Term Paper On Roman Empire

Roman History Term Paper Topics: 15 Unique Ideas

Whether you are studying classics, learning Latin, or simply taking part in a history course, you may be required to write a term paper on the subject of Roman history. With the Roman Empire having spanned several centuries, and have had a huge influence on a vast area of the globe, there are numerous different things that you can write about.

For example, you may wish to talk about the Roman army and how it was organised, or possibly you may wish to talk about any specific military leaders. Alternatively, you may wish to examine various leaders of the Empire as a whole, such as Julius Caesar, Nero, or any of the other famous emperors who ruled during that time. In fact, as well as looking at some of the more famous leaders, you may wish to complete your term paper on a topic relating to one of the less well-known Roman emperors.

Another thing that the Romans were famous for was there ingenuity and inventions. In fact, some inventions from that era are still used today; such was the genius and success of the inventions created during that time. As you can see, there are plenty of topics that you can use for your term paper; however, to give you a head start, you may wish to take a look at some of the ideas below.

  1. What caused the end of the Roman Empire?
  2. An analysis of Roman road building techniques
  3. What influence did Roman organisational skills - in relation to armies - have on present-day military formations?
  4. An analysis of how the rich and the poor lived in Roman times?
  5. How big was the Roman Empire?
  6. The life and times of Julius Caesar
  7. How accurately is the Roman Empire depicted in modern-day films and television shows?
  8. An in-depth study into Roman gods and religion during the time of the Roman Empire
  9. And analysis of the history of Latin and how it is still important today
  10. An in-depth study of the legal status assigned to different Roman citizens and other people during the era of the Roman Empire
  11. What did the Romans eat?
  12. What role did women play during the year of the Roman Empire, and how were they treated?
  13. The justice system during the era of the Roman Empire
  14. A study of Roman emperors and how the Empire was governed
  15. How did taxation work during the time of the Roman Empire?

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Working Papers by Subject - Roman History

051301Framing Portraits and Persons: the Small Herculaneum Woman statue type and the construction of identity
Jennifer Trimble, Stanford University
Abstract - This paper explores the framing of portraits of women in the second century CE through three examples of the so-called Small Herculaneum Woman statue type. Relevant juxtapositions include head and body, image and text, sculpture and setting, singularity and replication. Over the long histories of these portraits, their viewing frames have also changed drastically, reshaped by re-use, spoliage, damage or abandonment, colonialist archaeologies, and museum practices that now privilege a very modern, contemplative viewing of “art”.

051301Corpore enormi: the rhetoric of physical appearance in Suetonius and imperial portrait statuary!
Jennifer Trimble, Stanford University
Abstract - This paper explores rhetorical constructions of what the Roman emperor looked like, focusing on the apparently irreconcilable descriptions in Suetonius’ Twelve Caesars and in imperial portrait statues of the same men.

051303Reception theory and!Roman sculpture
Jennifer Trimble, Stanford University
Abstract - This paper considers four approaches to viewing and reception in relation to recent studies of Roman sculpture: historical reception as represented by Hans Robert Jauss, reception aesthetics as formulated by Wolfgang Iser, social historical studies of art, and approaches that focus on the power of images and viewers’ responses to that power. One goal is to show how different research questions involve different methods, focus on different evidence, and produce different results. Another goal is to argue that, although the historical/contextual study of Roman art has dominated the field since the 1970s and 80s, productive alternatives have also emerged.

041307Explaining the maritime freight charges in Diocletian’s Price Edict
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - Geospatial modeling enables us to relate the maritime freight charges imposed by the tetrarchic price controls of 301 CE to simulated sailing time. This exercise demonstrates that price variation is to a large extent a function of variation in sailing time and suggests that the published rates are more realistic than previously assumed.

041306The shape of the Roman world
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - Ancient societies were shaped by logistical constraints that are almost unimaginable to modern observers. “ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World” (http://orbis.stanford.edu) for the first time allows us to understand the true cost of distance in building and maintaining a huge empire with premodern technology. This paper explores various ways in which this novel Digital Humanities tool changes and enriches our understanding of ancient history.

041301Slavery and forced labor in early China and the Roman world
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - The use of coerced labor in the form of chattel slavery in the private sector has long been regarded as one of the defining characteristics of some of the best-known economies of the ancient Mediterranean. It may even have been critical in producing the surplus that sustained the ruling class. In early China, by contrast, forced labor (often by convicts) appears to have been concentrated in the public sector. This paper is a first attempt to study these systems comparatively in order to investigate whether these differences were genuine and significant, and whether they can be related to observed outcomes in terms of economic and socio-political development.

041201State revenue and expenditure in the Han and Roman empires
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - Comparative analysis of the sources of income of the Han and Roman imperial states and of the ways in which these polities allocated state revenue reveals both similarities and differences. While it seems likely that the governments of both empires managed to capture a similar share of GDP, the Han state may have more heavily relied on direct taxation of agrarian output and people. By contrast, the mature Roman empire derived a large share of its income from domains and levies that concentrated on mining and trade. Collection of taxes on production probably fell far short of nominal rates. Han officialdom consistently absorbed more public spending than its Roman counterpart, whereas Roman rulers allocated a larger share of state revenue to agents drawn from the upper ruling class and to the military. This discrepancy was a function of different paths of state formation and may arguably have had long-term consequences beyond the fall of both empires.

091101Who Are You? Africa and Africans
Brent D. Shaw, Princeton University
Abstract - This is the third revised version of a chapter being prepared for the Whiley-Blackwell Companion to Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean.
This paper replaces 081102 originally posted in August 2011.

081102Who Are You? Africa and Africans
Brent D. Shaw, Princeton University
This paper has been revised. See 091101 entry.

081101Slavery in the Roman Provinces: North Africa
Brent D. Shaw, Princeton University
Abstract - This is the second corrected draft of a piece being prepared for the Mainz Academy’s CD- ROM encyclopaedic reference work Handwörterbuch der antiken Sklaverei.
This paper replaces 051102 originally posted in May 2011.

061101Who Are You? Africans and Africa
Brent D. Shaw, Princeton University
This paper has been revised. See 081102 entry.

051102Slavery in the Roman Provinces: North Africa
Brent D. Shaw, Princeton University
This paper has been revised. See 081101 entry.

011101Roman Callimachus forthcoming in B. Acosta Hughes and S. Stephens (eds.), The Brill Companion to Callimachus
Alessandro Barchiesi, Stanford University
Abstract: A rehearsal of the influence and appropriation of Callimachus in Roman letters, intended as introductory reading for students and non-specialists. Includes short case-studies and exemplification, with an emphasis on the agendas, poetics, and rhetoric of Roman poets.

111001Identity Theft: Masquerades and Impersonations in the Contemporary Books of Cassius Dio
Maud W. Gleason, Stanford University
Abstract - The contemporary books of Cassius Dio’s Roman History are known (to the extent that they are read) for their anecdotal quality and lack of interpretive sophistication. This paper aims to recuperate another layer of meaning for Dio’s anecdotes by examining episodes in his contemporary books that feature masquerades and impersonation. It suggests that these themes owe their prominence to political conditions in Dio’s lifetime, particularly the revival, after a hundred-year lapse, of usurpation and damnatio memoriae, practices that rendered personal identity problematic. The central claim is that narratives in Dio’s last books use masquerades and impersonation to explore paradoxes of personal identity and signification, issues made salient by abrupt changes of social position at the highest levels of imperial society.
This paper replaces (110901) originally published in November 2009. It has now been published in Classical Antiquity 30 (2011), pp. 33-86.

091007Approaching the Roman economy
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - This paper introduces current approaches to the study of the Roman economy. It discusses ways of measuring Roman economic performance, the uses of historical comparison, and competing models of economic behavior, and stresses the importance of ecological factors. It concludes with an appendix summarizing evidence for climatic conditions in the Roman period.

091005Roman real wages in context
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - This paper presents and discusses evidence of real incomes in the Roman period. It shows that real wages rose in response to demographic contractions. There is no evidence that would support the assumption that Roman economic growth raised real wages for workers. However, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence: relevant data are scarce and highly unevenly distributed in time and space.

091003Slavery in the Roman economy
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - This paper discusses the location of slavery in the Roman economy. It deals with the size and distribution of the slave population and the economics of slave labor and offers a chronological sketch of the development of Roman slavery.

091002Coin quality, coin quantity, and coin value in early China and the Roman world
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - In ancient China, early bronze ‘tool money’ came to be replaced by round bronze coins that were supplemented by uncoined gold and silver bullion, whereas in the Greco-Roman world, precious-metal coins dominated from the beginnings of coinage. Chinese currency is often interpreted in ‘nominalist’ terms, and although a ‘metallist’ perspective used be common among students of Greco-Roman coinage, putatively fiduciary elements of the Roman currency system are now receiving growing attention. I argue that both the intrinsic properties of coins and the volume of the money supply were the principal determinants of coin value and that fiduciary aspects must not be overrated. These principles apply regardless of whether precious-metal or base-metal currencies were dominant.
This paper replaces (090902) originally published in January 2010.

091001Physical wellbeing in the Roman world
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - This paper presents and discusses evidence of physical wellbeing in the Roman period. It covers life expectancy, mortality patterns, and skeletal evidence such as body height, cranial lesions, and dental defects. These data reveal both commonalities and significant regional variation within the Roman Empire.
This paper replaces (011002) originally published in January 2010.

081001Review of T. V. Evans and D. D. Obbink (eds.), The Language of the Papyri
Joshua Katz, Princeton University
Abstract - This is a review, commissioned by and written for Bryn Mawr Classical Review, of an excellent collection of papers on the language — really, languages — found in Greek and Latin papyri and related sources from the third century B.C. to the seventh/eighth century A.D. Many of the contributions deserve a wider readership than I expect they will receive.

061001Sweating Truth in Ancient Carthage
Adrienne Mayor, Stanford University
Abstract: Richard Miles’s Carthage Must Be Destroyed (2010) justifies a new look at Gustave Flaubert’s controversial novel Salammbô (1862). An abridged version of this essay appeared as “Pacesetter,” London Review of Books 32 (June 2010): 30-31.

021003Age and health in Roman Egypt
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - Prepared for a forthcoming handbook of Roman Egypt, this paper surveys ancient and comparative evidence and modern interpretations of life expectancy, mortality patterns, and disease in ancient Egypt.

011002Physical wellbeing in the Roman world
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Revised September 2010. See entry 091001.

011001Roman wellbeing and the economic consequences of the ‘Antonine Plague’
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University (with a contribution by John Sutherland)
Abstract - This paper responds to recent scholarship by Willem Jongman and Geoffrey Kron that has tried to make a case for elevated levels of prosperity and physical wellbeing in the first two centuries of the Roman imperial monarchy. The relevance of various putative indicators is critiqued. Demographic data as well as anthropometric evidence consistently point to high levels of morbidity and mortality and substantial developmental stress. This evidence is incompatible with an optimistic interpretation of living conditions in that period. The second part of the paper revisits previous arguments concerning the impact of the so-called ‘Antonine Plague’ of the late second century CE. Papyrological data from Roman Egypt indicate a shift in the ratio of land to labor that is logically consistent with a significant demographic contraction. At the same time, comparative evidence from other periods suggests that the scale of this contraction must not be overrated.
This paper replaces (090903) originally published in September 2009.

110901Identity Theft: Masquerades and Impersonations in the Contemporary Books of Cassius Dio
Maud W. Gleason, Stanford University
Revised November 2010. See entry 111001.

100901Magna mihi copia est memorandi: Modes of Historiography in the Speeches of Caesar and Cato (Sallust, "Bellum Catilinae" 51-4)
Andrew Feldherr, Princeton University
Abstract: This paper analyzes the historiographic dimension of the paired speeches of Caesar and Cato at the climax of Sallust’s Bellum Catilinae. Where Caesar stresses the continuities between past and present and so the capacity of history, rationally analyzed, to offer general precepts for political behavior, Cato by contrast stresses the radical difference of the past. Each perspective allows a different reading of Sallust’s own narrative. Yet rather than privileging one point of view over the other, Sallust uses the tension between them to focus attention on the question of what history is for in an age of civil discord.

090904Real wages in early economies: Evidence for living standards from 1800 BCE to 1300 CE
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - Price and wage data from Roman Egypt in the first three centuries CE indicate levels of real income for unskilled workers that are comparable to those implied by price and wage data in Diocletian’s price edict of 301 CE and to those documented in different parts of Europe and Asia in the eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries. In all these cases, consumption was largely limited to goods that were essential for survival and living standards must have been very modest. A survey of daily wages expressed in terms of wheat in different Afroeurasian societies from 1800 BCE to 1300 CE yields similar results: with a few exceptions, real incomes of unskilled laborers tended to be very low.
This paper replaces (030801) originally published in March 2008.

090903Roman wellbeing and the economic consequences of the ‘Antonine Plague’
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
This paper paper has been removed at the request of the author.

090902Coin quality, coin quantity, and coin value in early China and the Roman world
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Revised September 2010. See entry 091002.

040902A comparative perspective on the determinants of the scale and productivity of maritime trade in the Roman Mediterranean
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - The scale and productivity of maritime trade is a function of environmental conditions, political processes and economic development that determine demand, and more specifically of trading costs. Trading costs are the sum of transportation costs (comprised of the cost of carriage and the cost of risk, most notably predation), transaction costs and financing costs. Comparative evidence from the medieval and early modern periods shows that the cost of predation (caused by war, privateering, piracy, and tolls) and commercial organization (which profoundly affects transaction and financing costs as well as the cost of carriage) have long been the most important determinants of overall trading costs. This suggests that conditions in the Roman period were unusually favorable for maritime trade. Technological innovation, by contrast, was primarily an endogenous function of broader political and economic developments and should not be viewed as a major factor in the expansion of commerce in this period.

040901Demography, disease, and death in the ancient city of Rome
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - This paper surveys textual and physical evidence of disease and mortality in the city of Rome in the late republican and imperial periods. It emphasizes the significance of seasonal mortality data and the weaknesses of age at death records and paleodemographic analysis, considers the complex role of environmental features and public infrastructure, and highlights the very considerable promise of scientific study of skeletal evidence of stress and disease.
This paper replaces version 1.0 (020903) originally published in February 2009.

030901Itinera Tiberi
Edward Champlin, Princeton University
Abstract: Intended as a guide for quick reference, this paper tabulates all of the known movements of the princeps Tiberius from birth to death.

020903Demography, disease, and death in the ancient city of Rome
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Revised April 2009. See entry 040901.

010904Horatian Lyric and the Vergilian Golden Age
A. T. Zanker, Princeton University
Abstract - Recent scholarship has focused on the way in which Horace avoids speaking of a returning golden age in his later poetry, even though Vergil had done precisely this in the sixth book of his epic. I argue that Horace realized that the concept was a problematic one; the golden ages constructed by the earlier tradition had been marked by characteristics that could never be achieved in reality. Horace therefore avoids the problematic terminology, instead defining the Augustan new age on his own terms.
This paper is now forthcoming in American Journal of Philology December 2010.
010903Monogamy and polygyny
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract -This paper discusses Greco-Roman practices of monogamy and polygyny for a forthcoming handbook on the ancient family.

010902Economy and quality of life in the Roman world
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract -This paper surveys recent trends in the study of economic development and human well-being in the Roman world.

010901The size of the economy and the distribution of income in the Roman Empire
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University; and Stephen Friesen, University of Texas
Abstract - 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.
This paper replaces version 1.0 (110801) originally published in November 2008.
This paper has now been published in Journal of Roman Studies, Vol 99 (2009) pp. 61-91.

110801The size of the economy and the distribution of income in the Roman Empire
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University and Stephen Friesen, University of Texas
Revised January 2009. See entry 010901.

070801Making Space for Bicultural Identity: Herodes Atticus Commemorates Regilla
Maud W. Gleason, Stanford University
Abstract: Herodes and Regilla built a number of installations during their marriage, some of which represented their union in spatial terms. After Regilla died, Herodes reconfigured two of these structures, altering their meanings with inscriptions to represent the marriage retrospectively. This paper considers the implications of these commemorative installations for Herodes’ sense of cultural identity.
This paper has now been published in Local Knowledge and Microidentities in the Imperial Greek World (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

060809Human capital and the growth of the Roman economy
Richard Saller, Stanford University
Abstract - Over the past 50 years economists have increasingly emphasized investment in human capital as a fundamental cause of sustained economic growth, because investments in education, training and health make the labor force more productive. This paper examines Roman education and training, and argues that Roman investment in human capital was higher in the early empire that at any time in Europe before 1500 CE, but noticeably lower than in the fastest growing economies of the early modern era (e.g., the Netherlands).

060808In search of Roman economic growth
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract -This paper seeks to relate proxy indices of economic performance to competing hypotheses of sustainable and unsustainable intensive economic growth in the Roman world. It considers the economic relevance of certain types of archaeological data, the potential of income-centered indices of economic performance, and the complex relationship between economic growth and incomes documented in the more recent past, and concludes with a conjectural argument in support of a Malthusian model of unsustainable economic growth triggered by integration.
This paper has now been published in Journal of Roman Archaeology, Vol 22 (2009) pp. 46-70.

060807Monogamy and polygyny in Greece, Rome, and world history
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - In what sense were the ancient Greeks and Romans monogamous, and why does it matter? This paper summarizes the physical and anthropological record of polygyny, briefly sketches the historical expansion of formal monogamy, considers complementary theories of mate choice, and situates Greco-Roman practice on a spectrum from traditional polygamy to more recent forms of normative monogyny.
This paper has now been published in History of the Family, Vol 14 (2009) pp. 280-291.

040801Rome's Mediterranean World System and Its Transformation
Brent D. Shaw, Princeton University
Abstract - An analysis of the recent large-scale interpretation of the great transition from the ancient world of the Roman Empire to the worlds of its successor states, economies, and societies offered by Chris Wickham in his ‘Framing the Early Middle Ages.’
This paper replaces version 1 (010801) originally posted in January 2008.
A revised version of the paper with the title "After Rome" has now been published in The New Left Review vol. 52 (May-June 008), pp. 89-114.

030801Real wages in early economies: Evidence for living standards from 2000 BCE to 1300 CE
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - Price and wage data from Roman Egypt in the first three centuries CE indicate levels of real income for unskilled workers that are comparable to those implied by price and wage data in Diocletian’s price edict of 301 CE and to those documented in different parts of Europe and Asia in the eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries. In all these cases, consumption was largely limited to goods that were essential for survival and living standards were very low. A survey of daily wages expressed in terms of wheat in different Afroeurasian societies from 2000 BCE to 1300 CE yields similar results: with only few exceptions, real incomes of unskilled laborers tended to be very low.
This paper has been revised. Please see entry 090904 posted in September 2009.
020803The monetary systems of the Han and Roman empires
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - The Chinese tradition of supplementing large quantities of bronze cash with unminted gold and silver represents a rare exception to the western model of precious-metal coinage. This paper provides a detailed discussion of monetary development in ancient China followed by a brief survey of conditions in the Roman empire. The divergent development of the monetary systems of the Han and Roman empires is analyzed with reference to key variables such as the metal supply, military incentives, and cultural preferences. This paper also explores the “metallistic” and “chartalistic” elements of the Han and Roman currency systems and estimates the degree of monetization of both economies.
This paper replaces version 1.0 (110505) originally posted in November 2005.
This paper has now been published in "Rome and China: Comparative Perspectives on Ancient World Empires" W. Scheidel (ed.), Oxford University Press: New York, 2009, pp. 137-207.

020802Real Wages in Roman Egypt: A contribution to recent work on pre-modern living standards
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
This paper has been removed.

010801Rome's Mediterranean World System and Its Transformation
Brent D. Shaw, Princeton University
This paper has been revised. See 040801 entry.

110703Counting Romans
Saskia Hin, Stanford University
Abstract: This article focuses on the debate about the size of the population of Roman Italy. I point at logical inconsistencies related to the dominant view that the Republican census tallies are meant to report all adult males. I argue instead that the figures stemming from the Republican census may represent adult men sui iuris and suggest that those of the Augustan censuses include all citizens sui iuris regardless of age and sex. This implies a population size under Augustus which falls between those suggested by ‘high counters’ and ‘low counters’. Since the share of free citizens enumerated as sui iuris was further affected by various historical phenomena a range of intermediate scenarios or ‘middle counts’ is perceivable. However, such factors as affect the multiplier all pull in the same downward direction. Therefore, it is likely that the number of people inhabiting Roman Italy in Augustan times was closer to that suggested by the ‘low count’ than to that implied by the ‘high count’.

110702From the ‘Great Convergence’ to the ‘First Great Divergence’: Roman and Qin-Han state formation and its aftermath
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - This paper provides a synoptic outline of convergent trends in state formation in western and eastern Eurasia from the early first millennium BCE to the mid-first millennium CE and considers the problem of subsequent divergence.
This paper replaces version 2.0 (100705) originally posted in October 2007; and version 1 (120601) originally posted in December 2006.
This paper has now been published in "Rome and China: Comparative Perspectives on Ancient World Empires" W. Scheidel (ed.), Oxford University Press: New York, 2009, pp. 11-23.

100706The ‘First Great Divergence’: Trajectories of post-ancient state formation in eastern and western Eurasia
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - This paper identifies divergent trends in state formation after the disintegration of the Roman and Han empires and considers their causes and long-term consequences.

100705From the ‘Great Convergence’ to the ‘First Great Divergence’: Roman and Qin-Han state formation and its aftermath
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
This paper (version 2.0) replaces version 1 (120601) originally posted in December 2006. It has since been revised. See 110702 entry.

100704Family matters: Economy, culture and biology: fertility and its constraints in Roman Italy
Saskia Hin, Stanford University
Abstract: This article approaches the phenomenon of fertility in Roman Italy from a range of perspectives. Building on anthropological and economic theory, sociology and human evolutionary ecology various processes that affect fertility patterns by influencing human behaviour are set out. The insights provided by these disciplines offer valuable tools for our understanding of fertility in the ancient world, and enable assessment of the likelihood of historical demographic scenarios proffered. On their basis, I argue that there is little force in the argument that attributes a perceived demographic decline during the Late Roman Republic to a drop in fertility levels amongst the mass of the Roman population.

100703Communal Agriculture in the Ptolemaic and Roman Fayyum
Andrew Monson, Stanford University
Abstract - The article presents the model that rising demand for land drives the process of privatization. It likens ancient developments in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt to similar trends towards privatization in nineteenth-century Egypt. Given the difficulty imposed by the ancient evidence for tracing changes over time, it concentrates on observable regional variations that conform to the model. Differences in population density seem to correlate with differences in agrarian institutions. There are especially good data for tenure on public land in Roman Egypt, so this period is treated in more detail. In the more sparsely populated Fayyum, communal peasant institutions remained important for the cultivation of public land just as they were in the Ptolemaic period. In the Nile Valley, by contrast, private landowners encroached on public land by having it registered into their names and treating it more like private property.
This paper has now been published in "Communal Agriculture in the Ptolemaic and Roman Fayyum" S.L. Lippert and M. Schentuleit (eds.), Graeco-Roman Fayum: Texts and Archaeology. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2008, pp. 173-86.

090705Cult and Belief in Punic and Roman Africa
Brent D. Shaw, Princeton University
Abstract: This is a second attempt at a synthesis of the main problems for the forthcoming Cambridge History of Ancient Religions. The problems are complex and still threaten to overwhelm. This version remains a cri de coeur: any helpful comments and criticisms are encouraged.
This paper replaces version 1 (010701) originally posted in January 2007.

080701Rule and Revenue in Egypt and Rome: Political Stability and Fiscal Institutions
Andrew Monson, Stanford University
Abstract - This paper investigates what determines fiscal institutions and the burden of taxation using a case study from ancient history. It evaluates Levi’s model of taxation in the Roman Republic, according to which rulers’ high discount rates in periods of political instability encourage them to adopt a more predatory fiscal regime. The evidence for fiscal reform in the transition from the Republic to the Principate seems to support her hypothesis but remains a matter of debate among historians. Egypt’s transition from a Hellenistic kingdom to a Roman province under the Principate provides an analogous case for which there are better data. The Egyptian evidence shows a correlation between rulers’ discount rates and fiscal regimes that is consistent with Levi’s hypothesis.
This paper has now been published in "Rule and Revenue in Egypt and Rome: Political Stability and Fiscal Institutions." Special Issue: New Political Economy in History. Historical Social Research 32/4 (2007), pp. 252-74.

070706Roman population size: the logic of the debate
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - This paper provides a critical assessment of the current state of the debate about the number of Roman citizens and the size of the population of Roman Italy. Rather than trying to make a case for a particular reading of the evidence, it aims to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of rival approaches and examine the validity of existing arguments and critiques. After a brief survey of the evidence and the principal positions of modern scholarship, it focuses on a number of salient issues such as urbanization, military service, labor markets, political stability, living standards, and carrying capacity, and considers the significance of field surveys and comparative demographic evidence.
This paper replaces version 1 (050705) originally posted in May 2007.
This paper has now been published in "People, Land, and Politics: Demographic Developments and the Transformation of Roman Italy, 300 BC - AD 14" L. de Ligt and S. J. Northwood (eds.), Brill: Leiden, 2008, pp. 17-70.

070705Narratives of Roman Syria: a historiography of Syria as a province of Rome
Lidewijde de Jong, Stanford University
Abstract: In this paper I examine the scholarship of Roman Syria and the history of research on this province. The scholarly narrative of Roman Syria revolves around strong Greek influence and little impact of Roman rule, which has resulted in studying Syria as a unique and distinct entity, separated from Rome. In light of new archaeological finds and a re-evaluation of older evidence, I argue that these assumptions of deep hellenization and shallow Roman impact need to be abandoned. Using models coming out of research in other provinces of the Roman empire and anthropological studies of colonialism and material culture, I propose a set of different narratives about Roman Syria. This paper is the first chapter of my dissertation: Becoming a Roman province: An analysis of funerary practices in Roman Syria in the context of empire.

070704Tiberiana 4: Tiberius the Wise
Edward Champlin, Princeton University
Abstract: This is one of five parerga preparatory to a book to be entitled Tiberius on Capri, which will explore the interrelationship between culture and empire, between Tiberius’ intellectual passions (including astrology, gastronomy, medicine, mythology, and literature) and his role as princeps. These five papers do not so much develop an argument as explore significant themes which will be examined and deployed in the book in different contexts. This paper examines the extraordinary but scattered evidence for a contemporary perception of Tiberius as the wise and pious old monarch of folklore.
This paper has now been published in Historia vol. 57 (2008), pp. 408-425.

060701Epigraphy and demography: birth, marriage, family, and death
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - In recent years, the adoption of key concepts and models of modern population studies has greatly advanced our understanding of the demography of the Greco-Roman world. Epigraphic evidence has made a vital contribution to this development: statistical analysis of tens of thousands of tombstone inscriptions has generated new insights into mortality regimes, marriage practices, and family structures in various parts of the ancient Mediterranean. In conjunction with papyrological material, these data permit us to identify regional differences and facilitate long-term comparisons with more recent historical populations. After a brief survey of the principal sources of demographic information about the classical world, this paper focuses on the use of inscriptions in the study of population size, mortality, fertility, nuptiality, sex ratios, family formation, and household organization.

050705Roman population size: the logic of the debate
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Revised July 2007. See entry 070706.

050704The Roman slave supply
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - This survey of the scale and sources of the Roman slave supply will be published in Keith Bradley and Paul Cartledge (eds.), The Cambridge world history of slavery, 1: The ancient Mediterranean world.

020701A model of real income growth in Roman Italy
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - This paper presents a new model of the main exogenous and endogenous determinants of real income growth in Italy in the last two centuries BC. I argue that war-related demographic attrition, emigration and the urban graveyard effect converged in constraining the growth of the freeborn population despite increased access to material resources that would otherwise have been conducive to demographic growth and concomitant depression of real incomes; that massive redistribution of financial resources from Roman elites and provincial subjects to large elements of the Italian commoner population in the terminal phase of the Republican period raised average household wealth and improved average well-being; and that despite serious uncertainties about the demographic and occupational distribution of such benefits, the evidence is consistent with the notion of rising real incomes in sub-elite strata of the Italian population. I conclude my presentation with a dynamic model of growth and decline in real income in Roman Italy followed by a brief look at comparable historical scenarios in early modern Europe. I hope to make it probable that due to a historically specific configuration of circumstances created by the mechanisms of Roman Republican politics and imperialism, the Italian heartland of the emerging empire witnessed temporary but ultimately unsustainable improvements in income and consumption levels well beyond elite circles.
This revised paper replaces Version 1.0 posted in February 2006.
This paper has been published in Historia 56 (2007) 332-346.

010702Shock and Awe: The Performance Dimension of Galen’s Anatomy Demonstrations
Maud W. Gleason, Stanford University
Abstract: Galen’s anatomical demonstrations on living animals constitute a justly famous chapter in the history of scientific method. This essay, however, examines them as a social phenomenon. Galen’s demonstrations were competitive. Their visual, cognitive and emotional impact (often expressed by compounds of ѳαῦμα and ἔκπληξις) reduced onlookers to gaping amazement. This impact enhanced the logical force of Galen’s arguments, compelling competitors to acknowlege his intellectual and technical preeminence. Thus, on the interpersonal level, Galen’s demonstrations functioned coercively. On the philosophical level, Galen was using a rhetoric traditional to Greek science, a way of arguing that involved a unitary view of nature and an emphasis on homology between animals and man. But he was also using a rhetoric of power and status differentiation articulated via the body. As played out in the flesh, public vivisection resonated with other cultural practices of the Roman empire: wonder-working competitions, judicial trials, and ampitheater entertainment.
This paper has now been published as "Galen's Anatomical Performances" in C. Gill, T. Whitmarsh, J. Wilkins, eds. Galen and the World of Knowledge (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

010701Cult and Belief in Punic and Roman Africa
Brent D. Shaw, Princeton University
Revised September 2007. See entry 090705.

120601Imperial state formation in Rome and China: From the Great Convergence to the First Great Divergence
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Revised October 2007. See 100706 entry.

110604New ways of studying incomes in the Roman economy
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University
Abstract - This paper very briefly considers three ways of expanding the study of Roman income levels beyond the limits of empirical data on costs and wages, by considering the determinants of real incomes, the use of proxy data for real incomes, and the potential of cross-cultural comparison.

110603What is the De Fisco Barcinonensi About?
Damian Fernandez, Princeton University
Abstract: The letter De fisco Barcinonensi is one of the few documents that we have on Visigothic taxation. In this paper, the evidence to determine the precise nature of the document is reviewed. It is suggested that the letter deals with the adaeratio (exchange rate between tributes in kind and tributes in coin), which can be explained both by a strict reading of the document and the political context in which this letter was issued. Consequently, the role of bishops in the process of tax collection is circumscribed to their function as representatives of the local communities and their elites.
This paper has been published in L'Antiquité Tardive, vol. 14 (2006), pp. 217.24.

090603Tiberiana 3: Odysseus at Rome - a Problem
Edward Champlin, Princeton University
Abstract: This is one of five parerga preparatory to a book to be entitled Tiberius on Capri, which will explore the interrelationship between culture and empire, between Tiberius’ intellectual passions (including astrology, gastronomy, medicine, mythology, and literature) and his role as princeps. These five papers do not so much develop an argument as explore significant themes which will be examined and deployed in the book in different contexts. “Odysseus at Rome” is an appendix to the previous paper on Tiberius’ obsession with the Greek hero. It draws attention to some startling evidence for Odysseus’ unpopularity in the Roman world.

090602Tiberiana 2: Tales of Brave Ulysses
Edward Champlin, Princeton University
Abstract: This is one of five parerga preparatory to a book to be entitled Tiberius on Capri, which will explore the interrelationship between culture and empire, between Tiberius’ intellectual passions (including astrology, gastronomy, medicine, mythology, and literature) and his role as princeps. These five papers do not so much develop an argument as explore significant themes which will be examined and deployed in the book in different contexts. Tiberius was intensely interested in the deeds and character of the hero Odysseus, to the extent that sometimes he seems almost to have been channeling him. “Tales of Brave Ulysses” considers the evidence for this obsession and suggests something of the fresh insight into the emperor’s character which it evokes.

090601Tiberiana 1: Tiberian Neologisms
Edward Champlin, Princeton University
Abstract: This is one of five parerga preparatory to a book to be entitled Tiberius on Capri, which will explore the interrelationship between culture and empire, between Tiberius’ intellectual passions (including astrology, gastronomy, medicine, mythology, and literature) and his role as princeps. These five papers do not so much develop an argument as explore significant themes which will be examined and deployed in the book in different contexts. “Tiberian Neologisms” examines several words that seem to have been invented or given new meanings during his reign, often by Tiberius himself.

070601A Prehistory of Hatred
Brent D. Shaw, Princeton University
Abstract - A critical reconsideration of a recent foray into the vexatious problem of the origins of race and racism.
This is now published in "Journal of World History" vol. 16 (2005), pp. 227-32.

060601Growing up fatherless in antiquity: the demographic background
Walter Scheidel, Stanford University

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