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REHABILITATING THE GREAT ESTATE: ARISTOCRATIC PROPERTY AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN THE LATE ANTIQUE EAST

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This article argues that recent emphasis on late antique economic expansion in the eastern Mediterranean and the prosperity of the peasantry of the East Roman empire has led historians to underestimate the economic importance of great estates owned by members of the imperial service aristocracy. This tendency has been exacerbated by the misleading testimony of early Byzantine saints’ lives, and an assumption that great estates were inherently autarchic and economically regressive. Rather, the evidence of the papyri and imperial legislation on the colonate would suggest that such great estates were highly commodified and monetised enterprises that contributed to economic growth.

10.1163/22134522-90000021
/content/journals/10.1163/22134522-90000021
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/content/journals/10.1163/22134522-90000021
2004-01-01
2016-12-08

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