Banner OpenAccess

Le città dei ‘mestieri’ nella Bitinia tardoantica: qualificazione e crescita del sistema economico regionale

Arena Gaetano
Articolo Immagine
Rivista Storica dell’Antichità
Rivista Storica dell'Antichità N. LIII/2023

Acquisto digitale


€ 20.00

The cities of ‘trades’ in late ancient Bithynia: qualification and growth of the regional economic system

Tackling the theme of the Roman-Imperial and Late Antique city on the one hand means dealing with highly authoritative but often divergent theories, and on the other involves the methodological need to avoid certain extremist and/or generic interpretations. In particular, the analysis of the epigraphic dossier of Corycus in Cilicia (concerning just over 400 indications of trades and professions) led É. Patlagean (1977) to conclude that between 4th and 6th centuries A.D. in Asia Minor the urban economy was characterized by ‘stagnation’. Conversely, the analysis of individual regional contexts appears more promising to verify the validity and applicability of general, generic and, too often, dangerously dogmatic theoretical frameworks. In fact, some epigraphic texts from a region other than Cilicia, namely Bithynia, instead envisage a divergent picture with respect to the hypothesis of ‘immobility’ formulated by the Patlagean based on the single case study of the Cilician city in a broader perspective not limited to the single urban center. The regional economy of late antiquity Bithynia is characterized by a balanced relationship between the degree of qualification of production and the relative possibilities of growth of the urban economic system, to the point of making it opportune to fade certain extremizations that would see in the Late Antique cities exclusively tentacles for fiscal raking and instruments for draining resources from the countryside.

Keywords: city, country, Late Antiquity, Asia Minor, professions, trades, Bithynia.