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3. My work as a historian is interdisciplinary, striving to understand and present historical

events and movements in a broader context that often includes demographics, economics
and, increasingly, theories of human behavior. One of my areas of interest and expertise is
the emergence of monogamy in western societies.

4. In June of2010 I was contacted by Craig Jones of the British Columbia Attorney General.
Mr. Jones described the Reference case to me and asked if I would be interested in
assisting the Court by preparing an expert report and, if necessary, by testifying. I agreed to
do so.

5. Mr. Jones emphasized to me, and I understand, that my duty in preparing the report and, if
called upon, in testifying, is to assist the Court and not be an advocate for any party. Mr.
Jones emphasized that I should follow the evidence where it leads and draw what
conclusions I consider merited.

6. I have prepared a Report which is attached as Exhibit "B" to this Affidavit. It is based on
previous work and writing I have done on the topic, and a renewed review of the available
evidence in the academic literature. I am solely responsible for its content.

7. My report focuses on three issues: (l) the origins and development of the institution of
socially imposed universal monogamy and its displacement of polygamy in world history
(polygamy here I use to mean polygyny - polyandry, while documented, is so rare as to be
irrelevant to the issues I examine); (2) the consequences of socially imposed universal
monogamy, and the reasons for its success; and (3) the extent to which socially imposed
universal monogamy, in the western tradition, can be said to be based on religious doctrine.

8. My opinion on each of these questions may be summarized as follows:

9. The origins and development of the institution of socially imposed universal monogamy:
Monogamous marriage practices have historically occurred in the form of Ecologically

Imposed Monogamy (ElM), where polygamy is socially condoned but effectively

restricted by male resources and often only a small minority of all unions are actually
polygamous, and in the form of Socially Imposed Monogamy (SIM), where polygamy is
banned regardless of male status and resources. Socially Imposed Universal Monogamy
(SlUM) refers to the prohibition of polygamy for all members of a given society. Most
societies in world history condoned polygamous practices. SlUM is first solidly
documented for ancient Greece and Rome in the first millennium BCE, was subsequently
endorsed by early Christianity, and remained dominant in post-ancient Christian Europe.
With modern European imperialism and colonization, SlUM became a globally dominant
norm in most parts of the world except the Islamic Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

10. The consequences of socially imposed universal monogamy, and the reasons for its
success: Modem theories of polygamy emphasize the inequalities that this institution
entails and reinforces. These inequalities are manifold: they occur among men, among
women, and between men and women. The imposition of SlUM, by contrast, reduces
inequality among men and between men and women, with mixed effects on inequality
among women.

11. It is plausible, but likely unprovable, that SlUM has been a contributing factor for the
relative pace of western development. Empirical tests of the correlation between polygamy
and various indicators of development have produced conflicting results concerning the
relationship between polygamy and political development but generally tend to reveal a
negative relationship between polygamy and socio-economic development, or, to put it
another way, a positive correlation of SlUM with such development.

12. The extent to which socially imposed universal monogamy, in the western tradition, can be
said to be based on religious doctrine: Ancient SlUM emerged as a secular practice within
the context of city-state republics in ancient Greece and Roman and seems connected to
egalitarian norms. Ancient Jewish culture and religion accepted polygamous practices. By
contrast, the New Testament record favors monogamy and at least implicitly rejects
polygamous practices. These preferences are couched in religious terms. Early Christian

authorities commonly condemn polygamy or at least do not consider it acceptable behavior

for their own times. Ancient Christianity largely developed within the context of normative
Greco-Roman SIUM; Christian and secular monogamous principles were therefore tightly
enmeshed and SlUM, whilst championed by Christian authorities, was also viewed as a
Roman custom. After the failure of the Roman Empire, the ascent of Islamic polygamy and
of other non-monogamous groups served to associate SlUM more specifically with
Christian doctrine. The medieval Christian churches were instrumental in re-consolidating
SlUM in Europe and in its subsequent implementation in the New Warld and other
European colonies.

SWORN BEFORE ME at Stanford, in )

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Curriculum Vitae Walter Scheidel
(July 2010)

Department of Classics, Stanford University, Stanford CA 94305-2145, USA tel. (650) 723-0479 fax (650) 725-3801

Academic employment

2008- Dickason Professor in the Humanities, Stanford University

2004-- Professor of Classics and, by courtesy, of History, Stanford University
2003-2004 Associate Professor of Classics, Stanford University
2002 Visiting Associate Professor of History, University of Chicago
2000--2002 Visiting Assistant Professor of History, University of Chicago
1999-2000 Acting Assistant Professor, Department of Classics and Social Science History
Institute, Stanford University
1996--1999 Moses and Mary Finley Research Fellow in Ancient History, Darwin College,
Cambridge; Invited Lecturer, Faculty of Classics; Senior Member, Faculty of
History, University of Cambridge
1990--1995 'Vertragsassistent' (academic and administrative assistant) and University Lecturer
in Ancient History, Department of Ancient History, University of Vienna

Secondary visiting positions and fellowships

2011 Visiting Distinguished Professor in World History, New York University Abu Dhabi
2010 Visiting Professor, Department of History, Columbia University
2007-2008 Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford
2005-2006 New Directions Fellow of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
1999 'Gastprofessor' (Visiting Professor), Department of Ancient History, University of
1998 'Maitre de Conferences Invite (Visiting Professor), Ecole des Hautes Etudes en
Sciences Sociales, Paris
1995 Erwin Schrodinger Fellow of the Austrian Research Council; Visiting Scholar,
Department of Classical Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
1994 Visiting Scholar, University of Cambridge; Ordinary Member of the Senior
Combination Room, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge

Academic degrees

1998 'Habilitation' in Ancient History, University ofGraz

1993 Ph.D. in Ancient History, University of Vienna
1989 M.Phi!. in Ancient History, University of Vienna

Death on the Nile: disease and the demography of Roman Egypt, Brill: Leiden, Boston and Cologne, 2001
(Mnemosyne Supplement Volume 228). XXX + 286 p.'
lHeasuring sex, age and death in the Roman empire: explorations in ancient demography, Journal of Roman
Archaeology: Ann Arbor, MI, 1996 (Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplement Volume 21). 184 pb
Gl'undpacht lind Lohnarbeit in del' Landwirtschaji des ramischen !talien, Peter Lang: Frankfurt a. M., 1994.
XN - 281 p.'

Edited volumes

[with A. Barchiesi] The Oxford handbook of Roman studies, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2010. XVIII
+ 947p.
Rome and China: comparative perspectives on ancient yvorld empires, Oxford University Press: New York,
2009 (paperback edition 2010). XVI + 240 p.d
[with 1. Morris] The dynamics of ancient empires: state power }i'om Assyria to Byzantium, Oxford
University Press: New York, 2009 (paperback edition 2010). XVIII + 381 p.'
[with 1. Morris and R. Saller] The Cambridge economic history of Ihe Greco-Roman world, Cambridge
University Press: Cambridge, 2007. XVI + 942 pc
[with S. von Reden] The ancient economy, Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh, and Routledge: New
York, 2002 (paperback edition 2002). XXII + 282 p.g
[with P. Siewert, S. Brenne, B. Eder and R. Refiner] Ostrakismos-Testimonien 1: Die Zellgnisse antiker
Autoren, der 1nschrifien und Ostraka Ubel' das athenische Scherbengericht aus vorhellenislischer Zeit (487-
322 v. Chr.), Steiner Verlag Stuttgart: Stuttgart, 2002 (Historia Einzelschrift 155). 555 ph

a Reviews: A. Jordcns, Historische Zeitschrijt 276 (2003), 132-133; A. \larconc. Athenaeum 91 (2003), 701~702; D. W. Rathbone, Population
Studies 53 (2003), 115-116; 1. r\. Straus, Chroniqlle d'EgFpte 78 (2003), 352-354; V. Nutton, Bulletill of the HistOl:v of !Hedicine 77 (2003), 693-
695; A. Zuiderhoek, ,l,fnemosyne 56 (2003), 246-250; C. Adams, Classical Reviell' 54 (2004), 512-514.
b Reviews: R. S. Bagnall, Blyn Mawr Classical Review 8 (1997), 871-878; D. Montserrat. Bulletin of Ihe American Sociezr of Papyrologisls 35
(1998), 243-248; M. Pammer, Historicum 51 (1998),6-9, with my response 52 (1998), 6-7; R. Alston, Classical Review 49 (1999), 512-514; R.
Saller, POpltlaliOiI Studies 53 (1999), 271; 1. A. Straus, Chronique d'Eglple 74 (\999), 188-190; I. Morris, lOllmal of interdisciplinary History 31
(2000),83-84; C. Pcrassi, Aegyplus 80 (2000), 297-300; M. Clauss, Klio 83 (2001), 536-537; L. WiersehO\vski, Gnomon 74 (2002), 555-556.
e Reviews: D. P. Kehoe, Journal 0/ Romall Archaeology, 9 (1996), 389-394: C. Schafer, Jliinstersche Bei/ruge ::ur antiken Handelsgeschichte 15,2
(1996), 106-110; H. Brandt, Historische Zeilschrijt 264 (1997), 160-161. Notices: Rivis/a storica dell'antichitil 25 (1995), 274; Index 25 (1997),
d Reviews: C. Kcny, Times Literal)' Supplement 5557, October 2,2009,8: H. J. Kim, BI)'/1 .\-fawr Classical Review 2009.04.66; J. L6ftl. H-So::-II-
KIIlt 2009-2-232.
e Reviews: A. Cameron, Anglo-Hellenic Review 40 (2009), 24: C. J. Tuplin, Bj)'l1lfmrr Classical Review 2009.10.14.
f Events devoted to the book: Panel at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, Boston, November 23. 2008; Workshop at the
Istituto Italiano per la Storia Antica, Rome, Italy, April 22, 2009 (to be pllblished in Swdi Storie i); Table Ronde at Nanterre, France, January 16,
2010 (to be published in Topoi). Reviews: A. Bresson, Economic HislOJY Review 61 (2008), 1021-1022: J. Murdock, Choice (November 2008); K.
Ruffing, Sehepunk!e 8 (September! 5, 2008); P. F. Bang, 'The ancient economy and New Institutional Economics', Journal of Roman Studies 99
(2009),194-206; C. Katsari. Bryn AlalVr Classical Review 2009.04.74; H. Kloft, Historisehe Zeitsclirijt 288 (2009), 168-170; J. Osgood, Clas,ical
Journal online (2009.12.01); D. W. Tandy, American JOllrnal of PhiloloK): 130 (2009), 299-303; P. Temin, EH.Net (May II, 2009); D. Kennedy,
Journal of Archaeological Science, in press. Notice: G. R. Tsetshkladze, AI/ciell! West and East 8 (2009), 246-247. Designated "Outstanding
Academic Title" for 2008 by Choice (January 2009).
g Revie·.vs: N. MorJey, Anglo-Hellenic Revie'\\" 26 (2002): R. Osborne, Ancient West and East I, 2 (2002) 504-506; K. Ruffing, ,J"fiillstencile
Beitriige zlIr antiken Handelsgeschichte 21, 2 (2002), 98-99; P. F. Bang, crassical Rel'iew 53 (2003), 151-153; E. E. Cohen, Blyn Maw/" Classical
Review 2003.11.23, with my response 2003.11.24; M. Silver, http://\v\·bookreviews/libraryi0570.shtml (January 3, 2003); C. Grey.
Prudentia 35 (2003), 202-203; S. Drakopoulou-Dodd, Histol}' of Economic Ideas 3 (2003). 109-114; D. T. Engen, Ancient HistOJY Bulletin 18
h Reviews: D. Whitehead, Classical Review 53 (2003), 400-402: 1. Engels, Hisforische Zeitsci1rtft 277 (2003); G. Nemeth, Klio: lr5rlellefludomclllyi
szemle::6folyorat 12 (2003), 52-55; G. Thur, Zeitschrijt del' Savigny-Sliffl/llgfiir Rechtsgeschichte 122 (2005), 423-425.

Debating Roman demography, Brill: Leiden, Boston and Cologne, 2001 (Mnemosyne Supplement Volume
211). X + 242 pi
P. Garnsey, Cities, peasants and food in classical antiquity: essays in social and economic histo/y, edited
with addenda by W. Scheidel, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1998 (paperback edition 2004).
XVIlI + 336 p)

Journal articles and book chapters

'A comparative perspective on the determinants of the scale and productivity of maritime trade in the Roman
Mediterranean', in: W. V. Harris (ed.), Maritime technology and the ancient economy, under review
'Fiscal regimes and the 'First Great Divergence' between eastern and western Eurasia', in: P. Bang and C.
Bayly (eds.), Empires in contention: sociology, history and cultural difference, under review
'Coin quality, coin quantity, and coin value in early China and the Roman world', under review
'Roman wellbeing and the economic consequences of the Antonine Plague', in: E. Lo Cascio (ed.),
L 'impatlo della "peste antonina ", Edipuglia: Bari, forthcoming [with a contribution by J. W. Sutherland]
'Age and health', in: C. Riggs (ed.), The Oxford handbook of Roman Egypt, Oxford University Press:
Oxford, forthcoming
'Disease and death', in: P. Erdkamp (ed.), The companion to ancient Rome, Cambridge University Press:
Cambridge, forthcoming
'Framing the debate', in W. Scheidel (ed.), The Cambridge companion to the Roman economy, Cambridge
University Press: Cambridge, forthcoming
'Slavery', in W. Scheidel (ed.), The Cambridge companion to the Roman economy, Cambridge University
Press: Cambridge, forthcoming
'Physical wellbeing', in W. Scheidel (ed.), The Cambridge companion to the Roman economy, Cambridge
University Press: Cambridge, forthcoming
'Studying the state', in P. F. Bang and W. Scheidel (eds.), The Oxford handbook of the ancient state: Near
East and Mediterranean, Oxford University Press: New York, forthcoming
'Epigraphy and demography: birth, marriage, family, and death', in: J. Davies and J. Wilkes (eds.),
Epigraphy and the historical sciences, British Academy/Oxford University Press: Oxford, in press
'Monogamy and polygyny', in: B. Rawson (ed.), A companion to families in the Greek and Roman worlds,
Wiley-Blackwell: Malden MA, Oxford and Chichester, 2010 (in press)
'The Roman slave supply', in: K. Bradley and P. Cartledge (eds.), The Cambridge world histmy ofslave,y,
I: The ancient Mediterranean world, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 20 I 0, 287 -310 (in press)

1 Reviews: P. Salmon, Lafomlls 60 (200!), 1026-1028; M. Clauss, Klio 84 (2002) 543-544~ A. Kerkcslagcr. Bryn Jlm!"r Classical Review
2002.01.11; G. McNicoll, Populatioll and Development RevielV 28 (2002) 576-577; D. Rathbone, JOl/mal of Romall Archaeology 15 (2002), 558-
560; K. Ruffing, Lawma 13 (2002),136-141; D. Foraboschi, Athenaeum 91 (2003),654-657: E. 1. Owens. Journal of Roman Studies 93 (2003).
303-304; W. Nippc1, Classical Review 55 (2005), 249-251.
j Reviews: L Thommen, Museum Helveticum 55 (1998). 254; R. Klein, Allzeiger fiil' die AltertllmswissellSchaft 52 (1999), 216~219; [Anon.],
Tijdschr[fi voor Geschiedenis 112 (1999), 121-122; M. Kucher, (November 1999); G. Raepsaet, Antiquite Classique 68
(1999), 571; M. Whitby, Classical Review 49 (1999), 293-294; H. Zehnacker, ReVile des Etudes Latilles 77 (1999), 355-356; P. Herz, Historiselie
Zeitschrijl271 (2000), 701-702; N. Morley, Journal of Roman Archaeology 13 (2000).485-486; C. Williamson, Social Histol)' 25 (2000), 263-264;
L de Ligt, Mnemosyne 54 (200 [), 616·619; H. Ga1slcrcr, International Journal of rhe Classical Tradition 7.4 (2001), 596·599; 1. Shatzman, Scripta
ClassiC!.llsraelica 22 (2003), 327-330. Notices: A. Kcavaney, Greece and Rome 46 (1999), 118; [Anon.], JOllrnal of Indo-European Siudies 27

'Real wages in early economies: evidence for living standards from 1800 BCE to 1300 CE', in: Journal of
the Economic and Social HistOlY of the Orient 53 (2010), 425-462
'Economy and quality of life', in: A. Barchiesi and W. Scheidel (eds.), The Oxford handbook of Roman
studies, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2010, 593-609
'In search of Roman economic growth', in: Journal of Roman Archaeology 22 (2009), 46-70
[with S. J. Friesen] 'The size of the economy and the distribution of income in the Roman empire', in:
Journal ofRoman Studies 99 (2009), 61-91
[with P. Turchin] 'Coin hoards speak of population declines in ancient Rome', in: Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences 106 (2009), 17276-17279*
'A peculiar institution" Greco-Roman monogamy in global context', in: History of the Fami(v 14 (2009),
'From the 'Great Convergence' to the 'First Great Divergence: Roman and Qin-Han state formation and its
aftermath', in: W. Scheidel (ed.), Rome and China: comparative perspectives on ancient world empires,
Oxford University Press: New York, 2009, 11-23
'The monetary systems of the Han and Roman empires', in: W. Scheidel (ed.), Rome and China:
comparative perspectives on ancient world empires, Oxford University Press: New York, 2009, 137-207
'Sex and empire: a Darwinian perspective', in: I. Morris and W. Scheidel (eds.), The dynamics of ancient
empires: state power }i'om Assyria to Byzantium, Oxford University Press: New York, 2009, 255-324
'The demographic background', in: S. Hubner and D. Ratzan (eds.), Growing up fatherless in antiquity,
Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2009, 31-40
'New ways of studying incomes in the Roman economy', in: A. Bowman and A. Wilson (eds.), QuantifYing
the Roman economy: methods and problems, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2009, 346-352
'Demography and sociology', in: G. Boys-Stones, B. Graziosi and P. Vasunia (eds.), The Oxford handbook
of Hellenic studies, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2009, 665-677
'Population and demography', in: A. Erskine (ed.), A companion to ancient histOlY, Wiley-Blackwell:
Malden MA, Oxford, and Chichester, 2009, 234-245
'Roman population size: the logic of the debate', in: L. de Ligt and S. J. Northwood (eds.), People, land, and
politics: demographic developments and the tram/ormation of Roman Italy, 300 BC - AD 14, Brill: Leiden,
'The comparative economics of slavery in the Greco-Roman world', in E. Dal Lago and C. Katsari (eds.),
Slave systems, ancient and modern, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2008, 105-126
'The divergent evolution of coinage in eastern and western Eurasia', in: W. V. Harris (ed.), The monetary
systems of the Greeks and Romans, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2008, 267-286
'A model ofreal income growth in Roman Italy', in: Historia 56 (2007), 322-346
'Roman ftmerary commemoration and the age at first marriage', in: Classical Philology 102 (2007), 389-402
[with J. Ober, B. D. Shaw and D. Sanclemente] 'Towards open access in ancient studies: the Princeton-
Stanford Working Papers in Classics', in: Hesperia 76 (2007), 229-242
'Demography', in: W. Scheidel, I. Morris and R. Saller (eds.), The Cambridge economic history of the
Greco-Roman world, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2007, 38-86

* Featured in The .Vew York Times. ScienceNO~V. Wired. YahoofIVf<ll's, WNPR CO/meeriem Public Radio, Del' Spiegel. Siiddeutsche Zeilllllg, etc.

'Marriage, families, and survival: demographic aspects', in: P. Erdkamp (ed.), A companion to the Roman
army, Blackwell: Malden MA, Oxford, and Carlton, 2007, 417-434
'Mobilisierung und Beteiligung: die griechischen Stadtstaaten, Karthago und Rom', in: G. Mandl and I.
Steffe1bauer (eds.), Krieg in der antiken Welt, Magnus Verlag: Essen, 2007, 420-435
'Stratification, deprivation and quality of life', in: M. Atkins and R. Osborne (eds.), Poverty in the Roman
world, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2006,40-59
'The demography of Roman state formation in Italy', in M. Jehne and R. Pfeilschifter (eds.), Herrschaft
ohne Integration? Rom und Italien in republikanischer Zeit, Verlag Antike: Frankfurt, 2006, 207-226
'Real slave prices and the relative cost of slave labor in the Greco-Roman world', in: Ancient Society 35
(2005), 1-17
'Human mobility in Roman Italy, II: The slave population', in: Journal ofRoman Studies 95 (2005), 64-79
'Human mobility in Roman Italy, I: The free population', in: Journal of Roman Studies 94 (2004), 1-26
'Demographic and economic development in the ancient Mediterranean world', in: Journal of Institutional
and Theoretical Economics 160 (2004), 743-757
'Creating a metropolis: a comparative demographic perspective', in: W. V. Harris and G. Ruffini (eds.),
Ancient Alexandria between Egypt and Greece, Brill: Leiden, Boston and Cologne, 2004, 1-31
'Ancient Egyptian sibling marriage and the Westermarck effect', in: A. P. Wolf and W. H. Durham (eds.),
Inbreeding, incest. and the incest taboo: the state of knowledge at the turn of the centlilY, Stanford
University Press: Stanford, 2004, 93-108
'Graberstatistik und Bev6lkerungsgeschichte. Attika im achten Jahrhundert', in: R. Rollinger and C. Ulf
(eds.), Griechische Archaik: Interne Entwicklungen - externe Impulse, Akademie Verlag: Berlin, 2004,177-
'The Greek demographic expansion: models and comparisons', in: Journal olHellenic Studies 123 (2003),
'Germs for Rome', in: C. Edwards and G. Woolf (eds.), Rome the cosmopolis, Cambridge University Press:
Cambridge, 2003, 158-176
'Helot numbers: a simplified model', in: N. Luraghi and S. E. Alcock (eds.), Helots and their masters in
Laconia and Messenia: histories, ideologies, structures, Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA and
London, 2003,240-247
'A model of demographic and economic change in Roman Egypt after the Antonine plague', in: Journal of
Roman Archaeology 15 (2002), 97-114
'The hireling and the slave: a transatlantic perspective', in: P. Cartledge, E. E. Cohen and L. Foxhall (eds.),
kloney, labour and land: approaches to the economies of ancient Greece, Routledge: London and New
York,2002, 175-184
'Brother-sister and parent-child marriage in premodern societies', in: K. Aoki and T. Akazawa (eds.),
Human mate choice and prehistoric marital networks: International Symposium 16, November 20-24, 2000,
International Research Center for Japanese Studies: Kyoto, 2002, 33-47
'T 17: Andokides 1, 107: Riickruf von Ostrakisierten und vielleicht auch anderen Verbannten zur Zeit der
Perserkriege', 271-276; 'T 24: Andokides 3, 3-4: Die Riickkehr des 'ostrakisierten' Miltiades', 342-349; 'T
25: Platon, Gorgias 516d: Die Ostrakisierung des Themistokles und des Kimon', 350-356; 'T 28: Theopomp
FGrHist lIS F 88: Der Riickruf des ostrakisierten Kimon', 373-386; 'T 29: Theopomp FGrHist 115 F 91:
Thukydides Melesiou als (ostrakisierter) Gegner des Perikles', 387-390; 'T 30: Theopomp FGrHist 115 F
96b: Ostrakisierung und Tod des Hyperbolos', 391-400; 'T 36: Aristoteles, Politika 3, 1288 a 24-26:

Ostrakismos als MaBnahme gegen herausragende Personlichkeiten', 432-434; [with H. Taeuber]

'Vorbemerkung: Zu Verfasserschaft und Abfassungszeit der Athenaion Politeia', 447-448; [with H.
Taeuber] 'T 40: Athenaion Politeia 27, 4: Die Ostrakisierung des Damon', 459-464; [with H. Taeuber] 'T
41: Athenaion Politeia 43, 5: Vorabstimmung in der Volksversammlung tiber die Abhalhmg eines
Ostrakismos', 465-471; 'Zum Verhaltnis der Testimonien in Aristoteles' Politika zu den Testimonien in der
Athenaion Politeia', 472-474; 'Aussagen der Testimonien tiber die Institution des Ostrakismos', 483-494;
'Die urkundliche Oberlieferung', 500-501, in: Ostrakismos-Testimonien I: Die Zeugnisse antiker Autoren,
der Inschrifien und Ostraka aber das athenische Scherbengericht aus vorhellenistischer Zeit (487-322 v.
Chr.), edited by P. Siewert in collaboration with S. Brenne, B. Eder, H. Hellner and W. Scheidel, Steiner
Verlag Stuttgart: Stuttgart, 2002 (Historia Einzelschrift ISS)
'Roman age structure: evidence and models', in: Journal of Roman Studies 91 (2001), 1-26
'Progress and problems in Roman demography', in: W. Scheidel (ed.), Debating Roman demography, Brill:
Leiden, Boston and Cologne, 2001, 1-81
'Emperors, aristocrats and the Grim Reaper: towards a demographic profile of the Roman elite', in:
Classical Quarterly 49 (1999), 254-281
'The death declarations of Roman Egypt: a re-appraisal', in: Bulletin of the American Society of
Papyrologists 36 (1999), 53-70
'The slave population of Roman Italy: speculation and constraints', in: Topoi 9,1 (1999), 129-144
'Professional historians of classical antiquity in the English-speaking world: a quantitative survey', in:
Ancient History Bulletin 13 (1999),151-156
'Salute, agricolhlra e popolazione in Egitto nell'eta romana e nel XIX secolo', in: D. Vera (ed.),
DemograjiQ, sistemi agrari, regimi alimentari nel mondo antico: Attt de convegno internazionale di studt
(Parma 17-19 ollobre 1997), Edipuglia: Bari, 1999,309-324
'The demography of Roman slavery and manumission', in: M. Bellancourt-Valdher and J.-N. Corvisier
(eds.), La demographie historique antique, Artois Presses Universite: Arras, 1999, 107-115
'The meaning of dates on mummy labels: seasonal mortality and mortuary practice in Roman Egypt', in:
Journal ofRoman Archaeology 11 (1998), 285-292
'Quantifying the sources of slaves in the early Roman empire', in: Journal ofRoman Studies 87 (1997), 156-
'Brother-sister marriage in Roman Egypt', in: Journal ofBiosocial Science 29 (1997), 361-371
'Continuity and change in classical scholarship: a quantitative survey, 1924 to 1992', in: Ancient Society 28
(1997), 265-289
'Finances, figures and fiction', in: Classical Quarterly 46 (1996), 222-238
'Brother-sister and parent-child marriage outside royal families in ancient Egypt and Iran: a challenge to the
sociobiological view of incest avoidance?', in: Ethology and Sociobiology 17 (1996), 319-340
'What's in an age? A comparative view of bias in the census returns of Roman Egypt', in: Bulletin of the
American Society of Papyrologists 33 (1996), 25-59 (with: 'Twins in Roman Egypt: postscript to BASP 33
(1996)',34 (1997),35-37)
'Reflections on the differential valuation of slaves in Diocletian's price edict and in the United States', in:
Manstersche Beitrage zur antiken Handelsgeschichte 15, 1 (1996),67-79
'The most silent women of Greece and Rome: rural labour and women's life in the ancient world', in:
Greece & Rome 42 (1995), 202-217, and 43 (1996), 1-10

'Rekruten und Uberlebende: Die demographische Struktur der romischen Legionen in der Prinzipatszeit', in:
Klio 77 (1995), 232-254
'Incest revisited: three notes on the demography of sibling marriage in Roman Egypt', in: Bulletin of the
American Society ofPapyrologists 32, 3-4 (1995),143-155
'Libitina's bitter gains: seasonal mortality and endemic disease in the ancient city of Rome', in: Ancient
Society 25 (1994), 151-175
'Columellas privates ius liberonlm: Literatur, Recht, Demographie. Einige Probleme', in: Latomus 53
(1994), 513-527
'Thukydides Pantain<et>ou Gargettios, Gegner des Perikles: Geschichte eines Phantoms', in: Historia 43
(1994), 372-378
'GERlYfANICVS und SARMATrCVS: Die Ereignisgeschichte des Jahres 175 bei Cassius Dio und die
Emissionsabfoige der kaiserlichen Reichspragung', in: Pomoerium I (1994), 69-74
'Zur Angabe des Lebensalters in den romischen Grabinschriften bsterreichs', in: Romisehes Osterreich
19/20 (1991/92 [1994]), 143-159
'Frauen als Ware: Sklavinnen in der Wirtschaft der griechisch-romischen Welt', in: E. Specht (ed.),
Frauenreichtum: Die Frau als Wirtschaftsfaktor im Altertum, Wiener Frauenverlag: Vienna, 1994, 143-180
'Grain cultivation in the villa economy of Roman Italy', in: J. Carlsen et al. (eds.), Landuse in Ihe Roman
empire (Analecla Romana Instituli Danici, Supplementum XXII), L'Errna di Bretschneider: Rome, 1994
(reprint 1997), 159-166
'Pachter und Grundpacht bei Columella (Colonus-Studien II)" in: Athenaeum 81 (1993), 391-439
'Servi alieni als Erben: Zum gesellschaftlichen Hintergrund', in: Zeitsehrift der Savigny-Stiftung }iir
Rechlsgeschiehte, romanislische Abteilung 110 (1993), 648-651
'Dokument und Kontex!: Aspekte der historischen Interpretation epigraphischer Quellen am Beispiel der
'Krise des dritten Jahrhllnderts", in: Rivisla sloriea dell' antichita 21 (1991 [1993]),145-164
'Polilio lmdpolitor bei Cato: Ein Epilog', in: Maia 45 (1993), 125-135
'Sklaven und Freigelassene ais Pachter lind ihre okonomische Funktion in der romischen Landwirtschaft
(Colonus-Studien III)', in: H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg et al. (eds.), De Agricultura: ]n memoriam Pieter
Willem de Neeve (1945-1990), J. C. Gieben: Amsterdam, 1993, 182-196
'Inschriftenstatistik und die Frage des Rekrutienmgsalters romischer Soidaten', in: Chiron 22 (1992), 281-
'Coloni und Pachter in den romischen literarischen Quellen vom 2. Jh. v. Chr. bis zur Severerzeit: Eine
kritische Betrachtung (Colonus-Studien I)', in: Athenaeum 80 (1992), 331-370
'Neuen Wein in Ieere Schlauche: Jongman's Pompeii, Modelle lind die kampanische Landwirtschaft', in:
Athenaeum 80 (1992), 207-213
'Frau und Landarbeit in der Alten Geschichte', in: E. Specht (ed.), Nachrichten aus der Zeit: Ein Streijzug
durch die Frauengeschichle des Alterlums, Wiener Frauenverlag: Vienna, 1992, 195-235
'Der Gerrnaneneinfall in Oberitalien unter Marcus Aurelius und die Emissionsabfoige der kaiserlichen
Reichspragung', in: Chiron 20 (1990), 1-18
'Feldarbeit von Frauen in der antiken Landwirtschaft', in: Gymnasium 97 (1990), 405-431 (extract reprinted
in: E. Hinrichs and J. Stehling [eds.], Wir machen Gesehichle 2, Diesterweg: Frankfurt a. M., 1997,204)
'Quasikolonen bei Vergil?', in: Klio 72 (1990),166-172

'Probleme der Datierung des Costoboceneinfalls im Balkanraum unter Marcus Aurelius', in: Historia 39
'Agricola, colonus, cuitor, rusticus: Beobachtungen zum rechtlichen und sozialen Status der 'Landwirte' in
Colmnellas Schrift de re rustica', in: Maia 42 (1990), 257-265
'Zur Lohnarbeit bei Columella', in: Tyche 4 (1989), 139-146
[with P. Siewert] 'FriedensschlUsse des 5. Jahrhunderts zwischen Athen und Sparta bei Andokides und
Theopomp', in: Tyche 3 (1988),163-170

Short notes and minor contributions

'When did Livy write Books 1,3,28 and 59?', in: Classical Quarterly 59 (2009), 653-658
'Rome and China: a tale of two empires', in: Ad Familiares 37 (2009), 9-11
'Epidemics', 'Roman population and demography', in: M. Gagarin (ed.), Encyclopedia of ancient Greece
and Rome, Oxford University Press: New York, 2009
'Demography of the ancient world', in: S. N. Durlauf and L. E. Blume (eds.), The new Palgrave dictionary
oj'economics, 20d edition, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008 (
'Vom Nutzen des Open Access in den Geisteswissenschaften', in: FWF Info 65 (2008),14-15
'From monetization to culture change', in: Archaeological Dialogues 12.1 (2005),35-37
'Bibliographie', in: W. Szaivert and R. Wolters (eds.), Lohne. Freise. Werte: Quellen zur romischen
Geldwirtschaft, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft: Damnstadt, 2005, 357-373
[with B. Rogers] 'Driving stakes, driving cars: Californian car culture, sex, and identity in Buffy the Vampire
Slayer', in: Slayage: The Online International Journal ofBufty Studies 13/l4 (2004) (
'Oberleben', in: Historicum 83 (2004),16-20
'Ancient world, Demography of, in: P. Demeny and G. McNicoll (eds.), Encyclopedia of population,
Macmillan Reference USA: New York, 2003,44-48
'Foreword', in: M. I. Finley (ed,), Classical slavely, Frank Cass: London and Portland, Reprint 1999, VII-
'Moses I. Finley', 'Galley slaves', 'Ancient Mediterranean slave trade', in: P. Finkelman and J. C. Miller
(eds.), Macmillan encyclopedia of world slavery, vols. 1-2, Simon & Schuster Macmillan: New York, 1998,
332-333,355-356, 830-831
'Servus vicarius', 'Stoicism', 'Vernae', in: J. P. Rodriguez (ed.), The Historical encyclopedia of world
slavelY, vol. 2, ABC-CLIO Press: Santa Barbara, 1997,578-579,611-612,670-671
'Instrumentum vocale: Bauern und Sklaven in der romischen Landwirtschaft', in: Historicum 47 (1996), 24-
[with M. Gerstmayer, W. Szaivert and R. Wolters] 'Quellensammlung zu Lohnen, Preisen und Wertangaben
im romischen Reich (3. Jh. v. Chr. - 3. Jh. n. Chr.)', in: M. Fell et al. (eds.), Datenbanken in der Alten
Geschichte, Scripta Mercalurae Verlag: St. Katharinen, 1994, 91-95
'Juristic tenninology in Columella: an addendum', in: Eranos 89 (1991), 64
'Ein Fall von GroBpacht? Zu einer neuen Auflosung von CIL IX 3674, 7', in: Zeitschriji der Savigny-
Stijiungfiir Rechtsgeschichte, romanistische Abteilung 107 (1990), 373-375

'Free-born and manumitted bailiffs in the Graeco-Roman world', in: Classical Quarterly 40 (1990), 591-593

Online working papers and databases

'Human development and quality of life in the long run: the case of Greece', Athens Dialogues, July 2010
'How to make ancient history less ancient', Committee on Ancient History of the American Philological
Association, April 2008 (
'Citation scores for ancient historians in the United States', Princeton/Stanjord Working Papers in Classics,
Version 1.0, February 2008 (www.princeton.edul-pswpc)
'Comparative history as comparative advantage: China's potential contribution to the study of ancient
Mediterranean history', Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics, Version 1.0, April 2006
'Republics between hegemony and empire: How ancient city-states built empires and the USA doesn't
(anymore)', Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics, Version 1.0, February 2006
'Military commitments and political bargaining in classical Greece', Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in
Classics, Version 1.0, November 2005 (www.princeton.edul-pswpc)
'Prices and other monetary valuations in Roman history: ancient literary evidence and modern scholarship',

Book reviews

Review essays

'Die biologische Dimension der Alten Geschichte: Bemerkungen zu Robert Sallares, The ecology of the
ancient Greek world' [review essay on: R. Sallares, The ecology of the ancient Greek world, London, 1991],
in: Tye-he II (1996),207-222
'Slavery and the shackled mind: on fortune-telling and slave mentality in the Graeco-Roman world' [review
essay on: F. Kudlien, Sklaven-Mentalitiit im Spiegel antiker Wahrsagerei, Stuttgart 1991], in: Ancient
History Bulletin 7 (1993),107-114
'A new 'Roman agrarian history'?' [review essay on: D. Flach, R6mische Agrargeschichte, Munich 1990],
in: Ancient HistOlY Bulletin 6 (1992), 30-41

Reviews and notices

[with J. Manning] Review of: W. Clarysse and D. J. Thompson, Counting the people in Hellenistic Egypt,
Vols. 1-2, Cambridge 2006, in: Bulletin of the American Society ofPapyrologists 47 (20 I 0), in press
Review of: T. P. Wiseman, Remembering the Roman people: essays on late-republican politics and
literature, Oxford 2009, in: American Journal ofPhilology 131 (2010), 335-338
Review of: G. Stangl, Antike Populationen in Zahlen: Uberpriijimgsm6glichkeiten von demograjischen
Zahlenangaben in antiken Texten, Frankfurt a.M. 2008, in: Historische Zeitschrifi 290 (2010), 737-738

Review of: R. Rollinger and C. Ulf (eds.), Commerce and monetGlY systems in the ancient world: means of
transmission and cultural interaction, Stuttgart, 2004, in: Ancient West & East 8 (2009), 414416
Review of: J. Haas, Die Umweltkrise des 3. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. im Nordwesten des Imperium Romanum,
Stuttgart 2006, in: Journal ofRoman Studies 98 (2008). 268-269
Review of: M. H. Hansen, The shotgun method: the demography of the ancient Greek city-state cultllre,
Columbia and London 2006; Studies in the population of Aigina, Athens and Eretria, Copenhagen 2006, in:
Klio 90 (2008), 487489
Review of: A. M. Eckstein, Mediterranean anarchy, interstate war, and the rise o/Rome, Berkeley 2006, in:
Journal ofInterdisciplinary History 39 (2008), 104-106
Review of: L. Foxhall, Olive cultivation in ancient Greece: seeking the ancient economy, Oxford 2007; A.
Moreno, Feeding the democracy: the Athenian grain supply in the fifth and fourth centuries BC, Oxford
2007; G. J. Oliver, War, food and politics in early Hellenistic Athens, Oxford 2007, in: Times Literary
Supplement 5487, May 30, 2008, 27
Review of: M. Sartre, The Middle East under Rome, Cambridge MA 2005, in: Journal of Economic History
67 (2007), 236-237
Review of: E. Herrmann-Otto (ed.), Unfreie Arbeits- und Lebensverhaltnisse von der Antike bis in die
Gegenwart: eine Einfiihrung, Hildesheim 2005, in: Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2006.08.54
Review of: H.-J. Drexhage, H. Konen and K. Ruffing, Die WirtschaJt des romischen Reiches (1.-3.
Jahrhundert): eine Einjiihnmg, Berlin 2002, in: Classical Review 55 (2005), 251-253
Review of: H. Bellen and H. Heinen (eds.), Bibliographie zur antiken Sklaverei, 2 vols., Stuttgart 2003. in:
Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2005.09.39 (
Review of: L. Schumacher, Slaverei in der Antike: Alltag und Schicksal der Unfreien, Munich 2001, in:
Journal ofRoman Archaeology 16 (2003), 577-581
Review of: R. S. Bagnall et aI., The census register P.Oxy 984: The reverse of Pindar's Paeans, Brnssels
1997, in: Bulletin of the American Society ofPapyrologists 38 (2001),147-151
Review of: 1. Andreau et al. (eds.), Entretiens d'archeologie et d'histoire: economie antique. Prix et
formations des prix dans les economies antiques, Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges 1997, in: Classical Review
51 (2001),323-325
Review of: E. La Cascio (ed.), Ten'e, proprietari e contadini dell'impero romano: dall'affilto agrario 01
colonoto tardoantico, Rome 1997; M. Mircovic, The later Roman colonate andfreedom, Philadelphia 1997,
in: Journal ofRoman Archaeology 13 (2000), 727-732
Review of: E. Lo Cascio (ed.), Terre, proprietari e contadini dell'impero romano: dall'aftilto agrario al
colonoto tardoantico, Rome 1997, in: Classical Review 50 (2000), 201-202
Notice of: M. Moggi and G. Cordiano (eds.), Schiavi e dipendenti nell 'ambito dell "oikos ' e della 'familia',
Pisa 1997, in: Classical Review 50 (2000), 356-357
Review of: J.-U. Krause et 01., Schichten, Konjlikte, religiose Gruppen, materielle Kultllr (Bibliographie zur
romischen Sozialgeschichte 2), Stuttgart 1998, in: Bryn Mawr Classical Review 99.1.4 (bmer-
Notice of: H. Solin, Die stadtromischen Sklavennamen: ein Namenbuch, 3 vols., Stuttgart 1996, in:
Classical Review 49 (1999), 296-297
Notice of: P. Desy, Recherches sur I'economie apulienne au lIe et au Ier sieele avant notre ere, Brussels
1993, in: Gnomon 70 (1998), 365-366

Review of: P. Hunt, Slaves, waifare and ideology in the Greek historians, Cambridge 1998, in: Anglo-
Hellenic Review 18 (1998),19-20
Review of: F. Hinard (ed.), La mort au quotidien dans Ie monde romain, Paris 1995, in: Blyn Mmvr
Classical Review 7 (1996), 524-532 (also: 96.7.16,
Review of: R. S. Bagnall and B. W. Frier, The demography of Roman Egypt, Cambridge 1994, m:
Population Studies 50 (1996), 555
Review of: K. Bradley, Slavery and society at Rome, Cambridge 1994, in: Phoenix 50 (1996), 174-176
Review of: E. Herrmann-Otto, Ex ancilla natus: Untersuchungen zu den 'hausgeborenen' Sklaven lind =
Sklavinnen im Westen des ramischen Kaiserreiches, Stuttgart 1994, in: Tyche 11 (1996),274-278
Review of: K.-P. Johne (ed.), Gesellschaji lind Wirtschaji des Ramischen Reiches im 3. Jahrhundert, Berlin
1994, in: Journal ofRoman Studies 85 (1995), 289-290
Notice of: B. Forsen, Lex Licinia Sextia de modo agrorum - fiction or reality?, Helsinki 1991, in: Anzeiger
fiir die Altertumswissenschaji 47 (1994), 125-126
Notice of: N. Criniti, La Tabula Alimentaria di Veleia, Panna 1991, in: Tyche 9 (1994), 229
Notice of: D. Hagennann and H. Schneider, Landbau und Handwerk 750 v. Chr. bis 1000 n. Chr.
(Propyliien Technikgeschichte I), Berlin 1991, in: Tyche 9 (1994), 234
Notice of: J.-u. Krause, Die Familie lind weitere anthropologisehe Grundlagen (Bibliographie zur
ramischen Sozialgeschichte I), Stuttgart 1992, in: Tyehe 9 (1994), 237-238
Notice of: L. P. Marinovic et aI., Die Sklaverei in den astlichen Provinzen des ramischen Reiches im 1.-3.
Jahrhllndert, Stuttgart 1992, in: Tyche 9 (1994), 239-240
Review of: J. K. Evans, War, women and children in ancient Rome, London & New York 1991, in: ryche 8
Review of: G. Wesch-Klein, Liberalitas in rem publicam: Private Aufivendungen zugunsten von Gemeinden
im ramischen Afrika bis 284 n. Chr., Bonn 1990, in: Tyehe 7 (1992), 249-251
Review of: R. Duncan-Jones, Structure and scale in the Roman economy, Cambridge 1990, in: ryche 6
(1991), 256-259
Notice of: P. Garnsey, Famine and food-supply in the Graeco-Roman world: responses to risk and crisis,
Cambridge 1988, in: Tyche 5 (1990), 202-203
Notice of: P. Garnsey and R. Saller, Dos ramische Kaiserreich: Wirtschaji, Gesellschaji und Kultur,
[German trans!.] Reinbek 1989, in: Tyche 5 (1990), 203

Work in progress

The demography of the Greco-Roman world, under contract with Cambridge University Press: Cambridge
(c.200 p.; completion planned for 2012) (prospectus at www.stanford.edul-scheidellkey.htm)
Explaining empire: models for ancient history, under contract with Oxford University Press: New York
(c.300 p; prospectus at www.stanford.edul-scheidellEE.pdf)
[with A. Monson] What is ancient history?, under contract with Polity Press: Cambridge (c. 150 p.;
completion planned for 2012) (prospectus at www.stanford.edul-scheidellwhat.htm)

Edited volumes
[with P. Bang] The Oxford handbook of the ancient state: Near East and Mediterranean, under contract with
Oxford University Press: New York (c.600 p.; completion planned for 2010) (prospectus at
www.stanford.edul-scheidell StateProspectus.pdf)
The Cambridge companion to the Roman economy, under contract with Cambridge University Press:
Cambridge (c.400 p.; completion planned for 2010) (prospectus at www.stanfard.edul-scheidell
Companion. pdf)
[with P. Bang and C. Bayly] The Oxford world history of empire, under contract with Oxford University
Press: New York (2 vols.; completion planned for 2014)
State and society in ancient China and Rome, for Oxford University Press: New York (c. 300p.; completion
planned for 20 I Oil I )
[with A. Monson] Fiscal regimes and the political economy of premodern states (c.500 p.; completion
planned for 20 II)

For book chapters and articles in progress, see www.stanford.edul-scheidellprog.htm.

International conferences (organizer)

[with J. Bodel] 'Slavery as a global institution: understanding slavery 30 years after SlavelY and social
death', Brown University, Providence, RJ, 2012
[with A. Monson] 'Beliefs, markets, and empires: understanding mechanisms of integration in early
societies', New York University Abu Dhabi Institute, Abu Dhabi (UAE), March 6-7, 2011
[with A. Monson] 'Fiscal regimes and the political economy of early states', Stanford University, Stanford,
CA, May 27-29,2010
[with J. Ober et al.] 'The emergence of cooperation', Stanford University, Stanford, CA, May 21-22, 20 I 0
[with G. Parker] 'Inscribed lives: Roman epigraphy in context', Stanford University, Stanford, CA, May 9,
'The first great divergence: Enrope and China, 300-800 CE', Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Colloquium,
Departments of Classics and History, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, April 6-7, 2008
'State power and social control in ancient China and Rome', Stanford University, Stanford, CA, March 17-
Annual Meeting of the Association of Ancient Historians, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, May 5-7, 2006
[with M. Lewis and J. Manning] 'Institutions of empire: comparative perspectives on ancient Chinese and
Mediterranean history', Social Science History Institute et aI., Stanford University, Stanford, CA, May 13-
14, 2005
[with R. Saller] 'The Cambridge economic history of the Greco-Roman world', Lucy Cavendish College,
Cambridge (UK), September 7-9,2002
[with I. Morris] 'Ancient empires II', Social Science History Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, CA,
May 21-22, 2001
[with I. Morris] 'Empire and exploitation in the ancient Mediterranean', Social Science History Institute,
Stanford University, Stanford, CA, May 26-27,2000

'Comparative approaches to ancient slavery' (Second Finley Colloquium on Ancient Social and Economic
History), Darwin College, Cambridge (UK), July 16-17, 1999
'Population size and demographic structure in the ancient world' (First Finley Colloquium on Ancient Social
and Economic History), Darwin College, Cambridge (UK), May 23-24, 1997

Conference sessions (organizer)

'New perspectives in Darwinian history', Annual Meeting of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society,
Freie Universitat, Berlin (Germany), July 23,2004 =
'Ancient economic history for the 21 st century', Annual Meeting of the Association of Ancient Historians,
Ann Arbor, MI, May 8, 2004
'Comparative approaches to the study of ancient and pre-modem states', European Social Science History
Conference, Berlin (Germany), March 24, 2004
[with L Morris] 'Ancient history as a social science', Annual Meeting of the American Philological
Association, San Francisco, CA, January 4, 2004
'Comparative approaches to the economy of the Roman empire', 26th Annual Meeting of the Social Science
History Association, Chicago, IL, November 16,2001

Conference papers

'The Roman emperor in the wider world'

• Plenary lecture, Triennial conference of the Hellenic and Roman Societies, Cambridge (UK), July 25-28,

'Human development and quality oflife in the long run: the case of Greece'
• International conference The Athens Dialogues, Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, Athens
(Greece), November 27, 2010

'Comparing empires across space and time'

• Altera Roma: art and empire from the Aztecs to New Spain, Getty Villa, Malibu, CA, May 1, 2010

[with P. Bang] 'Imperial comparisons: Rome, China, India, and beyond'

• Roman Archaeology Conference 20 I 0, Oxford (UK), March 27, 2010

'Ancient sex ratios and femicide in comparative perspective'

• Sex, death and bones: paleodemography and gender diffi,rentials in the lvlediterranean world, American
School of Classical Studies at Athens, Athens (Greece), March 16, 2010

'Teaching ancient world history as comparative history'

• International conference Teaching the ancient world, NYU Abu Dhabi Institute, Abu Dhabi (UAE),
November 23, 2009
'4,000 years of wages and wellbeing'
• Francqui Foundation conference Long-term quantification in ancient lvlediterranean histmy, Brussels
(Belgium), October 16, 2009
'State formation and belief systems in eastern and western Eurasia'
• Introductory colloquium, Mellon-Sawyer Seminar About turns: conversion in late antique Christianity,
Islam, and beyond, Oxford (UK), October 9, 2009


'Coin quality, coin quantity, and coin value in early China and the Roman world'
• Keynote lecture, International numismatic conference Coinage from Japan to the A1editerranean,
Oriental Society of Australia, University ofSyduey, Syduey (Australia), July 17,2009
, A comparative perspective on the determinants of the scale and productivity of maritime trade in the Roman
• International conference Maritime technology and the ancient economy: ship design and navigation,
American Academy, Rome (Italy), June 16,2009
'Comparing Rome and Han China'
• International conference Tributary empire - comparative histories, Danish Academy, Rome (Italy), April F
<How and why to compare ancient empires'
• Presidential panel Comparative and crossdisciplinOlY histories of the ancient world: promises and
challenges, Annual Meeting of the American Philological Association, Philadelphia, PA, January 9,
'Interaction and peripheries: response'
• International conference on Xiongnu archaeology, Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia), October 17,2008
'The economic consequences of the Antonine Plague: further considerations'
• International conference L 'impatto della ''peste antonina", Rome and Anacapri (Italy), October 10, 2008
(read by Y. Zelener)
'Agriculture, settlement systems, and urban studies: comments on economic performance'
• International conference Too much data? Generalizations and model-building in ancient economic
history on the basis of large CUlpora of documentmy evidence, Institute of Oriental Studies, University
of Vienna, Vienna (Austria), July 17, 2008
'Rome and Han China'
• International seminar Perspectives on empire: local power and global comparisons, Saxo Institute,
Lniversity of Copenhagen, Copenhagen (Denmark), May 14, 2008
'Monogamy and polygyny in Greece, Rome, and world history'
• International conference Cross-cultural approaches to family and household structures in the ancient
world, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University, New York, NY, May 9,2008

'CuItural evolution and the historian'

• Workshop The role of variation in cultural change: updates in cultural evolution, Santa Fe Institute,
Santa Fe, NM, April 16, 2008
'How to make ancient history programs less ancient'
• Panel on Graduate training for the ancient historian: or how best to study ancient history in the 21st
centwy?, Annual Meeting of the American Philological Association, Chicago, IL, January 4,2008
'The ancient economy since Moses Finley'
• Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, San Diego, CA, November 18,2007
'Demography and human development in the Roman world'
• Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literahlre, San Diego, CA, November 17,2007
'Empire and the Great Divergence'
• Ancient and Modern Imperialisms: Workshop II, Stanford Humanities Center, Stanford, CA, November

'Epigraphy and demography: birth, marriage, family, and death'

• Plenary lecture, XIII International Congress of Greek and Latin Epigraphy, Oxford (UK), September 4,
'Roman population size: the logic of the debate'
• International conference Peasants, citizens and soldiers: the social, economic and demographic
background to the Gracchan land reforms, Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, Leiden (1\L), June 29, 2007
'The monetary economies of the Roman and Han empires'
• Annual Meeting of the Association of Ancient Historians, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, May 4,

'Contextualizing disease in the ancient world'

• Keynote address, International conference Disease in global environmental histmy, York University,
Toronto (Canada), March 9,2007
'Rome and China: From the Great Convergence to the First Great Divergence'
• Golden Jubilee Conference Aspects of empire, Classical Association of South Africa, University of Cape
Town, Cape Town (South Africa), July 2-5, 2007
• Berkeley-Stanford colloquium New approaches to ancient imperialism, University of California -
Berkeley, CA, November 18, 2006
• International conference Universal empire and histm'ical sociology, Warsaw (Poland), October 13,2006

'Introduction: wages and costs'

• International conference Approaches to quantifYing the Roman economy, Oxford University, Oxford
(UK), September 28, 2006

[with V, Skirbekk and H,-P, Kohler] 'From large, wealthy families to childless success?'
• Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, Minneapolis, November 2-5, 2006
• European population conference 2006, Liverpool (UK), June 22, 2006
'Estimating population sizes'
• International Studies Association workshop on lvJeasuring and modeling cycles of state formation,
decline and upward sweeps since the Bronze Age, San Diego, CA, March 20, 2006
'Republics between hegemony and empire: How ancient city-states built empires and the USA doesn't
• Conference Imperial republics? Ancient Rome and the USA, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, March
'Towards a comparative study of monarchical succession and dynastic continuity'
• International conference Royal courts and capitals, Sabanci University, Istanbul (Turkey), October 14,
'The monetary systems of the Han and Roman empires'
• Third International Conference on Ancient History, Fudan University, Shanghai (China), Augnst 19,
• International conference institutions of empire: comparative perspectives on ancient Chinese and
Mediterranean history, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, May 13, 2005
• International conference The nature of ancient money, Center for the Ancient Mediterranean, Columbia
University, New York, NY, April 8, 2005
'Military commitments and political bargaining in ancient Greece'
• Workshop On Military organization and political regimes in classical Greece, Yale University, New
Haven, CT, December 5, 2004

'The economics of slavery in the Greco-Roman world: a comparative approach'

• International conference Slave systems, ancient and modern, Centre for the Study of Human Settlement
and Historical Change, National University of Ireland, Galway (Ireland), November 26,2004
'The demography of Roman state formation and culture change in Italy'
• International conference Herrschafi ohne Integration? Rom lind Italien in repllblikanischer Zeit,
Technical University of Dresden (Germany), October 29,2004
'Is Darwinian history possible?'
• Annual Meeting of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, Freie Universitat, Berlin (Germany),
June 23, 2004
[with Brett Rogers] "Actually, no-wheeling is more my specialty:' why Buffy doesn't drive'
• Siayage Conference on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Nashville, TN, May 30,2004
'Coercion, capital, and ancient MeditelTanean states'
• European Social Science History Conference, Berlin (Germany), March 24, 2004
'War-making and state-making in the ancient Mediterranean'
• Workshop on 'Cosmic' empire and the sociology of heterogeneolls power, Department of History,
University of Copenhagen (Denmark), March 22, 2004
'The interdependence of demographic and economic development in the Greco-Roman world'
• Annual Meeting of the American Philological Association, San Francisco, CA, January 4,2004
'Stratification, deprivation and quality of life'
• International conference Poverty in the Roman world, Cambridge (UK), July 24, 2003
'How to be incestuous: the emotional context of sibling marriage in Roman Egypt'
• Annual Meeting ofthe American Philological Association, New Orleans, LA, January 6, 2003
'Creating a metropolis: a comparative demographic perspective'
• International conference Ancient Alexandria: between Greece and Egypt, Center for the Ancient
Mediterranean, Columbia University, New York, NY, October 11,2002
• International conference The Cambridge economic histDlY of the Greco-Roman world, Lucy Cavendish
College, Cambridge (UK), September 7, 2002
'How to be incestuous: towards an explanation of full sibling marriage in Roman Egypt'
• Annual meeting of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ,
June 20, 2002
'Genus for Rome'
• Annual Meeting of the Association of Ancient Historians, Savannah, GA, April 28, 2002
'The scale of mobility'
• Symposium on The corrupting sea, University of Chicago, Chicago, JL, January 19, 2002
'Demographic change and economic development: the case of Roman Egypt after the 'Antonine plague"
• 26th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, Chicago, IL, November 16, 2001
'The demographic background of the Greek expansion'
• International workshop Griechische Archaik zwischen Ost lind West: interne lind externe Impulse,
Innsbruck (Austria), November 9,2001

'The demography of the Spartan helots'

• International workshop Helots and their masters in Laconia and Messenia: the history and sociology of a
system of exploitation, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, March 17, 2001
'Brother-sister and parent-child marriage in premodern societies'
• International conference Human mate choice and prehistoric marital nen'v'orks, International Research
Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto (Japan), November 21,2000
'Money and finance in the Greco-Roman world: views and controversies'
• 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Social Science History Association, Pittsburgh, PA, October 29,2000
'Ancient empires and sexual exploitation: a Darwinian perspective'
• International conference Empire and exploitation in the ancient ]v[editerranean, Stanford University,
Stanford, CA, May 27, 2000 (revised versions Stanford, May 22, 2001, and University of Western
Australia, Perth, August 20, 2002)
'Death and disease in pre-modem Egypt'
• Medecine et demographie dans Ie monde antique: coUoque international d'Arras, Universite d'Artois,
Arras (France), November 27,1998
'The slave population of Roman Italy: speCUlation and constraints'
• International conference Comparative approaches to ancient slavelY, Cambridge (UK), July 17, 1999
• Jourmie d'Etllde: Role des dependants dans l'economie romaine antique, Universite de Lille 3, Lille
(France), November 21, 1998
'Agriculture, health and population size in Egypt under the Romans and in the nineteenth cenhlry'
• lncontro internazionale di studio: Demograjia, sistemi agrari, regimi alimentari nel mondo antico,
Universita degli studi di Parma, Parma (Italy), October 18,1997
'Wben a free labourer is like a slave: Greece and America'
• International conference Kerdos: the economics of gain in the ancient Greek world, Cambridge (UK),
May 30,1997
[with P. Garnsey1'The demography of some ancient cemetery populations near Rome'
• International conference Population size and demographic structure in the ancient world, Cambridge
(UK), May 24, 1997
'The demography of Roman slavery and manumission'
• International conference Population size and demographic structure in the ancient ·world, Cambridge
(UK), May 24, 1997
• Premier colloque international de demographie historiqlle antique, Universite d'Artois, Arras (France),
November 22, 1996
'Grain cultivation in the villa economy of Roman Italy'
• International conference Landuse in the Roman empire, Danish Academy, Rome (Italy), January 26, 1993
'Feldarbeit von Frauen in der antiken Landwirtschaft'
• Meeting of Austrian Ancient Historians, Vienna (Austria), October 26, 1989

Invited lectures

'The quality oflife in classical antiquity'

• American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Athens (Greece), November 23,2010

• McGill University, Montreal (Canada), October 7/8, 2010
'The rise and demise of universal empire: Rome, Europe, and China'
• Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum, Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, CA, March 3, 2010
'The two Great Divergences: Eastern and Western Eurasia from ancient political convergence to modern
economic divergence'
• Onderzoekinstituut voor Geschiedenis en Cultuur, Universiteit Utrecht, Utrecht (NL), October 14, 2009

'The wolf and the dragon: empire in ancient Rome and China'
• Istituto Italiano per la Storia Antica, Rome (Italy), April 23, 2009
• Department of Classics, University of Texas, Austin, TX, March 12, 2009
• Ancient Borderlands Research Focus Group, University of California - Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara,
CA, February 5, 2009
• Settle-Cadenhead Memorial Lecture, Department of History, University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK, November

'No laughing matter either: income, growth and inequality in the Roman economy, or why the Romans
needed a sense of humor'
• Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology Graduate Group, University of California - Berkeley,
Berkeley, CA, October 2, 2008

'Sex and empire, monogamy and polygyny'

• Department of Classics, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, September 19, 2008

'New currents in the study of the ancient economy'

• Department of Economic History, Lund University, Lund (Sweden), May 13, 2008
'Ancient demography and human wellbeing'
• Department of Economics, Lund University, Lund (Sweden), May 12,2008
'Imperial state formation in eastern and western Eurasia 2000 BCE - 2000 CE'
• Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, NM, April 14, 2008
'The relative durability of the Roman and Chinese empires'
• School of Global Studies, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, April 10, 2008
'Continuity and change in human demography: the contribution of ancient history'
• Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies, Stanford University, Stanford CA, January 23,
"Rome and China: from convergence to divergence'
• Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford CA, November 7, 2007
• Department of Classics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, August 23, 2007
• Department of Classics, New York University, New York, :NY, March 27, 2007
'The 'Golden Age' of Roman Italy'
• Departement Klassieke Studies, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven (Belgium), February 13,2006
• Instituut voor Geschiedenis, Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, Leiden (NL), February 10,2006
'The nature of money in ancient Rome and China'
• Department of History, University of Tokyo, Tokyo (Japan), November I, 2005
• Department of History, Beijing University, Beijing (China), August 24, 2005

'Brother-sister and parent-child marriage in world history'

• College of History and Culture, Shaanxi Nonnal University, Xi'an (China), October 25,2002
• Department of History, Fudan University, Shanghai (China), October 22, 2002
'Disease and demography in the ancient world'
• College of History and Culture, Shaanxi Nonnal University, Xi'an (China), October 24,2002
• Department of History, Fudan University, Shanghai (China), October 21, 2002
[with R. Saller] 'Biology or culture? Understanding the ancient family'
• Harper Lecture, University of Chicago Alurrmi Association, San Francisco, CA, May 4, 2002, and Palo
Alto, CA, May 5, 2002 =

'Death on the Tiber'

• Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington (New Zealand), August 5, 2002
• Department of Classics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, April 4, 2002
• Department of History, University of California - Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, January 29, 2002
'How to be incestuous'
• Human Genetics Society of Australasia, Perth (Australia), August 20, 2002
• Community and Identity in Greco-Roman Egypt, Annual colloquium of the Chicago Consortium in
Ancient History, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, October 6, 2001
'Sex and empire: a Darwinian view'
• Ancient Societies Workshop, Department of Classics, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, April 24, 2001
'Continuity and change in Mediterranean demography from antiquity to the modem period'
• Department of Demography, University of California - Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, March 19, 2003
• Demography Workshop, Population Research Center, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, April 19, 2001
'''The most excellent thing of all": brother-sister and parent-child marriage in the ancient world'
• Stanford Archaeology Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, April 17,2003
• Wichita State University, Wichita, KS, October 14, 2002
• Classical Society of Otago, Dunedin (New Zealand), August 8, 2002
• University of Canterbury, Christchurch (New Zealand), August 7, 2002
• Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington (New Zealand), August 5, 2002
• University of Auckland, Auckland (New Zealand), August 2, 2002
• Department of Classics, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL, September 20, 2001
• Departments of History, Classics, and Sociology, and Initiative in Population Research, Ohio State
University, Columbus, OH, April 10, 2001
'Modelling Roman slavery'
• Ancient Societies Workshop: Ancient slavery, Stanford Humanities Center, Stanford University, Stanford,
CA, May 4, 2000
'Demography and statistics in ancient history'
• Department of Classics, University of Nottingham, Nottingham (UK), March 2,1999
'Death on the Tiber, death on the Nile: disease and demography in the Roman world'
• Department of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, March 23, 2000
• Department of Classics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, March 21,2000
• Department of History, Columbia University, New York, NY, March 20, 2000
• Departments of Classics and History, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, November 16, 1998
'Komparative und interdisziplinare Ansatze in der Alten Geschichte'
• Habilitationskolloquium Karl-Franzens-Universitat Graz, Graz (Austria), April 30, 1998


'Future, what future? Evidence and models, fashions and choice'

• Ancient Societies Workshop: The ancient economy, Stanford Humanities Center, Stanford University,
Stanford, CA, November 11, 1999
• Dutch National Seminar in Ancient History, De toekomst van de antieke economie - The jitture of the
ancient economy, Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, Leiden (NL), September 22, 1997
'Brother-sister and parent-child marriage in Roman Egypt and Zoroastrian Iran'
• Bloomsbury Summer School, Department of History, University College London, London (UK), August
S, 1999
• Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, Cambridge (UK), February 3, 1997
'Incest in biology and history'
• PCT Society, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (UK), December S, 1996
'Sexualitat, Ehe und Sklaverei: zu einem zentralen Aspekt personlicher Unfreiheit'
• Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur in Mainz, Mayence (Gennany), Kommission fur
Geschichte des Altertums, October 9, 1996
'Darwinian history, or History as sex'
• Humanities and Social Sciences Group, Darwin College, Cambridge (UK), June 11, 1996
'Papyri, Magi, and genes: an interdisciplinary view of brother-sister and parent-child marriage in the ancient
• Department of History, University of Manchester, Manchester (UK), March 6,1996
• Centre for Research in East Roman Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry (UK), March 4, 1996
• Department of History, York University, Toronto (Canada), November 29,1995
• Department of Classical Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, October 5,1995
• Departments of Classics and History, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, September 21, 1995
'Rural labour and the stereotype of women's life in the Graeco-Roman world'
• Department of History, University ofOdense (Denmark), October 6,1994
• Department of History, University of Copenhagen (Denmark), October 4, 1994
'Die wirtschaftlichen Funktionen von Sklavinnen'
• lnstitut fur Alte Geschichte, Universitat Salzburg (Austria), June 6, 1994
'Die Stellung der Frau in der antiken Landwirtschaft'
• Department of History, University ofWroclaw (Poland), December S, 1991

Teaching experience

Stanford University
'Ancient war' (graduate seminar; with I. Morris): Winter Quarter 2010
'Inscribed lives: Roman epigraphy' (graduate seminar; with G. Parker): Winter Quarter 2009
'The first great divergence: late antique Europe and China' (graduate seminar; with I. Morris): Autumn
Quarter 2007
'The remaking of Classics' (graduate seminar; with G. Ceserani): Winter Quarter 2007
'Ancient numismatics' (graduate proseminar): Winter Quarter 2005, Spring Quarter 2010
'State formation' (graduate seminar; with I. Morris): Autumn and Winter Quarters 2003/04
'Roman empire and community' (graduate seminar): Winter Quarter 2003

'Ancient slavery' (graduate seminar): Spring Quarter 2000

'History and historiography' (graduate course): Autumn Quarter 1999
'The Romans' (advanced undergraduate course): Winter Quarter 2005,2007, Spring Quarters 2009, 2010
'Roman history II: the empire' (advanced undergraduate course): Spring Quarter 2003,2004
'Roman history I: the republic' (advanced undergraduate course): Winter Quarter 2000,2003,2004
'History of Greece' (advanced undergraduate course): Autumn Quarter 1999
'Rome, Europe, and China: convergence and divergence' (sophomore dialogue): Winter Quarter 2007
'Ancient empires II' (introductory freshman course): Spring Quarter 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009
'Ancient and modem slavery' (freshman seminar): Spring Quarter 2005, 2007

New York University Abll Dhabi

'Before globalization: understanding premodern world history' (introductory undergraduate course): Spring
Semester 2011

Collimbia University
'The ancient state: theories, models and comparisons for historians' (graduate seminar): Autumn Semester

Kommission fiir Alte Geschich/e lind Epigraphik des Dell/schen Archiiologischen Ins/iIIlIS, Mlinich,
'Fachwissenschaftlicher Kurs 2008: Antike Demographie': October 23-25,2008

University of Chicligo
'Roman state and society' (graduate seminar; with C. Grey): Autumn Quarter 2002
'Greek society and economy' (graduate seminar; with J. Hall): Autumn and Winter Quarters 2001/02
'The Roman household: family, gender and slavery' (graduate seminar; with R. Saller): Autumn and Winter
Quarters 2000/0 1
'Ancient slavery' (mixed undergraduate/graduate course): Spring Quarter 2002
'Roman historiography' (mixed undergraduate/graduate course): Spring Quarter 2001
'Life and death in the ancient world' (mixed undergraduate/graduate course): Winter Quarter 2001
'Ancient empires and imperialism' (advanced undergraduate course): Spring Quarter 2002
'Ancient Mediterranean History I' (introductory undergraduate course): Autumn Quarter 2002
'History of Western Civilization I' (introductory undergraduate course): Autumn Quarter 2000, 2001

University ofInnsbrllck, Innsbrllck, Allslria

'The ancient economy: problems and models' (discussion class for advanced undergraduates and graduates):
Summer Semester 1999
'Living and dying in the ancient world' (lecture course for undergraduates and graduates): Summer Semester
'Ancient slavery' (lecture course for undergraduates and graduates): Summer Semester 1999

Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France

'New perspectives in Roman demography' (seminar): May/June 1998

University oJGraz, Graz, Ails/ria

'Sex and hunger, disease and death: the foundations of life III the ancient world' (lecture course for
undergraduates and graduates): Summer Semester 1998

University oj Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Panel organizer for 'Dikos: families in ancient Greece' (graduate seminar): Michaelmas Term 1998
'The ancient economy twenty-five years after The ancient economy' (graduate seminar; with H. Parkins):
Lent Term 1998
Supervisions on Roman history (for 2nd and 3rd year undergraduates): Lent and Easter Terms 1998
Supervisions on 'The city of Athens' (for 3rd year undergraduates): Easter Term 1997
'Slavery' (lecture course for 2nd year undergraduates; with P. Cartledge): Michaelmas Term 1998
Participation in lecture course 'The transformation of the Roman world, 284-476' (with P. Garnsey et af.;
lecture course for 2nd year undergraduates; with P. Garnsey et al.): Michaelmas Term 1997, 1998
'The ancient economy' (lecture course for 2nd year undergraduates): Easter Term 1996 (with P. Garnsey),
Lent Telm 1997 (with H. Parkins), Lent and Easter Terms 1998 (with R. Duncan-Jones and H. Parkins)
'Ancient history: problems and methods' (lecture/discussion course for 1st and 2nd year undergraduates;
with K. Hopkins): Lent Term 1997,1998,1999
Examiner, Preliminary Examination for the Classical Tripos (for 1st year undergraduates): 1997/98

University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Seminar on Athenian ostracism (for graduates; with P. Siewert): Summer Semester 1992, 1993
Lecture course on the history of women in antiquity (for undergraduates; with E. Specht et al.): Winter
Semester 1991/92,1993/94

Affiliated faculty (Stanford University)

Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality

Social Science History Program
Urban Studies Program

Academic administrative service (Stanford University)

2009-10 Dean's Advisory Committee, School of Humanities and Sciences

2008-10 Chair, Department of Classics
2008-10 Appointments and Promotions Committee, Humanities and Arts Cluster
2006- Executive Committee, Urban Studies Program
2006-7 Appointments and Promotions Committee, School of Humanities and Sciences (substitute)

2004-7 Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Classics

2003-7 Ancient History Track Advisor, Department of Classics
2003-6 Faculty Advisory Board, Social Science History Institute

Professional service

2008- Co-editor of the monograph series Oxford Studies in Early Empires, Oxford University Press
2007- Advisory Board, Tijdschrifl voor Geschiedenis (Assen, The Netherlands)
2005-9 Co-coordinator, Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics
1997- Associate of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (Cambridge, UK)
1993-2001 Contributor to the annual bibliographical supplement of research on slavery in Slavery and
Abolition (London, UK)
1993-9 Member of the research group on ancient slavery of the Academy of Sciences and Literature
in Mainz, Germany
I99{}-3 Member of the editorial staff of Tyche (Vienna, Austria)

Evaluation of book manuscripts for Brill; Cambridge University Press; MIT Press; Oxford University Press;
Princeton University Press; Routledge; Rowman & Littlefield; Sloan Publishing; Storm King Publishing;
University of California Press; University of Chicago Press; University of Missouri Press; University of
North Carolina Press
Evaluation of article manuscripts for American Anthropologist; American Political Science Review; Ancient
History Bulletin; Behavioral and Brain Sciences; Classical Bulletin; Classical Philology; Comparative
Studies in Society and Histmy; Current Anthropology; Economic History Review; Greek, Roman, and
Byzantine Studies; Historia; Historical Methods; Journal of Economic History; Journal of Hellenic Studies;
Journal of Interdisciplinary History; Journal oj' Population Research; Journal of Roman Archaeology;
Journal of Roman Studies; Journal oj'Social Archaeology; Mouseion; Phoenix; Structure and Dynamics;
Evaluation of appointment and promotion cases for Iowa State University; King's College London;
Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of Bristol; University of California - Berkeley;
University of Michigan; University of New Hampshire; University of Southern California; Vanderbilt
University; University of Wisconsin - Madison
Nominations and evaluation of fellowship and grant applications for the Center for Advanced Study in the
Behavioral Sciences, the Estonian Science Foundation, the Fonds zur Forderung der wissenschaftlichen
Forschung, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Andrew W, Mellon Foundation, the
National Endowment for the Humanities, the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek,
the Stanford Humanities Center, and for institutions that requested confidentiality
Expert witness, Supreme Court of British Columbia


American Numismatic Society; Association of Ancient Historians; Economic History Association;

Economic History Society; Human Behavior and Evolution Society; Social Science History Association;
Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies; Whedon Studies Association (charter associate); World
History Association
State of California
County of 9n ,
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A Introduction
I Objectives and Contents
2 Conceptualization
2.1 Polygamy and Monogamy
2.2 Ecologically and Socially Imposed Monogamy
2.3 Configurations of Polygamous and Monogamous Practice
B Historical Outline
3 Global Developmental Patterns of Polygamy and Monogamy
3.1 Evolutionary Background
3.2 Global Incidence and Distribution of Polygamy and Monogamy
4 Historical Development of Monogamy Relative to Polygamy
4.1 General Background
4.2 Greek and Roman Monogamy
4.3 Survival and Expansion of Greek and Roman Monogamy
C Causes and Consequences of Monogamy
5 Theories of Causation
5.1 Theories of Polygamy
5.2 Female Choice
5.3 Male Choice
5.4 Summary
6 Macrosocial Consequences of Monogamy
D Origin and Character of Western Monogamy
7 Emergence and Correlates of Ancient Greek and Roman Monogamy
8 Religious Dimension of West em Monogamy
8.1 Jewish Tradition
8.2 New Testament Tradition
8.3 Later Christian Tradition
8.4 Concluding Assessment


1 Objectives and Contents

This report focuses on three issues: the origins and development of the institution
of socially imposed universal monogamy and its displacement of polygynous polygamy
in world history; the reasons for the success of socially imposed tmiversal monogamy and
its consequences; and the extent to which socially imposed universal monogamy, in the
western tradition, can be said to be based on religious doctrine.
I address these issues by in four steps. Section 2 of Part A establishes the
appropriate terminology. Part B provides a global historical outline of the development of
polygamous and monogamous practices (Sections 3 and 4). Part C is devoted to theories

Scheidel p. I
of causation and empirical tests of their propositions (Sections 5 and 6). Part D deals
more specifically with the circumstances of the emergence and the character of the
western tradition of monogamy and its relationship to religious beliefs (Sections 7 and 8).

2 Terminology

2.1 Polygamy and Monogamy

It is important to clarify the terms used in this report. We must distinguish

between "genetic monogamy," which refers to mutually exclusive reproductive mating
arrangements between two partners, and "social monogamy," in which mutually
exclusive pair-bonding need not be matched by reproductive outcomes. In this report, the
term "monogamy" is applied to a social relationship, that is, marriage or quasi-marital
cohabitation, without regard to actual practices of sexual intercourse.
"Polygamy" may involve one male and multiple female partners ("polygyny") or
one female and multiple male partners ("polyandry"). Although polyandry has
occasionally been documented, it is rare in the historical and anthropological record and
will not be considered here (e.g., Levine 1988; Durham 1991: 42-102).
There is no clear semantic divide between polygynous "polygamy" that entails
marital or quasi-marital relationships and forms of "polygyny" that involve more casual
relationships between a married man and women other than his lawful wife. For the
purpose of this report, I apply the term "polygamy" (defined here solely as polygynous
polygamy, as explained above) only to official marital relationships between one husband
and multiple wives and to analogous relationships that closely mimic marital unions, such
as cohabitation with concubines. This usage accounts for the fact that it is difficult to
separate unions with multiple wives of equal status from those with one principal wife
plus additional wives of lesser status or those with one wife and co-resident concubines. I
apply the term "casual polygyny" to relationships that do not constitute or closely mimic
marital relationships, such as informal sexual relationships between a man and female
subordinates (servants etc) that were not socially recognized as stable commitments.

2.2 Ecologically and Socially Imposed Monogamy

The academic literature recognizes a distinction between "Ecologically Imposed

Monogamy" (ElM) and "Socially Imposed Monogamy" (SIM) (Alexander et al. 1979:
418-20). ElM occurs in an environment in which polygamy is admissible in principle but
effectively constrained by ecological factors that limit the resources which enable men to
gain access to and support or control multiple wives. In this context, only resource-rich
men will be able to engage in polygamous practices. It is possible for a society in which
only a very small proportion of all men practice polygamy to be classified as
"polygamous" as long as access to resources is the only effective constraint on
polygamous practice.
By contrast, SIM entails the normative prohibition of polygamous relationships
regardless of resources. In this context, even resource-rich or otherwise powerful and
high-status men are prevented from engaging in polygamous practices. In my own work,

Scheidel p. 2
I have proposed the term "Socially Imposed Universal Monogamy" (SlUM) in order to
clarify the nature of this condition (Scheidel 2009a: 282). It serves to emphasize that no-
one, not even state rulers, are formally exempt from this rule. l This is the prescriptive
norm that generally prevails in modem western societies.

2.3 Configurations of Polygamous and Monogamous Practice

It is important to realize that these superficially neat concepts fail to capture the
complexity of real-world differentiation among marriage and mating practices, especially
in the global historical long term. In earlier work I have proposed a schematic trichotomy =
consisting of three distinct configurations (Scheidel 2009: 282). They are ideal types that
facilitate categorization of practices encountered in a wide variety of environments.

The three types are:

(1) ElM, where polygamy is considered legitimate and practiced according to
men's means. This situation was common in the majority of historical societies (see
Section 3).
(2) SIM or SlUM that co-exists with habitual "casual polygyny" (as described in
Section 2.1). In these cases husbands are prescriptively limited to marital relationships
with a single wife but their casual sexual and potentially or effectively reproductive
relationships with other women are not subject to legal sanction or their wives' consent.
Such relationships include relationships with female subordinates (slaves, domestic
servants) or with mistresses residing outside the marital household. This situation was
common in ancient and medieval societies that imposed SlUM (see Section 3).
(3) SlUM that co-exists with a high incidence of effective monogyny, where
exclusive relationships between one husband and one wife are a societal ideal and extra-
marital relationships do not normally go beyond casual affairs or encounters with
prostitutes. This situation is common in contemporary western societies.
The heuristic distinction between Types (2) and (3), whilst by no means clear-cut,
is important for understanding the difference between pre-modern and contemporary
forms of SlUM (see Section 7).


3 Global Developmental Patterns of Polygamy and Monogamy

3.1 Evolutionary Background

Physiological evidence suggests that humans are predominantly monogamous and

only mildly polygamous in both "genetic" and "social" terms. A moderate degree of
polygamy may be extrapolated from two observations. One is that in humans, adult males
are on average bigger (i.e., taller as well as heavier) than females. Male-biased sexual
dimorphism is a correlate of polygyny: the more polygynous a species is, the bigger

I While SIM might be limited to certain elements of society, the tenn SlUM clarifies that monogamy was a

prescriptive norm without exceptions.

Scheidel p.3
males are in relation to females. Species with female harems consequently display
extreme levels of dimorphism: male sea lions for example can be three times as heavy as
females. The human dimorphism index of 1.15 (based on weight and height) indicates
that humans are only mildly polygynous. This basic ratio has been traced back as far as
Australopithecus afarensis more than 3 million years ago (Reno et a1. 2003). The other
reason is that whereas "Mitochondrial Eve" - our matrilineal most recent common
ancestor -lived about 200,000 years ago, "Y -chromosomal Adam" - our patrilineal most
recent common ancestor - is considerably less distant, having lived only 90,000-60,000
years ago. This is a function of the generally well-documented fact that male reproductive
success tends to be more variable than for females, which is consistent with some degree
of polygyny.

3.2 Global Incidence and Distribution of Polygamy and Monogamy

This notion of moderate polygamy is supported by the global anthropological

record. We observe that most documented societies condoned polygamy but also that
most actual bonding and mating arrangements were monogamous. Of 1,154 societies
described in the Human Relations Area Files (a large global database of anthropological
information), 93% recognize some degree of socially sanctioned polygyny, and in 70% of
all cases polygyny is the preferred choice (which does not mean that it is dominant in
quantitative terms) (Clark 1998: 1047). The "Ethnographic Atlas Codebook" classifies
186 of 1,195 societies for which data are available as monogamous, or 15.6% (Gray
1998: 89-90).
Precision is difficult to attain due to the frequent failure to distinguish between
rare, de facto absent, and formally banned social polygamy, or between polygamy as a
form of formal marriage and other forms of cohabitation. This casts doubt on the finding
that among 862 societies surveyed in George Peter Murdock's Ethnographic Atlas,
"monogamy" is observed in 16% of all cases (n=134).2 In a more recent study of 348
better-known societies, 20% (n=71) are defined as monogamous whereas another 20%
displayed limited polygamy and fully 60% more frequent polygamy (Burton et a1. 1996:
89). These numbers are problematic because the underlying coding scheme assigns each
society to a single category. This raises the possibility that some or perhaps even many of
these putatively "monogamous" cultures allowed for a measure of polygamy, most
notably among rulers or the ruling class, or tolerated some form of concurrent
concubinage. 3 This problem is well illustrated by the "Western North American Indian
Data Set." In each of its 172 societies, monogamy is found to be the dominant form of
marriage, accounting for 60+% of all unions (Jorgensen 1980; 1999: 235-266). At the
same time, in only 28 cases, or 16%, is polygamy reported to be absent or very rare: once
again, the failure to distinguish between "very rare" and "no polygamy" is critical
(Jorgensen 1980: S0291; BorgerhoffMulder et a1. 2006: 61).

2 Murdock 1967: 62-125. Murdock 1981 surveys the 563 best-known of 1,264 societies. In this sample,
independent monogamous families account for 11.7% of the total (n=66) (133 table 4).
, This suspicion is borne out by the fact that ancient Egyptians and Babylonians are classified as
"monogamous," regardless of well-documented resource polygyny amongst their rulers: Murdock 1967:
82, 86. In the same vein, Manchu and northern Chinese are likewise counted as "monogamous" (86).

Scheidel p.4
The standard anthropological surveys are a blunt instrument for establishing the
incidence of SIUM. It is highly likely that many of the societies that are classified as
"monogamous" merely exhibited high levels of ElM, to the extent that monogamous
practices were effectively pervasive, yet without being the result of prescriptive norms.
For all their deficiencies, these surveys convey the impression that largely monogamous
systems were not very common and that SlUM was even rarer in world history.
Monogamy and polygamy are non-randomly distributed in both spatial and
developmental terms. 4 One study draws on data from 351 societies to divide the world
into nine macro-regions defined by systematic variation in social structure. Most of
Eurasia and North Africa consist of two regions labeled "North Eurasia & Circumpolar"
and "Middle Old World.,,5 These major cultural entities broadly correspond to
fundamental phylogenetic divisions (Jones 2003: 506). The North Eurasian and
Circumpolar region is the older of the two and associated with moderately patricentric
kinship systems. The Middle Old World region was a later development probably linked
to the rise of pastoralism and later farming, and defined by strong patricentrism and the
political and military dominance of patrilineal groups.
Cross-culturally, matricentrism is strongly correlated with monogamy and
patricentrism with polygyny (Burton et a1. 1996: 93-94, cf. 109 fig.13). Thus, the earliest
evidence of SIUM - in ancient Greece and Rome (see Sections 4.2 and 7) - hails from
the fault-line between these two Afroeurasian macro-regions and more generally from a
more or less polygynous environment. This suggests that the emergence of SIUM in these
societies represented a break from past practice and not merely an elaboration of
regionally common norms.

4 Historical Development of Monogamy Relative to Polygamy

4.1 General Background

Moderate and ecologically mediated polygamy appears to have dominated for

millions of years. Francois Nielsen's analysis of Murdock's data shows that a weak
developmental trend away from polygamy was reversed in advanced horticultural
societies (where women's labor was and still is generally critical in generating resources)
but subsequently resumed in agrarian systems: "monogamy" is attested for 10.5% of the
surveyed hunter-gatherer cultures (n= 172), 24.8% of simple horticultural systems
(n=157), 6.5% of advanced horticultural systems (n=261), and 41.5% of agrarian
societies (n=135), as well as for 12.1 % of fishing cultures (n=58) and 21.6% of herders
(n=74).6 This is consistent with the observation that in the Standard Cross-Cultural
Sample (n=186), "46% of larger states have socially imposed monogamy, compared to
26% of smaller states, 10% of chiefdoms, and 11 % of bands and tribes" (Sanderson 200 I,
332). It must be noted the same qualifications apply as before: many of the putatively

, For developmental differentiation, see below, Section 4.1.

5 Burton et al. 1996: 100-104, with Jones 2003: 509·510. The "Middle Old World" encompasses North
Africa, the south Balkans, and most of Asia except for Siberia and South-East Asia, with most of Europe
and Siberia defined as "North Eurasia & Circumpolar."
6 Nielsen 2004: 306 table 10; 309. The overall incidence is 17.9% (n=857).

Scheidel p. 5
monogamous socIetIes may merely have been characterized by high levels of ElM
instead of being governed by formal monogamous norms.
While agrarianism curtailed polygamy, in many cases it also helped to intensify
reproductive inequality within polygynous systems. 7 Laura Betzig has documented a
close relationship between stratification, despotism, and polygamy in early agrarian
states. s The pertinent evidence is massive: it extends across thousands of years of
Eurasian, African, and American history. Imperial state formation was particularly
conducive to the growth of harems for rulers and often the ruling elites more generally,
for example in Pharaonic Egypt, the pre-Islamic and Islamic Middle East, India, China,
South-East Asia, among the Aztecs and Inka, and in many African polities up to the fairly
recent past (Scheidel 2009b, expanding on Betzig's work). Polygamy was normally much
more limited in sub-elite circles, reflected in references to bigamy in various
Mesopotamian cultures and ambiguous evidence for Pharaonic Egypt but better
documentation from Zoroastrian Iran, to name just a few examples. At the same time,
formal barriers to non-marital polygynous relations between men and their female slaves
were normally lacking.

4.2 Greek and Roman Monogamy

The societies of ancient Greece and Rome provide the earliest unequivocal
evidence of SIUM. 9 Ancient Greece experienced sharp political and social discontinuities
during a period of state collapse around 1200 BCE. Marital practices during the period
prior to this collapse are unknown. A system of small autonomous city-states slowly
emerged from the ensuing "Dark Age" (from 1000 BeE onward). The earliest texts from
the post-collapse period are the Homeric epics (Iliad and Odyssey), given their final form
around 700 BCE but referring back to a semi-mythical earlier period. These epics
repeatedly refer to polygamous practices among the Greek leadership of this earlier,
"heroic" age. to It is unknown whether or to what extent these descriptions correspond to
historical realities. Even so, these texts reveal a Greek perception that SlUM had not
always been part of their own culture.
Historical evidence that refers to contemporary conditions in the Greek world
survives from the seventh century BCE onward and conveys the impression that SIUM
was by then firmly established as a prescriptive norm and considered the only legitimate
marriage system. Polygamy was regarded as a "barbarian" custom or a mark of tyranny.
Thus, with reference to the foreign Thracians, the Athenian playwright Euripides
declared in the 420s BCE that "we count it shame that over two wives one man holds

7 Nielsen's claim (2004: 309-310) that maximum harem size was smaller in agrarian than in advanced
horticultural polygamous societies is invalidated by the exclusion !Tom his sample of many of the most
egregious instances of harem polygyny in agrarian empires (cf. the dataset in Betzig 1986: 107-133).
8 Betzig 1986 and numerous subsequent studies, especially Betzig 1992a, 1992b, 1993, 1995,2005.
9 Erdmann 1934: 87-103 is the most substantial discussion of Greek monogamy and polygynous practices.
For Rome, see especially Friedl 1996: 25-39, 214-228, 380-394. The most important studies by non-
historians are MacDonald 1990: 204-227; Betzig 1992a, b.
iO Gottschall 2008; Scheidel 2009b: 286-288.

Scheidel p. 6
wedlock's reins."ll By implication, SlUM was therefore considered a "Greek" custom
and associated with notions of freedom.
SIUM co-existed with concubinage practiced by some married men: as far as we
can tell, cohabitation with concubines was deemed socially unacceptable for married
men. Effectively polygamous households were therefore 'beyond the pale' (Scheidel
2009b: 289-294). At the same time, married men's sexual congress with their own slave
women or with prostitutes was unencumbered by social and legal sanction (see below,
Section 7).
Greek SIUM appears to have been limited to Greek city-states proper: several
probable instances of polygamy among the rulers of Macedonia, a nearby Greek-
influenced region, and among later Macedonian rulers of colonial empires indicate that
elite polygamy persisted even in cultures that were in close contact with Greek
civilization (fifth to first centuries BCE; Ogden 1999). This, together with the epic
tradition concerning earlier polygamous practices, underscores the unusual character of
Greek SlUM.
There is no sign of early polygamous traditions in ancient Rome. Given the lack
of usable evidence from the early stages of Roman state formation and of an epic
tradition comparable to the Homeric texts, we cannot tell if this absence of evidence
should be interpreted as evidence of absence. In the historically documented period (from
about the third century BCE onward), SIUM prevailed in Roman society. The question
whether concubinage was feasible concurrently with marriage has been debated in
modem scholarship and the evidence is inconclusive. It was not until the sixth century
CE that an imperial decree claimed that "ancient law" prohibited husbands from keeping
wives and concubines at the same time. l2 We do not know how "ancient" this norm was.
As in ancient Greece, sexual relations of Roman married men with their own slave
women were not formally unlawful, including relationships that resulted in offspring (see
below, Section 7).
The causes for the emergence of Greek and Roman monogamy are empirically
unknown because they are not directly documented in ancient sources. Possible causes
are discussed in Section 7. The degree to which Greek and Roman SlUM were
exceptional cannot be ascertained with certainty. Numerous contemporaneous
surrounding societies are known to have condoned polygamous practices: in the Greek
period, the Achaemenid Persian Empire to the east of Greece, and Macedonia and Thrace
north of Greece; and in the Roman period, Celts and Germans in continental Europe, the
Numidians in North Africa, and the Parthians in Iran (Friedl 1996: 29). While we cannot
rule out the existence of contemporaneous societies other than the Greeks and Romans
that practiced SIUM, no such cases are unequivocally attested. This strongly suggests that
SIUM was a rare and possibly unique Greek and Roman custom at the time.

4.3 Survival and Expansion of Greek and Roman Monogamy

With the expansion of the Roman Empire across parts of Europe, the Middle East
and North Africa, SIUM came to be common practice, although polygamy survived in

11 Euripides, "Andromache" 215, quoted in Scheidel 2009b, 289. For polygamous tyrants, see Scheidel
2009b, 318 n.262.
12 Scheide12009b: 296, referring to the "Justinianic Code"

Scheidel p. 7
Roman territories in the Middle East. This nonn was embraced by the Christian Church
as it expanded across the Roman Empire from the first to fifth centuries CE (see below,
Section 8). The collapse of the western half of the Roman Empire in the tifth century CE
and the dramatic reduction of its remaining eastern half (also known as the Byzantine
Empire) in the seventh century CE coincided with an expansion of polygamous soCieties.
The Arab conquests in the Middle East, North Africa and Spain in the seventh and eighth
centuries CE spread a belief system (Islam) that accepted polygamy ("Qu'ran" 4.3). Post-
Roman Gennanic practices are less well documented but polygamy and parallel
concubinage did occur; only one of the several Germanic Roman-style law codes
outlawed polygamy (Brundage 1987: 128-133). Overall, Gennanic arrangements do not
appear to have differed greatly from the polygamous dealings recorded in the early
medieval Irish tradition (Bitel 2002: 180-1, 184; cf. Ross 1985).
In the centuries following the failure of the Roman Empire, the ideal of SlUM
was predominantly maintained by the Christian Church. During the Middle Ages, SlUM
as a nonnative concept spread as a by-product of Christianization, a development that
coincided with the Christian Church's opposition to divorce and elite concubinage (see
also below, Section 8).13 Ashkenazi Jewry followed this general trend, culminating in
Gershom ben Judah's ban of polygamy even if it had an existing wife's consent, around
1030 in Gennany.14 Polygamous practices remained a fringe phenomenon in medieval
Europe. 15 In the sixteenth century, the Protestant Refonnation prompted a short-lived
revival of pro-polygamy rhetoric but this did not have lasting consequences: an abortive
episode of Anabaptist polygamy in Munster in 1535/6 demonstrated above all the failure
of attempts to revive polygamy. The historicity of a decree in Nurnberg in 1650 that
purportedly pennitted polygamy to alleviate the scarcity of marriageable men after the
Thirty Years War is in doubt. Pronatalist proposals to legalize polygamy in eighteenth-
century France went nowhere (Blum 1998). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints revived polygamy in the United States in the 1830s. 16
In the wake of European overseas colonization, diffusion via European emigration
and imitation by non-European societies gradually elevated SlUM to a globally dominant
principle. The spread of SlUM outside Europe was slow and has yet to be systematically
tracked and analyzed by academic scholarship. In their overseas colonies, European
powers outlawed polygamy, although non-recognition and discouragement of polygamy
rarely led to actual enforcement. In sub-Saharan Africa, head taxes that penalized
polygamous arrangements were often imposed by colonial governments but primarily
encouraged concealment (Zeitzen 2008: 146). Christian missionaries likewise opposed
polygamy. Overall, the extent to which the incidence of polygamy declined in sub-
Saharan Africa is regarded as a function of the degree of penetration of indigenous
societies by wage labor, urbanization, education, and Christianization. In other regions,

E.g., Goody 1983; Brundage 1987; MacDonald 1995: 7-18; and cf. also Herlihy 1995: 579-580.
14"Responsa Asheri" 41.2. Friedman 1982 discusses evidence for the survival of Jewish bigamy in
medieval Egypt.
15 This is strictly a statement about polygynous polygamy as a marital or quasi-marital practice: polygynous
matings were common in medieval elite groups: see Betzig 1995 and below, Section 7.
16 Anabaptists: Caimcross 1974: I-53; and cf. 74-89 on the Christian monogamy-polygamy debate
engendered by the Thirty Years War. Mormons: e.g., Kern 1981: 135-204; Foster 1984: 123-225; Van
Wagoner 1989. The LDS church leadership renounced plural marriage in 1890 and more forcefully in

Scheidel p. 8
such as the Americas or Asia, polygamy was never as widespread as in sub-Saharan
Africa. In many of these regions, the same forces - European colonial rule and Christian
mission - were present and the same socio-economic processes occurred to varying
degrees, with analogous consequences for the incidence of polygamous practices.
To give only a few examples, in Japan, legislation against polygyny commenced
in 1880; polygamy was banned in Thailand in 1935, in China in 1936 and 1953, for
Hindus in India in 1955, and in Nepal in 1963 (Price 1999: 14). The least secularized
Islamic countries of the Middle East and more generally sub-Saharan Africa have been
the main exceptions to this global trend. 17 However, despite the Qu'ran's tolerance of up
to four wives, countries such as Turkey (1926) and Tunisia (1956) have formally F
outlawed polygamy and others have imposed judicial restrictions on this practice, such as
the requirement that an existing wife or a court approve polygamous unions (Price 1999:
15). In what has been termed the "polygyny belt" from Senegal in the west to Tanzania in
the east, 20-30% of married men tend to be in polygynous unions (Jacoby 1995: 939, and
more generally Lesthaeghe et aI. 1989).
There is direct continuity between the Greek and Roman practice of SlUM that
was common in the mature Roman Empire (third century BCE to fifth century CE),
enshrined in Roman Law, and adopted by Christianity (see Section 6) and the subsequent
western tradition of SlUM, in medieval and modem Europe, in European overseas
colonies, and eventually in regions under European influence. Because of this it is
appropriate to define the development of SlUM in post-ancient world history as the
maintenance and expansion of Greek and Roman practice. No other documented cultural
traditions in other parts of the world exhibit a comparable continuity of SlUM in ideal
and practice.


5 Theories of Causation

The emergence and expansion of SlUM raises fundamental questions of causation

and consequences. Two distinct but related issues are at stake: the causes of variation in
the incidence of polygamy and monogamy, and the motivation for the imposition of
SlUM regardless of status and resources. In this section I address these issues from a
general theoretical perspective. In Section 7 I focus more specifically on the origins of
the western tradition of SlUM.

5.1 Theories of Polygamy

Multiple theoretical explanations of polygamous institutions have been proposed

in modem scholarship. 18 However, it is important to realize that polygamy is not a single
institution that is susceptible to generalizing interpretations. Polygamous arrangements

17 Bailey and Kaufman 2010: 7-68 list and discuss countries where polygamy is currently legal.
18 Zeitzen 2008: 41-65,125-144 provides the most recent survey of different approaches. For the sake of
limiting the length of my bibliography, I restrict myself to referring to her survey for the remainder of this

Scheidel p. 9
occurred in a wide variety of cultural and ecological contexts and played out in very
different ways depending on specific configurations of circumstances. As Miriam Zeitzen
notes, most modern theories focus on one of three issues: power, politics, and prestige;
production and reproduction; and gender relations (Zeitzen 2008: 47).
Theories of the first category claim that polygamy serves to create political
alliances or that it functions as a marker of power (including biological seniority) and/or
prestige (Zeitzen 2008: 47-56). According to these theories, polygamy has a display
function, advertising and reinforcing power and resource inequality among men.
Theories of the second category focus on polygamy's association to the sexual
division of labor (Zeitzen 2008: 56-65). This perspective is particularly important for r,
societies in which the supply of labor rather than the supply of land is the critical
constraint on economic success. Polygamy in sub-Saharan Africa is thus commonly
associated with the benefits men derive from female labor. In practice, wealth/power and
polygamy are mutually interdependent: while male wealth/power facilitates polygamy,
polygamy in turn augments male wealth/power though female labor inputs. By the same
token, polygamy increases male reproductive success, and reproductive success may
augment male wealth/power. In all these scenarios, as before, polygamy serves as a
marker and enabler of inequality among men.
Theories of the third category focus on gender relationships that are inherent in
polygamy (Zeitzen 2008: 125-144). Polygynous polygamy, as defined in Section 2.1,
inevitably entails inequality between men and women, with one man claiming multiple
female partners. Concurrently, the sequence in which women enter polygamous
arrangements and their ages often create status differences that establish inequality
among women in polygamous unions.
All these theories tend to focus on male motivations for entering polygamous
arrangements and their consequences in terms of fostering inequality. However, it is
important to account for female choice (which I use as an umbrella term covering choices
by females entering unions and those made by relatives on their behalt) as well as male
choice in order to understand not only the causes and consequences of polygamy but also
the causes and consequences of monogamy. I address these issues in the following two

5.2 Female Choice

The overall incidence of polygamy (again defined as polygynous polygamy, as

throughout this report) may be explained as a function offemale mate choice. Economists
have long argued that in terms of material wellbeing and reproductive outcomes,
polygamy is beneficial to most women if there is substantial inequality among men in
terms of resources or other properties that are relevant to reproductive success. 19 Simply
put, a woman may be better off sharing a resource-rich husband with other women than
to monopolize access to a resource-poor husband. In this context, moreover, polygamy
not only benefits multiply married women but also monogamously married women in the

19 Becker 1974 ~ Febrero and Schwartz 1995: 316-317; Grossbard 1980, esp. 324; Becker 1991, esp. 87,

89. Becker 1991: 80-107 provides the fullest formal analysis of the economics of polygynous polygamy.
See also Bergstrom 1994.

Scheidel p.l0
same population by allowing them to avoid unions with the least desirable males.
Conversely, this custom benefits male polygamists but harms other men to varying
degrees, the more so the more unequally resources are distributed and this inequality is
correlated with polygamous preferences. The more females are attracted to polygamous
relations with resource-rich males, the more males will be unable to marry. Hence
polygamy tends to reinforce male inequality by matching reproductive inequality with
resource inequality.21
Based on these observations, Satoshi Kanazawa and Mary Still hypothesize that
the degree of resource inequality among men should have a positive effect on the
incidence of polygamy.22 Furthennore, women's ability to choose a marriage partner is
expected to increase the incidence of polygamy if men's resource inequality is high, and
vice versa. In their view, "the extent of resource inequality among men and the level of
women's power have a positive interaction effect on the level of polygyny in society"
(Kanazawa and Still 1999: 33). In this scenario, the spread of monogamy is a function of
decreasing resource inequality among men. These assumptions are borne out by
simulation models and successfully tested against indices of resource inequality and
women's power in between 54 and 102 modern countries. These data show that greater
resource inequality significantly increases the incidence of polygamy and also indicate
positive interaction effects of inequality and women's power on polygamy.23 Economic
development is found to be negatively correlated with polygamy, suggesting that male
resource inequality diminished with economic development.
Whilst this argument has stood up well to preliminary criticism (Sanderson 2001;
MacDonald 2001; with Kanazawa 2001 a, 2001 b), the apparent significance of "women's
power" is hard to explain given that female choice cannot be limited to a prospective
wife's own decision-making. If polygamous unions with resource-rich men are
advantageous, a woman's kin can reasonably be expected to arrange a marriage pursuant
to the same calculus of rational choice?4 This suggests that women's power per se ought
to be irrelevant to observed outcomes. Moreover, a separate model by Eric Gould and
associates maintains that the composition of resource inequality is as important as its
overall level. Their simulation indicates that while resource inequality based on non-labor

20 For simple illustrations of the main point, see Wright 1994: 97, repeated by Kanazawa and Still 1999: 27-

21 This observation is distinct from the notion that polygamy favors male polygamists if women produce
gains other than children, especially by contributing to subsistence. This is held to be important in
horticultural systems where women do much of the farm work (e.g., Boserup 1970: 50; Goody 1976: 34,
129; cf. also Sanderson 2001: 331). However, Bretschneider 1995: 177-179 finds little support for the
concept of "wealth-increasing polygyny" (cf. White 1988: 549-550).
22 Kanazawa and Still 1999: 32-35. Sellen and Hruschka 2004 observe that the principle that "marital
unions are more commonly and more highly polygynous when men differentially control access to material
resources, particularly where those resources are valuable, renewable, and heritable" (707) mutatis
mutandis also extends to foraging populations, with control of access to hunting and fishing sites serving as
the critical variable.
23 Kanazawa and Still 1999: 34-35 (simulations), 35-42 (empirical tests). By contrast, their evidence does
not show a negative correlation between democracy and polygamy; cf. below.
24 Kanazawa 2001a: 338-340 defends the concept of female mate choice against the assumption that

malesmade the decisions but does not consider female choice mediated by kin. Note, however, that TertiIt
2006 discusses differences between marriage decisions made by prospective wives and those made by their

Scheidel p. II
income (such as control of land and physical capital) favors polygamy, the marriage
market equilibrium becomes more monogamous if inequality is determined by disparities
in labor income, which tends to be a function of human capital (Gould et al. 2004). More
importantly, however, neither one of these models is capable of accounting for the
existence of SIUM. In principle, these models would readily allow for a moderate degree
of polygamy even in the most developed countries today, at the very least among the very
wealthy. I conclude that female choice theory is necessary but insufficient to explain
SlUM and that we need to take account of male choice to make sense of this institution.

5.3 Male Choice

A "male choice" approach to polygynous polygamy and monogamy is likewise

predicated on the observation that in the context of male resource inequality, polygamy
tends to favor many women and disadvantage many men. This situation, in tum, is
inherently conducive to inter-male conflict and competition and thereby impedes
cooperation and curtails collective action?5 The negative effects of intra-group conflict
and the benefits of cooperation supply an incentive for males to engage in bargaining in
order to reduce polygamy and thus overall reproductive inequality within a given group.
As Richard Alexander and associates put it, "the net effect of rules prescribing
monogamy is almost certainly a significant depression in the variance of male
reproductive success relative to that in stratified societies which do not prescribe
monogamy" (Alexander et al. 1979: 420). Since this form of compromise bargaining
erodes the reproductive advantages customarily enjoyed by resource-rich elites, it is
unlikely to occur in the absence of powerful incentives.
The drive for competitiveness mediated by inter-group conflict has been identified
as a plausible incentive. All other things being equal, formal restrictions on polygynous
polygamy (e.g., a limitation to bigamy) and even more so its complete prohibition in the
context of SlUM can be expected to reduce competition within the group and increase
cohesion and cooperation and hence inter-group competitiveness. 26 In the most basic
terms, reducing reproductive inequality is thought to promote collective action, which
must be considered a vital element of successful state formation (e.g., Blanton and
Fargher 2008). Simply put, this line of reasoning supposes that SIUM is conducive to
collective action and therefore yields tangible societal benefits.

5.4 Summary

All the theories under review emphasize the inequalities that polygamy entails
and reinforces. These inequalities occur among men (because of differential access to
wives), among women (because of hierarchies among wives in plural marriages), and
between men and women (because of the gender asymmetry inherent in polygynous
polygamy). By contrast, the imposition of SIUM is viewed as a measure that is meant to

25 For the correlation between sexual dimorphism (a proxy of polygyny, see above) and the intensity of
male-male conflict in other species, see esp. Alexander et al. 1979; Mitani et al. 1996; Weckerly 1998.
26 Alexander 1987: 71. For a formal model in which polygamy is constrained by a ruler's need to
discourage rivals, see now LagerlOf 2007. This scenario could easily be expanded to cover elites more

Scheidel p. 12
reduce inequality among men and effectively reduces inequality among men as well as
between men and women. SIUM's overall effects on inequality among women are less
clear: while it removes inequality arising from hierarchies among plural wives in
polygamous unions, it constrains female mate choice in ways that may increase economic
inequality among women.

6 Macrosocial Consequences of Monogamy

The hypothesis that SlUM is conducive to collective action is susceptible to

empirical testing. For practical purposes we may distinguish between a "weak" and a
"strong" version of the notion that monogamy confers societal benefits. The "weak"
version holds that if monogamy can be shown to have been positively correlated with
advances in social complexity - for instance, from hunting/gathering, pastoralism and
horticulturalism to agrarianism, or from tribes or chiefdoms to states - it is reasonable to
suppose that monogamy is also positively correlated with the increase in social cohesion
and competitiveness that enabled these transitions to occur. This notion is supported by
the observation that polygamy is less common in agrarian societies than in other systems
(see Section 3.2). At the same time, however, imperial state formation in particular can
often be shown to be associated with dramatic intensification in resource polygamy27
This makes it impossible to substantiate any claim that monogamy was a necessary
precondition of social up-scaling (cf. also MacDonald 1990: 198, 204). Moreover, we
cannot tell if monogamy became more common because of overall development or
whether development was contingent on an expansion of monogamy. In other words, we
cannot easily distinguish between cause and effect.
What one might call a "strong" version of the notion that monogamy confers
societal benefits holds that polygamous societies tend to be less competitive than
monogamous ones. In consequence, once SlUM had emerged, it gradually out-competed
polygamous societies for human and material assets. In Richard Alexander's view, the
rise of stable large states (loosely if not entirely accurately labeled "nations") was
causally linked to this institution: "It is almost as if no nation can become both quite large
and quite unified except under socially imposed monogamy" (Alexander et al. 1979: 432-
433). Alexander also claimed that SIUM tends to coincide with "the vote, representative
government, elected (not hereditarily succeeding) officials, and universal education"
(Alexander 1987: 72).
Two systematic statistical tests of these assumptions were independently
produced in 1999, followed by a similar one in 2005 28 These are the only such tests
known to me. Drawing on samples comprised of between 54 and 102 different countries
in 1960, 1965 and 1980, Kanazawa and Still find that, depending on the statistical
methods employed, the level of democracy either rarely or never has a significant effect
on the level of polygamy (Kanazawa and Still 1999: 38-42). By contrast, Michael Price

27 See esp. Betzig 1993a; Scheidel 2009. White and Burton 1988 maintain that the incidence of warfare for
plunder and capture of women is positively correlated with the incidence of polygamy, and Bretschneider
1995 finds that in the 186 societies of the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample polygamy is a positive correlate
of successful inter-group warfare_
28 Kanazawa and Still 1999; Price 1999; Tertilt 2005.

Scheidel p.13
argues that Alexander's assumptions are consistent with both historical and contemporary
evidence. He interprets the spread of SlUM from highly localized beginnings to a global
phenomenon as a function of the expansion of European powers at the expense of other
(non-SlUM) competitors and the eventual imitation of Western practices by other
societies (Price 1999: 33-45). In addition, he investigates the relationship between SIUM
and state success by comparing contemporary monogamous and polygamous societies
with the help of standardized measures of cooperativeness. Using population size, use of
the death penalty, democratization, corruption, and per-capita GDP as proxies, he shows
that in a sample of 156 states, monogamous ones are more populous, less likely to use the
death penalty, less authoritarian, less corrupt, and richer than their polygamous
counterparts (Price 1999: 45-52; see also Sanderson 2001: 332). Similarly, in a more
narrowly focused comparison, Michele Tertilt finds that in a sample of 28 polygamous
countries, total fertility, infant and child mortality, and the age gap between spouses were
higher and per capita GDP was lower than in 58 countries that are located relatively close
to the equator. 29 In a quantitative model, she projects that banning polygamy in sub-
Saharan Africa would reduce fertility by 40%, increase savings by 70%, and increase
output per capita by 170%. Her model expressly does not set out to disentangle the
importance of different factors that contribute to sub-Saharan African underdevelopment
but addresses the question whether enforcement of monogamy would playa positive role
(Tertilt 2005: 1342). Her findings strongly suggest that monogamy would have a strong
beneficial effect on the affected populations. While Tertilt does not address political
issues, Price finds that in his own sample, monogamous countries were 2.6 times as likely
to be "fully democratic" as polygamous ones, and that polygamous countries were 4.1
times as likely to be "authoritarian" as monogamous ones (Price 1999: 49). This
difference in outcomes (between Kanazawa and Still on the one hand and Price on the
other) is hard to explain and probably reflects different scoring methodologies.
But this is not the only problem. Assume for a moment, if only for the sake of
argument, that Price's findings are valid. Even in that case they raise questions of cause
and effect. If SIUM could be shown to be positively correlated with societal success and
wellbeing, would that mean that the success of societies that are characterized by SlUM
is causally related to the practice of SIUM, or rather that SIUM is a side effect of
independent developments that caused these societies to be more successful?3o Price
acknowledges this problem but adduces a number of arguments in support of the former
position, i.e., that "monogamy has been to some degree responsible for the success of the
West" (Price 1999: 56-57).
In my opinion, several of his arguments fail to support this claim. He notes that
ethological and anthropological theory suggests that sexual competition of the kind that is
intrinsic to polygamy (driven by reproductive inequality and scarcity of marriageable
female partners for lower-status men) leads to violent conflict and that SIUM would
serve to mitigate such conflicts and promote cooperation. This is simply a restatement of
the "male choice" theory described above (Section 5.2) and invites qualification:
historical polygamous polities (such as most premodern empires: see Betzig 1986;
Scheidel 2009b) were often very successful in expanding at the expense of their

" Tertilt 2005: 1347. She chooses latitude as a criterion to increase comparability with polygamous
countries, many of which are close to the equator.
30 Emphasized by Wilson 1995: 37. Cf. also Price 1999: 29-30, 55.

Scheidel p. 14
if 0
competitors, conceivably because polygamy mobilized and channeled male violence for
the purpose of outward predation and capture of additional women. This view is
consistent with the finding that according to cross-cultural surveys, the incidence of
warfare for plunder aud capture of women is positively correlated with the incidence of
polygamy (White aud Burton 1988; cf. also Bretschneider 1995). On balance, therefore, it
seems that while SlUM might logically be expected to increase collective action,
polygamy at least under certain circumstances generated similar effects. While this does
by no means invalidate the notion that SlUM is likely to promote societal success, it
shows that polygamy is likewise capable of promoting this goal. Price's observation that
polygamous empires were eventually eclipsed by monogamous western powers is
factually correct but does not establish that SlUM significantly contributed' to this
Price notes that "if any aspects of Christianity have been responsible for the
success of Christiau societies" it would have been the ones that had tangible effects on
actual behavior. Post-Roman SlUM, promoted by the Christian Church (see Sections 4.3
aud 8), would have been one of these factors. However, this notion is predicated on the
claim that Christianity was indeed responsible for the relative success of (Christian)
western societies, which is possible but has not been established, aud is not currently
considered to be a crucial variable in academic debates concerning the question of the
"rise of the West" (see below). His observation that, in Europe, SlUM greatly predated
modem development speaks against considering it as a mere by-product of
modernization. This, however, does not demonstrate that SlUM was more than a neutral
feature aud that it ultimately contributed to modernization. He also fails to substantiate
his claim that non-colonized countries eventually embraced SlUM not just "because they
begau recognizing Western economic and political dominance" but more specifically "in
order to remain competitive with traditionally Christian nations" (Price 1999: 44).
Westernization without colonization has entailed the adoption of whole bundles of
European-style institutions and we cannot tell whether by itself, SlUM has been imbued
with competitiveness-enhancing properties.
Price's potentially most promising observation is that contemporary monogamous
societies that cau be classified as successful (in terms of the indicators listed above) are
otherwise quite diverse (encompassing European, Latin American, and South-East Asiau
countries) whereas polygamous societies that are less successful are also otherwise quite
diverse (encompassing Central Asiau Muslim, Arab, aud sub-Saharau African countries).
This would seem to lend a measure of support to his claim that SlUM has indeed been a
distinct aud causally significaut factor in societal development. However, I am not aware
of scholarship that would address this issue in greater detail.
The more specific question whether SlUM signiticantly contributed to the overall
success of the West is impossible to auswer for the simple reason that the causes for the
"rise of the West" continue to be hotly debated in the academic literature and no
consensus appears to be within reach. A wide variety of putatively significaut
contributing factors have been considered in recent scholarship, including, but not limited
to, state weakness and fragmented sovereignty in medieval Europe, the polycentric nature
of the post-aucient Europeau state system, the demographic impact of the Black Death,
institutional features such as constitutions aud property rights, late female marriage in
north-western Europe, geographical proximity to the Americas and its resources, the

Scheidel p. 15
availability of coal in Britain, Newtonian science, the Protestant work ethic, and so on. 31
While it certainly cannot be ruled out that SlUM contributed to the process of the
development of powerful nation states with growing levels of social cohesion, popular
political participation, ideals of equality, human rights and economic growth, the
proliferation of numerous other potential contributing factors impedes empirical
Moreover, even if marital arrangements were considered relevant to observed
developmental outcomes, it would be important to note that SIUM was not the only
feature in that sphere that marked out Christian Europe as unusual in world historical
terms. Modern scholars have paid great attention to the practice of relatively late
marriage for both sexes in north-western European countries, with both men and women
commonly entering first marriages in their twenties. This custom, which can be traced
back at least to the late Middle Ages, is unusual in that women generally married at
younger ages in other societies. In as much as a higher marriage age for females reduced
power inequalities within marriage, this custom may have had a beneficial effect on
overall social development. In addition, monogamy and late marriage tended to coincide
with a low incidence of marriage among close kin. Together, these three features
structurally favor neolocality (the establishment of separate households for newly formed
couples), which in turn is positivelr associated with mobility, independence, economic
development, and spousal equality. 3
By contrast, many Middle Eastern societies have been characterized by a
combination of polygamy, consanguineous marriage, and early marriage for females, a
cultural 'package' that may curtail mobility and personal freedom, impede the
development of strong civic institutions, raise fertility and depress per capita incomes. 33
In particular, a new study finds that democracy exhibits a higher magnitude negative
correlation with consanguinity than with measures of nine other factors believed to
influence levels of democracy (economic freedom; education; GDP per capita; history of
foreign occupation in last 100 years; human development; inequality; IQ; median age;
and percentage exports in non-renewable resources), and that consanguinity is the
strongest predictor of differences in levels of democracy (Woodley 2009). In other words,
SlUM cannot be viewed in isolation from other structural features of the marriage system
in those parts of Europe that eventually pioneered republicanism, constitutional
government and industrialization. This makes the actual contribution of SIUM all the
more difficult to ascertain.
I conclude that the question of whether SlUM has been instrumental in
modernization and societal success, and more specifically in the creation of the modern
democratic and economically highly developed state, cannot be meaningfully answered
on the basis of the evidence that has been marshaled and analyzed to date.

31 The relevant literature is enormous. See most recently Allen 2009: 3-14 for a concise survey.
32 Hartmann 2004. See now also Van Zanden 2009: chapter 4.
33 For some elements of this, see Smith 1981; Tillion 1983; Cain and McNicoll 1988; Woodley 2009.

Scheidel p.16

7 Emergence and Correlates of Ancient Greek and Roman Monogamy

The origins of Greek and Roman SlUM are empirically unknown. There is no
sign that Greek or Roman monogamy was religiously motivated or justified with
reference to religious beliefs. If polygamy may indeed be understood as a female
response to significant male resource inequality (see Section 5.2), it is tempting to
conjecture that the collapse of the Bronze Age palace system in Greece around 1200 BCE
and the ensuing reduction of social complexity in Early Iron Age Greece (formerly
known as the "Dark Age") facilitated SIUM (see Section 4.2). More generally, this
depression may have created the necessary preconditions for the rise of the city-state
(polis) as a form of socio-political organization that was predicated upon the relative
weakness of rulers and elites and correspondingly strong notions of citizenship and
popular military and political participation. However, this superficially appealing
conjecture may be hard to reconcile with the fact that what has been called a "middling
ideology" and egalitarian institutions (culminating in direct democracy) can be observed
only after the formation of post-collapse aristocracies For instance, Susan Lape argues
that in the case of Athens, it was only constitutional and legal reforms in the early sixth
century BCE that defined the monogamous conjugal family as "the sole legitimate family
form" by barring legitimate or legitimizable male procreation outside marriage. Her
conclusions are so germane to the issue at hand that they merit extensive quotation: "By
eliminating a man's bastard children from the family, Solon's laws made is less socially
useful for a man to father bastards or to keep a concubine either in addition to or in place
of a wife. In this way, the family laws ... worked to inhibit a source of aristocratic power
and prestige. While the family laws curbed a traditional vehicle of aristocratic self-
fashioning, they also made available a new source of commonality and community for
Athenian men. ,,35
Greek SIUM is therefore best understood as the outcome of a gradual process that
involved the building of civic institutions and the development of ideological notions of
normative egalitarianism. Comparative evidence shows that low levels of socio-economic
complexity as such (as they prevailed following state collapse around 1200 BCE) are
insufficient to account for the emergence of SlUM. The same is true of the format of the
city-state: whereas SIUM may only have arisen in city-states (Herlihy 1995: 580), non-
western city-states did not habitually adopt SlUM (Hansen 2000).
Both Greek and Roman SlUM are consistent with the "male compromise model"
(see Section 5.3), the notion that universally imposed monogamy mitigates sexual
competition among men and thereby also diminishes the intensity and divisiveness of
other forms of inter-male competition. The Greek and Roman city-states were
characterized by high levels of popular mobilization, especially in the military sphere.
Many Greek city-states and the Roman state, which also began as a city-state, were
republics, a political system that was very rare in pre-modem world history.

34See, e.g., Morris and Powell 2006: 72-92, 148-170.

35Lape 2002/2003, pp. 119-120. See also ibid. 131: "Since the men most likely to father bastard children
were those who could afford to do so, namely men with enough wealth to support multiple women and
children, the family legislation articulates a class bias against the wealthy and aristocratic."

Scheidel p.17
Among documented ancient societies around the globe, the specific congruence of
SlUM, republicanism, citizenship rights, and high levels of collective action in the
military and political spheres can only be observed in the case of Greece and Rome. The
same is true of SlUM as such. 36 This suggests that the association of SIUM with these
other features was probably not coincidental. Given our ignorance of the origins of SIUM
in these two societies, however, we are unable to determine whether SIUM contributed to
these other features or whether it was a neutral element. The observation that in Greece,
SlUM was gradually strengthened over time (see above) speaks in favor of a dialectical
process in which monogamous norms and practices and other civic features co-evolved
and mutually reinforced one another over time.
Much more is known about how Greco-Roman SlUM mediated, and was
reconciled with, resource inequality. As I have argued in detail elsewhere, the institution
of chattel slavery helped facilitate as well as mask effective polygyny in the context of
formal SIUM (Scheidel 2009b: 284-299). Greco-Roman SIUM coincided with high
levels of chattel slavery. Monogamously married men were free to engage in sexual
activities with their own slaves. Thus, chattel slavery helped maintain (serial) SlUM
whilst simultaneously enabling the translation of resource inequality into effective
polygyny, i.e. effective sexual inequality. It is only in a closed population with a balanced
sex ratio that these features could not possibly be reconciled: Greeks and Romans solved
this problem by importing disfranchised women from outside their own in-groups.
This shows that the simple zero-sum model of "female choice" outlined above
only applies in the absence of exogenous inputs. For SIUM to co-exist with effective
resource polygyny, it was essential for slaves to be demographic outsiders (rather than
marginalized group members), which was almost always the case in Greece and Rome
(unlike in some polygamous societies). In keeping with "male compromise theory," this
arrangement was likely to foster cohesion within the ruling group or later even within the
Roman Empire as a whole (in as much as slaves hailed from beyond the imperial
borders). Greco-Roman SIUM was highly consistent with the prevailing desire to
reconcile economic inequality with more egalitarian ideals and the dominance of male
citizens that was sustained by constraints on female mate choice (by outlawing
polygamy) and the exploitation of enslaved outsiders.
This shows that Greek and Roman marital and mating practices were unusual and
conventional at the same time: unusual in their observance of SIUM and conventional in
their pursuit of effective resource polygyny. I emphasize this point because it set the tone
for later periods. Formal SlUM continued to coincide with casual polygynous
relationships with subordinates in medieval and early modern Europe (e.g., Betzig 1995,
2002). It has been argued that effective monogamy was indeed a fairly recent historical
development brought about by the increasing division of labor associated with
industrialization which impelled novel bargaining processes between dominants and
subordinates (Betzig 1986: 103-106). This indicates that SIUM, by itself, did not fully
transform effectively polygynous practice. Instead, we observe a gradual and very drawn-
out trend toward greater effective monogamy.

36 Because of these multiple peculiarities, it seems impossible to use the Greek and Roman cases to develop
an overarching theory for the emergence of SlUM. Instead, it seems more prudent to ascribe SlUM to
"complex, historically conditioned outcomes" (thus MacDonald 1990, 1995, 200 I).

Scheidel p. 18
8 Religious Dimension of Western Monogamy

8.1 Jewish Tradition

Several passages in the first five books of the Old Testament. which are
conventionally regarded as Mosaic Law, are commonly interpreted as evidence of
polygamy ("Exodus" 21.10-11; "Leviticus" 18.18; "Deuteronomy" 21.15-17). However,
whether they can be accepted as unequivocal references to polygamy is still the object of
academic debate (cf. most recently Davidson 2007: 191-202). It is likewise open to =
discussion whether the injunction against the Jewish kings' acquisition of "many wives
for themselves" ("Deuteronomy" 17.17) merely places restrictions on polygamous
practice or condemns the practice as such.
Regardless of how these normative statements are interpreted, the Old Testament
contains numerous unequivocal references to polygamy, most notably as being practiced
by rulers and other leaders. 37 It has been noted that these cases are never described in
favorable terms and that many of them are presented as having been caused by problems
(notably childlessness) and/or as causing problems (e.g., Brewer 2000; Davidson 2007:
181-191, 202-211). At the same time, none of these descriptions expressly condemns
these cases as contravention of religious law.
The incidence of Jewish polygamy during the formative period of Christianity in
the first few centuries CE remains unclear. The first-century CE Jewish historian
Josephus mentions "our ancestral custom that a man may have several wives at the same
time" ("Jewish Antiquities" 17.14). Actual cases of bigamy are recorded in the sources,
and the Rabbinic texts repeatedly mention polygamous unions and do not normally
disapprove of them as long as they were undertaken for what were considered honorable
reasons (Schremer 1997/2001; Satlow 2001: 189-192). The fact that as late as in 393 CE
the Roman government forbade Jews to "enter into several matrimonies at the same time"
("Justinianic Code" 1.9.7) documents the persistence of this custom into late antiquity.38
As I show in the following sub-sections, appreciation of the latently or effectively
polygamous character of ancient Jewish culture is important for our understanding of the
context in which Christianity developed.

8.2 New Testament Tradition

The canonical Gospel tradition (Mark, Matthew, Luke, John) does not directly
comment on polygamy. The only relevant passages are Jesus's views regarding the
propriety of remarriage after divorce in Mark 10.2-12 and Matthew 19.3-12. In Mark
10.11-12, Jesus is reported as having stated that
"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against
her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits
In Matthew 19.9, the same rule is qualified by exempting remarriage after justified
divorce from this injunction:

37 Betzig 2005 provides exhaustive documentation.

38 For later periods, see above, Section 4.3.

Scheidel p.19
"Whoever divorces his wife, unless for indecency, and marries another,
commits adultery."
The possibility that someone might take a second spouse while he or she is still married is
not raised in this context or anywhere else in the canonical Gospel tradition.
lt has been argued in modem scholarship that Jesus's statements preceding these two
passages imply that according to the Old Testament tradition, which Jesus endorses,
marriage was a union of only two persons (one male and one female). Brewer 2000 infers
this from the close linkage of two quotes from the "Book of Genesis" (1.27; 2.24) in
Mark 10.6-8 and Matthew 19.4-5. These passages (both presented as Jesus's own words)
read (quotes from the Old Testament in italics):
Mark 10.6-8: "But from the beginning of creation, 'He made them male and
female' [= "Genesis" 1.27). 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and
mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. ' [=
"Genesis~' 2.24]."
Matthew 19.4-5: "Have you not read that he who created them from the
beginning made them male and female [= "Genesis" 1.27), and said, For
this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh' [= "Genesis" 2.24]7"
In these cases, the juxtaposition of the primordial couple of Adam and Eve (one
male and one female in "Genesis" 1.27) and the reference to two spouses forming a union
("Genesis" 2.24) is interpreted as an implicit reference to the monogamous nature of such
unions. The specification "the two" found in Mark and Matthew's quotes, which is absent
from the Hebrew version of "Genesis," may be seen as reinforcing this interpretation,
which is also lent a measure of plausibility by an analogous reference to "Genesis" 1.27
in a Jewish text from the Qumran tradition that condemns polygamy and broadly dates
from the time of Jesus (the "Damascus Document" 4.21, quoted in Brewer 2000).
From the historian's perspective, it is important to stress that that proper
understanding of the sayings in the Gospels - of what we might term 'original intent' -
depends on their contextualization in the religious debates and social norms and
expectations of the first century CE, a context which is necessarily only sparsely
documented. This means that exegetical interpretation is methodologically appropriate
and indeed often necessary and that the proper meaning of particular statements cannot
be meaningfully established by simply translating an existing text into a modem
language. As a result, the precise meaning of these two passages remains open to debate.
On a narrowly literal reading, explicit imposition of monogamy or condemnation of
polygamy is absent from the canonical Gospel Tradition. At the same time, the
condemnation of all or most kinds of remarriage after divorce attributed to Jesus is
logically incompatible with the notion that polygamy would have been considered
acceptable by the same authority. On a broader, contextual reading, therefore, the Gospel
tradition can be said to have rejected polygamy. Moreover, this implicit rejection is
couched in religious terms because it entails reference to Old Testament texts.
In addition to the aforementioned four Gospels, the canonical New Testament also
includes the "Acts of the Apostles," various letters, and the "Revelation to John." Two of
the letters, 1 Timothy 3.2 and 3.12 as well as Titus 1.6, state that a man acting as a church
leader (an "episkopos" in 1 Timothy 3.2 and Titus 1.6, a "diakonos" in 3.12) must be a
"man of one woman." The exact meaning of this phrase is uncertain. While it is possible

Scheidel p.20
that it refers to an expectation of monogamy (i.e., the absence of polygamy), contextual
information makes it more likely that it is intended to specify that such a man should not
have been married more than once or that he was not a womanizer. These latter meanings
are supported by the reference to a widow who was the "woman of one man" in one of
the same texts, I Timothy 5.9, and by tombstone inscriptions from that period that
celebrate lifetime monogamy and/or overall spousal faithfulness (Brewer 2000, with
I conclude that while the Gospel tradition does not explicitly and unequivocally
require monogamous marriage and does not explicitly condemn polygamy, it logically
and implicitly rejects polygamy on religious grounds. In addition, the roughly
contemporaneous letters of Paul to Timothy and Titus, regardless of the precise meaning
of the phrase "man of one woman," logically imply that polygamy would have been
unacceptable behavior at least for the leaders of Christian communities. In these latter
texts, this expectation is not expressly generalized to all Christians overall.

8.3 Later Christian Tradition

Any engagement with the question of early Christian posItIOns on monogamy

requires consideration of the circumstances of the emergence of what is now considered
the Biblical canon. What is now known as the New Testament was only gradually
defined as a bounded group of texts whose composition commanded widespread
consensus. The canonical nature of a 'core group' of texts including the Gospels of Mark,
Matthew, Luke and John, "Acts" and a number of (mostly Pauline) letters was not
established until the late second century CE (Holmes 2008: 415-420). Moreover, the
extent to which Jewish scriptural tradition was to be included in the Christian canon was
debated until the fourth century CEo In the second century CE, Christian writers
advocated a wide variety of approaches to the Jewish tradition, such as selective
acceptance of those elements of Jewish scripture that had been affirmed by the Gospels;
re-definition of the Jewish scriptural tradition as prophetic rather than normative in
nature; and the wholesale rejection of the relevance of Jewish scripture for the Christian
community (Holmes 2008: 410-414). Under these circumstances, early Christian thinkers
effectively enjoyed considerable leeway in engaging with the phenomenon of polygamy
as encountered in the Old Testament tradition.
Several of the earliest surviving Christian writers disapprove of polygamy and regard
it as a contravention of divine will. Justin Martyr, a Christian apologist in the mid-second
century CE, states that Jews who seek to justify polygamy with reference to the biblical
precedent of Jacob are ignorant and misunderstand the true nature of that case, and
implies that, unlike contemporary Jewish authorities, God does not condone polygamy:
"It is better for you to follow God than your imprudent and blind masters,
who even till this time permit each man to have four or five wives; and if any
one see a beautiful woman and desire to have her, they quote the doings of
Jacob [called] Israel, and of the other patriarchs, and maintain that it is not
wrong to do such things; for they are miserably ignorant in this matter"
("Dialogue with Trypho" 134).
Irenaeus, a church leader of the late second century CE, maintains that sectarians
who practice polygamy have "fallen away from the truth" ("Against Heresies" 1.28).

Scheidel p.21
Tertullian, a Christian writer from North Africa in the early third century CE,
composed a treatise called "On Monogamy" (De Monogamia). This text is an extended
argument in favor of monogamy, defined in this case not merely as the absence of
multiple unions but also as the rejection of remarriage (i.e., of serial monogamy). It
invokes the case of Adam and Eve as a normative model set by God at creation (4.2: "He
said, 'It is not good for the man that he be alone; let us make an help-meet for him.' For
He would have said 'helpers' if He had destined him to have more wives;" 4.3: '''And
two shall be (made) into one flesh' - not three, nor more; else they would be no more
'two' if (there were) more"), and likewise the pairing of creatures rescued on Noah's Ark
(4.7: "Even unclean birds were not allowed to enter with two females each"). He
interprets the passages in Mark and Matthews discussed in Section 8.2 as evidence in
support of normative monogamy and rejects the relevance of the Jewish patriarch
Abraham's reported bigamy (6).
Around 300 CE, bishop Methodius claimed that "the contracting of marriage with
several wives had been done away with from the times of the prophets" and that "'Let
your fountain be blessed and rejoice in the wife of your youth' [= "Proverbs" 5.18]. This
plainly forbids a plurality of wives" ("Marcella" 3).
Spread out over a century and a half, these few statements indicate that polygamy
was not a significant concern for Christian thinkers during this period. They tended to be
more preoccupied with remarriage, a topic that was already the main focus of Tertullian's
treatise and was later considered a transgression worthy of serious penalties, for example
by the fourth-century CE bishop Basil who endorsed excommunication for one year for a
second marriage and of several years for a third one ("To Amphilochius Concerning the
Canons," Letter 188). This logically implies that concurrent plural marriage, i.e.
polygamy, was considered even worse, or at any rate that it would have attracted greater
opprobrium if it had been more common. The scarcity of explicit references to this
custom appears to be a function of its low incidence within much of the Roman Empire,
whereas remarriage ofwidow(er)s or divorcees was much more widespread and therefore
considered worthy of attention.
I conclude this survey of the ancient Christian tradition with Augustine of Hippo
(later canonized as Saint Augustine) who was one of the most prolific Christian authors
of the Roman period and through his writings later on exerted tremendous influence on
medieval Christian thought. In a treatise entitled "On the Good of Marriage" (De Bono
Coniuga/i), composed in the early fifth century CE, he expressly identifies the prohibition
of polygamy as a "Roman custom:"
"And yet it [i.e., remarriage after divorce1is not allowed; and now indeed in
our times, and according to Roman custom, neither to marry in addition, so
as to have more than one wife living.,,39
Augustine returns to the importance of custom in a separate assessment of the
polygamous unions ascribed to Jacob in the Old Testament:
"Again, Jacob the son of Isaac is charged with having committed a great
crime because he had four wives. But here there is no ground for a criminal
accusation: for a plurality of wives was no crime when it was the custom;

39 "On the Good of Marriage" 7. The original text reads "et tamen non licet, et nostris quidem iam
temporibus ac more Romano nee superducere, ut ampHus habeat quam unam vivam."

Scheidel p.22
and it is a crime now, because it is no longer the custom" ("Against Faustus"
In other writings, Augustine explains instances of polygamy encountered in the Old
Testament tradition with reference to the need for population growth. Thus, he reckoned
that at the time of Jacob, "in order to multiply posterity, no law forbade a plurality of
wives" ("The City of God" 16.38). Likewise, in the case of Abraham's bigamy, "the
pious desire for the procreation of children was an indication of the absence of criminal
indulgence" ("Against Faustus" 22.31 ).42 Monogamy is merely presented as a preferred
option, in keeping with the example set by Adam and Eve:
"That the good purpose of marriage, however, is better promoted by one
husband with one wife, than by a husband with several wives, is shown
plainly enough by the very first union of a married pair, which was made by
the Divine Being Himself, with the intention of marriages taking their
beginning therefrom, and of its affording to them a more honorable
precedent" ("On Marriage and Concupiscence" 1.10).
In contrast to earlier writers, Augustine does not present monogamy as a divine
ordinance but explains its earlier existence and later rejection in pragmatic terms, with
reterence to custom and, indeed, even to Roman custom. His perspective underlines the
degree of variability in Christian perspectives on this topic during the formative stages of

8.4 Concluding Assessment

In conclusion, it must be noted that no Christian authorities from antiquity whose

own writings survive ever approved of polygamous practice and that all of them required
monogamous practice for their own period of writing, often in the enhanced form of
rejecting serial monogamy as well. The inclusion of Jewish scripture into the Christian
canon in the form of the Old Testament presented Christian writers with the challenge of
having to explain or justifY polygamous practices reported in those texts. Within what we
might call mainstream Christianity (i.e., the traditions that prevailed over alternative
viewpoints and generated the surviving textual record), this engagement with prior
Jewish practice never resulted in acceptance of polygamous practice in the present.
The foundational core texts of Christianity, dating from the first century CE and
subsequently enshrined in the New Testament, do not explicitly and unequivocally enjoin
monogamy or condemn polygamy, except with respect to community leaders, but

40 The passage continues: "There are sins against nature, and sins against custom, and sins against the laws.
In which, then, of these senses did Jacob sin in having a plurality of wives? As regards nature, he used the
women not for sensual gratification, but for the procreation of children. For custom, this was the common
practice at that time in those countries. And for the laws, no prohibition existed. The only reason of its
being a crime now to do this, is because custom and the laws forbid it."
"Clark 1986: 147. For similar sentiments in other Christian writers, see Brundage 1987: 66.
" Conversely, only Old Testament polygamy for the sake of sexual gratification was to be deemed an
aberration: "To pious and discerning readers of the sacred Scriptures evidence of the chastity of the holy
men who are said to have had several wives is found in this, that Solomon, who by his polygamy gratified
his passions, instead of seeking for offspring, is expressly noted as chargeable with being a lover of
women. This, as we are informed by the truth which accepts no man's person, led him down into the abyss
of idolatry" ("Against Faustus" 22.81).

Scheidel p.23
implicitly and logically reject polygamous practices. Moreover, several early Christian
theologians from the second and third centuries CE expressly and vehemently reject
polygamy in a generalizing fashion. It is impossible to establish with certainty whether
their stance represents a mere clarification of earlier positions or entails actual
modifications in doctrine. To complicate matters, it must be borne in mind that the early
Christian movement was thoroughly decentralized, dispersed across the Roman world
and beyond in a growing number of mostly small-scale cellular communities, and that
any given text cannot therefore be taken to represent a binding or orthodox position
representative of Christianity as a whole.
After several centuries of Christian writing, Augustine presents an assessment of
monogamy that privileges pragmatic considerations and, on one occasion, identifies
monogamy as a Roman (in the sense of pre- or non-Christian) custom. While this does
not qualify the rejection of polygamy earlier theologians had advocated on doctrinal
grounds, it serves as a reminder of the dual context of the development of ancient
Christianity, namely Jewish and Greco-Roman. Christianity'S origins as an unorthodox
movement within the Jewish belief system may have made polygamy a potentially
contentious issue, given that the majority of the earliest converts to Christianity were
Jewish and that polygamy was not banned in that particular culture. Over time, as
Christianity turned into an effectively and formally separate religious organization, it
evolved and expanded primarily within the context of a Mediterranean society that was
dominated by cultures (Greek and Roman) that had long been practicing SIUM. Both the
increasing autonomy of Christianity from Judaism and its expansion away from the
Middle East and into the core regions of prescriptively monogamous Greco-Roman
civilization would have induced Christians to embrace and internalize monogamous
practices even if they had not already been present from the beginning.
All this makes it difficult to give a straightforward answer to the question to what
extent monogamy can be said to be a "Judeo-Christian" concept. It is clear that it was not
a normative "Judean" concept, at least as far as the dominant or hegemonic strands of
Jewish culture in antiquity are concerned. By contrast, SlUM was certainly a firmly-held
principle of the Christian Church by the time the Roman state sought to co-opt the
Christian leadership in the fourth century CE, and the surviving record shows that it had
already been a common expectation in the second and third centuries CEo Given the
nature of the development of early Christianity and the nature of the evidence, the two
possible roots of Christian monogamy - religious doctrine and Greco-Roman practice -
cannot be neatly disentangled. Put in simplified terms, we have to choose between two
different scenarios. (l) Earliest Christianity may have been ideologically committed to
SlUM right from the start and may in that regard have resembled other dissident
movements within Judaism, such as the Essene community documented at Qumran (see
Section 8.1). (2) Alternatively, the generalized affirmation of SlUM may have been the
result of a more protracted formative process that may have been significantly influenced
by prescriptively monogamous norms in the Roman world.
In my professional judgment, the first of these scenarios is more plausible for the
following reason. It is useful to consider a counterfactual. If Christianity had first
emerged in a part of the Roman Empire where SIUM had long been legal and/or social
practice and had advocated monogamy, it would be impossible for us to determine
whether Christian monogamous norms were the product of specific religious beliefs or

Scheidel p.24
the consequence of the adoption and internalization of prevailing societal norms. In that
case, the question would be moot because Christian norms would simply match societal
norms and it would effectively be impossible to distinguish between them. In that case,
prescriptive monogamy could not meaningfully be identified as a specifically religious
element of the Christian belief system.
In reality, however, Christianity first arose in the context of Jewish society and
religion in the Levant, where polygamy was acceptable and at least occasionally
practiced. Therefore, normative rejection of polygamy was not a given, not merely a
background feature of local society. In as much as earliest Christianity can be shown to
have been prescriptively monogamous, it distinguished itself from Jewish traditions of
latent or actual polygamous practice. As I have tried to show in Section 8.2, key
foundational texts logically and implicitly extol monogamous principles and reject
polygamy, even though polygamy was legitimate and practiced in Jewish society at that
time. This sets early Christian teachings apart from dominant local societal norms. Yet
implicit Christian rejection of polygamy was not a unique feature within Jewish culture:
we find more far more explicit condemnations of polygamy - justified in religious terms
- in the contemporaneous Jewish Qumran tradition (see Section 8.2). Rejection of
polygamy is therefore best seen as a characteristic associated with dissident or reform
movements within the Jewish belief system, of grass-root movements that opposed
traditional manifestations or perceived excesses of elite privilege, such as polygamy. In
that respect, these movements echo the apprehensions about polygamy that already
colored accounts of this practice in the Old Testament tradition (see Section 8.1).
Early Christian monogamy may consequently be understood as a feature of
unorthodox doctrines that emerged within the Jewish belief system and Jewish society.
These doctrines, although they may well have been shaped by socio-economic concerns,
may be defined as religious in nature given that they were advocated with explicit
reference to religious scripture (the Old Testament). In this sense, which can only be
established contextually, Christian insistence on SlUM and rejection of polygamy can
legitimately be defined as religious precepts.
At the same time, it is important to appreciate that as Christianity expanded beyond
the Jewish communities in the Levant, it did so within an imperial state that was
dominated by prescriptively monogamous cultures and regimes. In this environment,
SlUM was by no means a novel or unusual feature that would have been regarded as a
quintessentially Christian norm or practice. There is therefore no reason to assume, and
no evidence to support the assumption, that during the remainder of the Roman period,
from the first to the fifth centuries CE, SlUM was viewed as a specifically Christian
characteristic. The fact that Christian norms and more general societal norms coincided
throughout much of the Roman world makes it dit1icult to define Christian insistence on
SlUM as a specifically religious norm, even though, as I have argued, it can be defined as
such with respect to its origin.
Conditions changed with the failure of the Roman Empire from the fifth to seventh
centuries CEo The Muslim Arab expansion into the Middle East, North Africa and Spain
introduced or re-introduced polygamous practice to parts of the former Roman Empire,
which by then had undergone at least nominal Christianization on a large scale. The
expansion of Islamic beliefs and practices in these regions would have served to
accentuate the Christian dimension of SlUM which, no longer simply matching secular

Scheidel p. 25
law and custom, was bound to be seen as a more specifically Christian practice. A similar
process of accentuation occurred in western Europe, which came to be settled or ruled by
only recently and/or superficially Christianized conquest regimes (Germans, later Slavs,
Norse, and Eurasian steppe nomads). For these groups, SlUM was not established
practice in the same way as it had been for the ancient Greeks and Romans. As a result,
insistence on SlUM and rejection of polygamy became more specifically associated with
Christianity and the Christian Church or Churches. The latter's attempts to impose SlUM
on these populations is documented in medieval church legislation and commentary
(Bnmdage 1987, index s.v. "polygyny").
Eventually, as effective Christianization progressed during the Middle Ages, SlUM
once again came to be seen as both a Christian and a European or, later, "western"
custom, and distinctions between SlUM as a normatively religious precept and SlUM as
effective societal practice once again became less meaningful, as they had already been in
the Roman period. However, unlike in the Roman period, when SlUM had already been
dominant as Christianity arrived on the scene and cannot therefore be considered as a
result of Christianization, the re-consolidation and eventual dominance of SlUM in
medieval and modern Europe and the wider "West" not only reflected long-term
continuities in societal practice from the Roman to the post-Roman periods but was also,
at least in part, the result of the Christian leadership's efforts to impose SlUM as an
ideally universal norm and practice.
As already noted, the congruence between Christian and pre-existing societal
norms and practices regarding monogamous unions in the Roman period and to a
growing extent also in subsequent periods makes it difficult to define western SlUM
neatly as a predominantly religious or secular phenomenon. If the ideational origins of
Christian doctrine concerning monogamy are considered to be the decisive criterion for
establishing such a definition, it is legitimate, in a narrow technical sense, to define
western SlUM as a Christian norm. This interpretation receives further support from
Christianity'S role in the re-consolidation of SlUM following the failure of the Roman
Empire. However, SlUM cannot be regarded as an inherently distinctive or novel feature
of the Christian belief system because it coincided with widespread societal norms and
practices when it expanded and was institutionalized during the Roman period and later.


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Affidavit # 1 of Walter Scheidel

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