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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Back into the busy old city, I feel happy about the fact that I am enlightened about each item of antiquity and its unique legacy and value that is determined by the historical and cultural period to which it belonged.
Three presentations from a session of the 11th European Social Science History conference in Valencia, March-April 2016, examine the depiction of female characters from antiquity in baroque opera.
(32) Museum Security Network, "Investigator of Baghdad Museum Looting Says Antiquity Smuggling Finances Terror," AP, March 19, 2008; see also Shelley, Dirty Entanglements, 264.
The company professionally cleans Roman Medieval Celtic Viking and Saxon jewelry to its original luster to enable customers to wear it as it was worn in antiquity.
Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz honored Late Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (may Allah bestow mercy upon his soul) for presenting an antiquity dated back to the fourth century BC.
In addition he handed them 39 antiquity pieces and tablets.
Summary: CAIRO: Egypt's top archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, warned that the country's antiquity sites were being looted by criminals amid the country's political upheaval as he announced he would no longer serve in his ministerial post in the government.
A singular antiquity; archaeology and Hellenic identity in twentieth-century Greece.
In Searching For The Waters Of Antiquity: A Follow-Along Meditation Process, Ryan draws upon her decades of experience and expertise to provide the non-specialist general reader with a do-it-yourself manual of meditation techniques and applied principles to engage in the mediative experience and process.
End the international antiquity trade, I thought, and the looting in those "source" nations would stop.
At the heart of the tourist agenda is the Royal Palace and the great National Museum next door, which houses the best collection of antiquity from Angkor's temples outside the Musee Guimet in Paris.
An Antiquated Ghost that Haunts / The Charnel-Houses of the Antients / And calls the Dead Deponents up, to Answer / And solve all Questions of the Necromancer" (Samuel Butler, "Antiquity," (1928) 3-4, 5-8).