The longevity of the Byzantine state was due largely to the existence of variegated and articulated economic systems. This three-volume study examines the structures and dynamics of the economy and the factors that contributed to its development over time. The first volume addresses the environment, resources, communications, and production techniques. The second volume examines the urban economy; presents case studies of a number of places, including Sardis, Pergamon, Thebes, Athens, and Corinth; and discusses exchange, trade, and market forces. The third volume treats the themes of economic institutions and the state and general traits of the Byzantine economy. This global study of one of the most successful medieval economies will interest historians, economic historians, archaeologists, and art historians, as well as those interested in the Byzantine Empire and the medieval Mediterranean world.
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The longevity of the Byzantine state was to a large extent due to the existence of variegated and articulated economic systems. This book examines the structures and dynamics of the economy, and the long-term and short-term factors that contributed to its development over time. Major questions, such as the identification of the determining factors in the structure and evolution of the Byzantine economy, are posed, and the role of the state and its mechanisms as well that of market forces is examined. The interplay of growth and stability was important in the Byzantine economy as in all others, and that, too, forms a subtext to much of the discussion. The Byzantine economy emerges as a complex, differentiated, and flexible one, which was able to meet the needs of the state and the socity for a long time. Significant long-term factors include the climate and the terrain as well as population movements. Questions of technology and its evolution are discussed in various chapters. Among the themes treated in this work are the structures and organization of production in the agrarian and urban economies, investment, credit mechanisms, prices, modes of exchange, domestic and international trade, the production and circulation of coinage, fiscality [fiscal policy], aspects of the law governing economic issues, economic ideology, and the place of the Byzantine economy in the Mediterranean world. Archaeological evidence is heavily relied upon, and there are case studies of a number of cities. This work is synthetic, based on the research of the last few decades, but it also incorporates new and original research. It is hoped that this global study of one of the most successful medieval economies will be a useful tool to historians, economic historians, archaeologists, and art historians. Those who are interested not only in the Byzantine Empire but also in the medieval Mediterranean world as a whole, as well as in pre-industrial economies, will find much useful material in these volumes.About the Author:
Angeliki E. Laiou was Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Byzantine History at Harvard University.
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