Agrarian Change in Late Antiquity: Gold, Labour, and by Jairus Banaji

By Jairus Banaji

The economic system of the overdue vintage Mediterranean continues to be principally obvious during the prism of Weber's influential essay of 1896. Rejecting that orthodoxy, Jairus Banaji argues that the overdue empire observed sizeable financial and social swap, propelled by way of the strong stimulus of a solid gold coinage that circulated largely. In successive chapters Banaji adduces clean proof for the prosperity of the overdue Roman nation-state, the increasing circulate of gold, the restructuring of agrarian élites, and the broad use of paid labour, particularly within the interval spanning the 5th to 7th centuries. The papyrological proof is scrutinized intimately to teach key improvement entailed the increase of a brand new aristocracy whose estates have been proof against the devastating fragmentation of partible inheritance, widely irrigated, and attentive to marketplace possibilities. A concluding bankruptcy defines the extra normal factor raised through the aristocracy's involvement within the financial and enterprise financial system of the interval.

Exploiting a variety of assets, Agrarian swap in overdue Antiquity weaves jointly diverse strands of historiography (Weber, Mickwitz, papyrology, agrarian heritage) right into a attention-grabbing interpretation that demanding situations the minimalist orthodoxies approximately past due antiquity and the traditional economic system extra generally.

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400)’, JRS 70 (1980) 105, 116. 65 P. Anderson, Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism (London, 1974) 93 (emphasis mine). 506 (calling it a ‘new phenomenon in history’). On the background to Rostovtzeff’s ‘peculiar vision of antiquity’, see B. D. Shaw, ‘Under Russian Eyes’, JRS 82 (1992) 216–28. -G. Gorges, Les Villas hispano-romaines. Inventaire et problématiques archéologiques (Paris, 1979) 47–9. 68 M. Biró ‘Roman Villas in Pannonia’, AArchHung 26 (1974) 23–57, esp. 53, 52. 69 J. A. Greene, ‘Une reconnaissance archéologique dans l’arrière-pays de la Carthage 64 The Rural Landscape of the Late Empire 17 the other end of the Mediterranean, the fourth to sixth centuries were a period of remarkable rural expansion.

Meyer, ‘Die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung des Altertums’, Jahrbüchern für Nationalökonomie und Statistik IX, repr. in Kleine Schriften, 12 (Halle, 1924) 79–168, esp. 158. 24 Weber, Mickwitz, and the Late Antique Economy must start with this theory and with its monetary postulates. It is obvious, however, that no inversion will be possible—one cannot supersede the pessimism of traditional historiography with some untenable optimism. The problem seems insoluble and we should perhaps begin by asking: is there a way out of this dilemma?

D. , 1987) 183. 73 M. Sartre, Bostra. , esp. 135. 74 F. ). ), Hauran I. Recherches archéologiques sur la Syrie du Sud à l’époque hellénistique et romaine. Première partie (Paris, 1985) esp. , 113. 75 M. ), Hauran I 197 ff. 76 M. Mundell Mango, ‘The Origins of the Syrian Ecclesiastical Silver Treasures of the Sixth–Seventh Centuries’, in N. Duval, F. ), Argenterie romaine et byzantine. Actes de la Table Ronde, Paris 11–13 octobre 1983 (Paris, 1988) 165. ‘The majority of the donors were probably ordinary people’ (p.

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