World-Systems based on Reciprocity. Eastern Empires, Aegean Polities and Greek Mercenaries in the Archaic Age
Keywords:Patterns of integration, World-systems, Reciprocity, Periphery, Gifts trade
Trying to describe the world-system in the eastern Mediterranean between 800 and 479 B.C. and to place the Greek polities within it, some theoretical developments of Immanuel Wallerstein’s world-system theoretical framework are made. Starting from Karl Polanyi’s list of patterns of integration, it is argued that in pre-modern eras, besides subsistence economies and worldempires, there were also world-systems based on reciprocity, where the most important objective was the acquisition of symbolic capital. Thus, in the archaic age, the Greek world was a periphery of the Eastern empires, the phenomenon of Greek mercenaries serving Eastern monarchs representing a consistent proof for the actual structure of the world-system in that period.