A conversation with Kim Bowes about production and consumption in the Roman world, especially by the 90% of the population who are less represented in our literary sources. How did they get by from day to day? What alternatives does the evidence suggest to the “subsistence” model that many ancient historians have used?
Kim Bowes is a Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where she works on the archaeology and material culture of the Roman and later Roman worlds. Click here to view her university webpage.
The conversation is based on a paper on “Household Economics in the Roman Empire and Early Christianity,” forthcoming in the Oxford Handbook of Biblical Households, and earlier publications, including The Roman Peasant Project 2009-2014: Excavating the Roman Rural Poor (Penn Museum/University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021); “Tracking Liquid Savings at Pompeii: The Coin Hoard Data,” Journal of Roman Archaeology 35 (2022) 1-27; and “Tracking Consumption at Pompeii: The Graffiti Lists,” Journal of Roman Archaeology 34 (2021) 552-584.
Byzantium & Friends is hosted by Anthony Kaldellis, Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics at The Ohio State University. You can follow him on his personal website.
Top Image: Mosaic of cupbears, 2nd century CE, from Dougga, at the National Museum of Bardo (Tunisia). Wikimedia Commons