Ptolemaic state monopolies. Predation or prosperity?

Ptolemaeïsche staatsmonopolies. Roofzucht of welvaartscreatie?
Start - End 
2017 - 2021 (ongoing)
Department of History
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A striking feature of Ptolemaic rule in Egypt (305–30 BC) is the apparent extent of state controland intervention in industry and trade. A multitude of state-imposed rules and regulations can bediscerned in these domains, ranging from near-total control of production and distribution to thegranting of licences required to exercise a variety of crafts. These phenomena, commonly but notunproblematically referred to as ‘state monopolies’ by historians and papyrologists, are crucial fora nuanced understanding of Ptolemaic governance and of the performance of the Egyptianeconomy. Surprisingly, they still have not been studied in a systematic way. The proposed projectwill address this gap in our knowledge by providing an in-depth analysis of Ptolemaic stateintervention in and control of the industry and trade sectors as a whole. Recent advances ineconomics and social theory will be employed to assess the impact on Ptolemaic economy andsociety. As ‘state monopolies’ have been missing from this debate since the 1930s, the results willhave profound implications for our understanding of the Ptolemaic state.




Nico Dogaer

Katelijn Vandorpe

KU Leuven