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Arendt: Otium

sábado 29 de novembro de 2008


The Greek word skhole  , like the Latin otium, means primarily freedom from political activity and not simply leisure time, although both words are also used to indicate freedom from labor and life’s necessities. In any event, they always indicate a condition free from worries and cares. An excellent description of the everyday life of an ordinary Athenian citizen, who enjoys full freedom from labor and work, can be found   in Fustel de Coulanges, The Ancient City (Anchor ed.; 1956), pp. 334—36; it will convince everybody how time-consuming political activity was under the conditions of the city-state. One can easily guess how full of worry this ordinary political life was if one remembers that Athenian law did not permit remaining neutral and punished those who did not want to take sides in factional strife   with loss of citizenship.

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