Greek and Roman Agriculture

Evi Margaritis and Martin K. Jones

in The Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199734856
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Greek and Roman Agriculture

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This article examines the nature of agriculture in the Mediterranean epicenter, considering the combination of arboriculture and arable agriculture typical of the region. It also reports the developments on the periphery of that world that led to a range of enduring innovations in agricultural technology. The evidence from texts and archaeology draws repeatedly on ethnographic observation of more recent small-scale Mediterranean agriculture. The importance of water management and irrigation on the cultivation of vines and olives in Greece and Rome is described. The dynamics of change through time owed much to the economic structures of the classical world. Some of the most enduring legacies of classical agriculture particularly extensive water management and the heavy plow, owe much to the interaction between agricultural technologies in the Mediterranean heartland of the classical world and long-standing practices in the geographical regions to which classical influence subsequently spread.

Keywords: arboriculture; arable agriculture; Rome; Greece; water management; irrigation; vines; olives; agricultural technology

Article.  6914 words. 

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

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