Ancient Greece, cross-cultural comparison


The paper traces the impartial comparative gaze of the Ancient Greeks, in relation to their ontological understanding of the world, and with respect to the domains of epistêmê, politics, and paideia, all operating in the field of logos, which underpinned the life of the democratic polis. The absence of any apocalyptic truth and predefined historical pathway in the Greeks’ conception of the world, their esteem for intellectual activity and philosophical inquiry, and their questioning of their laws and institutions as part of their educational and political life are all, as the paper demonstrates, at the root of the genesis of cross-cultural comparison in Ancient Greece. The Greeks were capable of creating cross-cultural comparison because they relativized other civilizations, as much as they did with their own, in the space of free inquiry and critique opened up by the democratic polis.