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Article

silk  

J. P. Wild

Silk (τὸ σηρικόν, serica vestis), a fine light-reflecting filament extruded by silkworms, especially the domesticated mulberry silkworm of China (Bombyx mori), to build cocoons. The earliest extant silk fabrics in the classical world come from a high-status grave in the *Ceramicus cemetery, Athens, dated to c.430–400 bce. They show the hallmarks of western, not eastern, weaving. *Aristotle (Hist. an. 5. 97. 6 (551b)) describes briefly the lifecycle of a wild silkmoth associated with *Cos in the eastern Aegean. Coan silks (Coae vestes), a byword for hedonism, are frequently mentioned by the Augustan poets—but no later. Pliny (HN 11. 76) extends Aristotle's account to an Assyrian wild silkmoth; this and the Coan moth are arguably the Pachypasa otus. On present evidence it seems unlikely that Bombyx silk reached the Mediterranean from China (see seres) before Han expansion into central Asia in the 2nd cent. bce.

Article

silver  

Frederick Norman Pryce, John Boardman, and Michael Vickers

While *gold could be easily obtained from alluvial deposits by washing, silver had to be extracted by regular mining processes. The *Phoenicians are said to have been the first to bring silver into general use; several of the silver objects mentioned in *Homer have Sidonian associations (see sidon). The main sources for classical Greece were Mt. *Pangaeus in *Thrace, *Lydia, *Colchis, *Bactria, Siphnos, and *Laurium which provided abundant supplies for *Athens. In the western Mediterranean *Spain was the most prolific source of supply, with *Sardinia, Gaul, and Britain as minor sources. The conquests of Spain and Asia made silver plentiful at Rome, where it had previously been rare.Silver was worked with a hammer into plates which were soldered or riveted together and then decorated with repoussé work (ἐμπαιστική), stamping, chasing, or engraving. Vases might be hammered or cast from a mould and were often adorned with reliefs (emblemata) let into the body of the vessel or crustae soldered upon the surface.

Article

D. M. MacDowell

Athenian officials appointed annually by lot to supervise the sale of grain, barley-meal, and bread, and prevent overcharging. There were originally five for the town of Athens and five for *Piraeus, but later the numbers were increased to twenty and fifteen respectively.

Article

Paul Cartledge

From Homer's claim that a man loses half his selfhood when ‘the day of slavery’ comes upon him (Il. 6. 463) to Aristotle's doctrine of ‘natural slavery’ (Pol. bk. 1, 1253b15–55b40), Greek life and thought were inextricably bound up with the ideology and practice of human servitude. Eventually, and incompletely, the notion became established that it was not right for Greeks to enslave their fellow-Greeks, and the correlative idea prevailed that non-Greek ‘barbarians’ were fitted for servitude by their very nature (not just social or political organization). See barbarian. But that did not prevent the continuing enslavement of Greeks by Greeks, and the language of slavery in the Greek New Testament was by no means a dead metaphor.‘Slavery’, however, covered a multitude of sins and life-chances. The ultimate, extreme form of the slave is the chattel, ‘socially dead’ (Patterson) in the sense of ripped forcibly from organic ties of kin and community, transported to an alien environment there to be treated as merely a piece of property or as a factor of production to be used and abused at will, an ‘animate tool’ (Arist. Pol.

Article

Keith Bradley

Slavery in the strict sense of chattel-slavery, whereby the slave‐owner enjoyed complete mastery (dominium) over the slave's physical being (Dig. 1. 5. 4. 1), the power of life and death included (Gai.Inst. 1. 52), was evident throughout the central era of Roman history, and in Roman no less than Greek thought was regarded as both the necessary antithesis of civic freedom and the guarantee of their civic superiority to those who enjoyed it. From this structural point of view Roman society, like Greek, was a genuine slave-society.Although for no period of antiquity is it possible to determine accurately the size of the slave population, the necessary statistical information being simply unavailable, modern estimates of 2,000,000 slaves in Italy at the close of the republic conform to a slave : free ratio of roughly 1:3 in evidence from the major slave-societies of the New World. Slave-ownership was a prerogative of the wealthy, although the scale of ownership was larger in the Roman world than the Greek, and the élite could possess hundreds of slaves. Pompey's son Cn. *Pompeius Magnus (2) recruited 800 of his personal slaves and shepherds for the war against *Caesar (Caes.

Article

Brian Campbell

S tipendium denoted a cash payment and later a permanent tax; it also meant the regular cash payment received by soldiers at the end of the campaigning season, and consequently came to mean a period of military service, originally a season, but subsequently a year. In the imperial period stipendium designated military pay, specifically one of the three annual instalments by which the troops were paid, or one year of service.Around 400 bce during the war with *Veii a payment was first made to Roman soldiers while on long campaigns to assist with their living expenses. In the 2nd cent. bce according to *Polybius (1) (6. 39) the legionary was receiving two obols a day, which, if this represented five asses, would be 180 denarii in a year of 360 days. After the revaluation of the coinage in the time of the *Gracchi this will have amounted to 112½ .

Article

Friedrich M. Heichelheim and P. J. Rhodes

Symmoria (‘partnership’), in Athens a group of men liable for payment of the tax called *eisphora or for the *liturgy of the *trierarchy. In 378/7 bce all payers of eisphora were organized in 100symmoriai, for administrative convenience: each member continued to be taxed on his own property, but from a later date the three richest members of each symmoria could be made to advance the sum due from the whole symmoria as a proeisphora. In 357/6 a law of Periander extended this system to the trierarchy: the 1,200 richest citizens were grouped in 20symmoriai (probably independent of the symmoriai for eisphora, but this has been doubted), and through the symmoriai the total cost of the trierarchy each year was divided equally among all of the 1,200 except those who could claim exemption. Reforms in the trierarchic symmories were proposed by *Demosthenes (2) in 354 and made by him in 340; further changes were made later.

Article

tamiai  

D. M. MacDowell

Tamiai means ‘treasurers’. In Athens the most important officials with this title were the treasurers of Athena. They were ten in number, appointed annually by lot, one from each of the ten *phylai. According to a law attributed to *Solon only *pentakosiomedimnoi were eligible, but by the 4th cent. bce this rule was no longer enforced. They had charge of the money and treasures of Athena on the Acropolis. They kept the money in a building called opisthodomos (the location of which is doubtful), and they received and made payments in accordance with the decisions of the people. They paid out money not only for religious purposes but also for military use, especially during the *Peloponnesian War, and to defray other secular expenses. Many of their records are preserved on stone and are an important source of information about Athenian finance. In 434 a similar board of ten treasurers of ‘the other gods’ was instituted to take charge of money and treasures belonging to other Attic shrines, which were now brought together into a single fund. It also was kept in the opisthodomos, but separately from the money of Athena.

Article

Peter Fibiger Bang

Taxation is best understood as a form of payment for protection. Greco-Roman taxation developed and expanded with the rise of monarchies and empires. Formerly independent city-states were made to pay a tribute to their imperial masters. In return, imperial government guarded the peace and prevented rivals to make similar claims on their subject communities.

Initially, the world of the Classical city-states was one of low taxation. Per capita, tax demands were minimal and mostly met from indirect taxes. As long as the citizenry, dominated by landowners, could avoid direct taxation of their property or the produce of their lands, the main source of their income, they did, praying to the gods, as Dio Chrysostomus later remarked, that it would never come to the point “that each man would have to contribute in proportion out of his own wealth” (Dio Chrys. Or. 31.46, author’s translation). Much of the expenses for what ancient states did, public building, religious festivals, cult ceremonies, could normally be met from other sources, such as customs and harbour dues, natural resources, state-owned properties, or if need be, temporary contributions. In that respect the experience of the Classical city-state corresponds quite closely to that of other pre-industrial societies. The only factor that seriously could break the pattern of no or little direct taxation was warfare. Military activity generated by far the highest expenses regularly undertaken by premodern states. Historically it is the need to finance armies that has driven the expansion of taxation and the introduction of permanent land-taxes.

Article

Miko Flohr

Textile production was a central part of everyday life in the Greco-Roman world, both in cities and the countryside. In the Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman periods, increasing urbanization and acculturation transformed dress practices throughout the Mediterranean and created a more complex manufacturing economy, even if not all textile production was market oriented. Textiles were mostly of wool and linen, though other materials, including cotton and silk, also existed. Raw materials were prepared and then spun into yarn using simple, handheld tools. Weaving was mostly done on upright, weighted looms, but loom design began to show increasing variation in the Roman Imperial period, reflecting innovation that served to increase the quality of the output rather than productivity. While textile production had a strong basis in household production for personal needs, there are some signs of increasing professionalization, and it is clear that, particularly in the Roman imperial period, there was a significant (and unprecedented) trade in textiles over longer distances. At the same time, textile production, and particularly spinning and weaving, remained of enormous cultural significance and contributed enormously to the personal identities of men and, especially, women.

Article

Friedrich M. Heichelheim and P. J. Rhodes

Theōrika, grants paid by the state to the citizens of Athens to enable them to attend the theatre at the major festivals. Attributions of these grants to *Pericles(1) (who introduced payment for jurors) and to *Agyrrhius (who introduced payment for attending the assembly) are both undermined by the silence of *Aristophanes (1) on the subject, and the likeliest attribution is to *Eubulus(1) and Diophantus after the *Social War (1) of the 350s bce (schol. Aeschin. 3. 24). In peace time the fund received not only a regular allocation (merismos) but also any surplus revenue, and became rich enough to pay for a variety of projects; this, together with the fact that the treasurer of the fund was elected and could be re-elected, and shared with the council the oversight of the old financial committees, made the fund and its treasurer very powerful. A law of the 330s weakened the treasurer, perhaps by substituting a board of ten for the single official and limiting tenure, but a similarly powerful position in Athenian finance was occupied in the 330s and 320s by *Lycurgus (3).

Article

thētes  

Arnold Wycombe Gomme, Theodore John Cadoux, and P. J. Rhodes

Thētes, hired labourers, the lowest class of free men in a Greek state. At Athens, after *Solon, the lowest of the four property classes, said (perhaps by false analogy with *pentakosiomedimnoi) to comprise men who did not own land yielding as much as 200 medimnoi of corn or the equivalent in other produce. (The others classes were *zeugitai, *hippeis). Solon admitted them to the assembly (*ekklēsia) and *ēliaia (indeed, probably they had never been formally excluded from the assembly), but not to magistracies (see magistracy, greek) or, presumably, the council (*boulē) (Arist. Ath. pol. 7. 3–8. 1). This limitation was never formally abolished, but by the second half of the 4th cent. it was being ignored in practice. Because they could not afford the armour, thētes did not fight as *hoplites, but when Athens became mainly a naval power they acquired an important role as oarsmen in the fleet; they may also have served in such bodies as the archers. Whether they were included among the *ephēboi (‘cadets’) as reorganized in the 330s is disputed.

Article

John Ellis Jones

Thoricus, coastal *deme of SE *Attica, now a bare twin-peaked hill (Velatouri) north of modern Laurion. In legend, one of King *Cecrops' twelve Attic townships, home of the hunter king *Cephalus, and landing-place of *Demeter, travelling from *Crete to *Eleusis. An important centre of the Classical silver-mine industry, it became a ghost-town by the 1st cent. ce (partly reoccupied in 5th/6th cent. ce). Excavated remains include, on the higher slopes, five Helladic tombs, Geometric graves and houses, and, lower down, extensive remains of the Archaic–Classical town: a theatre of unusual plan (see theatres (greek and roman), structure; theatre staging, greek), adjacent temple-foundations, tombs, houses, ore-washeries (one restored) and a large mine-gallery (with early bronze to later Roman sherds), and an ‘industrial quarter’ of streets, houses and washeries, an outlying tower, and a silted-over temple, perhaps Demeter's. A remarkable inscription (Ant.

Article

timber  

Eugene N. Borza

Was a valuable economic product in Greece and Rome. Many Mediterranean lands were forested in ancient times, but these timber stands were drastically reduced by human exploitation and by the grazing of animals, especially goats. The Mediterranean climate is capable of sustaining forests so long as they are intact, but once the trees are cut, the combination of marginal rainfall and grazing animals makes forest regeneration difficult, if not impossible. In general, the history of timber supplies is one of gradual depletion, with little effort in antiquity to replant harvested lands. Only in those areas of continental rainfall conditions which lie at some distance from dense human settlement (e.g. the mountains of *Macedonia) have forests survived into modern times. Thus lacking much apparent physical correlation between modern scrubland and ancient forests we are dependent upon references in the ancient authors (e.g. *Theophrastus and the elder *Pliny (1)) for a description of the location and abundance of ancient timberland.

Article

tin  

Oliver Davies and David William John Gill

Combined with copper is used to make the alloy of *bronze. Its addition to copper reduces the melting-point of the alloy, and also gives a product stronger than copper. A 4th-cent. bce inscription from *Eleusis gives the alloy composition as 8.33% tin. Tin was also used to make pewter; five parts with two parts of lead. The principal sources available to the classical world were the Erzgebirge (cf. Scymnus 493) and western Europe. Small quantities were mined in Etruria (see etruscans) in pre-Roman times, and tin was worked at *Cirrha near *Delphi. The *Phoenicians probably controlled the Spanish tin through their settlements in the western Mediterranean. The colony of *Massalia gave the Greeks access to supplies in northern Europe and possibly Cornwall via the Rhône valley. The mythical source of tin was the *Cassiterides. There is ample evidence for the Roman pursuit of tin, including the expedition recalled by *Strabo (3.

Article

Paul Cartledge

Exchange in some form has probably existed since the emergence of the first properly human social groups. Trade, whether local, regional, interregional or international, is a much later development. It is a certain inference from the extant documentary records in Linear B script that the world of Mycenaean age palace-economy knew all four main forms of commerce (see mycenaean civilization; mycenaean language), and a reasonable guess that a considerable portion of the long-distance carrying trade was in the hands of specialized professional traders. But whether that trade was ‘administered’ (state-directed) or ‘free-enterprise’ is impossible to say. It is one sign among many of the economic recession experienced by the Greek world generally between about 1200 and 800 bce that in these dark centuries regional and international trade dwindled to vanishing-point; the few known professional traders were typically men of non-Greek, especially *Phoenician, origin. See traders.In book 8 of Homer's Odyssey the sea-battered hero finds his way at last to the comparative calm and safety of Phaeacia, a never-never land set somewhere in the golden west (see scheria), only to be roundly abused by a Phaeacian aristocrat for looking like a sordidly mercenary merchant skipper rather than a gentleman amateur sportsman.

Article

Jeremy Paterson

The central issue for historians has long been, and remains, how to characterize properly the scale and importance of trade and commerce in the overall economy of the Roman empire. Some seek to emphasize how different, and essentially backward, the Roman *economy was in comparison to the modern. They point to the Roman élite's apparent snobbish contempt for commerce (Cic.Off. 1. 150–1). The primacy of *agriculture cannot be denied, and it is noteworthy that the Roman *agricultural writers, with the large landowner in mind, betray both very little interest in markets and an aversion to risk which did not inspire entrepreneurial experiments. Factories in the modern sense did not exist in the ancient world (see industry). Cities did not grow up as centres of manufacturing; far from it, they can be represented merely as centres of consumption (see urbanism). The cost and difficulty of transport, particularly over land, are claimed to have made it uneconomic to trade over long distances anything other than luxury products. Of course, basic goods, such as *wine, *olive oil, and grain, also *pottery of all kinds, can be demonstrated to have been carried in large quantities over long distances.

Article

traders  

Paul C. Millett

Traders in the ancient Mediterranean relied heavily on sea transport, reflecting terrain and the location of communities. *Plato(1) describes the Greeks as huddled around the sea ‘like ants and frogs around a pond’ (Phd. 109b); his likening of traders to migrating summer birds (Leg. 952d) reminds us of the realities of the Mediterranean *climate and limitations of contemporary shipping, closing the seas for between six and ten months (Cod. Theod. 13. 9. 3. 3; Hes.Op. 663 ff.; cf. Acts 27: 9). Although in the Roman west extensive use was made of river and eventually even road transport, the primacy of sea trade was never challenged. In terms of status, traders were liable to be marginalized as ‘not belonging’. Homer's traders (predominantly *Phoenicians) were viewed with suspicion by the Greek élite (Od. 8. 14 ff.). Even after Greeks replaced Phoenicians, no formal bond existed between a *polis and those carrying on its trade: traders transporting goods to and from Athens were not necessarily Athenian citizens.

Article

travel  

Nicholas Purcell

Levels of personal mobility varied greatly in the ancient Mediterranean. Certain categories of individual were regarded as mobile throughout: the emporos (*trader) was a recognizable figure already in the Homeric poems, and normally rootless wanderers of the archaic period include many types of technical expert (see dēmiourgoi), such as healers, seers, scribes, practitioners of the visual and performance arts, and (following a practice established since the bronze age) workers in special materials such as metallurgists or glassworkers. Traders remain a standard figure of mobility, from the great wanderers in *Herodotus(1), such as Colaeus, or Sostratus (for whom see aegina; trade, greek), to *negotiatores attested on Roman tomb-inscriptions.Two forms of human service were required in sufficient quantities to generate a more substantial displacement of people: the general *labour provided by the slave, and the fighting skills of the soldier. The Archaic period saw the development of structures for the recruitment of *mercenaries, through which large numbers of fighting men moved from Greece and Anatolia to Egypt, the Levant, and the Fertile Crescent; and the distribution of demographically significant numbers of humans by the nascent slave trade (as attested in *Solon's poems).

Article

Ernst Badian

Tribuni aerarii, originally treasury officials concerned with the collection of *tributum and its disbursement as military *stipendium. The office disappeared, but the title may have been preserved. It reappears in 70 bce, for the third of the classes of jurors (after senators and *equites) under the lex Aurelia (see aurelius cotta, l.). These men had the same census qualification as the equites and are often subsumed under that description. It has been argued that they were men of equestrian census not enrolled by the censors in the equestrian centuries, but there is no real evidence on their definition. *Caesar removed them from the juries and the title then disappeared.