Les salariés de l’Égypte romano-byzantine Essai d’histoire économique
For a long time, ancient societies were described as slave societies where the work of free men was marginal and only seasonal. In the last generation, however, new investigations have qualified this too monolithic picture of ancient economies and societies: we now know that work was organized differently according to place and time. The present investigation therefore seeks to identify the traces of free wage labor in the society of Roman-Byzantine Egypt, whose papyrus documents are without equivalent in the rest of the ancient world. Employment contracts, accounts, receipts and payment orders are reread here in order to list the main places and sectors of salaried employment. From the employment of domestic servants to work in workshops or on building sites, from transport services to irrigation networks, the traces collected finally draw the contours of a particular type of mercantile society, in which salaried employment is driven by urban and state demand.
- Christel Freu
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