Classical Greece: 500-323 BC (Short Oxford History of by Robin Osborne

By Robin Osborne

Classical Greece presents an research of the actual surroundings of and the archaic legacy to the classical urban, its financial system, its civic and non secular associations, the waging of battle among towns, the incidence and historic research of clash in the urban, and the personal lifetime of the citizen, completing with background during the 5th and fourth centuries. Robin Osborne provides us with a concise, entire, and authoritative e-book that may be loved by way of classics and heritage scholars; scholars taking classes in classical Greek literature, philosophy, artwork, and archaeology; lecturers; and common readers alike.

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The slave work-force is one of the largest known from classical Athens, and the loan of  minas almost the largest from the corpus of the Orators. Realistic estimates of the total number of slaves involved in mining at its height range from , to , (from an overall slave population guessed to be between , and ,). We are specifically told by Xenophon that Nicias, the Athenian General of the later fifth century, owned one thousand slaves in the mines (Poroi, . ). So that the great man should not soil his hands, they were rented out to a middleman (Sosias the Thracian), who paid over one obol per day per slave and provided replacements as required.

The cultural significance of perfume combined with its status as a luxury good to ensure a profitably elastic demand: you can’t have too much of a good thing. Not so, it seems, with mundane goods: the pots, pans, couches, tables, chairs, shoes, clothing, and so on needed in the everyday business of life. Xenophon points to the potential problem of inadequate demand (Education of Cyrus . . ): In small towns, the same workman makes chairs and doors and ploughs and tables, and often this same artisan builds houses; and even so he is thankful if he can only find enough employment to support him.

Mining operations were largely the preserve of wealthier members of the population: high returns set against high risk. The unnamed litigant whom we earlier encountered, trying to foist his liturgy onto Phaenippus, complains to the jury that he owes the treasury three talents rental over a failed mine (. ). Although mines were on private land, ore beneath the surface was state property. Mining concessions were leased out at a rent appropriate to the prospects of the economy | 37 profit from the mine, on which royalties were also due.

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