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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


III. From the Union of Italy to the Subjugation of Carthage and the Greek States

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter XII - The Management of Land and of Capital


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Page 15

Results - Competition of Transmarine Corn

In order to form some estimate of the economic results of this system of husbandry, we must consider the state of prices, and particularly the prices of grain at this period. On an average these were alarmingly low; and that in great measure through the fault of the Roman government, which in this important question was led into the most fearful blunders not so much by its short-sightedness, as by an unpardonable disposition to favour the proletariate of the capital at the expense of the farmers of Italy. The main question here was that of the competition between transmarine and Italian corn.

The grain which was delivered by the provincials to the Roman government, sometimes gratuitously, sometimes for a moderate compensation, was in part applied by the government to the maintenance of the Roman official staff and of the Roman armies on the spot, partly given up to the lessees of the -decumae- on condition of their either paying a sum of money for it or of their undertaking to deliver certain quantities of grain at Rome or wherever else it should be required. From the time of the second Macedonian war the Roman armies were uniformly supported by transmarine corn, and, though this tended to the benefit of the Roman exchequer, it cut off the Italian farmer from an important field of consumption for his produce.

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