This work traces the origin and development of the idea of freedom in Western culture. It deals with three distinct forms of freedom: personal freedom; civic freedom (the right to participate in public life); and sovereign freedom (the right to exercise power over others). The book examines the relationships between the idea of freedom and the institution, and argues that women, as domestic slaves and the spoils of war, were the first to articulate the cry for personal liberty.
Part 1 The stillbirth of freedom in the non-western world: primitive beginnings; for the creation of eyes - why freedom failed in the non-western world. Part 2 The Greek construction of freedom: the Greek origins of freedom; the emergence of slave society and civic freedom; the Persian wars and the creation of organic (sovereignal) freedom; slavery, empire, and the periclean fusion; a woman's song - the female force and the ideology; of freedom in Greek tragedy and society; fission and diffusion - class and the elements of freedom in the late 5th century and beyond; the outer intellectual response; the turn to inner freedom; the intellectual response in the Hellenistic and early Roman world. Part 3 Rome and the universalization of freedom: freedom and class conflict in republican Rome; the triumph of the Roman freedman - personal liberty among the urban masses of the early empire; the Augustan compromise - sovereignal freedom in defense of personal liberty; freedom, stoicism, and the Roman mind. Part 4 Christianity and the institutionalization of freedom: Jesus and the Jesus movement; between Jesus and Paul; Paul and his world - a community of urban freedmen; Paul and the freedom of mankind. Part 5 The medieval reconstruction of freedom: freedom and servitude in the middle ages; medieval renditions of the chord of freedom; freedom in the religious and secular thought of the middle ages.