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The Economies of Hellenistic Societies, Third to First Centuries BC$
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Zosia Archibald, John K. Davies, and Vincent Gabrielsen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199587926

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199587926.001.0001

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Some Aspects of Large Estate Management in the Greek World During Classical and Hellenistic Times

Some Aspects of Large Estate Management in the Greek World During Classical and Hellenistic Times

Chapter:
(p.96) 5 Some Aspects of Large Estate Management in the Greek World During Classical and Hellenistic Times
Source:
The Economies of Hellenistic Societies, Third to First Centuries BC
Author(s):

Christophe Chandezon

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199587926.003.0005

This chapter considers the importance of agriculture in economic life during the Classical and Hellenistic periods. It surveys how managers were employed in large business ventures, and how such experts used a well-developed system of accounting. It argues that big agricultural enterprises constituted the largest scale of business ventures known in pre-Imperial times. The driver of ancient economic activity really was agriculture. There is no way around this fact, no point in trying to trace an evolution of autonomous crafts and of exchange practices, in order to maintain the spurious idea of Antiquity's supposed precocious development. But the implications of this conclusion provide no justification whatever for the kinds of judgements of ancient agricultural exploitation that have often been made in the past, on the implicit assumption that it was uniformly unchanging, routine-driven, and backward-looking.

Keywords:   Hellenistic period, Classical period, agriculture, economic life, managers, accounting

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