Predation in Greek and Roman Antiquity: economy and politics

Albana Meta, FIAS Fellow 2023-2024 Le Studium Loire Valley & Institute of Archaeology of Albania
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September 17, 2024 - September 19, 2024


Hôtel Dupanloup
1, rue Dupanloup
45000 Orléans

Additional information Le Studium


The conference aims to focus on predation as a structuring element of the economy and international relations in Greek and Roman Antiquity. Predation, one of the most obvious manifestations of which is piracy, has always been considered as an endemic phenomenon, but never as a systemic factor in ancient economy and geopolitics. The phenomenon of predation remains, for all periods, little studied by the economic science.

In this context, the purpose of this scientific event is to analyse the role of predation in the economy and politics of Greek and non-Greek societies, from the Hellenistic period (from the end of the fourth century BC) to the death of the Roman emperor Nero in 68 AD, a period known for the importance of piracy activities in the Mediterranean.

Three main themes will be addressed in an interdisciplinary way:

(i) the geopolitics of predation

(ii) the economics of predation

(iii) the circulation of prestige goods.

In addition to a contextual and definitional approach to the phenomenon and its extension in time and space, the political background to predation needs to be analysed, taking into account the various ways in which it manifests itself: highly visible through activities such as piracy and looting, officially or unofficially encouraged by States, and almost indiscernible in activities such as tributary systems, the exchange of gifts or the establishment of political alliances and protectorates by those who engage in piracy. Predation was both a major cause of disorder and a structuring factor of the international relations in the ancient Mediterranean. Through a catalogue of archaeological, historical, numismatic traces of predation and an analysis of predatory mechanisms, based on case studies but also over a long period of time, this conference aims to offer new perspectives for reflection on a major phenomenon of Greek and Roman Antiquity. We need to grasp how objects circulated and altered economic balances in an international context marked by tributary or alliances systems, war and diplomatic relations between Greeks and non-Greeks.


Dr Albana Meta, FROM Institute of Archaeology of Albania, Tirana - AL
IN RESIDENCE AT Archeomaterials Research Institute, Ernest-Babelon Center (IRAMAT-CEB) - CNRS / University of Orléans - FR

Dr Amélie Perrier, 
Archeomaterials Research Institute, Ernest-Babelon Center (IRAMAT-CEB) - CNRS / University of Orléans / Institut Universitaire de France (IUF) - FR