Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Dr. Bernd Steinbock


Drawing on North’s New Institutional Economics (enhanced by Finley’s substantivist model), this thesis contributes to ancient economic theories by analyzing the role of the social institution of xenia in Classical Athenian economies. The significance of this ritualized interpersonal relationship has not yet been sufficiently appreciated, especially regarding its effects as a structural determinant on economic performance within specific trade mechanisms.

The case study of two particular economic services, provided by the Athenian aristocrat Andocides through his xenia with Archilaus of Macedon and Evagoras of Cyprus (And. 2.11 and 20-21) not only illustrates the significant effect of such ritualized personal relationships on the Athenian timber and grain trade but also allows us to gauge the quantitative impact of xenia on these two Athenian economies. The honorific decrees for Archelaus (proxenia: IG I3 117) and Evagoras (citizenship: IG I3 113) corroborate the importance of xenia-based trade services on Classical Athenian economies.