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RE: [XTalk] The Connection betwixt Rural and Urban Peoples

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... This may have been the theory, but in Upper Galilee it may not have been enforced to the same extent as in the lower plains. ... I am always wary of
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 16, 2005
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      At 06:32 AM 7/16/2005, David Hindley wrote:

      >...Regarding [McGrath 's] statement >>Individuals from these neighboring
      >villages would regularly come to the city to work or to sell
      >their crops<<, a comment is in order. Virtually no peasant
      >"owned" the land they farmed, and consequently there was not
      >much outright "sale" of produce. In Roman provinces virtually
      >all land was under the control of the members of a Roman colony
      >or controlled by a Greek polis; in Galilee (a Herodian
      >principality) Agrippa owned all the land with the exception of
      >areas the Romans, for the moment, handed to key Roman elites;
      >and even in Judaea land was "owned" by God.

      This may have been the theory, but in Upper Galilee it may not have been
      enforced to the same extent as in the lower plains.

      >In all cases,

      I am always wary of sweeping generalizations of this kind. There are always
      gaps between policy and practice, between what the law might say and what
      people do, and between what "rights" landowners have, and what they are
      actually able to enforce. And the effective duration of such
      generalizations is an issue too. That is, the "truth value" of the sweeping
      generalization may fluctuate with time and circumstances. Often we find the
      most sweeping over-generalizations made on the basis of a single scrap of
      evidence indicating what was decreed at a certain place for a certain time
      over a certain limited geographic area.

      > the peasants were either tenants who leased the
      >land from the controlling interest, or virtually so. Rent was
      >paid "in kind", meaning they are supposed to bring *all*

      I've never heard this before. According to who? Where? Again, "supposed to"
      is not the same as "did"

      >of their raw grain crops to the villages (or estates of Roman
      >elites) their land was associated with. There, central
      >authorities of the owners threshed it, measured the resulting
      >volume, and deposited it into central storage facilities. The
      >farmer got a ticket entitling him to the equivalent of X amount
      >of threshed grain from the central repository, X being the
      >volume of threshed grain originally deposited less the rent
      >portion and any threshing fees (tithes etc in Judaea). ...
      >Bob Schacht earlier mentioned wine and olives as "cash crops".
      >Every single vineyard or olive grove was controlled by a Roman
      >elite or Royal representative in this period, no matter where it
      >was. The winepresses were either at the villages or on the
      >estates of the elite.

      I do not dispute any of this, at least in "theory".

      > The amount of time and expense required to
      >grow the trees and make a sellable batch of wine made it
      >difficult to produce as "cash crops."

      Phoeey. Most wine was not made for home consumption. It may not have been a
      "cash crop" to those who tended the trees and vines, but it was a cash crop
      for the owner, and that's all that I meant.

      >... Most farms were monocrop, sometimes with two grain crops.

      This was probably true on the plains, but not necessarily in Upper Galilee.

      >Vegetables were grown in much smaller side plots (i.e.,
      >no "truck farms" in those days). If any vines or olive trees
      >existed on the average farm, they were few and far between, and
      >would barely have supplied the farmers own needs.

      Again, most of what you write is more true of the plains than the hill country.


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