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Herodotus in the Anthropocene$
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Joel Alden Schlosser

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226704708

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226704982.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 08 May 2021

Freedom and Earthly Flourishing

Freedom and Earthly Flourishing

(p.112) 5 Freedom and Earthly Flourishing
Herodotus in the Anthropocene

Joel Alden Schlosser

University of Chicago Press

Herodotus’s inquiry emphasizes the need for collective power to sustain the practice of nomoi. Freedom is best and most sustainably realized by nomoi practiced in conditions of equality; these nomoi must emerge from the willing practices of participants in the political community. Herodotus’s own historia models the quality and form of counsel required to support such regimes; it thus provides an alternative to the tyrannical inquiries displayed within the Histories as well as a pathway for the emergent free regimes around the Mediterranean that form its primary audience. Yet political freedom does not mark the apogee of political life for Herodotus. Throughout the Histories, any human flourishing depends on successful participation within the dynamic world of things. Although Herodotus praises political freedom realized through nomistic practices of equality, these practices only create optimal conditions for negotiating the inevitable shifts and fluctuations entailed by living in the world. Freedom names the political and human component of flourishing that Herodotus puts in an earthly, planetary context. Herodotus’s Histories display the rise and fall of earthly flourishing and how human beings too often fail to organize themselves and their communities to respond in adequate fashion.

Keywords:   freedom, collective power, political community, equality, earthly flourishing

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