Study of Olbia Agricultural History of 6th – 3rd Centuries BCE in the Light of Last Achievements of British and American Historiography of Antiquity

Keywords: historiography, Olbia, agriculture, agricultural technique, slavery


For a long time, Soviet and post-Soviet historiography tended to consider the ancient states of the Northern Black Sea region to some extent separately from the rest of the Greek world and ignore the theoretical achievements of British and American historiography of antiquity, specifically, in various areas of the ancient Greek economy.

Meanwhile, the use of the findings of European and American scholars looks rather promising as a result of created innovative concepts and the involvement of a range of various written, epigraphic, and archaeological sources concerning the whole Greek world, and not just one of its parts. It is the subject to the agrarian history of ancient Greece as well. In recent decades, the ideas of scholars who prefer to consider ancient Greek agriculture not as static but as a dynamic system open to innovations have become more common. Progressive changes included 1) improving crop rotations; 2) cooperation between crop cultivation and animal husbandry, and 3) intensification of labor through the active use of ‘slave’ labor resources.

Such innovations in agricultural technique, according to many scholars, were implemented primarily in lands where conditions differed from those familiar to Greeks. Those, in particular, were ‘overseas’ territories, where natural conditions were markedly different from the metropolis. Especially it was true of the steppe territories of the Black Sea region from Dobrudzha to the Kuban region, in particular, the Lower Buh region, where climate, soil, and natural vegetation were absolutely unlike the Balkans or Asia Minor. First of all, it is necessary to study the issue of the interaction between the crop cultivation and animal husbandry of Olbia and the history of slave relations in the polis. A comparative analysis of materials from the western and eastern Greek colonies, in particular from southern Italy and Sicily on the one hand and the Northern Black Sea region on the other, should also be carried out.

Using of theoretical achievements of British and American historiography of ancient Greek agriculture while studying the economic history of Olbia in general and its agricultural component, in particular, looks very promising. This will contribute to a fuller and more comprehensive understanding of the accumulated archaeological, archeobiological, and epigraphic materials. On the other hand, such an understanding is needed in the verification of these hypotheses themselves, giving the opportunity to confirm, modify, or even deny them.


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How to Cite
Odrin, O. (2021). Study of Olbia Agricultural History of 6th – 3rd Centuries BCE in the Light of Last Achievements of British and American Historiography of Antiquity. Eminak: Scientific Quarterly Journal, (3(35), 104-112.