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Getting Rich in Late Antique EgyptRyan E. McConnell 2017
Ryan E. McConnell connects the family's rise in wealth and status to its role in tax collection on behalf of the Byzantine state, rather than a reliance on productive surpluses. Close analysis of low- and high-level accounts from the Apion estate, as well as documentation from comparable Roman and Byzantine Egyptian estates, corroborate this conclusion. Additionally, McConnell offers a third way into the ongoing debate over whether the Apions' relationship with the state was antagonistic or cooperative, concluding that the relationship was that of parties in a negotiation, with each side seeking to maximize its own benefit. The application of modern economic concepts—as well as comparisons to the economies of Athens, Rome, Ptolemaic Egypt, and Early Modern France—further illuminate the structure and function of the estate in Late Antique Egypt.
Getting Rich in Late Antique Egypt will be a valuable resource for philologists, archaeologists, papyrologists, and scholars of Late Antiquity. It will also interest scholars of agricultural, social, and economic history.