The Ancient Tax State: A New Fiscal History of the Hellenistic World


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships




A new fiscal history of the Hellenistic world (ca. 323-30 BCE) can only proceed on the basis of primary sources, especially tablets, papyri, ostraka, inscriptions, and historical writings. Areas previously ruled by the Achaemenid empire are a major focus in this project but comparisons with Greek cities further west as well as the Roman republic and empire are vital for answering the key questions. The latter stem from an ongoing debate in history and historical sociology about the emergence and crisis of the tax state in modern Europe and arguably in ancient China. Besides making the evidence accessible to other scholars, the project develops an explanatory model of fiscal intensification and abatement linked to patterns of warfare, instability, economic behavior, administration, and political participation.