The Politics and Economics of Ancient Forests: timber and fuel as levers of Greco-Roman control
Economie et inégalité: Ressources, échanges et pouvoir dans l'Antiquité classique
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Veal, R. (2017). The Politics and Economics of Ancient Forests: timber and fuel as levers of Greco-Roman control. In Derron, P. Hardt Foundation, Economie et inégalité: Ressources, échanges et pouvoir dans l'Antiquité classique. [Book chapter]. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.13218
Forest resources constituted a key ancient economic good. Access to forest resources was therefore of importance to various agents: regionally, at a polity level, and to individuals, rich and poor. A range of environmental, economic, and social factors influenced forest access. Ancient forests were important for the provision of wood products (timber and fuel), and nonwood products (including foodstuffs, leisure, water supply). Of these, timber and fuel were the most important economic goods. Wood could be sourced privately, but substantial forests and woodlands were state controlled. Raw wood or charcoal fuel were required domestically in every home, rich or poor, for cooking and heating, and especially in industries such as metal smelting and smithing; ceramics, lime and glass production; and fuelling the baths. Wood was the most important fuel in the Greco-Roman world, although non-wood fuels also played a part.1 Together with stone and cement, wood was an essential construction material. Its abundance, or lack, could materially affect a state’s ability to wage war and carry out trade. R. Meiggs’ important contribution collated the ancient historical sources relating to wood, especially its use as timber, and he incorporated archaeological evidence where it was available.2 This discussion seeks now to highlight new archaeological and scientific data, and nuance our understanding of inequalities of demand and supply of this important ancient commodity.
External link: http://www.droz.org/france/en/6517-9782600007634.html
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.13218