21-40 of 174 Results  for:

  • Ancient Economy x
Clear all

Article

booty  

Michel Austin

‘It is a law established for all time among all men that when a city is taken in war, the persons and the property of its inhabitants belong to the captors’ (Xen.Cyr. 7. 5. 73). This universal ancient conception is reflected in the wide range of meanings of the ancient terminology for ‘booty’ (notably λεία, λάφυρα, and ὠφέλεια in Greek, praeda and spolia in Latin). It referred not just to movable and inanimate objects (e.g. precious metals), but could also include animals and livestock, human beings, and even whole cities and territory. War, for instance, was one of the major suppliers of the slave trade (see slavery). It was rare after *Homer for wars to be fought solely and openly for acquisitive purposes. But it was always assumed that success in war would lead to appropriation by the victor of the property and persons of the vanquished, and sometimes of territory as well. Hence the largest sudden transfers of wealth in the ancient world were the result of successful warfare: for example *Sparta's conquest of *Messenia and the Messenians in the late 8th cent.

Article

Simon Hornblower

Much Greek vocabulary for bribery is neutral (‘persuade by gifts/money’, ‘receiving gifts’), although pejorative terms like ‘gift-swallowing’ are found as early as Hesiod (Op. 37 ff.). Attic tragedy contains accusations of bribery against e.g. seers like Tiresias (Soph. OT 380 ff.); Thucydides' *Pericles (1) (2. 60. 5, cf. 65. 8) finds it necessary to say that he has not taken bribes; clearly the normal expectation was that politicians did. Accusations of bribery are frequent in 4th cent. orators, partly because you had to prove bribery in order to make a treason accusation (*eisangelia) stick: Hyperides 4. 29 f. Hyperides 5. 24 f. (with D. Whitehead's comm., 2000) implies an Athenian distinction between bribes taken for and against the state's interests; the latter type have been called ‘catapolitical’ (Harvey; but see H. Wankel, ZPE 85 (1991), 34 ff.). See also corruption.

Article

byssus  

J. P. Wild

Byssus(βύσσος, prob. = Akkad. būṣu, Hebrew būṣ), a conspicuously fine fibre, normally of plant origin. Aeschylus (Sept.1039; Pers. 125) mentions fine tunics of βύσσος, probably *linen (flax) in this context; the Egyptian mummy bandages described by Herodotus (2. 86) as βύσσος were also linen. But later the term was extended to *cotton (explicitly in Poll.

Article

Neville Morley

Capitalism is a contested term, both in the modern world and in historical studies; different theoretical traditions understand it in radically different ways and, hence, disagree both as to its utility in analysing the ancient economy and as to the meaning and significance of a claim that classical antiquity was in any sense capitalist. These questions overlap with other major debates in ancient economic history. This article identifies the theoretical issues and debates involved in the use of the term, rather than engaging with substantive questions about the nature and development of the ancient economy.Capitalism is a term freighted with heavy ideological baggage; its meaning and significance is disputed in the modern world, and the question of whether or not it is a useful or appropriate term for understanding classical antiquity is inextricably entangled with broader debates about the nature of the ancient economy and how it should be studied. A typical dictionary definition of the term is “an economic system characterized by private or corporation ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision rather than by state control, and by prices, production and the distribution of goods determined mainly in a free market”—contrasted with systems of .

Article

Carrara  

T. W. Potter

White *marble*quarries in NW Italy. Perhaps first exploited on a small scale by the *Etruscans, they were further developed after the foundation of the colony of *Luna in 177 bce, which acted as a port. Large-scale quarrying began in the 1st cent. bce. *Mamurra, *Caesar's praefectus fabrum (see fabri), was the first to veneer the walls of his house with Carrara (Plin. HN 36. 7. 48), and may have opened up the quarries for Caesar's building programme, replacing the use of Attic white marbles (see pentelicon). The reconstruction of the *Regia (37 bce) is often regarded as the earliest example of large-scale use of Carrara, and the industry (for buildings, sculpture, and *sarcophagi) reached its peak under Trajan, before giving way to the employment of marbles from the east Mediterranean. It was however partly revived in the 4th cent. ce.

Article

Eric Herbert Warmington and Martin Millett

A name applied generically to all the north Atlantic tin lands, and often associated with Cornwall and the Scillies. They were said to have been known first by the *Phoenicians or Carthaginians (see carthage) from Gades. A Greek named Midacritus (c.600 bce ? ) is recorded to have imported tin from Cassiteris island (Plin. HN 7. 197). The Carthaginians kept their tin-routes secret; hence Herodotus (3. 115) doubted the existence of the Cassiterides. *Pytheas visited the miners of Belerium (Land's End) and their tin depot at Ictis; but it was left to a Roman, probably P. *Licinius Crassus (1), governor in Spain c.95 bce, to make the tin-routes generally known. *Strabo, who enumerates ten Cassiterides, describes the tin- and lead-mines and the black cloaks and long tunics of the natives.The unambiguous evidence about the location of the Cassiterides in the classical sources suggests that it was a partly mythologized generic name for the sources of *tin beyond the Mediterranean world and not a single place.

Article

cereals  

Robert Sallares

The most important component of the diet (see food and drink). The Greeks and Romans cultivated wheat, barley, oats, rye, and millets, using dry-farming methods. Greek and Roman farmers did not understand wet-rice cultivation, which was practised in the near east in antiquity. Maize only reached Europe from America after Columbus. The botanical works of *Theophrastus, the Roman agronomists (see agricultural writers), and medical writers provide a lot of information on cereals. These sources may be supplemented with the evidence of palaeobotanical remains of cereals found on archaeological sites.By the end of antiquity wheat was the most important cereal. Innovations such as the spread of the rotary grain-mill (see mills), from the 4th cent. bce onwards, and the use of finer sieves to separate grain from chaff, made it possible to produce purer flour, although it was still coarse by modern standards. Wheat came to be preferred to the other cereals because it contains a higher proportion of gluten (which raises loaves during baking) than other cereals. This development led to the gradual displacement of the original Greek and Latin words for wheat (πυρός and triticum) by the words for ‘grain’ in general (σῖτος and frumentum).

Article

Paul Cartledge

Class struggle, as a concept and phrase, is indelibly associated with the Marxist tradition of socio-historical analysis and practical political endeavour. ‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles’, is the opening sentence of the first main section of The Communist Manifesto (1848). Karl Marx, moreover, did not only apply the phrase to the societies of Greece and Rome (among others) but also acknowledged his debt to the ‘giant thinker’ Aristotle for demonstrating, as he saw it, the general utility of the concept for historical analysis and explanation. See marxism and classical antiquity. Marx, however, nowhere in his voluminous writings gave an extended and coherent definition of ‘class’, which remains one of the most essentially contested terms of art in all socio-historical theory. His omission has been variously repaired by historians sympathetic to Marxist theory. Conversely, the very applicability and utility of any definition of class for the understanding of Greece and Rome have been equally passionately denied.

Article

In 332/1 bce*Alexander (3) the Great placed him in charge of the eastern sector of Egypt with responsibility for the fiscal system of the entire country. According to the Aristotelian Oeconomica he was adept at exploitation, and at a time of international famine he concentrated the entire grain surplus of Egypt in his hands, marketing it at an enormous profit. He accumulated a reserve of 8,000 talents and devoted considerable attention and expense to the public buildings of *Alexandria (1). That won him official recognition of his de facto position as *satrap and pardon for any excesses in his administration. The settlement of *Babylon (323 subordinated him to Ptolemy (1) I, who had him executed, suspecting him of sympathy for *Perdiccas (3).

Article

Marcus Niebuhr Tod and Simon Hornblower

Despite the large number and great popularity of clubs in the Greek world, both in the Hellenistic and in the Graeco-Roman period, literature makes surprisingly few references to them, and the available evidence consists almost entirely of inscriptions and, in the case of Egypt, papyri. These provide a picture which, if incomplete, is at least vivid and detailed.Greek clubs, sacred and secular, are attested as early as the time of *Solon, one of whose laws, quoted by Gaius (Dig. 47. 22. 4), gave legal validity to their regulations, unless they were contrary to the laws of the state; and we hear of political clubs (*hetaireiai) at Athens in the 5th cent. bce (Thuc. 3. 82; 8. 54; 65). In the Classical period the societies known to us are mostly religious, carrying on the cult of some hero or god not yet recognized by the state, such as the worshippers (see orgeones) of Amynus, Asclepius, and Dexion, the heroized *Sophocles (1).

Article

Keith Rutter

Coinage to the Greeks was one of the forms of *Money available to measure value, store wealth, or facilitate exchange. Coins were made from precious metal such as *Gold or *Silver , or from a copper alloy; they were of regulated weight and had a design (type) stamped on one or both sides. Lumps of bullion too could be weighed to a standard and stamped with a design, but the stamp on a coin indicated that the issuing authority, normally a state or its representativ (s), would accept it as the legal equivalent of some value previously expressed in terms of other objects, including metal by weight. Merchants and others therefore were expected to accept it in payment. A coin of precious metal might weigh the same as the equivalent value of bullion, but would normally weigh less, to cover minting costs and, in varying degrees, to make a profit for the mint: in other words, coins were overvalued relative to bullion (see weights ).

Article

Michael Crawford

There are two related stories about Roman coinage: the one of its internal evolution, and the other of its progressive domination of the Mediterranean world, its use throughout the Roman empire, and finally its fragmentation into the coinages of the successor kingdoms in the west and the Byzantine empire in the east.Rome under the kings and in the early republic managed without a coinage, like the other communities of central Italy, with the episodic exception of some Etruscan cities; *bronze by weight, aes rude (see aes), with a pound of about 324 g. (11.5 oz.) as the unit, served as a measure of value, no doubt primarily in the assessment of fines imposed by a community in the process of substituting public law for private retribution; this stage of Roman monetary history is reflected in the *Twelve Tables. The progressive extension of Roman hegemony over central Italy brought booty in the form of *gold, *silver, and bronze; the means to create a coinage on the Greek model were at hand.

Article

Arnold Hugh Martin Jones and Antony Spawforth

Collatio lustralis (chrysargyron), a tax in gold and silver levied every five years (later four) on traders in the widest sense. It was instituted by *Constantine, and abolished in the east by Anastasius in ce 498; it continued to exist in the Ostrogothic and Visigothic kingdoms in the 6th cent. From the late 4th cent. it was levied in gold only. Not only were merchants liable, but moneylenders, craftsmen who sold their own products, and apparently anyone who received fees. Prostitutes paid, and the fact that the government thus profited from sin made the tax unpopular with Christians. Doctors and teachers were expressly exempted. Landowners and peasants selling their own products were also immune, and rural craftsmen were declared exempt in 374. Painters were also freed from the tax then, and clergy and veterans who practised crafts or trade were exempt if their assessment fell below a certain minimum. The tax was assessed on the capital assets of the taxpayer, including himself and his slaves and family. The rate of tax does not seem to have been heavy, but it caused grave hardship to poor craftsmen and shopkeepers; this explains the evidence for payment by annual instalments, in Roman Egypt and perhaps generally. It was levied in each city by mancipes (i.

Article

Christopher Pelling

Commentarii ‘memoranda’, were often private or businesslike, e.g. accounts, notebooks for speeches, legal notes, or teaching materials. Their public use (excluding the false ‘commentarii of the kings’) developed in the priestly colleges (e.g. *pontifices, see libri pontificales, and augures), and with magistrates (*consuls, *censors, *aediles) and provincial governors. They apparently recorded decisions and other material relevant for future consultation, and at least in some cases explained their rationale: this could amount to a manual of protocol. Under the empire the ‘imperial memoranda’ (commentarii principis) provided an archive of official constitutions, rescripts (see magister libellorum), etc: entering a decision in the commentarii conferred its legal authority.In the late republic a more literary usage developed, ‘memoir’ rather than ‘memoranda’. Various records, handbooks, and other learned works were so described, but especially autobiographies, under the influence of such Greek works as *Aratus (2)'s ‘memoirs’ (ὑπομνήματα, the nearest Greek equivalent): thus perhaps the work of *Sulla, more certainly *Cicero's accounts of his consulship and above all *Caesar's commentarii.

Article

A. N. Sherwin-White and Andrew Lintott

Commercium was the right of any Latinus (see latini) to own Roman land and to enter into contracts with a Roman that were according to the forms of Roman law and enforceable in Roman courts without recourse to the *ius gentium (especially using conveyance by *mancipatio).This belonged to a Latinus by right (Romans possessed a reciprocal commercium in Latin communities) but might also be given as a privilege to foreigners. Without it a foreigner could only go to law through the actions granted by the peregrine praetor (see praetor). Associated with commercium was conubium, the right to contract a legal marriage with a member of another state without either party forfeiting inheritance or paternity rights. Without conubium a Roman's children by a foreigner took the citizenship of the foreigner and could not be heirs to his property. These complementary rights formed an essential part of *ius Latii.

Article

Michael Crawford

Congiarium, from congius (a measure of capacity = 6 sextarii (see measures)), a quantity of oil, wine, etc. , distributed as a gift, later also the cash equivalent. From the time of Augustus onwards, congiaria were naturally an imperial monopoly, associated with accessions, birthdays, victories, etc. The recipients were identical with the plebs frumentaria, who received distributions of corn.

Article

M. I. Finley and Keith Bradley

Contubernium meant a ‘dwelling together’, as of soldiers or animals, but referred especially to a quasi-marital union between slave and slave or slave and free. Since a slave lacked juristic personality, a contubernium was not a marriage but a factual situation, at the pleasure of the slave-owner, creating no legal consequences despite the use of such words as uxor, maritus, or pater, even in legal texts. Children were the property of the mother's owner; no slave-woman could be guilty of adultery; manumission of one or both parents need not extend to their issue. Sepulchral inscriptions indicate that contubernia were highly valued. But how widespread de facto slave ‘families’ were and which social contexts best favoured them cannot be accurately known. Slave-owners always retained the right to separate slave family members, and commonly did so to judge from records of slave sales and bequests.

For bibliography see marriage law; slavery.

Article

cotton  

Stephanie Dalley

Cotton is first attested from excavations in the Indus valley for the early second millennium bce; cotton plants were imported into *Assyria by Sennacheribc.700 bce, who attempted to grow them at *Nineveh. Herodotus 3. 106 mentions cotton as an Indian crop. It spread during Hellenistic times into *Ethiopia, *Nubia and Upper *Egypt, and perhaps later into Indo-China. Early fibres seem to come from the tree Gossipium arboreum rather than the bush Gossipium herbaceum. The word cotton may perhaps be derived from West Semitic ktn, at first ‘tunic’ in general, later the linen tunic worn by priests. A connection with the early Akkadian textile or garment kutinnu is doubtful.

Article

credit  

Paul C. Millett

Credit, the temporary transfer of property rights over money or goods, was central to the functioning of ancient society. The great majority of credit operations would have been informal transactions between relations, neighbours, and friends, marked by the absence of interest, security, or written agreement. Although under-represented in our sources, these day-to-day transactions, with their basis in reciprocity, created and strengthened bonds between individuals. Hence the hostility felt by *Plato (1) (Leg. 742c) towards formal credit agreements, implying as they did a lack of trust. In Athens (where a detailed construction is possible), the range of possible sources of credit extended beyond family and friends to include professional moneylenders, bankers, and usurers. In these latter cases, relationships between the parties would be more impersonal, justifying interest and formal precautions. From the Roman world, detailed testimony from the republic focuses on credit transactions between members of the élite, juggling their resources with an eye towards political advantage. *Cicero writes of the obligation to take over the debts of an amicus (Off.

Article

Cyprus  

Hector Catling

Cyprus, third largest Mediterranean island (9,282 sq. km.: 3,584 sq. mi.) was of strategic and economic importance to the Mediterranean and near eastern powers, and significant both to their relations with western Asia and with one another. It is vulnerable to the power politics of its neighbours, by one or other of whom it has often been occupied or governed, and whose mutual conflicts have sometimes been fought out on its soil or its seas. Though mountainous (the highest points on its Troödos and Kyrenia ranges are 1,951 and 1,023 m. (6,403 and 3,357 ft.) respectively), its central plain (Mesaoria) is fertile, while its extensive piedmont and river-valley systems are suited to crop and animal husbandry. The island suffers intermittently from serious seismic disturbance. Rainfall is uncertain, drought endemic, and fertility dramatically responsive to irrigation capacity. Copper ore, chiefly located in the Troödos foothills at the junction of igneous and sedimentary deposits, has been exploited since prehistory. Timber resources played a major role in the region's naval history.