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Warriors into Traders: The Power of the Market in Early Greece (Classics and Contemporary Thought) Paperback – January 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Classics and Contemporary Thought
  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; New Ed edition (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520226917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520226913
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,982,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is an exciting and bold and controversial book."--James G. Keenan, "The Classical Bulletin

About the Author

David W. Tandy is Distinguished Professor of Humanities in the Departments of Classics and Anthropology at the University of Tennessee. He has translated, with Walter C. Neale, Hesiod's Works and Days (California, 1996).

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By W. Eric Vandever on October 30, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this book, Tandy tells the story of the rise of the market economy in the Greek world. His version of this story is that Greece in the Archaic period (776-490 b.c.e.) underwent a transformation from a redistributive/reciprocal economy based on exchange obligations between neighbors and between chiefs and subordinates to one based on market exchange. Tandy makes a Marxist argument (though not particularly "half-baked," I think) that the rise of the market economy in cities in Greece allowed the upper classes (those who had surplus wealth) to enrich themselves in overseas trade while the poorer classes became indebted to them through a kind of economic attrition. Tandy also argues, contrary to many scholars, that Greek overseas colonization in this period was the result of economic/commecial expansion rather than population pressure. Tandy's third major argument is that epic poetry is a "tool of exclusion," in that elites used epic poetry as a kind of propaganda to disguise the fact that their society no longer conformed to the more "egalitarian" redistributive economy.
There are some flaws to Tandy's method: 1) the basis for arguing that there was a redistributive/reciprocal economy in the early Archaic period and Greek Dark Ages is mostly comparative evidence -- this is because there really isn't any good indigenous evidence for this kind of economy; 2) Tandy uses Hesiod's "Works and Days" as a model for a peasant perspective, which is a controversial move (Hesiod was probably not a peasant, but a gentleman farmer), and his general indictment of epic as a tool of exclusion is speculative (at least the kind of exclusion he's talking about; epic certainly excludes in other ways in that it advertises an aristocratic ethos).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chris Crawford on January 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
Tandy's first three chapters get the book off to a great start. After a brief introductory chapter tracing the overall line of argument, he gets down to business with an excellent study of population growth in Dark Age Greece, presenting a broad picture buttressed by specifics from archaeological studies. In Chapter Three, he describes the establishment and growth of the Greek colonies, which were later to play such an important part of Greek society.

But from there it's all downhill. Chapter Four presents an extended theoretical discussion of social organizations, with applications to early Greek society. Tandy is attempting to establish that Greek society made a transition from a patronage-based system (in which material wealth flows down from the leader in return for loyalty flowing up) to a market-based system (in which the creators of wealth exercise direct control over its distribution). However, this subject has been handled in great detail in the anthropological literature, and I think that Tandy's treatment of it is weak. He's trying to fit existing theory onto the Greek experience, and while the fit isn't bad, he has to stretch it in a few places to make it work.

In Chapter Five he directly addresses the transition from the patronage-based system to the market-based system, and here his discussion descends into a hopeless muddle. Part of his problem is that he has completely missed one of the most important elements of the Greek transformation: the shift from a subsistence economy (relying exclusively on cereal production) to a market economy in which processed foodstuffs (wine and olive oil) are exchanged for cereals.
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12 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kelley L. Ross on February 5, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book deals with a very important issue: how classical Greece became a commerical culture under the influence of the Phoenicians. "Warriors into Traders" is the key point. However, Tandy spoils his treatment of this with the kind of sour, half-baked Marxism that is all too typical of American academics in the humanities today. He compares the "evils" of Greek commericalism, which was only responsible for all the glory of places like Athens, to the "evils" of the introduction of market ecnomies into Third World countries today. Unfortunately, most of the problems of Third World countries, if we mean by that poverty and tyranny, are due to the lack of market economies, not to their introduction. Tandy, on the other hand, inadverently draws attention to what was unique about the Greeks: that commericalization revolutionized Greek culture, which was something that did not happen to the Phoenicians, who were old hands at the business--unless we count the philosophers Thales and Zeno of Citium, reportedly ethnic Phoenicians themselves.
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