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Epigraphy and the Historical Sciences$
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John Davies and John Wilkes

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265062

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265062.001.0001

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Epigraphy and the Economy of the Roman Empire

Epigraphy and the Economy of the Roman Empire

(p.248) (p.249) 11 Epigraphy and the Economy of the Roman Empire
Epigraphy and the Historical Sciences

Giovanni Salmeri

British Academy

Rostovtzeff's study of the Roman Empire (1926) cites many inscriptions in the notes but rarely does their evidence figure in the argument of the main text. Since then, many have used inscriptions for more local or specific themes, notably by L. Robert in reconstructing the trading economy of cities in Asia Minor (Nicomedia and Kaunos). Rostovtzeff's dismissal of the economic significance of fairs and markets has also been successfully challenged by studies based on epigraphic evidence. M. Finlay's insistence (1973) on the primitive character of the Roman economy has stimulated arguments that still continue. Trading patterns have been detected in some commodities, e.g. sulphur, from Sicily and Aegean Melos. Monumental construction by emperors, notably Trajan, have been ascribed to economic motives but most have opted to place them in a military or general political context.

Keywords:   M. Rostovtzeff, trade, markets, M. Finley, sulphur, motives for building

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