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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


IV. The Revolution

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 XI - The Commonwealth and its Economy


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Page 34

Ostia - Puteoli

In Italy the transmarine imports were chiefly concentrated in the two great emporia on the Tyrrhene sea, Ostia and Puteoli. The grain destined for the capital was brought to Ostia, which was far from having a good roadstead, but, as being the nearest port to Rome, was the most appropriate mart for less valuable wares; whereas the traffic in luxuries with the east was directed mainly to Puteoli, which recommended itself by its good harbour for ships with valuable cargoes, and presented to merchants a market in its immediate neighbourhood little inferior to that of the capital-- the district of Baiae, which came to be more and more filled with villas.

For a long time this latter traffic was conducted through Corinth and after its destruction through Delos, and in this sense accordingly Puteoli is called by Lucilius the Italian "Little Delos"; but after the catastrophe which befel Delos in the Mithradatic war,(28) and from which it never recovered, the Puteolans entered into direct commercial connections with Syria and Alexandria, and their city became more and more decidedly the first seat of transmarine commerce in Italy.

28. Cf. IV. VIII. Thrace and Macedonia Occupied by the Pontic Armies

But it was not merely the gain which was made by the Italian exports and imports, that fell mainly to the Italians; at Narbo they competed in the Celtic trade with the Massiliots, and in general it admits of no doubt that the Roman merchants to be met with everywhere, floating or settled, took to themselves the best share of all speculations.

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