Agriculture Archive

  • A major research project that will examine the history of people and chickens has been awarded £1,940,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

    What did man eat first – the chicken or the egg?

    A major research project that will examine the history of people and chickens has been awarded £1,940,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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  • Because no single discipline or explanation seems adequate to understandthis practice, the search draws data from biology, anthropology, ancient history, mythology, religion, and ecology. Some have dismissed religious explanations as ar- bitrary and tautological, but the information provided in this article shows that religious beliefs are important.

    Pigs and Their Prohibition

    Because no single discipline or explanation seems adequate to understandthis practice, the search draws data from biology, anthropology, ancient history, mythology, religion, and ecology. Some have dismissed religious explanations as ar- bitrary and tautological, but the information provided in this article shows that religious beliefs are important.

    Continue Reading...

  • Did the first Christian Roman emperor appropriate the pagan festival of Saturnalia to celebrate the birth of Christ? Matt Salusbury weighs the evidence.

    Did the Romans Invent Christmas?

    Did the first Christian Roman emperor appropriate the pagan festival of Saturnalia to celebrate the birth of Christ? Matt Salusbury weighs the evidence.

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  • The answer I propose is: (1) only at a certain point in human cognitive evolution did it become possible for Homo sapiens to transcend certain biological limitations of the human brain by cultural means; and (2) this increased mental facility was made necessary by the reliance on larger and more cohesive social groups, itself a product of hominin evolution.

    New light on Neolithic revolution in south-west Asia

    The answer I propose is: (1) only at a certain point in human cognitive evolution did it become possible for Homo sapiens to transcend certain biological limitations of the human brain by cultural means; and (2) this increased mental facility was made necessary by the reliance on larger and more cohesive social groups, itself a product of hominin evolution.

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  • The result of a collaboration between four young archaeologists at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Cambridge, and the Universit

    Excavating the Roman Peasant

    The result of a collaboration between four young archaeologists at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Cambridge, and the Universit

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  • In this dissertation, I examine the magical practices of Roman farmers, primarily through the Latin farming manuals.

    Roman Agricultural Magic

    In this dissertation, I examine the magical practices of Roman farmers, primarily through the Latin farming manuals.

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  • My approach to land rights is social and economic rather than juristic. In other words, I am not interested in the interpretation of ancient legal terms according to Roman or civil law categories, which risks imposing rigid categories on social relations that have little explanatory power...In this paper, I use the economic concepts of communal and private land rights to illuminate these relations.

    Communal Agriculture in the Ptolemaic and Roman Fayyum

    My approach to land rights is social and economic rather than juristic. In other words, I am not interested in the interpretation of ancient legal terms according to Roman or civil law categories, which risks imposing rigid categories on social relations that have little explanatory power...In this paper, I use the economic concepts of communal and private land rights to illuminate these relations.

    Continue Reading...

  • The real question is not what the data reveal about change over time: it is what we would need to know in order to determine whether these data reflect extensive or intensive economic growth; why any such growth occurred, abated, and ceased; and how it related to the distribution of incomes.

    In search of Roman economic growth

    The real question is not what the data reveal about change over time: it is what we would need to know in order to determine whether these data reflect extensive or intensive economic growth; why any such growth occurred, abated, and ceased; and how it related to the distribution of incomes.

    Continue Reading...

  • This paper takes as a starting point Keith Hopkins’ basic article, “Rome, taxes, rents and trade.”1 Walter Scheidel’s introduction to the article described it as “...the only comprehensive attempt to explain the dynamics of the Roman imperial economy currently available....

    Human capital and the growth of the Roman economy

    This paper takes as a starting point Keith Hopkins’ basic article, “Rome, taxes, rents and trade.”1 Walter Scheidel’s introduction to the article described it as “...the only comprehensive attempt to explain the dynamics of the Roman imperial economy currently available....

    Continue Reading...

  • Different ways of estimating the Gross Domestic Product of the Roman Empire in the second century CE produce convergent results that point to total output and consumption equivalent to 50 million tons of wheat or close to 20 billion sesterces per year. It is estimated that elites (around 1.5 per cent of the imperial population) controlled approximately one-fifth of total income while middling households (perhaps 10 percent of the population) consumed another fifth. These findings shed new light on the scale of economic inequality and the distribution of demand in the Roman world.

    The size of the economy and the distribution of income in the Roman Empire

    Different ways of estimating the Gross Domestic Product of the Roman Empire in the second century CE produce convergent results that point to total output and consumption equivalent to 50 million tons of wheat or close to 20 billion sesterces per year. It is estimated that elites (around 1.5 per cent of the imperial population) controlled approximately one-fifth of total income while middling households (perhaps 10 percent of the population) consumed another fifth. These findings shed new light on the scale of economic inequality and the distribution of demand in the Roman world.

    Continue Reading...