The social role of the aristocratic class, as a pinnacle over commoners, resident aliens, and slaves, was consolidated in the formative era of Greek civilization. True aristocrats were very limited in numbers in a world that could support only a very restricted upper class. But aristocrats knew who they were—they were the men and women who had ancestors. The place of aristocrats was not only well defined in practice; it was also unchallenged. Every discussion of Greek society contains a picture of the clan or genos as a powerful grouping of families especially on the upper-class level. Aristocrats lived without physically laboring as did their lower-class fellow-citizens, but they were not thereby necessarily idle. The duties of a polis might take a great deal of a man's time, talking in the agora with his fellows about civic matters, attending assemblies or councils, or serving as an unpaid magistrate of state.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.