Monday, March 02, 2020


We Should Return to Customs of This Sort

Marcel Mauss (1872-1950), The Gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies, tr. Ian Cunnison (London: Cohen & West Ltd, 1966), p. 66:
We are returning, as indeed we must do, to the old theme of 'noble expenditure'. It is essential that, as in Anglo-Saxon countries and so many contemporary societies, savage and civilized, the rich should come once more, freely or by obligation, to consider themselves as the treasurers, as it were, of their fellow-citizens. Of the ancient civilizations from which ours has arisen some had the jubilee, others the liturgy, the choragus, the trierarchy, the syssita or the obligatory expenses of the aedile or consular official. We should return to customs of this sort.
For syssita I think syssitia (Greek συσσιτία) should be read.

Id., p. 67:
Hence we should return to the old and elemental. Once again we shall discover those motives of action still remembered by many societies and classes: the joy of giving in public, the delight in generous artistic expenditure, the pleasure of hospitality in the public or private feast.


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