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The City in Roman Palestine$
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Daniel Sperber

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780195098822

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195098822.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 June 2021

Administration and Organization of the Market

Administration and Organization of the Market

Chapter:
(p.26) 2 Administration and Organization of the Market
Source:
The City in Roman Palestine
Author(s):

Daniel Sperber

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780195098822.003.0006

To operate a market, or fair, individuals and communities needed the sanction of the Roman senate or the emperor. We are told that the Emperor Claudius held markets on his estates. Pliny mentions in one of his Letters that “Sollers, a man of praetorian rank, petitioned the Senate to be allowed to establish a market on his estate. His petition was opposed by envoys from Vicetia—no doubt because there was a market in that town which stood to lose from Sollers’ competition.” An inscription from 138 C.E. describes how a new market was established at Casae in the Roman province of Africa Proconsularis. The founding of this market required a specific vote of the Senate at Rome and granted Lucilius Africanus, a senator, permission to hold a market twice a month on a regular basis. The official decision of the Senate was formulated as follows: … Concerning this matter the senate decreed as follows: that Lucilius Africanus, vir clarissimus, be permitted to establish and maintain a market at Casae in the province of Africa, Beguensian district, territory of the Musulamians, on November 2 and 20 and every month there in the fourth day before the Nones and the twelfth day before the Kalends, and that people from the neighbourhood be permitted to gather and assemble there for the convenience of attending market only, without harm or inconvenience to anyone. … … But what was the real effect of the decision of the Roman Senate? John E. Stanbaugh gives us a hint in his book The Ancient Roman City: “Lurking clearly between the lines of the inscription are the prospect of big profits for Lucilius and the desire of the authorities that the market not become the focus of any political activity.” Normally, after receiving permission to establish a market, it became subject to the authority of the city prefect. Cicero writes that “there will be aediles who will oversee the city’s markets, merchandise, and food supplies. … ”, while from the Digesta we learn that “It is his job to see that meat is offered for sale at a fair price, and for this reason the swine market is … under his supervision. Similarly other livestock which are used to provide meat are within his jurisdiction.”

Keywords:   Ateles, Digesta, Eating places, Fairs, Inns, Kalendae, Meches, Officium, Pagan festivals, Saturnalia

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