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date: 25 September 2022



  • 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).


  • Ancient Economy

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