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Rome's Economic Revolution$
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Philip Kay

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199681549

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199681549.001.0001

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Investment Farming and Agricultural Exploitation

Investment Farming and Agricultural Exploitation

(p.130) (p.131) 7 Investment Farming and Agricultural Exploitation
Rome's Economic Revolution

Philip Kay

Oxford University Press

Coinciding with the influx of overseas bullion, the intensity of slave-based farming by the Roman elite increased. It was focused on the production of cash crops on medium-sized estates in central-western Italy, as Cato indicates. Contemporaneously, the peasant population appears to have experienced moderate demographic expansion and to have suffered a decline in living standards, although it slowly recovered as a result of the privatization of the land it received under the Gracchan reforms. The Roman elite, who had bought privatized ager publicus at the end of the Hannibalic war, now owned the most economically productive land in Italy: close to the expanding market of Rome and, as evidenced by shipwrecks, to the ports from which they exported their wine and olive oil to the western Mediterranean. They had also gained the means to invest in a more profitable system of agriculture, investment farming, using new technologies and techniques.

Keywords:   slave, investment farming, agriculture, estates, technologies, shipwrecks, wine, peasant, Cato, Gracchan reforms

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