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date: 15 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A misconception about Byzantium is that its agriculture was not technically advanced. In reality, Byzantine farmers were effective in sustaining the population for more than a thousand years, as evidenced by the stability of the empire and the relative abundance and variety of foodstuffs observed by medieval western travellers to Constantinople. The geography and climate of the Byzantine Empire had a major impact on how farmers responded to the perpetual challenge of food supply. In addition to climate, a range of precursors such as quality of the land, availability of water for irrigation, land-tenure relationships, individual and communal wealth, and local cultural traditions influenced methods of agricultural production. This article explores agriculture and agricultural technology during the Byzantine Era, focusing on tools and traction, crops and cropping technology, presses and press technology, mills and milling technology, and irrigation technology.

Keywords: agriculture, agricultural technology, Byzantine Era, tools, traction, crops, presses, mills, irrigation, agricultural production

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