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The Economy of the Greek Cities

The Economy of the Greek Cities: From the Archaic Period to the Early Roman Empire

Léopold Migeotte
Translated by Janet Lloyd
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    The Economy of the Greek Cities
    Book Description:

    The Economy of the Greek Citiesoffers readers a clear and concise overview of ancient Greek economies from the archaic to the Roman period. Léopold Migeotte approaches Greek economic activities from the perspective of the ancient sources, situating them within the context of the city-state(polis). He illuminates the ways citizens intervened in the economy and considers such important sectors as agriculture, craft industries, public works, and trade. Focusing on how the private and public spheres impinged on each other, this book provides a broad understanding of the political and economic changes affecting life in the Greek city-states over a thousand-year period.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94467-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
    (pp. ix-ix)

    The first edition of the present work (Paris, 2002) has already been translated into Italian (Rome, Carocci, 2003) and Modern Greek (Athens, Papadimas, 2007). Both translations have been revised by the author, who provided the translators with a fair number of modifications and supplementary bibliographical references. The present English translation is based on the text of the second French edition (Paris, 2007), which incorporates not only the improvements made to the two earlier translations but also a number of new passages. Furthermore, as explained in the introduction, in accordance with the limits of what proves useful, the bibliography has been...

  4. Maps
    (pp. x-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    The study of the economy of the ancient world has been much reinvigorated and enriched over the last few decades. There have been many detailed research studies into realia and these have provided precious information, despite their non-theoretical nature, which in many cases limits them to observation and description. At the other end of the spectrum, studies have tackled the subject from a wider perspective, seeking to produce a new, overall, and abstract analysis of certain fundamental features of the ancient economy. The latter studies tend to be inspired by anthropological and economic models. In an innovative and sometimes stimulating...

  6. ONE The Greek Cities and the Economy
    (pp. 15-66)

    This chapter presents a broad outline of the material, mental, and institutional context within which the economy of Greek cities developed. It constitutes a basis for the three chapters that follow it and introduces a number of questions that they will pursue and study more closely.

    Except for the cities established at the heart of Asia Minor and in the Middle East, natural conditions were essentially similar, give or take a few variants, throughout the Greek world. Those conditions were certainly harsher and more unyielding than can be imagined by today’s tourists and vacationers. As the historian Herodotus wrote in...

  7. TWO The World of Agriculture
    (pp. 67-91)

    Throughout antiquity, agriculture remained the basis of city economies. As in all barely mechanized rural societies, Greek agriculture required a large workforce, especially at harvesting and grape-picking times, and it occupied a large majority of the population, probably at least 80 percent. Agriculture provided a high proportion of the raw materials for craftsmen and for commerce. It shaped landscapes, marked societies, and pervaded customs andmores. Throughout history, it remained par excellence the domain of citizens’ activity, for it was they who, collectively and publicly, possessed the land, always considering land ownership to be their more or less exclusive right....

  8. THREE Craft Industries and Business Ventures
    (pp. 92-116)

    The double title of this chapter is designed to cover a wide spectrum of activities of varying scale, ranging from small workshops to large businesses, with one feature in common to all: they all involved the transformation of natural products into finished articles. The usual Greek word for these activities wastechnai, a term that could apply to the fine arts as well as to craftsmanship and also designated various professional and intellectual activities. Thesetechnaiwere linked on the one hand with agriculture, which provided many of the raw materials that thetechnaiprocessed, and on the other hand...

  9. FOUR Trade
    (pp. 117-172)

    Over the centuries trade made great progress within cities and, above all, between them. Of course development was neither regular nor uniform, and it took place alongside the expansion of agriculture and craft industries. But it was the development of what was truly commerce, effected by the use of money, that fueled change and most clearly distinguished between some cities and others. It is not possible to estimate the volume of trade in the Greek economy. The number of professional traders was certainly far lower than that of people engaged in agriculture. Peasants, however, and craftsmen in particular, acted as...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 173-178)

    This book has attempted to show, within a few pages, how the ancient Greeks conceived of their economic activities and organized them within the framework of their cities. Describing characteristic features, sector by sector, it has endeavored, where possible, to sketch the evolution of production and trading, which seems to have been closely linked with the political changes and upheavals of the ancient world. A number of conclusions may be drawn from this rapid overview of the scene.

    The first conclusion is really a general impression that emerges from a long-term view: over the centuries, production and trade certainly seem...

    (pp. 179-190)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 191-200)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 201-201)