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a term denoting the ancient, the very old.

In a broad sense antiquity is completely equal to the Russian word drevnost’, but it is most often used for a special purpose, wherein it means the same as drevnost’ but is applied to ancient Greece (including Hellenism) and ancient Rome.

From the Renaissance, when interest in the Greco-Roman antiquities was very great (people gathered and collected works of ancient art and texts of ancient authors, in addition to studying the history and literature of ancient Greece and Rome), there arose such concepts as ancient (antique) art, ancient literature, ancient history, ancient philosophy, and ancient culture.

With the growth of interest in socioeconomic history such concepts also arose as the ancient city and the ancient economic system, as well as concepts introduced by K. Marx: the ancient means of production and the ancient form of property. As Marx noted, the ancient form of property always manifested itself in a contradictory, dualistic form: as state (jointly owned) property and as private property. As a rule, moreover, the latter was conditioned by and dependent upon the former. Only an owner of a main means of production (land) could be a fully entitled member of the civic community—the polis. The ancient world also knew other types of state structure, but the polis was the most defined form.

Of very great historical importance in ancient society was the rise of democracy, under the conditions of which fully entitled citizens participated in political life and the governing of the state. A component of the polis structure, without which it would have been unthinkable in general, was the people’s assembly; however, the degree of democratization was different in various poleis. Despite the fact that it was a democracy of only a privileged minority of the free population, polis democracy was a large step forward for its time. Such ancient communities as a number of the Greek states (Athens, Corinth, and others) as well as Rome, were at a certain period of their development characterized by a profound penetration of slave labor in their basic branches of production. Slave labor thus became, if not the only force, at least one of the chief productive forces.

In ancient society permanent universal values were created, and high stages of development were attained in philosophy, literature, the pictorial arts, and architecture in ancient Greece and Rome.


Marx, K. “Formy, predshestvuishchie kapitalisticheskomu proizvodstvu.” In K. Marx and F. Engels. Soch.,2nd ed., vol. 46, part 1.
Marx, K. “K kritike politicheskoi ekonomii.” Ibid., vol. 13.
“Iz rukopisnogo nasledstva K. Marksa: Vvedenie.” Ibid., vol. 12.
Engels, F. “Anti-Diuring.” Ibid., vol. 20.
Engels, F. “Proiskhozhdenie sem’i, chastnoi sobstvennosti i gosudarstva.” Ibid., vol. 21.
Marx, K., and F. Engels. Ob antichnosti. Leningrad, 1932.
Kovalev, S. I. “Uchenie Marksa i Engel’sa ob antichnom sposobe proizvodstva.” Izvestiia Gosudarstvennoi akademii istorii material’noi kul’tury,1932, vol. 12, nos. 9–10.
Utchenko, S. L., and E. M. Shtaerman. “O nekotorykh voprosakh istorii rabstva.” Vestnik drevnei istorii,1960, no. 4.


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