Citizens to Lords
A Social History of Western Political Thought from Antiquity to the Middle Ages
By Ellen Meiksins Wood
(Verso, Hardcover, 9781844672431, 245pp.)
Publication Date: June 2008
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
In this groundbreaking work, Ellen Meiksins Wood rewrites the history of political theory. She traces the developmentof the Western tradition from classical antiquity through to the Middle Ages in the perspective of social history a significant departure not only from the standard abstract history of ideas but also from othercontextual methods.
Treating canonical thinkers as passionatelyengaged human beings, Wood examines their ideas not simply in thecontext of political languages but as creative responses to the socialrelations and conflicts of their time and place. She identifies a distinctive relation between property and state in Western history and shows how the canon, while largely the work of members or clients of dominant classes, was shaped by complex interactions among proprietors, laborers and states. Western political theory, Wodd argues, owes much of its vigor, and also many ambiguities, to these complex and often contradictory relations.
From the Ancient Greekpolis of Plato, Aristotle, Aeschylus and Sophocles, through the Roman Republic of Cicero andthe Empire of St Paul and St Augustine, to the medieval world ofAverroes, Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham, Citizens to Lords offers a rich, dynamic exploration of thinkers and ideas that have indelibly stamped our modern world.