

the defenders of local autonomy are connected with the class of

latifundia owners and the rise of autonomous cultures in the prov

inces, whereas their opponents are rooted in the imperial system

centered at Rome, its cosmopolitan culture, and the social forms and

institutions which were founded on slavery. An outstanding example

of this is her analysis of the philosophy of Plotinus and its "inner

connection with the sinking world of the municipal aristocracy."51

Staerman, however, always regards ideologies from the orthodox

Marxist viewpoint: as expressions of a class' experience and interests.

But the most original and creative current of recent Marxist research

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Marxism and Ancient History 55

has in fact recognized ideology as an impor ture and one which conditions and influenc

The leading figure in this is Antonio Gra

jected as erroneous the line of thought in

fied as distinct from the structure, and it is asserted that it is not

ideology that changes the structures but vice versa."52 Ideologies, he

argues, serve to unite groups in a bloc which can gain hegemony and

shape a society, and in this way themselves change structures."

There is one work on Roman history by now which represents

this approach — appropriately enough by an Italian. Mario Mazza

published in 1970 a long and somewhat chaotic work on the crisis

of the third century which essentially proceeds from the basis laid


by Staerman towards a Gramscian interpretation.54 In his title he refers

to "authoritarian restoration," and he discusses this in a concluding

section (pp. 472-533) which relates both absolutism and separatism to the ideologies of the era. His analysis of the Severi is especially

illuminating; for the first time - to take a significant detail hitherto

misunderstood - one sees the connection between Caracalla's anti

senatorial policy, his general grant of citizenship, and his pose as a

"new Alexander." The ideology of Roman absolutism was already

formed before the crisis, and it served to unite the municipal aristoc

racy, the army, and the new bureaucracy.55

One hundred years ago a contemporary of Marx, Jakob Burckhardt, delivered a course of lectures in Basel on Greek history. When he

came to the topic of Athens and its form of government he began with

a discussion of democracy. It is reflection and thought, he argued,

which inevitably lead to equality of citizens and democracy. Since

colonies were the result of planning and rational legislation, it was only natural that democracy in the Greek world arose first in the


Jakob Burckhardt was a great scholar and a great historian. But today there are very few, I think, who would not consider that

statement and that kind of reasoning to be quite absurd. The social

and economic foundations of society and of historical development

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R. /. Frank

have moved

to the work of Karl Marx and his followers.

University of California, Irvine



1 K. Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, tr. S.

Ryazanskaya (Moscow and New York, 1970), pp. 20-21. I have quoted the

original German since it deserves close study: K. Marx, Zur Kritik der politischen Oekonomie (1859; Berlin, 1968 edn.), pp. 15-16.

2 R. v. Mises, Positivism (N. Y., 1956), p. 219; cf. pp. 222-223 on Hegel

and 248-250 on Marx and classical economics.

3 E. Aveling, The Student's Marx (London, 1907), pp. vii-ix.

4 J. Barzun, Darwin, Marx, Wagner (1941; N.Y., 1958), pp. 132-141 (Marx);

F. Vittinghoff, "Die Theorie des historischen Materialismus über den

antiken Sklavenhalterstaat," Saeculum 2 (1960), 89-131, at 115

117 (Lenin).

5 K. Marx, Pre-capitalist Economic Formations (tr. J. Cohen and ed. E.

Hobsbawm, N.Y., 1965), p. 96.

6 K. Marx and F. Engels, Selected Correspondence 1846-1895 (tr. D. Torr

N. Y. 1942), pp. 354-355.

7 F. Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State, In

the Light of the Researches of Lewis H. Morgan (1884; tr. Alec West, ed. E. Leacock, N. Y., 1972), p. 237.

8 Lewis Morgan, Ancient Society (1877; Cambridge, Mass., 1964), p. 467.

9 J. Bochenski and G. Niemeyer, Handbook on Communism (N. Y., 1962),

pp. 61-63; E. Mandel, Marxist Economic Theory (1962; tr. B. Pearce,

2 vols., N. Y„ 1968), vol. 2, pp. 668-686.

10 G. Lukâcs, History and Class Consciousness, tr. R. Livingston (1922;

Cambridge, Mass., 1971), p. 20; cf. R. Garaudy, Marxism in the Twentieth Century, tr. R. Hague (London, 1970), pp. 76-105 (ch. 3: "Marxism and


11 Engels (above, n. 7).

12 L. Kräder, The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx (Assen, Nethe


13 J. Stalin, Dialectical and Historical Materialism (N. Y., 1940), pp. 34-38;

cf. R. Schott, "Das Geschichtsbild der sowjetischen Ethnographie,"

Saeculum 2 (1960) 27-63, esp. 33-37.

14 Mandel (above, n. 9), vol. 1, pp. 30-42.

15 K. Marx (above, n. 5), p. 81.

16 N. Fustel de Coulanges, The Origin of Property in Land, tr. W. Ashley

(1889; London, 1890), pp. 95-96, 151; cf. his "Le droit de propriété chez

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Marxism and Ancient History 57

les Grecs," pp. 3-144 of Nouvelles recherches sur quelques problèmes

d'histoire, ed. C. Jullian (Paris, 1891).

17 E.g., G. Thomson, Studies in Ancient Greek Society (1948; N. Y.,1965),

pp. 297-347; P. Oliva, "Patrike Basileia," Geras, Studies Presented to

George Thomson, edd. L. Varel and R. Willetts (Prague,1963), pp. 183-201.

Max Weber seems to take a similar position in his important work on

agrarian conditions in Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Sozial-und Wirtschafts geschichte (Tubingen, 1924), at pp. 93-99 (Greece) and 190-201 (Rome).

18 E.g., J. Fine, Horoi (Hesperia, supp. 9; Athens, 1951), esp. pp. 167

208; H. Rose, Primitive Culture in Italy (London, 1926), pp. 159-176,


15 Geras (above, n. 17), pp. 183-201.

20 K. Marx (above, n. 5), pp. 77-78, 83; cf. E. Hobsbawm's introduction,

pp. 61-62.

21 Die Produktionsverhältnisse im Alten Orient und in der griechisch

römischen Antike (Berlin, 1957), pp. 114-118, 158-177.

22 Oriental Despotism (New Haven, 1957); for conclusions, see pp. 446

("retrogressive societal development") and 447 ("the system of bureau

cratic state slavery").



E.g., E. Pulleyblank, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the

Orient I <1958) 351-353.

Z. Dittrich, "Wittfogel and Russia," Acta Historiae Neerlandica 1 (1966)


25 G. Murray, "The Place of Greek in Education; An Inaugural Lecture

delivered in the University of Glasgow, November 6, 1889," quoted by

I. Henderson, "The Teacher of Greek," pp. 125-148 in Gilbert Murray:


An Unfinished Autobiography, edd. J. Smith and A. Toynbee (London,

1960), p. 126.


The Prehistoric Aegean (1949; N. Y., 1965 edn.).


Aeschylus and Athens (1941; London, 1966 edn.).


Thomson (above, n. 26), pp. 337-339.


Science in Antiquity (1936; ed. 2, Oxford, 1969), pp. 68, 71-73.


Science and Politics in the Ancient World (1939; London, 1946 edn.),

pp. 87-117 (Plato), 130-159 (Epicurus).


Ibid., pp. 230-232.


Who Was Socrates? (1939; N. Y., 1960 edn.), pp. 47-57.


The Genesis of Plato's Thought (1940; ed. 2, N. Y., 1957), pp. 75-111,


34 Ibid., pp. 216-217.

35 Probleme der Musse in Alten Hellas (Berlin, 1962).

36 "M. Ro8tovtzeff: The Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic

World," pp. 56-74 of Aufsätze zur Alten Geschichte, tr. N. G. Bockisch (East Berlin, 1961); originally published in 1945.

37 "Die Abhängigen Bauern im hellenistischen Kleinasien," Aufsätze (above, n. 36), pp. 87-108; originally published in 1947.

38 Welskopf (above, n. 21), pp. 383-387; cf. Vittinghoff (above, n. 4), p. 122.

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R.I. Frank







published 1949).

41 Vittinghoff (above, n. 4), p. 125.

42 Review of Maschkin, Gnomon 27 (1955), 525-532 (= Kleine Schriften,

vol. 2 [Wiesbaden, 1963], pp. 345-354).

43 W. Seyfarth, "Die Spätantike als Uebergangszeit zwischen zwei Gesell

shaftssystemen," Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 15 (1967)


44 Several other spellings of her name are used in Western languages:

Steyermann, Steuermann, Schtajerman. Staerman is used by L'Année philo

logique to transliterate the Russian.


Die Krise der Sklavenhalterordnung im Westen des römischen Reiches, tr.

W. Seyfarth (East Berlin, 1964); originally published in Moscow in 1957.


Ibid., pp. vii-viii. This is from the preface to the German edition (!)


Vittinghoff (above, n. 4), pp. 125-129.


As noted by a Marxist reviewer, R. Günther, DLZ 88 (1967 ) 622-624.


S. Mazzarino, The End of the Ancient World (tr. G. Holmes N. Y., 1966:

originally published in 1959), p. 157; he is commenting on M. Rostovtzeff,

Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire, ed. 2 (Oxford, 1957),


vol. 1, pp. 455-457. See also on this the further work of Madame Staerman,

"The Communal Lands in the Western Provinces," Klio 38 (1960)

207 - 224 (in Russian), arguing that village communities provided the

kind of social structure for action and revolt which slaves never had.

50 S. Mazzarino, "Si püö parlare di revoluzione sociale alla fine del m

antico?" pp. 410-425 of II Passagio dall' antichita al medioevo in Oc

cidente (Settimane di Studio


Spoleto, 1962), pp. 424-425; here


Mazzarino's debt to Staerman is explicit.

51 Staerman (above, n. 45), pp. 395-405; cf. the generous review by J.

Gaudemet, RHE 60 (1965), 483 - 487, and Madame Staerman's summing

up in "Programmes politiques à l'époque de la crise du IIle siècle,"

Cahiers d'histoire mondiale 4 (1957-1958) 310-329.

52 A. Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, edd. Q. Hoare and

G. Smith (London, 1971), p. 376.

53 H. Porteiii, Gramsci et le bloc historique (Paris, 1972), pp. 20-26, 50-57.

54 Lotte sociali e restaurazione autoritaria nel 3 secolo d. C. (Catania,


55 Ibid., pp. 515-520.

56 J. Burckhardt, Griechische Kulturgeschichte, vol. 1 (ed. 4, Berlin &

Stuttgart, 1908), p. 220.

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