Chapter

Early medieval Greece and the Middle Byzantine economy

Florin Curta and Siu-lun Wong

in The Edinburgh History of the Greeks, c. 500 to 1050

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780748638093
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670741 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638093.003.0010
Early medieval Greece and the Middle Byzantine economy

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The general withdrawal of troops from the Balkans in c. 620 gave the final blow to a regional economy much weakened by state intervention and military catastrophe. The revival came in the eighth and ninth centuries, when through state intervention, groups of population were moved into the themes of Hellas and Peloponnesos. By the early eighth century, Hellas was little more than a military outpost for the imperial navy. Two centuries later, its grain fed the population of Constantinople. The relative prosperity of the region in the mid-tenth century is responsible for the explosion of church building. However, neither economic recovery nor controlled expansion could lead to an expansion of the local markets or to the integration of Greece into the network of international commerce. With the exception of Thessaloniki and, later, Corinth, there are no signs of long-distance trade in early medieval Greece. The driving force behind economic growth remained the agricultural production of fields owned by freeholders or large monastic estates.

Keywords: Climate; agriculture; monastic estates; trade

Chapter.  8937 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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