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7-08-2015, 22:04


The Byzantine economy is an important subject on a number of grounds. It is arguably the key to the history of the Byzantine state, society and culture; it forms part of the picture of a transition from the ancient world to the middle ages – and part of the debate as to whether those are meaningful concepts at all; it is a test case for whether we should be talking about particular regional economies, such as the ‘Byzantine economy’, or whether we should instead be thinking in terms of a general pre-modern Mediterranean economy, of which the economic activities of the Byzantine world were merely a part. It is a subject, too, upon which there was once considerable agreement among scholars, but there is now some uncertainty. The recent publication of The economic history of Byzantium, a substantial multi-authored work in three volumes, has been a major achievement and it serves as an important reference work and body of data; it does not represent an end to debate.