Cover

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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

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Preface

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pp. vii-x

I had not planned to study craftsmen, merchants, or anything about the ancient economy. In fact, I distinctly remember trying to substitute as much Moses Finley as I could while going through my Greek history reading lists. Thankfully, or fatefully, Jonathan Hall knew better. Urging moderation and constraint...

Contents

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-34

At some point in the middle of the fourth century CE, a high-ranking imperial official with fiscal responsibility over Egypt, the katholikos (or perhaps a member of his staff), prepared a packing list in advance of a trip.1 The list details the numerous luxury items he brought along, including fine linen tunics (some...

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1. Charters, Transaction Costs, and Trust

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pp. 35-66

Ancient craft and merchant associations have been called many things, but the designation economic organization rarely makes the list. Instead, they have been characterized as religious groups, burial societies, and social clubs. Their goals, we have been told, remained predominantly social and religious: to offer...

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2. The Business of Trust

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pp. 67-98

Around the same time that the associations in Tebtunis were crafting rules to govern their activities, limit harmful business practices, and assure access to support, groups were testing their trust networks elsewhere in the Fayum. For instance, five members of the weavers’ association in the village of Euhemeria...

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3. Reputation Management

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pp. 99-132

Construction of burial monuments, oversight of commemorative activities, and participation in funerary rites for a colleague or a colleague’s relatives were perhaps some of the more public acts that associations performed. Funerary rituals and commemorative practices varied over time and from region to region...

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4. Reputation, Rhetoric, and Participation

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pp. 133-166

A “well-to-do man” from Alexandria named Isidorus, who claimed to be a weaver, found himself in what he perceived to be a difficult position toward the end of the second century CE.1 Epimachus, another wealthy man and a current deputy stratēgos, had nominated Isidorus, whom he identified not as a weaver...

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5. Associations in Legal Thought and Practice

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pp. 167-198

Not all craftsmen and merchants followed the examples of Isidorus or the weavers from Philadelphia. The ability to defend collective interests could manifest itself in more confrontational ways. For instance, as told in the Acts of the Apostles, an Ephesian silversmith named Demetrius, who, like the “well-to-do”...

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6. Associations in Late Roman Egypt

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pp. 199-238

Halfway through the sixth century, Aphrodito, a rather large village in the Antaeopolite nome, became embroiled in a tax dispute. The village (or perhaps the leading members of one faction who acted on the village’s behalf) contended that Aphrodito retained the right of autopragia—the privilege to collect its own...

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Conclusion

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pp. 239-244

The persistence and vitality of association organization into the seventh century CE suggests that membership remained a viable strategy to mitigate risk and uncertainty, manage transaction costs, and confront challenges in personal and professional life. In this sense, for individuals who could afford to belong...

Bibliography

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pp. 245-264

Index

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pp. 265-276