The Department of Classics is proud to support a round-table discussion ‘Great Landowners and the State in the Sixth Century: Revisiting the Apion Archive’, chaired by Professor Roger Bagnall (ISAW, New York).
Since the publication of Jean Gascou’s ‘Les grandes propriétés, la cité et l’État en Égypte byzantine’ in 1985 (in Travaux et Mémoires du Centre d’Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance), the issue of the concentration of land in private hands during the sixth century and the role it played in the weakening of the Empire has been a matter of lively debate, especially after the the publication of Peter Sarris’s Economy and Society in the Age of Justinian (2006).
Central to the debate is the evidence from the large archive of the Apions, a senatorial family of with estates in Middle Egypt and a residence in the city of Oxyrhynchos. Views that seem irreconcileable have been exchanged between papyrologists and historians, and between different schools of economic history.
The recent publication of Todd Hickey’s long-awaited Wine, Wealth, and the State in Late Antique Egypt: The House of Apion at Oxyrhynchus (Ann Arbor 2012) is an important contribution to that debate, and offers an occasion to bring together scholars who have contributed to that debate in the last decades and to discuss the issue anew, in the light of new evidence and in with the wish to widen the context chronologically and geographically.
Please note: Professor Bagnall will also give a special lecture, hosted by Reading’s Centre for Hellenic Studies: ‘On the edges of society? Funerary workers in Roman Egypt’ at Reading: Tuesday, 22 May, 4pm, Ure Museum (HumSS G38). Everyone welcome!