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Quantifying the Roman EconomyMethods and Problems$
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Alan Bowman and Andrew Wilson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199562596

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562596.001.0001

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Quantifying Egyptian Agriculture

Quantifying Egyptian Agriculture

(p.177) 7 Quantifying Egyptian Agriculture
Quantifying the Roman Economy

Alan Bowman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

There is a great deal of evidence for the agricultural economy of Ptolemaic, Roman, and Byzantine Egypt, mainly in the papyri but also significantly (and increasingly) in the accumulating archaeological data. This chapter discusses the methods and approaches to using this evidence to quantifying agricultural activity in Egypt in the Ptolemaic and Roman period, with illustrations and examples under four headings: quantity and distribution of land; crop production and consumption; animal power (and transport); and wages, costs, and prices. It concludes with suggestions as to how we might relate it to the wider canvas of the Roman Mediterranean and to address the matter of generalization, or at least applicability to that wider world. Egyptian conditions are unique in some important respects but that should not prevent Egypt from making a contribution to our understanding of the wider Roman economy, especially methodologically.

Keywords:   Egypt, Ptolemaic, Roman, Byzantine, agriculture, papyri, land, crops, transport, wages

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