Ancient Greece at Work: An Economic History of Greece from by Gustave Glotz

By Gustave Glotz

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Additional info for Ancient Greece at Work: An Economic History of Greece from the Homeric Period to the Roman Conquest

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When Odysseus pretends to want to enter the service of the suitors he asks for nothing but " his meals . " Moreover the hired man cannot be too sure of a substantial and varied diet. A man who is taking on a boy as goatherd promises him, with malicious irony, that he " will grow fat drinking whey . " Even the day-labourers get no more than good keep for a few days. When the harvesters have work a great ox is killed for them ; this feast is their whole salary. Telemachos when setting out for Pylos takes on the flour and bread needed for his crew; when they come home he gives them all a banquet, and all scores are .

We have a figure which shows the economic value of horse­ breeding : Erichthonios of Dardania, " the wealthiest of mortals, " was believed to keep three thousand brood-mares with their foals. We have a fact which proves its social importance : in most of the cities, from Ionia to Sicily and from Thessaly to Cyrene, the landed aristocracy came later to be formed of the " Horsemen " (Hippeis) or " Horse­ Breeders " (Hippobotre). By the side of the concerns in which breeding is done on a large scale the cave of Polyphemos presents the simpler spectacle of a model dairy.

If they go to the fields it is only to prepare the dinner of the harvesters. The palaces contain as many free servant-women as slaves. Sometimes they are wet-nurses ; usually they wait at table, make the beds, prepare I the baths, do the washing, and spend the rest of the time spinning and weaving. But sometimes the usual household staff is not enough for the work, and a poor ", oman is brought in from outside to spin the wool. The conditions of engagement varied at the will of the parties. Certain work was done by the j ob : Augeias makes Heracles clean his stables, and workmen are retained to bring in the harvest or to tan a hide.

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