For Greek city-states of the Archaic and Hellenistic periods the ethos of self-sufficiency (autarkeia) dominated the ideology of food supply. In reality few Greek cities ever outgrew the food production capacities of their territory and the small number which did responded by intensifying agricultural production. This is well documented in the case of Athens. However, most Greek states operated in politically and environmentally unstable conditions. Weather (see
By ‘food’ (sitos) is meant *cereals. Though other crops were grown and important in the ancient Greek diet, grain was the preferred staple, especially wheat and barley. Hence shortfalls in these crops proved the most problematic at all levels. Grain was at the heart of the political discourses which evolved around the problem of food supply in most city-states.
Dominic W. Rathbone
David M. Lewis and Sara Zanovello
In the Greek world, manumission, which spelt the end of an individual’s life in slavery, was achieved in a variety of ways, but it often entailed legal obligations to remain (paramenein) as a free servant for a fixed period of time. In some cases, freedmen and freedwomen subject to paramone obligations were able to “buy out” of this condition (apolysis). Manumission documents, which have been found in many parts of the Greek world, particularly in northern Greece (especially Delphi), reveal the legal position of slaves and how it differed from the legal position of freedpersons. Unlike in Rome, freedpersons in the Greek world did not automatically become citizens of their ex-owner’s polis (although some freed slaves did manage to achieve naturalization in return for benefactions bestowed on the community). In Athens, they held a legal position almost identical to that of resident foreigners (metoikoi), with some minor differences. Manumission was usually a private act, but in some cases the polis manumitted privately owned slaves, and in Sparta, helots could only be manumitted by the state. The frequency of manumission in the Greek world remains a debated topic, but recent work has raised the possibility that its use as an incentive for slaves was probably targeted mainly at slaves working in skilled, “care-intensive” roles, and also for slaves (including hetairai) with whom individuals conceived sexual attachments.
Arising from the agrarian and domestic contexts of classical antiquity, the notion of “frugality” (frugalitas) was a positive, desirable, and in many respects distinctively Roman concept that generally refers to a set of practices, ethical principles, and cultural and moral values pertaining to the production and consumption of resources. Closely related to this more general category is the concept of “parsimony” (parsimonia), which, as one type of frugalitas, is properly concerned with the prudent and judicious management of property and wealth. Both concepts tend to be associated with temperance and moderation (moderatio; cf. Gk. sophrosyne) and are often framed in opposition to “luxury” (luxuria) and “greed” (avaritia). Partly as a response to perceived increases in social ills and partly under the influence of Greek philosophy, the moral connotations of frugalitas and parsimonia become increasingly pronounced over time and are variously embraced by later Christian writers. Prominent historical exempla for these important Roman concepts include L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi, M.’ Curius Dentatus, and Cato the Elder.
The practice of fulling woollen garments was never part of an integrated textile production chain in the Greco-Roman world, though in several contexts, there were developments towards large-scale investment and rationalization in fulling workshops. Fullers, particularly in the Roman period, developed a strong, and positive, occupational identity, and were well-integrated members of their respective urban communities.
In the Homeric poems, gift-giving perhaps receives more attention than any other peaceful heroic activity. It has three outstanding features. First, gifts have an extremely wide range of functions. The word ‘gift’ (dōron) was, as Finley (see bibliog. below) puts it, ‘a cover-all for a great variety of actions and transactions which later became differentiated and acquired their own appellations…payments for services rendered, desired or anticipated; what we would call fees, rewards, prizes and sometimes bribes’ (and, we should perhaps add, taxes, loans, and diplomatic relationships). Secondly, gifts are often extremely valuable; those referred to include cattle, armour, women, and even entire cities. Thirdly, gifts are frequently given within contexts such as *marriage, *funerals, friendship, and ritualized friendship (see
Romans not only gave gifts to express emotion and build relationships; a long-standing tradition of mutual aid gave rise to more intensive exchange of gifts and services (or reciprocity), among relatives, friends, and business associates; from the wealthy to the public in the form of public benefactions; and in legally sanctioned relationships between patrons and clients. Roman gift culture, distinctive among its contemporary Mediterranean societies, became increasingly transactional from the middle Republic to early Empire.
Frederick Norman Pryce and Michael Vickers
Frederick Norman Pryce and Michael Vickers
Richard Allan Tomlinson
In late bronze age Assiros in Macedonia corn was kept in wicker or similar containers, in storerooms within the houses. Otherwise large terracotta storage jars (pithoi) were used, especially in the centralized palace economies. Similar individual storage continued into the Classical period. An unusual terracotta pyxis found in a burial of c.850
A. Simon Esmonde Cleary
Arnold Wycombe Gomme and P. J. Rhodes
John F. Lazenby and P. J. Rhodes
Arnold Hugh Martin Jones
Indictio under the Principate meant the compulsory purchase of food, clothing, and other goods for the army and the court. Owing to the inflation of the mid-3rd cent.
Colin P. Elliott
Inflation typically refers to rising prices. In both ancient and modern societies, inflation is sometimes difficult to identify, measure, and explain with precision. Inflation can occur in the prices of individual goods, the goods and services associated with a particular industry or sector of an economy, or as a macro-phenomenon in which all or most prices in an economy rise. The magnitude of price rises and the duration during which prices stay elevated also have a bearing on how inflation is studied. The ancient world witnessed periods of both slow and steady inflation as well as punctuated surges in prices. Some regions, such as Egypt, offer hundreds of prices, which facilitate quantitative measurements of inflation. In many areas and periods, however, inflation is poorly understood because sufficient numbers of prices do not survive. Scholars, therefore, often use theoretical models and proxy evidence to better understand the nuances and complexity of inflation in classical antiquity.