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Trade in the Ancient Mediterranean: Private Order and Public Institutions
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Taco Terpstra
Trade in the Ancient Mediterranean: Private Order and Public Institutions by Taco Terpstra at Abbey's Bookshop,

Trade in the Ancient Mediterranean: Private Order and Public Institutions

Taco Terpstra


Princeton University Pres

Ancient history: to c 500 CE;
Economic history


296 pages

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How ancient Mediterranean trade thrived through state institutions From around 700 BCE until the first centuries CE, the Mediterranean enjoyed steady economic growth through trade, reaching a level not to be regained until the early modern era. This process of growth coincided with a process of state formation, culminating in the largest state the ancient Mediterranean would ever know, the Roman Empire. Subsequent economic decline coincided with state disintegration. How are the two processes related?

In Trade in the Ancient Mediterranean, Taco Terpstra investigates how the organizational structure of trade benefited from state institutions. Although enforcement typically depended on private actors, traders could utilize a public infrastructure, which included not only courts and legal frameworks but also socially cohesive ideologies. Terpstra details how business practices emerged that were based on private order, yet took advantage of public institutions.

Focusing on the activity of both private and public economic actors-from Greek city councilors and Ptolemaic officials to long-distance traders and Roman magistrates and financiers-Terpstra illuminates the complex relationship between economic development and state structures in the ancient Mediterranean.

By:   Taco Terpstra
Imprint:   Princeton University Pres
Country of Publication:   United States
Volume:   79
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 155mm, 
ISBN:   9780691172088
ISBN 10:   0691172080
Series:   The Princeton Economic History of the Western World
Pages:   296
Publication Date:   March 2019
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Unspecified

Taco Terpstra is assistant professor of classics and history at Northwestern University. He is the author of Trading Communities in the Roman World.

This is the most sophisticated theoretically informed analysis of ancient Mediterranean trade from the Phoenicians to the fall of Rome. Historians, economists, and political scientists are in Terpstra's debt. --Walter Scheidel, Stanford University In this sophisticated book, Terpstra takes on some of the big ideas in economic history with the critical eye of an ancient historian. --J. G. Manning, Yale University

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