Classics and Ancient History seminar: Rome’s grain supply in the 70s BCE
Rome’s grain supply in the 70s BCE
During the 70s there was a such a severe food shortage that the consuls for the year were chased down the via sacra. This decade also saw the first two senatorial laws passed that directly addressed Rome’s grain supply, while there were multiple commissions and laws that would also have functioned to stabilise and regulate Rome’s food supply.
Despite the novelty of a senatorial grain law, the management of Rome’s grain supply in the 70s has received relatively little scholarly attention. The Lex Terentia Cassia of 73 is usually dismissed as a marker of reluctant “conservative” acceptance of the inevitability of state grain distributions returning while the Lex Aemilia is ignored altogether.
These laws, especially when seen in the context of some of the other major commissions of the decade, need to be taken seriously and examined in their own right. Food riots were a serious threat to the political elite and the events of 75 made this especially clear. I will argue that this period marked a permanent shift in attitudes towards state involvement in Rome’s grain supply, and that this decade would irrevocably change and fundamentally define the political reaction to future grain laws.
The Department of Classics and Ancient History hosts a lively departmental research seminar series. Everyone is welcome to attend.
If you haven’t already registered to receive the Zoom meeting details for our events, please click here to register your interest in the seminar.
29 October, 4:00-5:00pm
This is our last seminar for Semester 1, so please stay around for virtual drinks an a celebration of a wonderful seminar series!
Seminar Series convenors:
Louise Pryke and Emma Barlow
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The Department of Classics and Ancient History is part of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI).
Image: Jacques-Louis David, Léonidas aux Thermopyles 1814 (Louvre). On the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae