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Archaic and Classical Greek SicilyA Social and Economic History$
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Franco De Angelis

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780195170474

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195170474.001.0001

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(p.222) 4 Economics
Archaic and Classical Greek Sicily

Franco De Angelis

Oxford University Press

This chapter adopts an inclusive approach so as not to reduce Sicilian Greek economics to the items mentioned in the few surviving literary sources. The archaeological, numismatic, and epigraphic evidence is heavily drawn upon and combined with comparative perspectives derived from economic theory to produce a broadly based framework that is centered on the “holy trinity” of economics—production, distribution, and consumption. These economies were largely established from scratch, as the land usually required clearing of vegetation. Grain exports made considerable sense as an early economic activity, given the ideal climatic and environmental conditions, low labor requirements, and demand in Greece, but Greek Sicily was never a colonial monoculture. Their economic systems were more complex. Abundant evidence exists for other agricultural crops (particularly olive and vine), foraging, fishing, manufacturing, and mining in the Archaic period, shattering old stereotypes of an unchanging Sicilian Greek economy over four hundred years.

Keywords:   climate, vegetation, land clearance, agriculture, manufacturing, production, fishing, economic systems, consumption, distribution

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