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Poverty in the Roman World


Robin Osborne, Neville Morley, Walter Scheidel, Anneliese Parkin, Greg Woolf, Dominic Rathbone, Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe, Richard Finn, Lucy Grig, Cam Grey, Caroline Humfress
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  • Date Published: September 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521106573

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About the Authors
  • If poor individuals have always been with us, societies have not always seen the poor as a distinct social group. But within the Roman world, from at least the Late Republic onwards, the poor were an important force in social and political life and how to treat the poor was a topic of philosophical as well as political discussion. This book explains what poverty meant in antiquity, and why the poor came to be an important group in the Roman world, and it explores the issues which poverty and the poor raised for Roman society and for Roman writers. In essays which range widely in space and time across the whole Roman Empire, the contributors address both the reality and the representation of poverty, and examine the impact which Christianity had upon attitudes towards and treatment of the poor.

    • Only book in English to deal with both the reality of poverty and attitudes to it in the Roman world
    • Treats pagan and Christian Rome in a single volume
    • Covers the wider Roman Empire and not just the city of Rome
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'It is the emphasis on the political power of the poor in Rome emerging from this work that might, perhaps, offer encouragement to impoverished readers today.' Classical Ireland

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521106573
    • length: 244 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.36kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: Roman poverty in context Robin Osborne
    2. The poor in the city of Rome Neville Morley
    3. Stratification, deprivation and quality of life Walter Scheidel
    4. 'You do him no service': an exploration of pagan almsgiving Anneliese Parkin
    5. Writing poverty in Rome Greg Woolf
    6. Population and poverty in Roman Egypt Dominic Rathbone
    7. A pragmatic approach to poverty and riches: Ambrosiaster's Quaestio CXXIV Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe
    8. Portraying the poor: descriptions of poverty in Christian texts from the Late Roman Empire Richard Finn
    9. Throwing parties for the poor: poverty and splendour in the late antique Church Lucy Grig
    10. Rhetoric and reality in Salvian of Marseille's portrayal of the poor Cam Grey
    11. Poverty and Roman law Caroline Humfress

  • Editors

    Margaret Atkins, Blackfriars Hall, Oxford

    Robin Osborne, University of Cambridge


    Robin Osborne, Neville Morley, Walter Scheidel, Anneliese Parkin, Greg Woolf, Dominic Rathbone, Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe, Richard Finn, Lucy Grig, Cam Grey, Caroline Humfress

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