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Sanford Levinson, Paul Woodruff, and Joel Parker

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814785935

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814785935.001.0001

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In Place of Loyalty

In Place of Loyalty

Friendship and Adversary Politics in Classical Greece

(p.39) 3 In Place of Loyalty

Paul Woodruff

NYU Press

This chapter examines the role of loyalty in the classical Greek culture. Since the ancient Greeks, who invented democracy, had no concept of loyalty, friendship (philia) takes its place in ancient Greek culture. Philia entails a willingness to stand by family and friends, which often undermine other obligations. It has one of two foundations: family connection, or an exchange of services. Any two family members are together in a relation of philia, and any two people from different lands who help each other out are united in a special form of friendship called xenia (“guest-friendship”). Shared religious rituals brought citizens together in common tasks that cemented their philia. Shared military service also brought men together in philia through an exchange of services; soldiers saved each other's lives, picked up the bodies of fellow citizens, and made sure that their dead had proper burial rites.

Keywords:   loyalty, classical Greek culture, friendship, philia, family connection, xenia, guest-friendship, religious rituals, military service

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