The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a type of workshop found in ancient Greece, the Hellenistic East, the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire, and Byzantium. Ergasteria as a rule employed slave labor. The owners either took part in the work themselves or supervised. Sometimes ergasteria were turned over to overseer slaves.

Ergasteria in Greece have been the most thoroughly studied. The artisans usually numbered only three or four and not more than ten or 12, although in certain cases the number exceeded 30. Only in the fourth century B.C. is there evidence of ergasteria with 100 slaves. Ergasteria were involved in all forms of artisan production. The hardest work was that done in mines. One of the Lavrion Mines is called the Ergasterion.


Davies, O. Roman Mines in Europe. New York, 1935.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
(58) God is likened to a builder, a carpenter, a metalworker, a weaver, (59) a vine-dresser, (60) and a potter, (61) and creation is said to be an ergasterion, or workshop.