Merchants and Markets in Late Antiquity
A social, cultural, and economic history of work and trade in the later Roman empire remains to be written. Recent years have seen a renewed interest in labour, professions, commerce, and their organization during the Imperial period, while the last two decades have been a remarkably productive time for the study of the Roman economy in general. The resultant scholarship has presented new approaches which have greatly advanced our understanding of both structural and specific characteristics of the economy. The most influential of these has been the adoption of New Institutional Economics (e.g. Scheidel, Morris, and Saller 2007), but there has also been a steady stream of microeconomic studies focusing on the social elements of economic activity (Terpstra 2013; Venticinque 2016; Hawkins 2016) and sociocultural histories of work and professions (e.g. Verboven and Laes 2016). Some of this scholarship has extended into Late Antiquity, though the most influential work remains Wickham’s magisterial Framing the Early Middle Ages (2006). Nevertheless, scholarship on the later Roman world has not yet sought to integrate the economic theories that have reconditioned the way of writing the socio-economic history of the early Roman Empire.
The future of late Roman social and economic history lies in utilizing and adapting innovative approaches to the Roman economy for the study of Late Antiquity. The institutional change for which this period is known offers plentiful opportunities to consider how individual economic actors were affected by structural, religious, and political changes, and the field is ripe for a re-evaluation of the intersection between social norms and the economy.
This panel hopes to bring together scholars from a wide range of subjects and backgrounds, and to solicit abstracts for papers considering a variety of issues and addressing such diverse questions as:
- What awareness did local merchants, craftsmen, and transporters have of wider economic change in Late Antiquity?
- What strategies did these individuals develop to mitigate risk and resolve economic challenges, and are the strategies of Late Antiquity fundamentally different in some way from those used in earlier or later periods?
- Can we speak of market integration or disintegration in Late Antiquity?
- What were the outcomes of state institutional and structural changes to the economy at local and regional levels?
- What effects did the development of new legal and fiscal systems have on the social and political lives of merchants and craftsmen?
Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted as email attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 16, 2020. The title of the email should be the title of the panel. Abstracts should contain a title of the paper, but should not have any information regarding the identity of the submitter. All abstracts for papers will be reviewed anonymously. For enquiries, please email Jane Sancinito (email@example.com) or John Fabiano (firstname.lastname@example.org).