Debating Roman Demography (Mnemosyne Supplements) by Walter Scheidel

By Walter Scheidel

In conjection with an in depth severe survey of contemporary advances and controversies in Roman demography, the 4 case-studies during this quantity illustrate quite a few various ways to the research of historic inhabitants background. The contributions handle a couple of an important concerns in Roman demography from the evolution of the tutorial box to seasonal styles of fertility, the variety of Roman voters, inhabitants strain within the early Roman empire, and the tip of classical urbanism in past due antiquity. this can be the 1st collaborative quantity of its type. it's designed to introduce old historians and classicists to demographic, comparative and interdisciplinary views, and to situate and contextualize Roman inhabitants reviews within the wider ambit of historic demography.

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Debating Roman Demography (Mnemosyne Supplements)

In conjection with an intensive severe survey of contemporary advances and controversies in Roman demography, the 4 case-studies during this quantity illustrate quite a few various ways to the learn of historical inhabitants background. The contributions tackle a few the most important matters in Roman demography from the evolution of the tutorial box to seasonal styles of fertility, the variety of Roman electorate, inhabitants strain within the early Roman empire, and the tip of classical urbanism in past due antiquity.

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PROGRESS AND PROBLEMS IN ROMAN DEMOGRAPHY 31 determine; and fatality fates are usually unknown. Academic interest has focussed on the empire-wide pandemic that erupted in the mid-l60s and seems to have continued into the 180s CE. Commonly identified as smallpox, this event is now once again credited with severe disruptions. 126 In this case, sources in Near Eastern languages and shifts in the archaeological record help expand the scope of our investigations. 127 A general study of Roman epidemics would ideally be modelled on Garnsey's account of ancient famines and food crises,128 situating attested events on a scale from minor outbreaks to global pandemics.

See also Smith (1991) 57-9, criticising some inflated estimates of overall mortality in fourteenth-century England resulting from the application of standard model rates, and the high-mortality life tables in Preston, McDaniel and Grushka (1993), with lower infant mortality relative to adult mortality compared to Model West. 82 Ancient historians usually concede that infant mortality is an intractable problem. However, one rarely encounters doubts as to whether standard model life tables cover the whole range of mortality patterns at mature ages.

It also bears mentioning that the Egyptians were said to adopt unusual reproductive strategies by raising all their children: to what extent this claim is simply a facet of the topos of 'fertile Egypt' or marks genuine difference remains unclear; see below, n. 176. 142 See Johansson (1987) for comparative data, and Frier (1994) 332 for ancient claims and further references. See also Livi-Bacci (1986), and cf. Boone and Kessler (1999) 270-5 for a Darwinian perspective. 143 Scheidel (1999a) 274-5, on the families of Marcus Aurelius and Septimius Severus.

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