Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 10-11

My thanks are due, first, to Maryline Parca, for introducing me to the discipline of papyrology, for her constant guidance and careful feedback, and for pointing me in interesting and productive directions through many drafts and revisions of this book. I thank the organizers of the Summer Institute in Papyrology held at the University of Michigan in 2009—Jim Keenan, Arthur Verhoogt, Terry Wilfong, and especially the late Traianos Gagos—and my fellow participants, with whom I discovered a passion for puzzling over papyri. I am further grateful to Jim Keenan for his comments on early drafts of this book, which greatly...

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Chapter 1. The Apions and Their Wealth

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pp. 1-13

An ivory diptych now in Oviedo, Spain, commemorates the consular games of Apion II with his image. He is depicted as quite young in it, and the papyri show that he was perhaps only ten years old and no older than twenty at the time of his consulship in 539.1 His early accession to such high office was not earned by his merits—he seems to have held no position before consul—but is instead a testament to his family’s already significant wealth and prestige. In the sixth century, the Apion family had a mansion near the hippodrome in Constantinople, and the quarter of the city in which it sat was called τὰ Ἀππίωνος, very...

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Chapter 2. Reconsidering the Autourgia

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pp. 14-40

An incomplete papyrological record may explain the discrepancy between the rising level of wealth attained by the Apions from the early fifth through the late seventh centuries and the lack of evidence for a clear means by which they acquired that wealth. The record can be incomplete in two broad ways. First, the picture of Oxyrhynchus that the papyri provide may be accurate, but Oxyrhynchus may be an outlier among the Apion holdings; that is, Apion holdings and other similar estates in other areas of Egypt might have been structured differently than they were in Oxyrhynchus1 and might have produced massive surpluses...

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Chapter 3. Benefits from Lower-Level Collections

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pp. 41-67

If documents recording the vast and varied production of the autourgia have not been lost and if the papyrological record of the Apion estate does broadly represent how their estate in Oxyrhynchus functioned, the source of Apion wealth remains to be found. The relationship of the Apion estate with the imperial government is a promising area in which to look for that source. Since the social and political fortune of the Apion family, especially under Apion II, was tied to its relationship with the imperial family, it is reasonable to investigate the extent to which their economic success was also tied to that...

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Chapter 4. Tax Collection on Two Tiers

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pp. 68-94

The tax collection system in Oxyrhynchus under the Apions can be described as operating on two tiers. There were relationships between the collectors (e.g., the pronoetai) and the estate and between the estate and the imperial government.1 In the previous chapter, a distinction was drawn between intrinsic and extrinsic benefits to the Apions from their tax collection activities. The papyri from Oxyrhynchus provide a great deal of evidence for evaluating the intrinsic benefits at the lower levels of Apion administration and the variety of ways in which the estate stood to gain from drawing money and produce upward. But...

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Chapter 5. Analogues to Apion Tax Farming

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pp. 95-119

The pronoetes accounts indicate that the Apion estate’s lower tier of administration used a rent system for the collection of taxes on its own land and that of its neighbors. In chapter 4, I argued that the forms that the relationship between the state and the estate’s upper tier could take were fairly circumscribed, and the evidence, though fragmentary, pointed to a rent system. This chapter presents the emergence of tax-farming systems (a subset of the rent system) in Athens, Ptolemaic Egypt, and republican Rome as historical analogues for the development of the Apion tax collection system out of the system apparent in the...

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Chapter 6. Conclusion

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pp. 120-126

Hickey’s work has shown that the revenues from leased land were insufficient to account for the wealth of the Apion family. Sarris’ contention that the autourgia, directly managed land, was the source of the family’s wealth is insufficiently supported by the evidence. This study therefore asked at the outset what the source of Apion wealth was. The answer posited relates to the Apions’ role in tax collection. The core argument consisted of three steps. First was a critique of Sarris’ claims concerning the prominent role of the autourgia in the production of a marketable surplus. The model offered here aligns with...

Appendix: Papyri Referred to in the Text

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pp. 127-128

Glossary

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pp. 129-130

Bibliography

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pp. 131-138

Index

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pp. 139-142