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Elements for the economic narrative of Hellenistic Delos: Lessons from a case study

May 6, 2021 - 10:00am to 11:00am
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Elements for the economic narrative of Hellenistic Delos: Lessons from a case study

Véronique Chankowski, Director of the French School at Athens (EFA)

Originating from the author’s experience of writing a synthetic account of the economy of Hellenistic Delos (, this paper considers both the need to understand the exemplarity of the island in its Hellenistic Aegean and Mediterranean context and the impetus to utilize the evidentiary material relating to Delos to address issues of data scarcity endemic in the study of the ancient economy. Delos has variably been described as a great center of redistribution for the Mediterranean, a regional network hub, or even a small island without great resources. The extraordinary epigraphic record of the sanctuary's accounts, alongside the testimony of coins and archaeological structures, makes it uniquely possible to produce a long-term economic analysis of the island (4th - 1st century BC). By questioning different models of interpretation, I will try to highlight what characterizes the Delian experience: a particular moment in the implementation of economic concepts, but a discontinuous development in the framework of the ancient economy.

Véronique Chankowski is Professor of Aegean History and Ancient Economics at the University of Lyon (France), currently Director of the research center Ecole française d’Athènes since September 2019. She studied Greek philology, ancient history, and the archaeology of the ancient Greek world. As a former member of the French School at Athens, she conducted field research in Greece (Delos) and Bulgaria (Pistiros). The main characteristic of her research is the use of both textual and material sources in order to explore different economic practices of the classical and Hellenistic Greek world: the organization of ancient accounting, the functioning of markets, the economic role of sanctuaries, taxation in the Greek world, warehouses and distribution channels. She is the author of numerous publications, and she has directed several research programs on these topics. While in charge of the re-edition of the epigraphic corpus of the accounts of Delos, she has published two monographs on the history and organization of trade in Delos in the classical and Hellenistic periods: Athènes et Délos classique (2008) and Parasites du dieu (2019). She has just been awarded the Paule Dumesnil Prize from the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres for her research on Delos.

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