chapter  5
16 Pages

POLITICAL FRIENDSHIP AND THE IDEOLOGY OF RECIPROCITY

This improbable remark occurs a little way into the attempt by the author of the Eudemian Ethics (EE) to represent exchange between partners in a common enterprise as the basis of political society. I shall be concerned principally with the main ideas of what EE VII. 10 calls ‘political’ friendship: advantage, equality and contract not trust; and with their relation to the ‘ideology of reciprocity’ argued by Paul Millett to be the cement of Athenian society in the fifth and fourth centuries BC.1 Discussion of the improbable remark will permit some introductory orientation. It is clearly an un-modern remark; arguably unexpected as a comment on the social ethics of the ancient Mediterranean; and even its credentials as an accurate statement of Aristotelian doctrine are questionable.