Chapter One is now in pretty good shape. The issue of word length has meant that I’ve been fairly minimal in terms of what I have added.
The chapter begins with readings of Greek myths of autochthony, drawing on a range of sources – Plato, Euripides, Isocrates, Thucydides, Homer, Heraclitus, Apollodorus, Hyginus, Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Strabo, Aristophanes, Sophocles… Of contemporary writers, I probably draw most on Nicole Loraux. One bit I did add – on the suggestion of Veronica della Dora – was a paragraph on the founding of Alexandria, a story that is told in Plutarch, Arrian and Pseudo-Callisthenes. This is where Alexander is marking out the bounds of this new polis, but has no chalk to do so. So his soldiers suggest that they use the barley from their rations to mark it out. The story is that the birds from the nearby lagoon swooped down and ate the meal. The soothsayers said this would mean not simply that the city would have enough for itself, but could also provide for the neighbouring lands.
The chapter then moves through a longer discussion of Sophocles’ Antigone – which draws in part on a piece I published some time ago on Judith Butler’s Antigone’s Claim – and a discussion of Kleisthenes’ urban reforms of Athens. That too draws on previously published material – here. The next two sections are readings of Plato’s Laws and Aristotle’s Politics, before a concluding section on the polis as site and community. More of this chapter is previously published than any other, but since it was also the oldest material (dating back to a summer at the University of Virginia in 2001) it needed quite a lot of stylistic work.
Chapter Two – on Ancient Rome – should hopefully present less work, since I finished the draft in February this year. Although I did a lot of work on that chapter back in 2006, it took me much longer to work out what I was trying to argue in that chapter so I didn’t begin the actual drafting until autumn 2009.