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Commercial mechanisms, monetisation and literacy in the Mediterranean and the Near East: social innovation and institutional inhibition of Phoenician commerce

Grant number: 15/26909-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2016
Effective date (End): October 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Archeology - Historical Archaeology
Principal researcher:Maria Cristina Nicolau Kormikiari
Grantee:Eleftheria Pappa
Home Institution: Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia (MAE). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):18/01268-0 - Bibliographic research, topographic reconnaisance and material record acquaintance in Iberia, BE.EP.PD

Abstract

The project will examine the spread of the alphabet in the western Mediterranean from the novel perspective of the function that literacy played within the Phoenician economy. It will determine how Phoenician market-based commerce transactions were conducted, and whether literacy played any role therein. The project has the potential of changing current views on two important problems: (1) the sudden popularisation of literacy (ca. 830-700 BCE) (2) the increasing monetisation of the Phoenician economy despite the (seeming) absence of currency. The innovation lies in examining the potential causality between forms of currency and literacy in areas of Phoenician commerce, seeking the institutional role that literacy played within commercial transactions.The investigation will use archaeological and epigraphic evidence to test the following hypothesis: a type of market-based commerce using phenomenally barter trade but actually employing written records of transactions, based on shared measures of value established in (silver) metal weight, offers an explanation for the overseas Phoenician monetary practices. Accordingly, the functional role that writing played within the Phoenician commercial system would explain both the swift spread of literacy in Mediterranean regions touched by Phoenician commercial networks (e.g. Iberian Peninsula) and the absence of a physical form of Phenician currency. The outcome will be a monograph detailing a new model of ancient monetary practices in market-based commerce and their relation to literacy in the first millenium BC.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
PAPPA, ELEFTHERIA. THE METROLOGICAL SYSTEM OF THE FINAL BRONZE AGE BALANCE WEIGHTS AND THE PRE-ROMAN COINAGE OF ATLANTIC IBERIA: A SHARED SYRIAN STANDARD?. JOURNAL OF ANCIENT HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY, v. 6, n. 1, p. 60-80, 2019. Web of Science Citations: 0.

Please report errors in scientific publications list by writing to: cdi@fapesp.br.