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Rome at War: Farms, Families, and Death in the Middle Republic

Rome at War: Farms, Families, and Death in the Middle Republic

Hardback Studies in the History of Greece and Rome

By (author) Nathan Rosenstein

List price $92.35

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  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Format: Hardback | 339 pages
  • Dimensions: 153mm x 236mm x 27mm | 653g
  • Publication date: 31 March 2004
  • Publication City/Country: Chapel Hill
  • ISBN 10: 0807828394
  • ISBN 13: 9780807828397
  • Illustrations note: 2 figures, 3 tables, notes, bibliography, index
  • Sales rank: 1,321,982

Product description

Historians have long asserted that during and after the Hannibalic War, the Roman Republic's need to conscript men for long-term military service helped bring about the demise of Italy's small farms and that the misery of impoverished citizens then became fuel for the social and political conflagrations of the late republic. Nathan Rosenstein challenges this claim, showing how Rome reconciled the needs of war and agriculture throughout the middle republic. The key, Rosenstein argues, lies in recognizing the critical role of family formation. By analyzing models of families' needs for agricultural labor over their life cycles, he shows that families often had a surplus of manpower to meet the demands of military conscription. Did, then, Roman imperialism play any role in the social crisis of the later second century B.C.? Rosenstein argues that Roman warfare had critical demographic consequences that have gone unrecognized by previous historians: heavy military mortality paradoxically helped sustain a dramatic increase in the birthrate, ultimately leading to overpopulation and landlessness.

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Author information

Nathan Rosenstein is associate professor of history at The Ohio State University. He is author of Imperatores Victi: Military Defeat and Aristocratic Competition in the Middle and Late Republic.

Review quote

"Represents a much needed re-evaluation of the impact of Roman warfare on agriculture and the Roman 'peasant class' during the third and second centuries B.C." -- "Journal of Roman Studies"