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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A close analysis of Hesiod’s scheme of production indicates that he is pursuing “extensive surplus-generating agriculture.” Thus, Hesiod is indistinguishable on a rhythmic agricultural basis from the basilēes of the Homeric epics and of his own poems. Hesiod manages the labor of slaves and other dependent workers, and his interests are in opposition to those who provide labor and value to the production process. A second divide is discernible between the polis and its basilēes on the one side and on the other all those out in Ascra who are subject to both a market disadvantage and a judicial process that is being expanded by the urban basilēes. These simultaneous divisions contribute to the ambiguous picture of Hesiod as both large landowner/exploiter and peasant/exploited. Sympotic adaptations of Works and Days meant that ancient reception of the poem seems to have been restricted to the first picture only.

Keywords: agricultural production, trade, peasants, dependent labor, economy

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