By Angeliki E. Laiou

It is a concise survey of the economic system of the Byzantine Empire from the fourth century advert to the autumn of Constantinople in 1453. Organised chronologically, the e-book addresses key topics equivalent to demography, agriculture, production and the city financial system, exchange, financial advancements, and the function of the kingdom and beliefs. It offers a accomplished assessment of the economic climate with an emphasis at the financial activities of the kingdom and the effective function of the town and non-economic actors, corresponding to landlords, artisans and money-changers. the ultimate bankruptcy compares the Byzantine economic system with the economies of western Europe and concludes that the Byzantine financial system used to be essentially the most winning examples of a combined economic system within the pre-industrial international. this is often the single concise common background of the Byzantine financial system and should be crucial studying for college students of financial background, Byzantine historical past and medieval historical past extra more often than not.

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247–61. Geyer’s insistence on the anthropogenic factor (EHB 1, p. 44) is questioned by A. Dunn (review of EHB, Speculum 80/2 (2005), pp. 616–21). Among innumerable other examples of this general transformation (references in Ch. Bouras, “Aspects of the Byzantine City, Eighth–Fifteenth Centuries,” EHB 2, pp. 497–528), see Corinth (G. D. R. Sanders, EHB 2, p. 648), Sardis (C. Foss and J. A. Scott, EHB 2, pp. 615–22), and Anemourion (J. Russell, EHB 1, pp. 221–8). -P. Sodini, “Archaeology and Late Antique Social Structures,” in Lavan and Bowden, Theory and Practice (Leiden, 2003), pp.

Aqueducts, cisterns, baths, porticoes, and agoras were still maintained in many cities or rebuilt after earthquakes; a few were newly established. 8 From the economic point of view, this is undoubtedly an index of wealth and available surplus. More than a million gold coins (solidi) were spent on Saint Sophia; Julianus Argentarius, the banker, spent 26,000 solidi on San Vitale in Ravenna. Even if these buildings are deemed a nonproductive investment, which was not the case for defence works that maintained security, all represented high demand from the state and the Church and mobilized considerable reserves, providing a living for many workers and craftsmen in cities and in the countryside.

See also N. Oikonomides, “Literacy in Thirteenth-Century Byzantium: An Example from Western Asia Minor,” in J. S. Langdon, J. Allens and S. ), TO ELLHNIKON; Studies in Honor of Speros Vryonis, Jr. (New York, 1993), pp. 223–65 with references to his and other scholars’ earlier publications. All of Oikonomides’ articles on literacy have been reprinted in his Society, Culture and Politics in Byzantium (Aldershot, 2005). 29 The ubiquitous inscribed lead seals (more than 50,000 survive today), the signatures on archival documents, the writing implements found on many sites,30 even graffiti on a few buildings and on a significant number of gold coins testify to the essential role of writing in Byzantine daily life.

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