Ancient Economy (3) The course examines the comparative organization and development of ancient economies in both the Old and New Worlds.
ANTH 435 Ancient Economy (3)
(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.
This course examines the origin and development of ancient economy from its earliest beginnings to the advent of complex monetary economies that existed prior to the industrial revolution. It examines the common economic structures found in ancient foraging, pastoral, and agricultural societies and how those structures were modified and transformed as these societies were integrated into more complex monetary economies. The goal of the course is to develop a comprehensive understanding of ancient economies, the function and purpose of their economic structures, and how those structures of production and distribution were modified and retained within the modern economies that we live in today. While the economy is often approached as its own field of study, this course shows how and why the economy was embedded in social, political and religious institutions that were so prominent in the ancient past. The course will discuss the domestic and institutional economy, the origin and organization of ancient market systems, the development of urban centers and the economies that supported them, the role of merchants in ancient societies, and origins of many of our 21st century institutions including money, banking, insurance, and the organization of craft production before the industrial revolution.
The class draws upon the rich literature in archaeology, history and ethnohistory that examines the structure of ancient societies. It employs a cross-cultural perspective to model ancient economies and to investigate how social forces influenced their development. A range of different historic and prehistoric societies are discussed each semester to illustrate the cross-cultural perspective. The societies discussed vary from semester to semester and include, but will not be limited to, the ancient Sumerian, Assyrian, Greek, Roman, Mongol, Aztec and Inka societies. Examples will be selected that include societies at different scales of complexity from simple hunting and gathering groups to pre-industrial states.
The course fulfills the Social and Behavioral requirements in Liberal Arts. It also fulfills specific major and minor requirements for the BA in Anthropology, the BS in Archaeological Sciences, and the BS in Bioanthropology. The course is also relevant for students in CAMS, History, and Ancient History that are interested in a comparative study of New and Old World civilizations.
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.