Tag Archives: Eastern Roman Empire

The struggle for the means of reproduction

Recently read the sort of work of history I particularly enjoy–one that gets into how past societies and states actually worked. Edited by historians Walter Scheidel and Ian Morris, The Dynamics of Ancient Empires: State Power from Assyria to Byzantium has essays on the Neo-Assyrian, Achaemenid Persian, Athenian, Roman and Eastern Roman (“Byzantine”) empires (the last […]

Hybrid military systems

In my previous post, I analysed medieval societies as being marked by the bundling together of military service and income extraction in some sort of fief-warrior system, though the forms of fiefs varied considerably across different medieval societies. There were also various hybrid systems developed from the C6th to the C11th.  Late Sassanid and Thematic […]

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold … A post somewhat about China

Historically, taxing land (rents) and trade have been the dominant income sources of rulerships not reliant on labour service (not to be confused with taxes on labour income, which have a different dynamic).* Trade was a particularly attractive source of income because it often involved taxing outsiders. But trade was also mobile–too much tax for […]