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Building Mid-Republican RomeLabor, Architecture, and the Urban Economy$
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Seth Bernard

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190878788

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190878788.001.0001

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The Labor Supply of Mid-Republican Rome

The Labor Supply of Mid-Republican Rome

(p.159) 6 The Labor Supply of Mid-Republican Rome
Building Mid-Republican Rome

Seth Bernard

Oxford University Press

Rome’s building industry shows unprecedented and sustained energy starting in the early third century. The structures of labor that supported this building boom are detailed here using literary and epigraphic evidence. The collapse of forms of dependent labor by ca. 300 BCE coincided with the rise of an urban labor supply characterized by slave- and free-wage labor. We detect signs of significant demographic growth at Rome in this period, and much of this increase was owed to immigrating labor. On the one hand, an active slave market pushed labor to the capital; on the other hand, we see at Rome all the prerequisites for wage-labor, even without direct evidence for wages. It is argued that freely mobile workers formed some significant part of the expansion of the city’s labor supply. The epigraphic corpus relating to the city’s working population in this period also suggests a picture of urban workers of various personal statuses.

Keywords:   Slavery, labor market, city of Rome, urban economy, urban production

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