Of trades and manufactur es there is nothing to be said, except
that the Italian nation in this respect persevered in an inaction
bordering on barbarism. They destroyed the Corinthian factories,
the depositories of so many valuable industrial traditions--not
however that they might establish similar factories for themselves,
but that they might buy up at extravagant prices such Corinthian
vases of earthenware or copper and similar "antique works" as were
preserved in Greek houses.
The trades that were still somewhat
prosperous, such as those connected with building, were productive
of hardly any benefit for the commonwealth, because here too the
system of employing slaves in every more considerable undertaking
intervened: in the construction of the Marcian aqueduct, for
instance, the government concluded contracts for building and
materials simultaneously with 3000 master-tradesmen, each of whom
then performed the work contracted for with his band of slaves.