Professor Alain Bresson has been awarded the American Historical Association’s James Henry Breasted Prize for his book, The Making of the Ancient Greek Economy: Institutions, Markets, and Growth in the City-States (2016, Princeton University Press). He will receive the prize on January 4 in a ceremony at the Association’s annual meeting in Washington, DC.
Bresson, Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Classics and Department of History, is a leading figure in the contemporary debate on the history of the ancient economy. Using a variety of documentary materials—from literary sources and archaeological data to coins and papyri—he explores past economic development in the context of economic categories like capital, labor, technology and the evolution of institutions.
Among numerous other topics covering the ancient world, Bresson has written about women and inheritance in ancient Sparta, pollution in Greece and Rome, and funerary inscriptions in Anatolia. He is a co-editor of the forthcoming New Oxford Handbook for the Economies of the Ancient World.
Established by the American Historical Association in 1985, the Breasted Prize is awarded for the best book in English in any field of history prior to CE 1000. It is named after James Henry Breasted, founder of the Oriental Institute at the University and one-time president of the Association.
“It is wonderful that Alain has brought the prize home to Chicago," said Clifford Ando, David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Humanities and Professor of Classics, History, Law, and the College. “His energy and influence in the field are felt at every level of inquiry and teaching at the University.”
The American Historical Association is the oldest and largest society of historians in the United States. It offers annual prizes honoring exceptional books, distinguished teaching and mentoring in the classroom, public history, and other historical projects.