The ancient Greek social spectrum ranged from slaves at one end through a variety of semi-free and free statuses to aristocrats at the other pole. If one turns to modern studies of social conditions, it is obvious that slavery receives an extraordinary concentration of attention from both Western and Marxist scholars. Aristocrats, on the other hand, are almost completely ignored if not condemned. This chapter offers a preliminary definition of the term “aristocrats” as being those who shared a cultured pattern of life and values consciously conceived and upheld from generation to generation. In all Greek states, such groups were limited in numbers but firmly considered themselves the “best”. This book devotes primary attention to the aristocrats as being of decisive importance in the origins and magnificent consolidation of the root of Western civilization.
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