Trade, Commerce, and the State in the Roman World

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2018-02-03
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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This volume presents eighteen papers by leading Roman historians and archaeologists discussing trade in the Roman Empire during the period c.100 BC to AD 350. It focuses especially on the role of the Roman state in shaping the institutional framework for trade within and outside the empire, in taxing that trade, and in intervening in the markets to ensure the supply of particular commodities, especially for the city of Rome and for the army.

As part of a novel interdisciplinary approach to the subject, the chapters address its myriad facets on the basis of broadly different sources of evidence: historical, papyrological, and archaeological. They are grouped into three sections, covering institutional factors (taxation, legal structures, market regulation, financial institutions); evidence for long-distance trade within the empire in wood, stone, glass, and pottery; and trade beyond the frontiers, with the east (as far as China), India, Arabia, the Red Sea, and the Sahara. Rome's external trade with realms to the east emerges as being of particular significance, but it is in the eastern part of the empire itself where the state appears to have adapted the mechanisms of taxation in collaboration with the elite holders of wealth to support its need for revenue. On the other hand, the price of that collaboration, which was in effect a fiscal partnership, ultimately led in the longer term in slightly different forms in the east and the west to a fundamental change in the political character of the empire.

Author Biography

Andrew Wilson, Professor of the Archaeology of the Roman Empire, University of Oxford,Alan Bowman, Emeritus Camden Professor of Ancient History, University of Oxford

Andrew Wilson is Professor of the Archaeology of the Roman Empire at the University of Oxford and Fellow of All Souls College. He is also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and former Chairman of the Society for Libyan Studies. His research interests include the economy of the Roman Empire, ancient technology, ancient water supply and usage, Roman North Africa, and archaeological field survey. He is the author of numerous articles on these subjects and has directed excavations in Italy, Tunisia, and Libya.

Alan Bowman is Vice-President and Fellow of the British Academy, Emeritus Camden Professor of Ancient History at the University of Oxford, and former Principal of Brasenose College, as well as a former President of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies. In addition to his work on the Roman economy, current research projects include further work on the Vindolanda Writing-Tablets and on the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, image-enhancement of damaged documents, and the development of Digital Humanities.

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Contributors
1. Introduction: Trade, Commerce, and the State, Andrew Wilson and Alan Bowman
I. Institutions and the State
2. The State and the Economy: Fiscality and Taxation, Alan Bowman
3. Law, Commerce, and Finance in the Roman Empire, Boudewijn Sirks
4. Market Regulation and Transaction Costs in the Roman Empire, Elio Lo Cascio
5. Financial Institutions and Structures in the Last Century of the Roman Republic, Philip Kay
6. Nile River Transport under the Romans, Colin Adams
II. Trade within the Empire
7. The Indispensable Commodity: Notes on the Economy of Wood in the Roman Mediterranean, W. V. Harris
8. Stone-Use and the Economy: Demand, Distribution, and the State, Ben Russell
9. An Overview of the Circulation of Glass in Antiquity, Daniele Foy
10. Procurators' Business? Gallo-Roman Sigillata in Britain in the Second and Third Centuries AD, Michael Fulford
11. The Distribution of African Pottery under the Roman Empire: Evidence vs Interpretation, Michel Bonifay
12. The Supply Networks of the Roman East and West: Interaction, Fragmentation, and the Origins of the Byzantine Economy, Paul Reynolds
13. Prices and Costs in the Textile Industry in the Light of the Lead Tags from Siscia, Ivan Radman-Livaja
14. Exports and Imports in Mauretania Tingitana: The Evidence from Thamusida, Emanuele Papi
III. Trade beyond the Frontiers
15. The Silk Road between Syria and China, David F. Graf
16. Egypt and Eastern Commerce during the Second Century AD and Later, Roberta Tomber
17. Money and Flows of Coinage in the Red Sea Trade, Dario Nappo
18. The Port of Qana', a Junction between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea: The Underwater Evidence, Barbara Davidde
19. Trade across Rome's Southern Frontier: The Sahara and the Garamantes, Andrew Wilson

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