Oikonomia and Domestic Economy in Classical Greece (B-3-5-1)


There is a certain irony involved in the discussion of ancient Greek household economy. Although the very concept of ‘Hauswirtschaft’ sparked the debate on the nature of the Ancient economy at the end of the 19th century, this debate never ventured far in developing a theory of household economy. This may be no accident. Despite all the polarization, so called ‘modernists’ and ‘primitivists’ shared a common notion of household economy (or ‘domestic economy’). It was supposed to be an archaic form of economic organization, aiming at autarky and self-sufficiency. This project followed a different lead. In classical times (ca. 450 – 300 B. C. E.) the Greek household economy adapted to the monetized markets of its urban environment. Not only that: the household was never surpassed as the most efficient form of economic organization.

Forum - Spatial Data Analysis (A-SDA)


The Forum — Spatial Data Analysis was an inter-area research group that dealed with the documentation and analysis of spatial data gathered from documentation, landscape analyses and reconstructions. Besides the work of data collection in archaeology and cultural heritage in connection with investigations of geo-physics, geo-sciences, and remote sensing, the forum also fostered the extension […]

Oikonomia and Agora (B-3-8)

Research project

This research project investigated the question when and how the agora developed into a marketplace and what influence it had on the oikonomia as such. The working hypothesis was that the market and the increasing use of coins (also politically conditioned) largely determined the literary discourse on oikonomia.

Aristotele’s Oikonomika (B-3-5)

Research project

This research project examined Aristotle’s theory of the Greek “household” as a spatial and functional (buildings, real estate and other property), social (nuclear family) and power-based (male-female, father-child, master-slave relations) phenomenon. The objective was to situate this theory in the framework of Aristotle’s analysis of the polis societies of his day, and to interpret the theory as a reaction to real historical economic changes occurring in Greece in the late 5th and 4th c. BC.

Water Spaces (B-1-1)

Research project

This project had its focus on the diverse ways water was conceptualized and dealt with in antiquity. It especially aimed at finding new approaches to an understanding of the relation between men, states, and the sea in Classical Greece and Rome.

Personal Authorization of Knowledge (B-5)

Research Group

This research group brought various scholars of Ancient Mediterranean Studies into sustained dialogue on the interrelations between knowledge, authority and personality. Its comparative approach involved discourses, methodologies and technologies of Ancient History, Archaeology, Cultural Studies, Greek and Latin Studies, Epigraphy, Old and New Testament Studies, Patristics, Religious Studies and Social Thought. AT A GLANCE 30 […]

Christian Urban Discourse (C-6-3)

Research project

This project analysed urban semantics in patristic texts dealt with the cultural horizons of early Christians, a religious, cultural and social fringe group in the Roman Empire. The special focus was on the considerable distance towards different aspects of ancient urban life of which Christians were accused by the Romans. This subject was approached from various angles, following the assumption that the complex phenomenon of Christian urban semantics and their space-shaping consequences could be studied only through investigating a combination of several factors.