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Article

Lin Foxhall

Peasants are like postholes: it is much easier to see where they ought to have been in the classical world than where they actually were. By ‘peasants’ most scholars have meant, small-scale, low-status cultivators, whether free, tenant, or otherwise dependent, farming at subsistence level. Such people left little impact on the historical or archaeological record except perhaps in Egypt. Finds of modest farmsteads in archaeological survey or excavation (see archaeology, classical) can rarely be placed on the socio-economic scale with any certainty. Our suppositions are based largely on indirect evidence.Much of the literary evidence is anecdotal, depicting the peasant as a ‘type’, e.g. Dicaeopolis (Ar. Ach.). Characters sometimes identified as ‘peasants’ (e.g. *Hesiod) are difficult to place in socio-economic terms, but are highly unlikely to be peasants. The peasant eventually becomes an ‘ideal type’ in classical literature, redolent of wholesome, simple, ‘old-time’ ideals (e.g. Verg.

Article

Arnold Wycombe Gomme, Theodore John Cadoux, and P. J. Rhodes

Pentakosiomedimnoi, ‘five-hundred-bushel men’, at *Athens, members of the highest of the four property classes devised by *Solon, comprising men whose land yielded at least 500 medimnoi of corn or the equivalent in other produce (the other classes were the *hippeis, *zeugitai, and *thētes). Under Solon's constitution the treasurers of Athena and perhaps also the archons (see archontes) were appointed exclusively from this class, and for the treasurers the requirement survived to the 4th cent.

Article

Robin Osborne

Mountain east of Athens, known in antiquity as Brilessus. From the 6th cent. bce onwards the high-quality *marble was exploited by quarrying on both western and northern slopes. All the major building projects in Athens in the late 5th cent. employ Pentelic marble, and the ancient *quarries and quarry roads remain visible today. Traces of both a fort and a sanctuary have been found at the summit.

Article

Phormion was the slave and subsequently *freedman of the Athenian banker *Pasion (see banks), and himself worked in the bank. Shortly before Pasion's death he leased the bank from him, and later married his widow Archippe in accordance with his will. Persistent bad relations between him and his stepson *Apollodorus (1) led in c.

Article

Ben Akrigg

The demography of Greece is a very difficult subject to investigate because of the shortage of relevant statistical data. Ancient authors did not write any books about demography and give hardly any figures for population sizes, and none at all for vital rates. Owing to the emphasis on war in ancient historiography, most ancient demographic estimates relate to the size of military forces or to the manpower available for military purposes—i.e., to adult males only. Total population sizes must be extrapolated from such information because women, children, and slaves were usually not enumerated at all. Moreover, literary authors were prone to exaggeration—with respect to the size of Persian armies, for example—although Thucydides (2) was a notable exception to this rule. Even in Classical Athens, for which the sources are relatively abundant, it seems unlikely that there was a central register of hoplites in addition to the deme registers. In general, Greek states did not have taxes payable by all inhabitants that would have required the maintenance of detailed records for financial purposes, and censuses of citizens were rare in the ancient Greek world. It is certain, however, that both mortality and fertility in ancient Greece were high by the standards of modern developed countries. Human mobility, whether voluntary or involuntary, was also an important factor in the population history of individual cities.

Article

Saskia Hin

Roman population size and population trends have been debated for long by proponents of low and high counts; these have recently been joined by proponents of a middle count. Each is based on a different interpretation of the enigmatic Roman census figures. Different understandings of patterns of death and disease, of marriage, of childbearing, and of infanticide follow on from these interpretations. Recent studies have added new perspectives, drawing on archaeological finds, and have started to pay more attention to migration flows.

There are two different kinds of questions historians might wish to ask about the population of the Roman world: How large was it or any of its constituent parts? And what were the patterns and tendencies of birth rates, death rates, and migration rates, with their implications for overall growth or decline?

Five sources of information offer imperfect answers to the first kind of question: census figures, mostly but not exclusively, for the Roman Republic and early Empire, where they served for taxation, military recruitment, and political purposes; figures relating to the feeding of (part of) the population of the city of Rome; occasional references to the population of particular cities or areas, usually without any possibility of knowing on what they were based; figures for the carrying capacity of different areas of the Roman world in the earliest post-Roman periods for which reasonably reliable figures exist; and, finally, archaeological survey evidence that provides indications of change in land use, and implicitly of population change over time.

Article

Graham Burton

Portoria were in origin duties on goods entering or leaving harbours, the upkeep of which was a charge on public funds. Such levies were made in Italian harbours under the republic, though they were temporarily abolished between 60 bce and *Caesar's dictatorship. In the late republic and Principate internal customs-duties (raised for revenue, not protective, purposes) were extended to the provinces and levied on the major traffic-routes; for this purpose several provinces might form a single unit (e.g. the Gallic or the Danubian provinces) in the sense that duty was raised at a uniform rate (often, as in Gaul, 2½ per cent) within the area. On the eastern frontiers, at least, customs duties, apparently fixed at 25 per cent, were levied on goods crossing the empire's borders. The collection of portoria had been let out to *publicani during the republic. In the main this procedure remained in force during the Principate, although there is some evidence in the 2nd cent. (from Illyricum at least) for a change to direct collection by state officials. In the Principate the process of collection was supervised either by the provincial procurator or by specially designated procurators responsible for the tax in a province (or group of provinces). For the inscription from *Ephesus detailing the schedule of the Asian portoria see M.

Article

poverty  

Neville Morley

Discussions of poverty in past societies almost always begin with the question of definition, and the problem of cross-cultural comparison. By most modern standards—in terms of education or health, for example, or the level of infant mortality—everyone in antiquity was poor, even compared with the present-day populations of India or sub-Saharan Africa, let alone the modern West. This is inevitable, given the limitations of premodern technology and hence of agricultural productivity; even the most optimistic views of ancient economic development would not deny that most people must have lived close to subsistence level.1 Considered in absolute terms, “mass structural poverty” has characterised all premodern societies, but that tells us little about the specific nature of ancient social structure, or about the significance of poverty in classical antiquity.The focus of economic historians in recent decades has therefore been on “relative” poverty within the premodern era. One line of research considers the societal level, that is, the level of development of classical Mediterranean societies compared with others. Was it true, as the Spartan Demaratus claimed to the Persian king Xerxes (according to Herodotus 7.102.1), that poverty (penia) was always Greece’s foster sister, but kept at bay by virtue? A similar ideological claim, grounding political and moral superiority in a taken-for-granted condition of limited means, is offered by Thucydides (1.

Article

prices  

Paul Erdkamp

While our sources mention numerous prices of a wide range of commodities, the question remains to what extent these prices offer insight into the ancient economy. Despite the wealth of data, reliable prices of everyday goods under normal market conditions are rare. The extent to which they can be used to analyze such topics as market integration, living standards, market stability, and inflation is limited. Only regarding Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt do we possess sufficient market prices (rather than imposed prices or valuations) to conduct meaningful analyses. For most of the rest of the empire, the prices—in particular those of everyday goods—are generally too uncertain, too sparse, and too diverse to form a solid basis for economic analysis. It is a valid question, moreover, to what extent prices in the ancient world reflect the interplay of supply and demand according to modern economic theory. Nevertheless, ancient writers depict price levels as depending on the interplay of supply and demand, and market transactions, as narrated in our sources, emphasizing competition and bargaining, make clear that price formation was largely determined by economic forces. Hence, prices fluctuated over time and differed in various places. The authorities tried to keep prices of staple foods low by influencing market conditions, but direct price fixing was rare.

Article

Andrew Lintott

Proletarii, as opposed to assidui, were the citizens of Rome too poor to contribute anything to the state except their children (proles). They seem to have been equated with the capite censi as persons who paid no tribute and were exempt from military service except in an emergency (*tumultus), when they were issued with armour and weapons. The alternative explanation produced in *Gellius (NA 16. 10), that the proletarii had property between 1,500 and 375 asses, while the capite censi had 375 or less, is not confirmed elsewhere nor can it be easily reconciled with the single century of capite censi/proletarii in the *comitiacenturiata.In the mid-2nd cent. bce direct taxation for Romans was suspended (see tributum) and the property qualification for military service was lowered. Nevertheless, the distinction between those who were sufficiently wealthy to be regarded as both sound citizens and reliable defenders of their country, and those who were not, remained important in Roman political ideology. C.

Article

Theodore John Cadoux and Robin Seager

Proscription, the publication of a notice, especially (1) a notice of a sale; (2) a list of Roman citizens who were declared outlaws and whose goods were confiscated. This procedure was used by *Sulla in 82–81 bce, and by M. *Antonius (2) (Mark Antony), M. *Aemilius Lepidus (3), and *Octavian in 43–42 as a means of getting rid of personal and political opponents and obtaining funds in virtue, or anticipation, of special powers of inappellable jurisdiction conferred on them as *dictator and *triumviri respectively. The proscribed were hunted down and executed in Rome and throughout Italy by squads of soldiers, and the co-operation of the victims' families and slaves and of the general public was sought by means of rewards and punishments.Despite some wild exaggeration in ancient sources and modern calculations, Sulla's proscription, in part an act of revenge for massacres in 87 and 82 by *Marius (1) and *(2), targeted no more than perhaps 520 persons.

Article

Ernst Badian

Since the Roman republic had only a rudimentary ‘civil service’ (see *apparitores) and primitive budgeting methods, the collection of public revenue, except for the *tributum, was sold as a public contract to the highest bidder, who reimbursed himself with what profit he could, at the tax rate set by the state. In addition, as in other states, there were contracts for public works, supplies and services (ultro tributa). The purchasers of these contracts provided the logistic background to the Roman victories in the *Punic Wars and in the eastern wars of the 2nd cent. bce, and managed the building of the Roman *roads. Roman expansion also expanded their activities; thus the traditional contracts for the exploitation of *mines were extended to the vastly profitable Spanish mines (see e.g. Strabo 3. 2. 10. 147–8c, from Polybius), and the profits of victory also financed a boom in public construction. Tax collection expanded correspondingly, as more harbours and toll stations came under Roman control and much conquered land became *ager publicus.

Article

purple  

Ludwig Alfred Moritz

Of the two main kinds of purple-yielding shellfish described by *Pliny (1) (HN 9. 125–41), purpura and pelagia (Greek πορφύρα) correspond to the Linnaean murex, murex and bucinum (κῆρυξ) to the smaller and less precious purpura haemostoma. In antiquity the purple of *Tyre always retained its primacy, but purple dyeing was practised also in the Greek cities of Asia, the Greek mainland and islands, S. Italy, and N. Africa. After being gathered or caught in baskets and killed suddenly to preserve the secretion, the molluscs were either opened (esp. the larger) or crushed. The mass was then left in salt for three days, extracted with water, and slowly inspissated to one-sixteenth of its original volume. Impurities were removed during this process, and the liquid was then tested with flocks of wool until the colour was right. Many shades within the violet–scarlet range, and even a bluish green, could be obtained by mixing the dyes from different species and by intercepting the photochemical reaction which gives the secretion its colour. (‘Twice-dyed’ (δίβαφος) Tyrian purple resulted from consecutive steeping in pelagium and bucinum.

Article

Ernst Badian and Tony Honoré

Quaestores parricidii (see parricidium) are said to have been appointed by the kings. Under the republic there were two, who prosecuted some capital cases before the people. They fade from our record by the 2nd cent. bce.Financial quaestors (perhaps not connected with them) were at first appointed by the consuls, one by each; after 447 bce (Tac.Ann. 11. 22) they were elected by the tribal assembly. Two were added when plebeians were admitted (421), to administer the *aerarium in Rome (hence urbani) under the senate's direction. Four more were instituted in 267 (Tac. loc. cit.; Livy, Per.15), perhaps called classici and stationed in various Italian towns, notably *Ostia (see food supply). More (we do not know how many and when) were added as various provinces were organized (Sicily even had two), until *Sulla, finding nineteen needed for all these duties, added one for the *water supply and raised the total to twenty.

Article

G. Herman

The idea that giving goods or rendering services imposed upon the recipient a moral obligation to respond pervaded Greek thought from its earliest documented history. Linguistically, the idea is most commonly signalled by the preposition anti, either by itself or attached to a noun or verb.Reciprocity was one of the central issues around which the moral existence of the Homeric heroes revolved; see homer. In the poems, it is consistently implied and sometimes plainly stated that a *gift or service should be repaid with a counter-gift or a counter-service. This need not be forthcoming immediately, and may not be in the same category as the original gift or service. In the long run, however, allowing for slight temporary imbalances, the gifts and services exchanged must be equal in value and bestow equal benefits upon both parties. In making this assumption the Homeric world differs significantly from that of the Old Testament, in which God rather than the recipient is said to requite both good and bad deeds. Gain, profit, and loss belonged in Homer to the world of traders, or to that of aristocrats engaged in plunder and spoliation. Reciprocity aimed at the forging of binding relationships (see friendship; greece; friendship, ritualized; marriage law) between status equals, from which a long series of unspecified mutual acts of assistance could be expected to flow.

Article

Ernst Badian and Andrew Lintott

Repetundae (pecuniae), (money) to be recovered. The quaestio de repetundis (see quaestiones) was a court established to secure compensation for the illegal acquisition of money or property by Romans in authority abroad. Before the establishment of the permanent quaestio, such offences were either brought before an assembly or tried by a panel of *recuperatores in a quasi-civil suit (Livy 43. 2). A civil procedure was also used originally to bring prosecutions in the quaestio, i.e. the actio sacramento, and a verdict of guilty was followed by an assessment of damages, *litis aestimatio, and simple repayment. C. *Sempronius Gracchus, finding this court corrupt and its senatorial jurors unwilling to convict fellow-senators, had a law passed (which may not be a lex Sempronia, but the lex Acilia mentioned by Cicero), of which major fragments survive on bronze (CIL 12. 583). It was a radical reform: those liable were now all senators, ex-magistrates, or their close relatives (but not *equites who did not fall into either of the last two categories); prosecution took place through denunciation to the *praetor, not a form of civil procedure; wronged parties or their delegates, even non-Romans, were themselves expected to prosecute; a 50-strong trial jury was drawn from an album of equites with no connections with the senate; the penalty was double repayment; rewards, including Roman citizenship, were offered to successful prosecutors; the whole trial procedure was set out in minute detail with emphasis on openness and accountability.

Article

Fergus Graham Burtholme Millar and Graham Burton

Salarium is a term used in the imperial period to denote regular payments to officials. *Augustus instituted the making of regular payments to senatorial and equestrian officials in the provinces (Cassius Dio 53. 15). The word salarium was used (Tac.Agr.42) for the pay of a proconsul which was 1,000,000 sesterces p.a. It is not specifically attested for the different sums paid to *procuratores. Fronto, for example, writes of stipendia (Ad Ant. P. 10). It is also used, for example, of the payment by the emperor to his quaestor Augusti (ILS 8973), payments by an emperor or governor to his comites (Suet.Tib.46; Dig. 1. 22. 4; 50. 13. 1. 8), and the payment by the *fiscus to regular advocati fisci. A few inscriptions are known in which soldiers, mostly evocati of the praetorian cohorts, describe themselves as salarii.

Article

Robert I. Curtis

The Mediterranean Sea dominated Greco-Roman society in many ways, but none more importantly than as a source of food. Early Punic settlers in the West and later Greeks and Romans, motivated by the need for long-term storage and commercial transportation of highly spoilable marine products, developed methods for salting fish that have persisted, albeit in more technically sophisticated ways, into modern times. Salted fish products took two basic forms, salt-fish (salsamentum, tarichos) and fish sauce (garum, liquamen, allec, muria). The former served as an appetite enhancer during the gustatio; the latter was the primary condiment used in food preparation and consumption. In addition, both products had perceived dietary and therapeutic value. Ancient literary, epigraphic, papyrological, and archaeological sources show that salt-fish products were produced at family, artisanal, and industrial levels and played a significant role in long-distance trade. Greeks and especially Romans, for whom evidence is more plentiful, established processing centers at places on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, including in some urban areas, that offered sources for fresh water, salt, and fish, particularly pelagic species. Extant remains of fish salteries (cetariae), especially in Spain, North Africa, and the Black Sea, display consistent patterns of vat construction, arrangement, and operation that imply a common origin for the salting process. The most active period of production of and commerce in salted fish occurred between the 1st century bce and the 3rd century ce, with some installations active into the early 6th century ce.

Article

Arnaldo Momigliano and Tim Cornell

In the time of the *Gracchi (c.133–121 bce) the senate was a body of around 300 wealthy men of aristocratic birth, most of them ex-magistrates. Although the sources tend to assume that this state of affairs had always existed, in fact it was the product of historical development and change. Since in the early republic there were very few magistrates, and iteration of office was common, it follows that there was a time when either the majority of senators had never held a magistracy, or their number was considerably less than 300. Probably both conclusions are true for the 5th cent. This must cast doubt on the notion that the number 300 is connected with the three tribes and thirty curiae (see curia(1)); in fact there is no basis for this theory in the ancient sources, and tradition itself implicitly denies it in maintaining that *Romulus, who founded the tribes (see tribus) and curiae, chose 100 men to form the first senate.

Article

Claire Holleran

Almost all inhabitants of the ancient world were dependent to varying degrees on retailers to supply them with at least some food items, raw materials, or manufactured goods, and this was particularly true of urban inhabitants. While the amount of built commercial space increased in the Hellenistic period and was a particular feature of Roman urban centres, we cannot trace a simple linear development from periodic markets through to permanent shops. Instead the retail trade remained varied throughout antiquity, consisting of periodic and permanent markets, shops and workshops, and street stalls and ambulant hawkers, all of which performed complementary roles within an integrated network of distribution. The size of the local market, however, inevitably had an impact on the organisation of the retail trade, with increased specialisation and clustering of trades possible in larger urban centres, where a wider range of products was typically available to the consumer and capital investment in dedicated commercial space was encouraged by the level of demand for goods. Ancient shopping was an immersive and interactive experience. Prices fluctuated in response to market pressures and were very often arrived at through haggling and bargaining. Markets, shops, and streets were as much places of social interaction as they were of shopping, and men and women mixed freely as both buyers and sellers. Advertising and marketing may have been rudimentary, but the attempts by retailers to maximise sales contributed to the colorful and vibrant nature of the ancient commercial environment; the open doorways of shops and workshops facilitated interaction between those inside and outside, and goods, sellers, and customers often spilled out onto the street, while painted notices and signs displayed goods for sale, and the distinctive shouts of sellers competed loudly for the attention of potential customers.