Agriculture and Agricultural Technology

Michael Decker

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Agriculture and Agricultural Technology

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A misconception about Byzantium is that its agriculture was not technically advanced. In reality, Byzantine farmers were effective in sustaining the population for more than a thousand years, as evidenced by the stability of the empire and the relative abundance and variety of foodstuffs observed by medieval western travellers to Constantinople. The geography and climate of the Byzantine Empire had a major impact on how farmers responded to the perpetual challenge of food supply. In addition to climate, a range of precursors such as quality of the land, availability of water for irrigation, land-tenure relationships, individual and communal wealth, and local cultural traditions influenced methods of agricultural production. This article explores agriculture and agricultural technology during the Byzantine Era, focusing on tools and traction, crops and cropping technology, presses and press technology, mills and milling technology, and irrigation technology.

Keywords: agriculture; agricultural technology; Byzantine Era; tools; traction; crops; presses; mills; irrigation; agricultural production

Article.  4067 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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