1-6 of 6 Results  for:

  • Greek Material Culture x
  • Ancient Economy x
Clear all


Cameron Hawkins

The social worlds of artisans and craftsmen were structured around skill on both conceptual and practical levels. On a conceptual level, artisans employed skill (τέχνη / ars) as a crucial component of the identities they constructed for themselves—identities that differed distinctly from perceptions of artisans among the elite, who dismissed most craftsmen as “base” manual labourers. On a practical level, the importance of apprenticeship as a tool for the acquisition of skill had a profound impact on the social profile of artisans and craftsmen: while it ensured that skill could be acquired by both free and enslaved artisans, it limited opportunities for women and for children born into households of low economic status. From an economic perspective, the small workshop remained the backbone of artisanal production. The ubiquity of small workshops in the economy can be explained best as the product of artisans’ efforts to respond to the risks created by product markets in which demand was inherently seasonal and uncertain. With some exceptions, artisans sought to mitigate their exposure to risk by minimizing fixed costs, while nevertheless preserving the ability to expand their output in periods of elevated demand. This was true even in industries that fostered specialization in discrete and technically demanding stages of a vertical production process: in these industries, artisans typically coordinated their production not within integrated firms, but rather within subcontracting networks.


Frank William Walbank and P. J. Rhodes

Dēmiourgoi, ‘public workers’, are in *Homer such independent craftsmen as metalworkers, potters, and masons, and also seers, doctors, bards, and heralds. *Plato (1) and *Xenophon (1) use the word thus. More generally in Classical Greece the word is used sometimes in that sense, sometimes as the title of major officials in a state; though perhaps of greatest antiquity in *Elis and *Achaea, they are most often found in Dorian states. In the *Achaean Confederacy they formed a council of ten, who assisted the *stratēgos; the *Arcadian League imitated this organization, based originally on local representation. Outside mainland Greece, dēmiourgoi are found in *Crete and several Aegean islands, and in the Roman period in *Asia Minor. In Athens there are references to a division of the citizen body into *eupatridai, farmers, and dēmiourgoi, and to the involvement of those classes in the appointment of the archons after 580 bce (Ath.


G. Herman

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 friendship, greece and friendship, ritualized), either to initiate or to perpetuate amiable relationships. The claim sometimes made in modern research (by Hooker, for example) that these features of gift-giving existed in poetical fantasy rather than in social reality is contradicted by the recurrence of these features in later non-poetical descriptions of gift-giving.



John F. Lazenby and P. J. Rhodes

In a number of Greek states the aristocracy was known as the ‘hippeis’ (e.g. *Eretria and Boeotian *Orchomenus(1); and cf. the ‘hippobotai’, of *Chalcis and, below, the Spartan élite (§ 3) and Athenian property class (§ 4)). Aristotle (Pol. 1297b17 ff., cf. 1289b36 ff. and 1321a8 ff.), while drawing attention to the fact that only the wealthy possessed *horses, seems to have thought that this was the basis of their political power, since their states depended upon cavalry in war. But although there is some evidence for cavalry in early wars, for example the 8th-cent. bce Lelantine War, it is doubtful whether many Greek states south of Boeotia really had powerful forces of cavalry in early times. No cavalry is mentioned in *Tyrtaeus, for example, and the Athenians notoriously had no cavalry at the battle of *Marathon, despite the existence of a class of hippeis.


Vladimir F. Stolba

Panskoye I is one of the most prominent and best-studied settlements in the rural territory of Chersonesus on the Tarkhankut Peninsula (north-western Crimea). Founded in the late 5th century bce as a fortified outpost (tetrapyrgia) protecting the south-eastern frontiers of Olbian territory, around 360 bce it was subjugated to Tauric Chersonesus, a close relationship which it maintained until the settlement’s catastrophic destruction around 270 bce. In 1969–1994, a significant part of the settlement and associated necropolis were investigated by the Tarkhankut Archaeological Expedition of the Leningrad Institute of Archaeology, Academy of Sciences of the USSR (since 1991, Institute for the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg). The settlement’s stratigraphy and size, as well as its unique structure and layout, representing an agglomeration of compactly placed free-standing farmsteads, adjoining house blocks, and monumental buildings accommodating more than one household, distinguish it from other rural settlements in the area. Its rich and original material culture shows a remarkable intermingling of various cultural components, both Greek and non-Greek.


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.