Workers of the ancient world: analyzing labour in classical antiquity


1 May 2013


Volume 1 – Number

How to cite

Arjan Zuiderhoek



This paper introduces, and briefly discusses, some of the main theories that have been formulated on labour relations and the exploitation of labour in classical antiquity. Each of these theories approaches labour from a totalizing perspective, with the market, class, or status taking a central place. As an alternative, it is suggested here that an institutional-economic analysis of ancient labour might be a profitable way forward.


Labour relations, Classical antiquity, Market, class and status