The Roman Agricultural Economy: Organization, Investment, and Production

ISBN : 9780199665723

Alan Bowman; Andrew Wilson
352 Pages
162 x 240 mm
Pub date
May 2013
Oxford Studies on the Roman Economy
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This volume is a collection of studies which presents new analyses of the nature and scale of Roman agriculture in the Mediterranean world from c. 100 BC to AD 350. It provides a clear understanding of the fundamental features of Roman agricultural production through studying the documentary and archaeological evidence for the modes of land exploitation and the organisation, development of, and investment in this sector of the Roman economy. Moving substantially beyond the simple assumption that agriculture was the dominant sector of the ancient economy, the volume explores what was special and distinctive about it, especially with a view of its development and integration during a period of expansion and prosperity across the empire. The papers exemplify a range of possible approaches to studying and, within limits, quantifying aspects of Roman agricultural production, marshalling a large quantity of evidence, chiefly archaeological and papyrological, to address important questions of the organisation and performance of this sector in the Roman world.


1. Introduction: Quantifying Roman Agriculture
2. The State and Production in the Roman Agrarian Economy
3. GIS Models of Roman Agricultural Production
4. Agricultural Production in the Hinterland of Rome: Wine and Olive Oil
5. Capital Investment and Agriculture: Multi-Press Facilities from Gaul, the Iberian Peninsula and the Black Sea region
6. The Rural Landscape of Thugga: Farms, Presses, Mills and Transport
7. Agricultural Productivity in Roman Egypt
8. The Agricultural Economy of the Mendesian Nome during the Roman Period
9. Mechanical irrigation: water-lifting devices in the archaeological evidence and in the Egyptian papyri
10. Agriculture in the Faynan: Food Supply for Industry

About the author: 

Alan Bowman is Principal of Brasenose College and Emeritus Camden Professor of Ancient History at Oxford University. His research interests focus on papyrology, the Vindolanda Writing-Tablets, and the social and economic history of Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt and the Roman Empire.; Andrew Wilson is Professor of the Archaeology of the Roman Empire and Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and Chairman of the Society for Libyan Studies. He has directed excavations in Italy, Tunisia, and Libya, and is the author of numerous articles on ancient water supply, ancient technology, economy, and trade.

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