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Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook

Ed. by Ziegler, Dieter

CiteScore 2018: 0.06

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.115
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.203

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Volume 50, Issue 1


Oikonomia und Politik bei Aristoteles. Der oikos als Grundlage des staatlichen Lebens

Peter Herz
Published Online: 2016-08-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/jbwg.2009.50.1.177


The paper analyses the significance of the oikos for the conception of the ideal Greek community of citizens in the polis, starting from the central Aristotelian concepts of oikos, oikonomia and polis. The oikos and the persons who constitute it are the cell of the polis and necessary for its healthy development. Aristotle stands in the intellectual tradition of political conception which derive from the ideals of the aristocratic society of the archaic period of Greece, as represented for instance in Theognis. This can be recognised on the basis of the concepts of the ethics of an aristocracy such as Arete. The oikos used in agriculture appears as best suited for a natural life in Aristotle. Other forms of acquisitions such as handicraft, wage labour and commerce are indispensable, but they should lead to the separation of the persons pursuing such activities from the polis, and Aristotle even proposed a spatial separation. This is contrasted with the Roman conception (Cicero, De officiis), which takes over the praise of agricultural activity of the Greek conception, but develops the ideal of agricultural life for historical reasons (Cincinnatus) which corresponds to Roman tradition. The moral evaluation of commerce also shows significant differences in respect to the Greek conception, since e.g. far distance trade is regarded as acceptable.

Keywords: Aristotle; Household Economy; Economics in Antiquity

About the article

Published Online: 2016-08-13

Published in Print: 2009-06-01

Citation Information: Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, Volume 50, Issue 1, Pages 177–194, ISSN (Online) 2196-6842, ISSN (Print) 0075-2800, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/jbwg.2009.50.1.177.

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