Article

The Economy

Alan Harvey

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199252466.013.0058

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

The Economy

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The state exercised great influence on the economic life of the Byzantine Empire throughout most of its history. It was solely responsible for the production, and putting into circulation, of coinage. It did this through its expenditure on the army and the administration, imperial largesse, and, in Constantinople especially, through lavish expenditure on building works. Resources flowed from the provinces to Constantinople through a comprehensive system of land taxation. Its other important resource was the imperial estates which were located throughout the empire and provided revenues to the emperor personally and to official bureaux. The capital was the most important centre of economic demand. The imperial court, aristocratic households, the patriarch, and large monastic houses generated a strong demand for luxury products. This created opportunities for a diverse range of merchants and craftsmen. This article discusses the economy of the Byzantine Empire, focusing on the strong upsurge in trade in the European provinces and the economic contrast between the European provinces and Asia Minor.

Keywords: Byzantine Empire; economy; Asia Minor; trade; coinage; land taxation; imperial estates; revenues; monastic houses; merchants

Article.  5035 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology

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