Ephraim Lytle

Associate Professor
LI 118


Fields of Study


Ephraim Lytle received his BA in Classics from Pomona College and a PhD in Classics from Duke University. His research focuses on Greek social and economic history, with much of it treating activities and social classes peripheral to the polis and an ancient ideological focus on the citizen farmer. These interests include ancient fishing, fishermen and, more generally, the sea. Such fluid subjects are not easily demarcated, and while his research pays careful attention to epigraphic or literary texts it also tends to be wide-ranging and interdisciplinary, incorporating interests that include, for example, ecology, ethnography, anthropology, the history of technology, and the longue durée.

He has published articles that treat historical questions related to various Greek epigraphic documents — the Kean ruddle decrees, the temple accounts from Hellenistic Delos, a Boeotian price decree, an Ephesian building account, a letter of Hadrian to Athens — as well as long-form articles that tackle problems ranging from the legal status of the sea and its fisheries in the ancient Mediterranean to the role of regional social and religious contexts in Oppian’s Halieutica. He has recently edited A Cultural History of Work in Antiquity (Bloomsbury 2018).

Some recent publications include:

  • “Fishing with Fire: Technology, Economy and Two Greek Inscriptions,” Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte 67.1 (2018) 61-102.
  • “The Economics of Saltfish Production in the Aegean during the Classical and Hellenistic Periods,” Journal of Maritime Archaeology 13 (2018) 407-418.
  • “Chaerephilus & Sons: Vertical Integration, Classical Athens and the Black Sea Fish Trade,” Ancient Society 46 (2016) 1-26.
  • (with Alexander Fantalkin) “Alcaeus and Antimenidas: Reassessing the Evidence for Greek Mercenaries in the Neo-Babylonian Army,” forthcoming in Klio: Beiträge zur Alten Geschichte 98.1 (2016) 90-117.
  • “Status Beyond Law: Ownership, Access and the Ancient Mediterranean,” in: T. Bekker-Nielsen and R. Gertwagen, eds., The Inland Seas: Towards an Ecohistory of the Mediterranean [Geographica Historica] (Stuttgart 2016): 107-135.
  • “One Fish, Two Fish, Bonito, Bluefish: Ancient Greek ἀμία and γομφάριον,” Mnemosyne 69 (2016) 249-261.
  • “Early Greek and Latin Sources on the Indian Ocean and Eastern Africa,” in: G. Campbell, ed., Early Exchange between Africa and the Wider Indian Ocean World [Palgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies] (Palgrave Macmillan 2016): 113-134.
  • “Farmers into Sailors: Ship Maintenance, Greek Agriculture and the Athenian Monopoly on Kean Ruddle (IG II2 1128),” GreekRoman and Byzantine Studies 53 (2013) 520-550.
  • “‘Entirely Ignorant of the Agora’ (Alkiphron 1.14.3): Fishermen and the Economy of Hellenistic Delos,” in: S. Ager and R. Faber, eds., Belonging and Isolation in the Hellenistic World (Toronto 2013): 295-315.
  • “Ἡ θάλασσα κοινή: Fishermen, the Sea and the Limits of Ancient Greek Regulatory Reach,”  Classical Antiquity 31 (2012) 1-55.
  • “A Customs House of Our Own: Infrastructure, Duties and a Joint Association of Fishermen and Fishmongers (IK, 11.1a-Ephesos, 20),” in: V. Chankowski and P. Karonis, eds., Tout vendre, tout acheter: structures et équipements des marchés antiques (Bordeaux 2012): 211-222.
  • “The Strange Love of the Fish and the Goat: Regional Contexts and Rough Cilician Religion in Oppian’s Halieutica 4.308-373,” TAPA 114.2 (2011) 333-386.
  • “Fish Lists in the Wilderness: The Social and Economic History of a Boiotian Price Decree,” Hesperia 79 (2010) 253-303.


PhD, Duke University