Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Byzantine Economic Growth: Did Climate Change Play a Role?

Lambert, Thomas (2021): Byzantine Economic Growth: Did Climate Change Play a Role?

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Abstract

Different chroniclers of the history of the Byzantine Empire have noted various economic data gleamed from historical documents and accounts of the empire at different periods of time. Research for this paper has not uncovered any estimates of long term, annual macroeconomic data (gross domestic product (GDP), national income (NI), etc.) for the empire during its existence. Such data has been estimated to one extent or another for other nations and societies that have existed during the middle ages. This paper attempts to provide conjectures on approximate real GDP per capita trends for the empire over its existence from AD 300 to 1453. Finally, some hypotheses on factors that would have affected Byzantine economic performance are tested using climate/environmental factors. The results of this paper appear to confirm some findings on how the Byzantine economy might have been affected by periods of regional climate change.

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