Documentary Sources in Ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman Economic History: Methodology and Practice [Hardback]

Heather D. Baker (Editor); Michael Jursa (Editor)

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ISBN: 9781782977582 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2014 | Language: English 336p, b/w illustrations

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Documentary Sources in Ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman Economic History


This volume breaks new ground in approaching the Ancient Economy by bringing together documentary sources from Mesopotamia and the Greco-Roman world. Addressing textual corpora that have traditionally been studied separately, the collected papers overturn the conventional view of a fundamental divide between the economic institutions of these two regions. The premise is that, while controlling for differences, texts from either cultural setting can be brought to bear on the other and can shed light, through their use as proxy data, on such questions as economic mentalities and market development. The book also presents innovative approaches to the quantitative study of large corpora of ancient documents. The resulting view of the Ancient Economy is much more variegated and dynamic than traditional ‘primitivist’ views would allow.

The volume covers the following topics: Babylonian house size data as an index of urban living standards; the Old Babylonian archives as a source for economic history; Middle Bronze Age long distance trade in Anatolia; long-term economic development in Babylonia from the 7th to the 4th century BC; legal institutions and agrarian change in the Roman Empire; papyrological evidence for water-lifting technology; money circulation and monetization in Late Antique Egypt; the application of Social Network Analysis to Babylonian cuneiform archives; price trends in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, as well as the effects of locust plagues on prices.

Table of Contents

Jursa, M. Introduction
Baker, H. D. House Size and Household Structure: Quantitative Data in the Study of Babylonian Urban Living Conditions
Charpin, D. The Historian and the Old Babylonian Archives
Dercksen, J. G. The Old Assyrian Trade and its Participants
Jursa, M. Economic Development in Babylonia from the Late 7th to the Late 4th Century BC: Economic Growth and Economic Crises in Imperial Contexts
Kehoe, D. Legal Institutions and Agrarian Change in the Roman Empire
Malouta, M. The Papyrological Evidence for Water-Lifting Technology
Pirngruber, R. Plagues and Prices: Locusts
Tost, S. On Payment Transactions and Monetisation in the Rural Areas of Late Antique Egypt: the Case Study of Small-Format Documents
Waerzeggers, C. Social Network Analysis of Cuneiform Archives—a New Approach

Prices in the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East
Spek, R. J. van der The Volatility of Prices of Barley and Dates in Babylon in the Third and Second Centuries BC
von Reden, S. Wheat Prices in Ptolemaic Egypt
Rathbone, D. Mediterranean Grain Prices c. 300 to 31 BC: the Impact of Rome
Rathbone, D. Mediterranean and Near Eastern Grain Prices c. 300 to 31 BC: Some Preliminary Conclusions

Reviews & Quotes

"“A welcome volume for straddling the Graeco-Roman/Middle Eastern divide – suggesting that in matters economic there was much less of a divide than conventionally thought. Well indexed.” "
Gocha R. Tsetskhladze
Ancient West & East (11/01/2019)

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