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Salt and Olives

Morality and Custom in Ancient Greece

John M Dillon

Hardback (Printed to Order)

John Dillon's exploration of Athenian society vividly brings to life how the ancient Greeks behaved towards each other. How did husbands treat their wives and parents their children? What were the rights enjoyed, and the perils faced, by a courtesan? What were the obligations of love and friendship between men and men, men and women, and men and boys? He shows how slaves were to be treated and what it was like to be a slave or a slave's child; and asks how, when and why duties to the Gods were fulfilled. The problems of inheritance and the position of widows, daughters and sons are also examined.

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Chapter 1
The Family
Chapter 2
Women Beyond the Pale: the Non-Citizen Women
Chapter 3
The Woes of Inheritance
Chapter 4
The Best of Friends and Enemies
Chapter 5
Homosexual Etiquette
Chapter 6
Slaves and Slave-Masters
Chapter 7
Dealing with the Gods
Chapter 8
Anecdote in Athenian Self-Image
Further Reading

About the Author

John M Dillon is Regius Professor of Greek at Trinity College Dublin and is director of the Centre for the Study of the Platonic Tradition.


Dillon seamlessly weaves the primary texts into an exposition of case studies in a way that allows him to delight and entertain with topics ranging from family issues to slavery and religion. The treatment of the primary texts and the stories surrounding them display not only an impressive erudition, as one would expect, but a penetrating method, as Dillon distills and reasons through the evidence methodologically ... Salt and Olives is a text that should delight and engage students in the kind of course from which it evolved, is an entertaining read for scholars and is accessible to general readers ... wonderfully.
- Times Higher Education Supplement
- Times Higher Education Supplement