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Imperial Mines and Quarries in the Roman WorldOrganizational Aspects 27 BC-AD 235$
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Alfred Michael Hirt

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572878

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572878.001.0001

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Mining and Quarrying Districts

Mining and Quarrying Districts

(p.48) 3 Mining and Quarrying Districts
Imperial Mines and Quarries in the Roman World

Alfred Michael Hirt

Oxford University Press

Mining and quarrying operations under imperial control appear to have taken place within a strictly defined territorial entity distinct from the colonial, municipal and ‘tribal’ territories within a province. The existence of such districts (termed metallum or territoria metallorum) is highlighted most prominently in the Vipasca tablets. Some scholars have tried to identify further imperial mining and quarrying districts (e.g. patrimonium regni Norici), their extent, and their setting within the ancient landscape of Roman provinces. The legal sources, coinage (nummi metallorum), and further written evidence is explored in order to verify or falsify the hypothesis of vast mining districts. The chapter then addresses the question of ownership of mining and quarrying ventures. Besides evidence for municipal or private ownership of extractive operations, it is argued that quarries and mines might have been owned publicly, yet were in fact controlled and run by the Roman emperor.

Keywords:   district, metallum, territoria metallorum, emperor, Vipasca, ownership, public, private, patrimonium regni Norici

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