chapter  4
20 Pages

Euergetism and the embedded economy of the Greek polis

WithMarc Domingo Gygax

This chapter explores the economic impact of euergetism on the Greek polis by paying attention not only to the phenomenon of donations to the community by wealthy individuals, but also to public rewards for benefactions generally. Although the latter practice involved noneconomic benefactions, consideration of it allows for a better understanding of how donations arose. The main theories regarding euergetism and their evolution in recent decades as a result of changes in scholarly paradigms are discussed. This survey is followed by an analysis of euergetism in classical Athens that allows for new conclusions about the economic role of the phenomenon over time, as well as about the political, social, and economic evolution in the polis in the classical and Hellenistic periods.