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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:55408
Doc. No:TL25362
Call number:‭3362445‬
Main Entry:Philip Venticinque
Title & Author:Common causes: Guilds, craftsmen and merchants in the economy and society of Roman and late Roman EgyptPhilip Venticinque
College:The University of Chicago
Date:2009
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2009
Page No:274
Abstract:This dissertation is a study of craftsmen and merchants in Egypt and the Roman Empire, specifically the guilds these individuals formed to meet common economic, social and legal goals during the first seven centuries CE. Documentary papyri that preserve guild charters, contracts, receipts, letters and leases form my primary sources of evidence, supplemented by inscriptions and Roman legal codes. I concentrate on the economic aspects of guild membership and the strategies employed by these individuals, and investigate the social, economic and legal relationships members maintained with elites and non-elites to provide a better understanding of segments of society that do not feature prominently in literary sources. The economic activities of guilds have been called into question by scholars that emphasized the social aspects of their activities. M. I. Finley stated what has become the orthodox perspective on guilds when he argued that these organizations existed primarily to compensate for perceived deficiencies in the social and political lives of the non-elite. Adherence to such a view based largely on literary texts has proven to be an impediment to a more detailed understanding of the strategies employed by these individuals at home, in the market place and the council chamber. Rather than probe guild structures for evidence of compensation supposedly offered to craftsmen and merchants, I focus on interactions between guilds, craftsmen and merchants, and society at large, and assess the interplay between social, economic and legal aspects of guild activities. I attempt to show that it is not necessary to view guilds only as social and religious organizations, and argue that guilds did in fact play an economic role in the lives of members and in their communities in various ways, from setting prices and regulating trading zones to working with local and imperial authorities to provide necessary services and infrastructural support. By bringing the wealth of documentary texts to bear on this topic to reconsider the place of guilds in ancient society, I also attempt to show that interpretive frameworks based on lack and deficiency in the lives of guild members as a basis for understanding the role they played in their members' lives and in their local communities are insufficient. Ultimately, I make the case for close connections and interactions between guilds and the elite and non-elite levels, and suggest a re-evaluation of the place of guilds and their members in the economy of Egypt and the empire.
Subject:Social sciences; Economy; Guilds; Associations; Society; Egypt; Roman; Roman Empire; Middle Eastern history; Economic history; Ancient history; Social structure; 0700:Social structure; 0509:Economic history; 0579:Ancient history; 0333:Middle Eastern history
Added Entry:D. Martinez
Added Entry:The University of Chicago