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Document Details :

Title: Chaerephilus & Sons
Subtitle: Vertical Integration, Classical Athens and the Black Sea Fish Trade
Author(s): LYTLE, Ephraim
Journal: Ancient Society
Volume: 46    Date: 2016   
Pages: 1-26
DOI: 10.2143/AS.46.0.3167448

Abstract :
Chaerephilus and his sons are attested at Athens in the fourth century BC as having achieved citizenship through wealth somehow derived from the saltfish trade. This evidence has presented a lasting conundrum to scholars of Athenian social and economic history, who frequently note that the wealth and status enjoyed by Chaerephilus and his sons find no parallels in our evidence for retailers, importers or merchants more generally. I argue that the evidence includes numerous overlooked details that allow us to reconstruct the geographic origins of Chaerephilus and his sons, the nature of the products they traded and the organization of their business, which I suggest operated as a vertically integrated firm. Finally, the evidence for Chaerephilus & Sons includes a number of terms related specifically to the Black Sea fish trade and I argue that understanding these terms can solve another long-standing puzzle: despite an abundance of literary evidence attesting to a rich trade in salted fish from the Black Sea already during the Classical period, there is an almost complete dearth of archaeological evidence before the late Hellenistic period.

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