Economic Thought and Economic Life in Byzantium: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Economic Thought and Economic Life in Byzantium

1st Edition

By Angeliki E. Laiou, edited by Cécile Morrisson


348 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781409432050
pub: 2013-08-28
SAVE ~$37.00
Currently out of stock

FREE Standard Shipping!


Angeliki Laiou (1941-2008), one of the leading Byzantinists of her generation, broke new ground in the study of the social and economic history of the Byzantine Empire. Economic Thought and Economic Life in Byzantium, the last of three volumes to be published posthumously in the Variorum Collected Studies Series, brings together twelve articles that reflect her perennial concern with the relationship of theory and practice in historical contexts. Two of these are translated from Greek and German, respectively, and another is here published for the first time. The six articles in the first part explore several lively and wide-ranging debates over economic concepts and practices in late medieval Byzantium, touching on such concerns as usury, regalian rights, and the proper functioning of the market. The articles in the second part examine the nature and role of cities, villages, and the countryside in Byzantium, together with the rich and varied experiences of their inhabitants.


'Reading these studies, most for the second time, reminded me of the clarity and precision of Laiou’s thought and writing style. Yes, there is some repetition here and some unevenness, but overall the collection does lay out most of the major problems that face contemporary studies of the Byzantine economy.' Speculum

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction, Cécile Morrisson; Part I Economic Thought: God and Mammon: credit, trade, profit and the canonists; The Church, economic thought and economic practice; Social justice: exchange and prosperity in Byzantium; Nummus parit nummos: l’usurier, le jurist at le philosophe à Byzance; Economic concerns and attitudes of the intellectuals of Thessalonike; Le débat sur les droits du fisc et les droits régaliens au début du 14e siècle. Part II Economic Life: On individuals, aggregates and mute social groups; Priests and bishops in the Byzantine countryside, 13th-14th centuries; The peasant as donor (13th-14th centuries); A history of mills and monks: the case of the mill of Chantax (with Dieter Simon); The Byzantine village (5th-14th century); The Byzantine city: parasitic or productive?; Index.

About the Authors

Angeliki E. Laiou (1941 - 2008) was Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Byzantine History at Harvard University, USA.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Medieval