Article/Publication Details

Tyrtaeus and the Social-Political Role of Reciprocity

(Original title: Tyrtaios a sociálno-politická funkcia reciprocity)
Filozofia, 2012, vol. 67, No 1, pp. 35-46.
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Abstract

The paper tries to show the parallels between altruism and reciprocity as conceived in contemporary debate and the role of reciprocity in social and political life in ancient Greece at the turn of the 6th century B. C. A detailed analysis of Tyrtaeus’ poems as well as a close view on social, political and military systems and strategies serves to unveil the motivations for an altruistic behavior the discrimination of so called “free riders”. Several key forms of reciprocity in Tyrtaeus are discussed, the “furious valour” being of the highest value, and enabling to prize the “fairness” of the agents of the indirect reciprocal behavior. Thus the social cohesion could be achieved not only through charitable altruism (as suggested by Titmuss), but also through many forms of indirect reciprocity found in Tyrtaeus.

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