Land and Labour: Studies in Roman Social and Economic History (Saggi Di Storia Antica, Book 37)
Modern scholarship dealing with the economy of the ancient worldhas developed rapidly in recent decades. Studies of ancienteconomic structures and history have in many respects achievestandards as a discipline comparable to those of economic history,using models and scenarios exactly as it is frequently seen instudies of later periods with better sources. The best example isperhaps the historical demography of Roman Italy. It was a marginalfield of research until the early 1990s, but is now one of the keysubjects in the study of Roman economy with a lively debate betweenthe followers of a low count reconstruction of the demographicdevelopment in Roman Italy versus the scholars who favour a highcount. Furthermore, quantitative studies have become seriousscholarship and are no longer despised as only number games' as isapparent, for instance, from the new Oxford Roman Economy Project.'This is due to the great amount of published archaeologicalmaterial such as terra sigillata, amphorae and shipwrecks. It isalso illustrated by the shift from the predominant orthodoxy of theprimitivism in the 1970s and 1980s to theoretical andmethodological orientations inspired by the so-called NewInstitutional Economics and a diversity of approaches. But it hasalso rightly been pointed out that the struggle betweenprimitivists' and modernists' , which still, a century later,continues to haunt scholarly discussions, often under the revealingname of minimalists and maximalists, signifying that the problemhas often wrongly been reduced to one of quantities, mainly oftrade. All the chapters of this book were originally published asarticles or contributions to proceedings of different conferencesbetween 1990 and 2010.