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Capital and Classical Antiquity - 09-10/04/2018, Berlin (Germany)


Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century was, within a few months of its publication in English in 2014, hailed as the most important work in political economy for many years. Piketty’s work makes a significant contribution to the understanding of inequality and wealth in the modern world, based on detailed analysis of data from the last few centuries; it also offers a striking new way of approaching the workings of the economy, drawing as much on historical sources and nineteenth-century novels as on abstract equations, to reveal the system’s inherent tendencies towards inequality and instability.

Piketty makes only a few passing mentions of pre-modern societies, including classical antiquity, emphasising their lack of significant development in comparison to the modern era. However, his work has significant implications for research in ancient economic history as well as modern, and at the very least offers a stimulating starting-point for debate that goes beyond the traditional polarities of modernism (‘the differences between past and present were quantitative rather than qualitative’) and primitivism (‘the past was utterly different and completely under-developed’).

FECHA/ DATE/DATA: 09-10/04/2018


ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Neville Morley (Exeter) ; Christian Wendt (FU Berlin)



Se ruega enviar un email a /please contact /sono pregati di inviare una e-mail a Christian Wendt ( or Neville Morley (


Monday, 9.4.2018

1. 09:00-11:15: Capital and Inequality in History and Historiography

Hartmut Kälble (Berlin): Das Konzept Thomas Pikettys und die Anwendung auf die Sozialgeschichte

Beate Wagner-Hasel (Hannover): "Was in Truhen und Kisten lagert": Zum Begriff von Besitz und Kapital in der griechischen Antike bei Karl Bücher

Myles Lavan (St Andrews): The dynamics of inequality in antiquity

2. 11:30-13:00: Economic Management in Classical Athens

Sven Günther (Changchun): Framing Capital: Xenophon's Economic Model and Social System

Lara Laviola (Berlin): Wealth redistribution in classical Athens

3. 14:00-15:30: Limits to Capital Accumulation in Classical Greece

Michael Leese (New Hampshire): Problems in the Long-Term Accumulation of Commercial and Financial Capital in Ancient Greece

Dorothea Rohde (Bielefeld): Pikettys Dilemma: Steuern im Athen des 4. Jahrhunderts

4. 15:45-17:30: Capital and Inequality in the Roman World

Colin Elliott (Indiana): Non-Neutral Money and Systemic Inequality in the Roman Principate

Paul Kelly (London): Was r > g? - evidence from Roman Egypt

Closing discussion

Tuesday, 10.4.2018

1. 09:00-11:15: Revenue and Capital Accumulation in Late Republican Rome

Max Koedijk (Berlin): Does wealth beget wealth? The case of Cicero

Bertrand Augier (Rom): New Men in the Roman Economic Revolution

Cristina Rosillo-López (Sevilla): Capital, rental prices and monetary policy in the Roman world: a measure of inequality?

2. 11:30-13:00: Urbanization and Capital Formation in the Roman Empire

John Weisweiler (Maryland): Predation, Urbanization and Capital Formation in the Early Imperial Senate (14-235 CE)

Arjan Zuiderhoek (Gent): Elite wealth, institutional change and the development of urbanism in the third-century Roman east

3. 14:00-17.00: Comparative Perspectives

Peter Fibiger Bang (Kopenhagen): The disparities of empire: the economic integration of predatory monopoly

Walter Scheidel (Stanford): Roman wealth and wealth inequality in comparative perspective

David Grewal (Yale): Oligarchy Ancient and Modern

Closing discussion

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