Exploiting Aphrodito’s Land: Landlords and Their Agricultural Strategies in a Village in Transition from the Byzantine to the Umayyad Rule
Dr. Isabelle Marthot-Santaniello focused in the Postdoc project “Exploiting Aphrodito’s Land: Landlords and Their Agricultural Strategies in a Village in Transition from the Byzantine to the Umayyad Rule” on one case study, the social and economic organization of the village of Aphrodito. Its results were published in a series of articles. The Postdoc clarified ambiguous uses of place names that were wrongly confused with personal names but that could indicate social status and economic (mainly agricultural) activities (Article to be published in PapCongr 28, Barcelona). The building of an online database was useful to deal with the large amount of data from a thousands of papyri coming from this village. The database will soon be launched on the platform Aphrodito.info, in collaboration with Prof. Jean-Luc Fournet (Collège de France). The question of landlords was dealt with on the precise aspect of flax growing as an agricultural strategy for middle-class entrepreneurs (accepted publication in Copenhagen Conference) and with the examination of monastic landowners (accepted publication in the Oxford Conference “Monastic Economies”). The latter topic unveiled many errors in the scholarly literature regarding the nature and number of religious institutions in Aphrodito’s territory that had to be clarified (forthcoming “liste raisonnée” of Aphrodito’s monasteries). Games of power between religious institutions and mighty estate owners were addressed in a paper given in Lausanne (forthcoming publication). Dr. Marthot also investigated evidence from other areas in order to better understand the specificity of Aphrodito: a family archive from Hermopolis gave an interesting case study of small landowners and entrepreneurs from this important city (accepted paper in Basel Conference and forthcoming article on a notary working for this family). The study of amphora inscriptions from the monastery of Bawit (forthcoming publication in Paris Conference) shows light of economic aspect of wine production and trade that complement papyrological sources. The bilingual archive of Papas from Edfu under study in a collective international project proves the relevance of the comparison with Aphrodito in the eighth c. (one article published in Bifao 2017, another accepted in Bifao 2018).