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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 27

Commerce - Manufacturing Industry

The prominence of transmarine commerce at an early period in the Roman national economy has already been adverted to in its proper place. The further stimulus, which it received during the present period, is attested by the increased importance of the Italian customs-duties in the Roman financial system.(16)

16. III. XI. As to the Management of the Finances

In addition to the causes of this increase in the importance of transmarine commerce which need no further explanation, it was artificially promoted by the privileged position which the ruling Italian nation assumed in the provinces, and by the exemption from customs-dues which was probably even now in many of the client-states conceded by treaty to the Romans and Latins.

On the other hand, industry remained comparatively undeveloped. Trades were no doubt indispensable, and there appear indications that to a certain extent they were concentrated in Rome; Cato, for instance, advises the Campanian landowner to purchase the slaves' clothing and shoes, the ploughs, vats, and locks, which he may require, in Rome. From the great consumption of woollen stuffs the manufacture of cloth must undoubtedly have been extensive and lucrative.(17)

17. The industrial importance of the Roman cloth-making is evident from the remarkable part which is played by the fullers in Roman comedy. The profitable nature of the fullers' pits is attested by Cato (ap. Plutarch, Cat 21).

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