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The Mining of the Romans in Spain

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 September 2012


During the Republican Period a number of mining districts were exploited in the territory that the Romans annexed. Mines in conquered countries that had belonged to the former rulers became the property of the Roman people, and others were acquired by confiscation or forced purchase from private owners. But the industry was not entirely a State monopoly: on the contrary, a number of mines remained in private hands, more particularly those yielding the base metals—copper, lead and tin—whereas those that yielded the precious metals—gold and silver—were retained by the State. Under the Empire the mines became a special object of bureaucratic concern: as mineral wealth had been the spoil of conquest, so in due course it became the prize of usurpation.

Research Article
Copyright ©T. A. Rickard 1928. Exclusive Licence to Publish: The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies

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page 129 note 1 Strabo, iii, 2, 10; p. 148 C.

page 129 note 2 e.g. Suet. Tib. 49, 2.

page 129 note 3 Ezekiel xxvii, 12.

page 129 note 4 Strabo, iii, 2, 8; p. 146 C.

page 130 note 1 Diodorus, v, 36 and 37.

page 131 note 1 The photograph was Very kindly taken by Prof. Droop, who also sends the following measurements. Circumference of central pole ·605 m.; projection of screw-blades from pole ·.6 m.; thickness of screw-blades ·03 m. The screw-blades are built up of small slabs approximately ·003 m. thick, from ·01 m. to ·017 m. wide and ·03 long, glued together vertically. The distance between the blades, top to top, is ·17–·19 m.

page 131 note 2 Rickard, T. A., Institution of Mining and Metallurgy, November, 1927Google Scholar.

page 131 note 3 Vitr. v, 12 and x, 8.

page 131 note 4 Illustrated London News, December 17, 1927.

page 131 note 5 Another similar one in Cairo Museum is published by C. C. Edgar in Bull. de la Soc. arch. d' Alexandrie, no. 7, 1905, p. 44; who also quotes Catal. of Egyptian Antiquities in the possession of F. G. Hilton Price (London, 1897), p. 451Google Scholar, fig. 3797, for a restoration showing the method of working a screw-pump.

page 132 note 1 Strabo, iii, 2, 8; p. 146 C.

page 132 note 2 Launay, M. L. de, ‘L'industrie du cuivre dan; la region d'Huelva,’ Annales des Mines, Series 8, 1889, xvi, 427Google Scholar.

page 132 note 3 Nash, W. G., The Rio Tinto mine, its history and romance, 1904, p. 35, with illustrationsGoogle Scholar.

page 132 note 4 Palmer, Robert E., ‘Notes on some Ancient Mine Equipments,’ Institution of Mining and Metallurgy, 1927Google Scholar.

page 132 note 5 Rickard, Engineering and Mining Journ., July 2nd, 1927.

page 133 note 1 ibid. June 4th, 1927.

page 133 note 2 Livy, xxxi, 20, 7.

page 133 note 3 Livy, xxxiv, 46, 2.

page 134 note 1 N.H. xxxiii, 96.

page 134 note 2 ibid. 66.

page 134 note 3 ibid. 67.

page 134 note 4 ibid. 78.

page 134 note 5 Diodorus, v. 36.

page 135 note 1 Polybius, xxxiv, 9. I quote the translation of E. S. Shuckburgh.

page 135 note 2 Strabo, iii, 2, 10; pp. 147–8 C.

page 135 note 3 Pliny, N.H. xxxiv, 159Google Scholar.

page 136 note 1 Pliny, N.H. xxxiii, 95Google Scholar.

page 136 note 2 Dessau, I.L.S. 276; C.I.L. ii, 956.

page 136 note 3 J.R.S. VIII, 101.

page 136 note 4 Dessau, I.L.S. 1591; C.I.L. ii, 1179.

page 136 note 5 Charlesworth, M. P., Trade-routes and Commerce of the Roman Empire, 1925, p. 196Google Scholar.

page 137 note 1 For these documents and their dates see McElderry, Knox in J.R.S. VIII (1918), 95 ff.Google Scholar and references there given. To these must now be added Schönbauer, F., ‘Zur Erklärung der Lex metalli Vipaicensis’ in Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung xlv and xlvi, Rom. Abt.Google Scholar, and id., Beiträge zur Geschichte des Bergbaurechts, Munich, 1929.

page 137 note 2 Dessau, I.L.S. 6891Google Scholar; C.I.L. ii, 5181; Bruns, , Fontes iuris Romani (7), no. 112.Google Scholar

page 137 note 3 Bruns, op. cit., no. 113.

page 138 note 1 Strabo, iv, 6, 7; p. 205 C.

page 138 note 2 N.H. xxxiii, 78.

page 139 note 1 Vide Mispoulet, J. B., ‘Le régime des mines à l'époque romaine et au moyen âge,’ Nouvelle rev. hist. de droit, xxxi, 1907Google Scholar.

page 139 note 2 Livy, xxviii, 20, 12.

page 139 note 3 Livy, xxiv, 41, 7.

page 139 note 4 Pun. iii, 97 and 106.

page 139 note 5 Sandars, Horace W., ‘The Linares Bas Relief and Roman Mining Operations in Baetica,’ Archaeologia, lix, 323 ff.Google Scholar; cf. Rev. arch. 1903, p. 201, pl. iv; also reproduced by Rostovtzeff, Social and Econ. Hist. of Roman Empire, pl. xxvii.

page 140 note 1 Auguste Daubrée, Rev. arch. 1882, p. 195.

page 140 note 2 See below, p. 141.

page 140 note 3 Strabo iii, 4, 6; p. 159 C.

page 141 note 1 Besnier, M., ‘Le commerce du plomb a l'époque romaine,’ Rev. arch. xii, 1920, p. 229Google Scholar.

page 141 note 2 Vide Hill, G. F. and Sandars, H. W. in J.R.S. I (1911), p. 101Google Scholar.

page 142 note 1 Epbem. Epig. viii, p. 480, no. 254, 2.

page 142 note 2 Dessau, I.L.S. 8706; C.I.L. ii. 3439.

page 142 note 3 Ann. ép. 1907, no. 135.

page 142 note 4 Strabo, iii, 2, 11; p. 148 C.

page 142 note 5 Dessau, I.L.S. 8708; C.I.L. xv. 7916.

page 142 note 6 l.c. p. 244.

page 143 note 1 N.H. xxxiv, 164.

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