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09/22/2016 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

ARCE Lecture: The World of Egypt's Elephantine Island

Recent Discoveries and New Approaches

Verena Lepper

The inhabitants of the first-cataract Nile Island Elephantine comprised a multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-religious community, which has left behind large amounts of written material in addition to the archaeological remains. The first results of a larger project accessing these papyri from Elephantine Island will be presented in this lecture, using also up to date (virtual) unfolding techniques. No other settlement in Egypt has been so well documented over such a long period of time through its texts, which provide evidence of everyday life from the Old Kingdom right up to the era following the Arab conquest.
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09/29/2016 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Death and Taxes?

Economy, Society and the Imperial State in Babylonia in the Sixth Century BCE

Michael Jursa

In the first half of the sixth century BCE, Babylonia experienced rapid economic development and increasing prosperity. Focusing in particular on the role of resource extraction and distribution by the state, the lecture explores the causes that led to this "golden interval," as J. Maynard Keynes termed such rare breaks in the (supposed) monotony of pre-industrial economic development. The talk will also look at how the changes in the core area of the Babylonian empire are reflected in its periphery, and it will investigate the consequences of increasing prosperity for social cohesion within Babylonia.
09/30/2016 09:30 AM ISAW Lecture Hall

DAY ONE: The Mechanics of Extraction: Comparing Principles of Taxation and Tax Compliance in the Ancient World

Workshop organized by Irene Soto (ISAW PhD Student) and Jonathan Valk (ISAW PhD Student)

The exercise of power depends on the ability of governing structures to collect and reallocate resources—be they in the form of currency, labor, agricultural produce, raw materials, or processed goods. Systems of taxation are the basis for the collection of resources and the generation of revenue. Today, such systems are ubiquitous, embedded in the socio-political structures associated with the modern state. While there are ongoing arguments about who should be taxed and precisely how much, there nevertheless exists a widespread recognition of a social contract, whereby the state enjoys widespread tax compliance in return for the provision of a variety of services. To what extent is this true for ancient societies? Ancient polities often diverge in many important respects from modern states—not least in the practical tools at their disposal when assessing the availability of resources or enforcing tax compliance.
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10/01/2016 10:00 AM ISAW Lecture Hall

DAY TWO: The Mechanics of Extraction: Comparing Principles of Taxation and Tax Compliance in the Ancient World

Workshop organized by Irene Soto (ISAW PhD Student) and Jonathan Valk (ISAW PhD Student)

The exercise of power depends on the ability of governing structures to collect and reallocate resources—be they in the form of currency, labor, agricultural produce, raw materials, or processed goods. Systems of taxation are the basis for the collection of resources and the generation of revenue. Today, such systems are ubiquitous, embedded in the socio-political structures associated with the modern state. While there are ongoing arguments about who should be taxed and precisely how much, there nevertheless exists a widespread recognition of a social contract, whereby the state enjoys widespread tax compliance in return for the provision of a variety of services. To what extent is this true for ancient societies? Ancient polities often diverge in many important respects from modern states—not least in the practical tools at their disposal when assessing the availability of resources or enforcing tax compliance.
RSVP
10/06/2016 06:30 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

AIA Lecture: Columbia University's Excavation Project at the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Onchestos, Boeotia

Ioannis Mylonopoulos

In the summer of 2014, Columbia University’s Department of Art History and Archaeology initiated, under the auspices of The Athens Archaeological Society, the excavation of the sanctuary of Poseidon at Onchestos, the seat of the Boeotian Confederacy and one of the few Greek sacred places mentioned in the Iliad. The excavation has focused on two large areas (Site A: 0.6 ha; Site B: 1.03 ha) between Thebes and Haliartos. he excavation has already yielded a rich array of finds: vases and vase-fragments (several bearing graffiti), countless bronze objects (including several strigils), bronze and silver coins, weapons (among them a fully preserved sword), objects associated with horse- and chariot races, and many architectural elements (including several architectural terracottas bearing floral and abstract decoration in black, white, and red color on a beige background; fragments of Ionic columns; two Ionic corner capitals). After only three years of excavation, the questions are still far more numerous than the answers, but we can securely state that the site was one of the major sanctuaries of Central Greece.
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