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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Ancient History

Undergraduate Course: Life and Labour in the Ancient World (ANHI10023)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryHow did the ancients live? How did an ancient Greek peasant family get hold of their daily bread? How did a Roman town dweller do in this respect? How did women contribute to their families' income? And how did men? And what about children? And to what extent were their efforts similar? And to what extent did their efforts change over time? And why should we bother finding out about it? These and similar questions will be at the core of this course, which is set to investigate what is generally referred to as the ancient economy.
Course description The course will provide an in-depth introduction to one of the most important topics of ancient history: the ancient economy. The course sets out to familiarise students with the questions asked by scholars of the ancient economy, the main debates, and, of course, the bodies of evidence that may provide insights into this topic. Given the nature of the evidence, students will also learn to employ economic models to answer the questions they wish to pursue. In short, the course will enable students to make use of material that is highly diversified, ranging from archaeological remains on the one hand to inscriptions and literary sources on the other. The students will need to learn to include the full range of possible evidence into their historical arguments to achieve highly persuasive results. Given the importance of the topic - the ancient economy - the students will furthermore gain wide-reaching insights into ancient societies beyond the mere sphere of economy proper. The course is taught 'bottom up', i.e. students will first deal with the everyday realities of (household) economies - hence the course title, 'Life and Labour' - before engaging in interpretation of the ancient economy.
Topics covered in class will include: the life-cycle, production, consumption, trade, farming, industries, city and country, poverty, wealth, slavery and free labour, etc.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Ancient History 2a: Past and Present in the Ancient World (ANHI08014) AND Ancient History 2b: Themes and Theories in Ancient History (ANHI08013)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. an understanding of the complexity of the topic;
  2. an understanding of the modern debate on the ancient economy;
  3. an understanding of evidence available for study of the ancient economy;
  4. an understanding of the social and political structures evident in ancient societies that determine and that are being determined by the economy;
  5. familiarity with the main ancient and modern contributions to the ancient economy.
Reading List
A. Burford, Craftsmen in Greek and Roman Society (1972).
M.H. Crawford, Coinage and Money under the Roman Republic: Italy and the Mediterranean Economy (1985).
R. Duncan-Jones, The Economy of the Roman Empire: Quantitative Studies (1974).
R. Duncan-Jones, Structure and Scale in the Roman Economy (1990).
M.I. Finley, The Ancient Economy (1973, 1999).
M.I. Finley, Studies in Land and Credit in Ancient Athens, 500-200BC: the horos-inscriptions (1952).
T.W. Gallant, Risk and Survival in Ancient Greece: Reconstructing the Rural Domestic Economy (1991).
P. Garnsey, Cities, Peasants and Food in Classical Antiquity. Essays in Social and Economic History (1998).
P. Garnsey, Famine and Food Supply in the Greco-Roman World. Responses ot Risk and Crisis (1988).
P. Garnsey, Food and Society in Classical Antiquity (1999).
P. Millett, Lending and Borrowing in Ancient Athens (1991).
N. Morley, Metropolis and Hinterland. The City of Rome and the Italian Economy, 200BC - AD 200 (1996).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information A further 30 minutes per week to be arranged with students.
KeywordsLife and Labour in the Ancient World
Course organiserDr Ulrike Roth
Tel: (0131 6)50 3586
Course secretaryMs Elaine Hutchison
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
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