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The Romans and Trade$
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André Tchernia

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198723714

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198723714.001.0001

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Meeting Needs

Meeting Needs

(p.115) 5 Meeting Needs
The Romans and Trade

André Tchernia

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses the diversity of trade in the Roman Empire. A wide range of business was conducted during this period, from the hawkers who peddled their wares by land and sea to larger ventures involving the mass transport of goods over long distances, which required harbours, warehouses, roads, and networks of traders. As Rome began to profit from its conquests and expand into an outsized super-city, the conduct of the market shifted to accommodate the demands of a growing population. The commercial flow of goods during Republican and Imperial times is contrasted: in the former cross-cultural trade was the model, in the latter Rome and the armies were the essential motors. The author concludes that trade in the Roman world cannot be described by a single model and that an examination of the competitive spirit in the mindset of Roman traders would be fruitful.

Keywords:   diversity of trade, super-city, cross-cultural trade, competitive spirit, networks of traders

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