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Domestic economy and social organization in new Halos

23 December 2010

PhD ceremony: Ms. M.J. Haagsma, 11.00 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Title: Domestic economy and social organization in new Halos

Promotor(s): prof. P.A.J. Attema, prof. H.R. Reinders

Faculty: Arts


The ideals of a sustainable city and household organisation about which ancient sources inform us were not always brought into practice. In her dissertation Margriet Haagsma draws attention to the relationship between domestic activities and their environmental setting on the one hand and the connection between Greek cities and rulers during the Hellenistic period on the other. The city of Halos in Thessaly, a new Hellenistic foundation dating to 302 BCE, serves as a case study which is tested against the notion that ideal cities in Greek Antiquity consisted of households which were focused on self-sufficiency and lived largely off the land.

One of the conclusions of this study is that the inhabitants of the newly planned urban centre of Halos could not support themselves by the agricultural yields of the countryside and many people must have lived off an economy partially based on pastoralism. This means that the city was dependent on the import of grain. This and the tight financial control of the Hellenistic rulers must have had a negative impact on the viability of the urban environment. The lack of investment in the houses, as in the city itself and the lack of evidence for the existence of a wealthy upper class, point to both an inability to and resistance toward restoring, developing and maintaining this large urban centre. Under these circumstances its abandonment was inevitable.


Last modified:13 March 2020 01.16 a.m.
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