Work and Labour in the Cities of Roman Italy

BookWork and Labour in the Cities of Roman Italy

Work and Labour in the Cities of Roman Italy

Liverpool Studies in Ancient History


December 1st, 2022





Work and labour are fundamental to an understanding of Roman society. In a world where reliable information was scarce and economic insecurity loomed large, social structures and networks of trust were of paramount importance to the way work was provided and filled in. Taking its cue from New Institutional Economics, this book deals with the wide range of factors shaping work and labour in the cities of Roman Italy under the early empire, from families and familial structures, to labour collectives, slavery, education and apprenticeship.

To illuminate the complexity of the market for labour, this monograph offers a new analysis of the occupational inscriptions and reliefs from Roman Italy, placing them in the wider context by means of documentary evidence like apprenticeship contracts, legal sources, and material remains. This synthesis therefore provides a comprehensive analysis of the ancient sources on work and labour in Roman urban society, leading to a novel interpretation of the market for work, and a fuller understanding of the daily lives of nonelite Romans. For some of them, work was indeed a source of pride, whereas for others it was merely a means to an end or a necessity of life.

Author Information

Miriam J. Groen-Vallinga is Associate Professor in Ancient History, Department of History, Art History and Classics, Radboud University Nijmegen.