Greek Economies: The Documentary Evidence

History 280A.002

Spring 2009
308C Doe Library
Day & Time: 
Thurs 2-5

In recent years, the ancient economy has emerged as a particularly vibrant field of study, its dynamism and energy deriving both from methodological advances and discoveries of new empirical evidence. Much of this new evidence has come to us in the form of inscriptions. This course will accordingly introduce participants to the economic activities of the ancient Greek world through a focused study of the epigraphic evidence. We shall begin with a discussion of major historiographical approaches to the subject and current methodologies, and shall then turn to reading a sequence of epigraphic texts, from the Archaic to the early Hellenistic period, organized thematically. The epigraphic evidence will be supplemented by a reading of several ancient literary sources of particular importance to our knowledge of the Greek economy. Topics will include public finance, banking and credit, trade, household economies, temples and sanctuaries as repositories and managers of wealth, pastoralism and agriculture. All students will be required to give one in-class presentation and to write a research paper, which will be due at the end of the semester. Knowledge of ancient Greek is required; secondary source readings will be above all in English and French, with some material in German and Italian.


Also listed as AHMA 210.001 and History 285A.002. Course is co-taught with Nikolaos Papazarkadas.