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By Angeliki E. Laiou

This can be a concise survey of the financial system of the Byzantine Empire from the fourth century advert to the autumn of Constantinople in 1453. Organised chronologically, the booklet addresses key issues comparable to demography, agriculture, production and the city economic system, alternate, financial advancements, and the position of the nation and beliefs. It presents a finished review of the financial system with an emphasis at the financial activities of the kingdom and the efficient function of the town and non-economic actors, reminiscent of landlords, artisans and money-changers. the ultimate bankruptcy compares the Byzantine economic system with the economies of western Europe and concludes that the Byzantine economic system was once probably the most profitable examples of a combined financial system within the pre-industrial international. this can be the one concise basic historical past of the Byzantine financial system and may be crucial analyzing for college students of monetary heritage, Byzantine heritage and medieval heritage extra usually.

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One should not therefore underestimate the effectiveness of Byzantine techniques used, for instance, in quarrying, in irrigation and in wine and oil extraction: oil presses with levered counterweights and rolling stones are found in the Pontus, Bithynia, Phrygia, Caria and Judaea. But production was mostly carried out on a small scale and the few concentrated installations of the Roman period are no longer present. Stock raising was important and extensive in plateaus or mountainous areas. Pasture also occurred in villages territory in special enclosures or nearby woodland as shown by traces of stables and 18 19 A.

96 ff. Natural and human resources 21 Science and technical knowledge Despite their importance, Byzantine science and technical knowledge have been much debated and little studied. 32 Elementary arithmetic and geometry were part of the education of the Byzantines. Many literate clerks, notaries and logariastai (accountants) were able to keep accounts and fiscal or cadastral registers throughout the Byzantine period. 33 Little is known of technology and the application of scientific concepts since literary sources despise practical topics and mention only spectacular achievements: the loan of Byzantine mosaicists to Abd-al-Malik for decorating the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the automata of Theophilos’ palace, or the system of fire beacons, devised by Leo the Mathematician in the ninth century, that relied on synchronized clocks, the “export” of other mosaicists to C´ordoba in the tenth century,34 the abduction of the Theban silk workers by Roger II in 1147, for example.

A decrease in long-distance trade can be assumed from several converging indicators. The number of shipwrecks48 in the seventh century is less than half that of the sixth century and becomes a mere tenth in the eighth century. Most ships were now middle-sized ones like the Dor D wreck (20m) or the Yası 46 47 48 See the seminal article by C. Foss, “The Persians in Asia Minor and the End of Antiquity,” The English Historical Review 90/357 (Oct. 1975), pp. 721–47 and other studies by the same author.

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