Athenian Economy and Society

Athenian Economy and Society : A Banking Perspective

By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 4 business days
When will my order arrive?


In this ground-breaking analysis of the world's first private banks, Edward Cohen convincingly demonstrates the existence and functioning of a market economy in ancient Athens while revising our understanding of the society itself. Challenging the "primitivistic" view, in which bankers are merely pawnbrokers and money-changers, Cohen reveals that fourth-century Athenian bankers pursued sophisticated transactions. These dealings--although technologically far removed from modern procedures--were in financial essence identical with the lending and deposit-taking that separate true "banks" from other businesses. He further explores how the Athenian banks facilitated tax and creditor avoidance among the wealthy, and how women and slaves played important roles in these family businesses--thereby gaining legal rights entirely unexpected in a society supposedly dominated by an elite of male citizens. Special emphasis is placed on the reflection of Athenian cognitive patterns in financial practices. Cohen shows how transactions were affected by the complementary opposites embedded in the very structure of Athenian language and thought. In turn, his analysis offers great insight into daily Athenian reality and cultural more

Product details

  • Paperback | 312 pages
  • 152 x 222 x 22mm | 480.81g
  • Princeton University Press
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0691015929
  • 9780691015927
  • 1,627,592

Review quote

Winner of the 1993 Herbert Feis Award, American Historical Association One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1993 "Cohen embodies a role of traditional relevance in research on classical antiquity, but one that is increasingly a rarity: he is a 'man of affairs' who brings his practical, professional experience to bear on his historical research... [He] has now given us a very fine book on ancient banking, a work that has been well worth the wait."--Thomas J. Figueira, Bryn Mawr Classical Review "[Cohen] possesses an impressive knowledge of the relevant classical and modern literature as well as a close practical acquaintance with contemporary banking, an unusual but fortuitous set of qualifications... Highly readable and contains a wealth of interesting details on social conditions generally."--John R. Love, American Historical Review "A thoroughly documented and imaginatively argued book that will mark a new stage in the study of Athenian banking."--David C. Mirhady, Classical Worldshow more

Table of contents

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsAbbreviationsCh. 1Market Economy - Banking Reality3The Athenian Economy3The Trapeza as True Bank8Currency Exchange18False Anachronism: The Modern Invention of the Athenian Pawnshop22Ch. 2A Methodological Alternative to the Misuse of Statistics26The Perils of Cliometrics27"Forensic Attestation": An Alternative Approach36Ch. 3Financial Context and Concepts41Freedom from Regulation and Oligopoly42In Lieu of Interest: "Maritime" and "Landed" Yields44Ch. 4Wives, Slaves, and the Athenian Banker61A "Strictly Personal" Business62Assets, Human and Other66Unavailable and Undesirable: Free Citizens as Bank Employees70Slaves and Wives73The Banking Household: A Traditional Form Transformed82Adaptation to Slave Enterprise90Women, Law, and Property101Ch. 5Banking Operations: "Risk-Laden Revenues from 'Other People's Money'"111Obtaining "Other People's Money"114Deploying Other People's Money for Maritime Loans121Maritime Finance136Denial of the Role of Bankers in Sea Finance160The Bankers' Own Money183Ch. 6The Banks' Role in the Economy190The "Invisible Economy"191The Structure of Credit207Bank Failures and Economic History215Works Cited225Index of Passages Cited255General Index269show more