March 15, 2018

Download PDF by Franz Altheim: A History of Roman Religion

By Franz Altheim

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Those advocating the latter view have contended that traditional concerns for status precluded the development of profit-╉oriented rationalism. 27 This development has only widened the gulf between economic and social understandings of the ancient economy, because it has made quantitative assessments divorced from social considerations all the more compelling. As the gap has grown, the artificiality of separating economic and social exchange has become increasingly obvious. ”28 Bourdieu would seem to offer just such a framework, one that unites economic and social behavior.

And of course many, perhaps most, participated in various ways in both forms of exchange. 56 GIFTS AND HONOR Apart from political office and social ties, the most important immaterial exchange good for Roman elites was honor. The striving for honor lay behind the competitive construction of buildings and even Caesar’s choice to wage civil war. Bourdieu’s model gives us a basic description of the relationship between gifts and honor. 57 Here, too, however, a Weberian perspective can deepen our understanding.

As with other Roman contracts, no written document was required to create a depositum agreement. It simply came into being once the owner gave his property to another person who agreed to look after it. The commodatum contract was like the depositum but differed in one important respect: the receiver could use the item, and consequently had a greater liability if the item was damaged, lost, or destroyed. The mutuum 37 Adapting the Law in the Age of Cato } 37 contract went a step further. The receiver did not need to return the exact item lent, only one of equivalent value and type.

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A History of Roman Religion by Franz Altheim


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