Poiesis: Manufacturing in Classical Athens

Paperback | August 15, 2016

byPeter Acton

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Poiesis brings together archaeological finds, ancient texts and inscriptions, recent scholarly analysis, and the expertise of modern craftsmen to investigate every known facet of Athens' manufacturing activities. Despite the fact that Athenians consumed great quantities of manufactured goods,and around half of the residents of classical Athens can be shown to have been dependent for survival on manufacturing in some form, the subject has been almost completely neglected by historians. The book draws on the analytical techniques of contemporary business economics - supply and demand, competition theory, and risk-return analysis - to explain events and choices. Manufacturing operations are classified in an original framework that explains why certain segments were suited to thesole craftsman and others to teams of slaves, and deduces earnings potential based upon barriers to entry and competitive differentiation. The result is a new and refreshing angle on how Athenian society operated that complements political, military, and literary perspectives, with important andoften surprising implications. Among other insights the analysis shows how fragmented industry structures were fundamental to the workings of Athenian democracy by enabling citizens to supplement their income through casual manufacturing activity.

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Poiesis brings together archaeological finds, ancient texts and inscriptions, recent scholarly analysis, and the expertise of modern craftsmen to investigate every known facet of Athens' manufacturing activities. Despite the fact that Athenians consumed great quantities of manufactured goods,and around half of the residents of classica...

Peter Acton has a degree in Classics from Oxford University, an MBA from Stanford Business School, and a Ph.D. in Ancient History from the University of Melbourne. He was a Vice President of The Boston Consulting Group from 1986 to 1999.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:408 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:August 15, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190494344

ISBN - 13:9780190494346

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"Poiesis is a remarkable book, which gives us not just the first detailed look at classical Athenian manufacturing in more than a century, but also a whole new way for thinking about ancient industry. Drawing important lessons from his own extensive experience as a business consultant, PeterActon has made a major contribution to the ongoing debates about the structure and performance of the ancient Greek economy." --Ian Morris, Stanford University