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Coins, Riches and Lands (Hardback)

Paying for Military Manpower in Antiquity and Early Medieval Times

Ancient History > Prehistory > Mediterranean Prehistory

Imprint: Oxbow Books
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 120 B/W illustrations
ISBN: 9781789259902
Published: 15th October 2024
Casemate UK Academic


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Land was the ideal store of wealth in the ancient Mediterranean world. It brought social respectability, and its possession allowed participation in the politics of the cities governed by landowning elites. Crucial defense of the interests of a given polity through armed services often involved the distribution of lands to laborers still not integrated in these societies. Mediterranean urban dynamics also involved paid labor and were always in need of short-contract manpower, including skilled soldiers and warriors. For short-time military services, lands were not always available so soldiers and warriors were paid with coins and riches.Because of their superior development, urban economies in the Mediterranean were able to attract migrant paid labor. When returning home, the migrant warriors carried coins and riches that would enable them to maximize the return that a homecoming entailed. Although difficult to prove whether these men were paid in advance or when discharged, it is an important issue as it shows the strength of one contractor over another and helps to better understand the construction of statehood in ancient and early medieval times.This collection of papers sheds light on how coins, riches, and lands were gained and distributed among soldiers, warriors, and mercenaries. Contributions cover a wide chronological span from Late Pharaonic to early medieval times, linking a well-defined core area, the Mediterranean basin, with its peripheries: Central Europe and Scandinavia to the north and the margins of the Sahara Desert and the Fertile Crescent to the south and the east.

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