Studies on the economy of the Ancient World
The ultimate goal of our data collection is to carry out a study on the Ancient Economy based on the research of the production and distribution of food.
The economy of the ancient world is fundamentally defined by the production and distribution of foodstuffs, and agriculture was the main occupation of a vast majority of the population.
The Roman Empire was based on a single-person power, the emperor, whose main preoccupation was to secure social peace within the city of Rome, whose citizens were the only with full political power. In exchange of their political acquiescence, the emperor protected the city from famines. “panem et circenses”, as it was nicely put by the poet Juvenal.
On the other hand, the formation of the Empire was in need of a professionalized army willing to protect the extensive borders of the Roman state. The army was rearranged by Augustus, whose recruits did not pledge allegiance to the Republic anymore, but to the emperor, who was in charge of their stipend, retirement compensations and their provisions in times of war and peace.
By these premises, our investigations have provided new food for thought on the supply system both to the city of Rome and the army. This has led us to the study of the role played by each of the Roman provinces, labeled as ‘provincial interdependency in the Ancient World’. We study how each of these provinces was exploited according to the different needs of Rome and its army, how these provinces were transformed, how the provincial elites influenced on the political development of the empire and how the organization of supply affected the political progress of the Roman empire.
The new EPNet project, thanks to the new tools at our disposal, as well as the collaboration with IT professionals, physicists and experts on simulation, will allow us to validate or reformulate the current theories on the Ancient Economy.