Peasants, Citizens and Soldiers

Peasants, Citizens and Soldiers : Studies in the Demographic History of Roman Italy 225 BC-AD 100

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Recent years have witnessed an intense debate concerning the size of the population of Roman Italy. This book argues that the combined literary, epigraphic and archaeological evidence supports the theory that early-imperial Italy had about six million inhabitants. At the same time the traditional view that the last century of the Republic witnessed a decline in the free Italian population is shown to be untenable. The main foci of its six chapters are: military participation rates; demographic recovery after the Second Punic War; the spread of slavery and the background to the Gracchan land reforms; the fast expansion of Italian towns after the Social War; emigration from Italy; and the fate of the Italian population during the first 150 years of the Principate.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2 maps 11 tables
  • 1139003836
  • 9781139003834

Review quote

'... this is an impressive work of scholarship. It provides a fresh and insightful analysis of the key evidence upon which the debates over the size of the Italian population are based. As well as revising existing theories surrounding the key issues, De Ligt provides a number of thought-provoking comments and analyses throughout which will surely stimulate further debate on a long-standing subject.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review 'There is no doubt that this is an important book, one that every social and economic historian of pre-modern Europe should familiarize themselves with, whatever their period of specialization. All the more so for the ancient historian, to whom the book is explicitly addressed ... this book offers a thorough, sophisticated analysis of one of ancient history's most intractable problems, an 'academic battleground' where de Ligt takes sides, elegantly providing new ammunition to his field. The 'low count' should now be renamed as the Beloch-Brunt-de Ligt theory, inasmuch as the book here under review offers a more nuanced reading and addresses successfully some of the more evident weaknesses of the old version of the 'low count' theory.' Marco Maiuro, Sehepunkte
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Table of contents

1. Evidence, theories and models in Roman population history; 2. The Polybian manpower figures and the size of the Italian population on the eve of the Hannibalic War; 3. Census procedures and the meaning of the republican and early-imperial census figures; 4. Peasants, citizens and soldiers, 201 BC-28 BC; 5. The Augustan census figures and Italy's urban network; 6. Survey archaeology and demographic developments in the Italian countryside.
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