By Z. Archibald
The economies of classical and Mediterranean antiquity are at the moment a battleground. a few students see them as vigorous and revolutionary, even proto-capitalist: others see them as static, embedded in social motion and standing relationships.Focusing at the imperative interval of the Mediterranean 330-30 BC, this booklet contributes considerably to the controversy, by means of juxtaposing common questions of idea and model-building with case-studies which study particular components and types of evidence.It breaks new floor by way of distilling and offering new and newly-reinterpreted proof for the Hellenistic period, by means of commencing the controversy on how we should always change Rostovtzeff's vintage view of this era, and by way of delivering a compelling new set of interpretative rules to the talk at the historic financial system.
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Additional info for Hellenistic Economies
On the other hand not only is the systematic study of those patterns still in its infancy, but also such study as is being done on the ground is painting an ever more complex picture, to the point where facile generalizations about ‘the Hellenistic world’ encounter growing doubts about the validity of the phrase as an analytic concept at all. It is wisest to begin with the perceptible formal changes and innovations and to work thence outwards, via some sketch of informal organic processes, to some sort of desperately tentative evaluation of the whole.
Which has been carried out, the amount of material is proving unmanageable and is straining information-retrieval systems to the uttermost. 44 Nor, it seems, can the potential Cliometrics be deployed with any confidence. e. the ratio between stamped and unstamped amphorae, cannot be accurately estimated, though without some such estimate one cannot begin to estimate the total annual production of any particular fabric45 or to reduce the wild discrepancies between the levels of production of wine or oil estimated by different criteria for this or that area and the numbers of actual amphorae.
Recent work (Treumann 1997) indeed has even studied Phoenician trade with Spain in timber in the eighth century. Thirdly, longdistance haulage might even apply to firewood: though Reger’s (1994) study of firewood supplies at Delos focuses largely on the neighbouring islands, a significant complement thereto is now provided by SEG 43. 488, a letter of 350–325 BC found at Torone which concerns the purchase of seven talents of wood (weight, therefore firewood). 22 Lastly, stands of trees in sanctuaries needed and got protection.