A Cultural History of Work in Antiquity

A Cultural History of Work in Antiquity, Volume 1

by Ephraim Lytle

Ephraim Lytle is Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, Canada. His research focuses primarily on the social and economic history of the ancient Mediterranean. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Bloomsbury Academic, 2019
  • DOI:
  • ISBN:
    978-1-4742-4471-8 (set)

    978-1-4742-4503-6 (hardback)

    978-1-3500-7816-1 (online)
  • Edition:
    First edition
  • Place of Publication:
  • Published Online:
A Cultural History of Work in Antiquity
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The world of work saw marked developments over the course of antiquity. These were driven by social and economic changes, especially growth in market trade and related phenomena like urbanization and specialization. Although the self-sufficient agrarian household continued to prevail, economic realities everywhere intervened. Corresponding changes include the emergence of archaeologically distinct workplaces and even, in certain times and places, preindustrial factories. A diversity of workplace cultures often defied dominant gender and other social norms. Across an increasingly connected Mediterranean world, work contributed to and was in turn structured by mobility. Other striking developments included the emergence of state-sponsored leisure activities that offered respite from toil for all social classes. Through an exploration of these and other themes this volume offers a reappraisal of ancient work and its relationship to Greek and Roman culture.