Flashcards in Test #3 Deck (68):
What are the two major scholarly positions regarding the nature of the ancient economy?
One emphasizes peasant agriculture, upper-class antipathy toward trade, and no concern for markets in ancient agricultural writing. The other emphasizes the material evidence for large scale international trade at Rome and the use of money for transactions.
How did wealthy landowners maintain their vast estates, and how did their labor force change seasonally?
Many slaves were used, but so were free men who hired themselves out as laborers, as well as tenant farmers. The labor demands during harvest time and vintage time increased dramatically, so hired hands probably must have been used in great supply during these times (because it was not economical to keep slaves year-round in anticipation of these times).
What is a subsistence economy and why is this term the best description for Roman peasant farmers?
The farmer’s primary aim was making enough food to get by (either through consumption or through trade for things he would then consume). The peasant farmer would not really try to produce more than his goal for the growing season was, so if he looked like he would have a big surplus, he stopped working as hard in the fields—he saw no reason to earn more than subsistence.
How did the Roman government respond to the every-couple-generations pressure from the plebeians for more land?
They would annex land won through conquest (at first in Italy, then later throughout the empire) and either parcel it out to individual applicants (remember the Gracchi brothers’ land commission) or settle full colonies of Roman citizens somewhere.
What were the two things that Roman aristocrats cared about regarding their estates, and since these two things were inseparable, what was the real ultimate goal of the elites?
They cared about both profit and pleasure, but ultimately the goal was social prestige.
Why didn’t wealthy elites normally turn their estates into vast profit-making enterprises, according to our textbook?
Romans were extremely unwilling to make big up-front investments and take on short-term losses even if they could expect to see large gains in the future; plus, there were major social consequences to losing huge sums of family wealth and few Romans were willing to risk that in the pursuit of huge profits.
What went on at markets and where were they held?
The markets were where farmers sold their surplus goods or specialty items; they were held in most cities of any size but also in some rural areas (where it was convenient for the local farmers to assemble) and also on the estates of the wealthy (unless that would compete directly against a civic market).
Why did the availability of good quality coined money vary from place to place and time to time?
Since the Romans had no coherent economic policies, they would mint coins mainly just to pay the government’s bills (such as funding the army) and didn’t realize the effect that this would have on the money supply (such as with inflation).
What two things did ancient moneylenders (argentarii) do?
They acted as intermediaries between wholesale sellers and buyers, and they offered credit (banking services).
What were negotiatores, and why were they important to the estates of the wealthy?
Negotiatores were the investors who conducted large business deals, especially involving international trade. Elites’ estates would rarely conduct their own business of selling their surplus crops but would sell contracts to negotiatores for the rights to deal in what the estate was producing—with the responsibilities of collecting, selling, and shipping those goods in their hands, not the estate owners’ hands.
What does the popularity of Massic wine demonstrate about the ancient Mediterranean economy?
Certain specialty items or luxury goods sometimes had a “vogue” period of high popularity that led to large-scale production which eventually ended (resulting in decreased production); the negotiatores facilitated the exporting not only of the Massic wine itself but also of the production system that made it an international success—thus, what worked for this one product was deployed for many other products.
How does the phenomenon of Arretine pottery reflect the same trends as Massic wine?
It got popular, was produced at high scale, spread throughout the Mediterranean, then lost popularity/production as its production system/craftsmen spread abroad.
What is our textbook’s point about the use of slave labor in the ancient economy?
Slavery was just one of several ways to obtain the use of human labor and nonetheless had costs that needed to be factored into the ultimate economic decisions of Roman businessmen and estate owners; slavery operated at every level of the ancient economy and in every realm, but not in equal numbers throughout all the places and times of ancient Rome.
How is the Roman attitude (esp. among aristocratic elites) toward wealthy equestrians more understandable in light of our textbook’s claims about the Roman “subsistence economy” and the elites’ management of, and goals for, their estates?
Roman aristocrats just didn't consider wealth to be a worthwhile goal - wealth was only a means to prestige risking wealth and prestige to make a profit was just silly. Thus the Romans view of the equestrians was understandable.
How did the aristocratic ideology toward moneymaking go hand in hand with (hard to say which is the Cause and which is the Effect) the existence of negotiatores at Rome?
The elite were not concerned with making a big profit they just wanted a reliable stream of income so allowing the negotiatores to take care of actually doing the hard parts of selling and transporting the goods allowed the elite to spend their time trying to earn prestige and not governing their estates or making a profit - it didn't really matter that much that the negotiatores were making a profit off their goods.
What sort of picture of a typical Roman marriage is suggested by the examples in our textbook?
marriage was a rather informal arrangement merely living with someone constituted marriage and divorce was as simple as wife get out of the house. The book notes that it seems that divorce and remarriage were common.
How did Roman labor arrangements work during the harvest time when extra labor was needed
most estates did not keep enough labor year round for the harvest time many temporary laborers were hired at this time to make up for the short coming
What was a Roman familia?
It was a legal term which included those under the head of the household including slaves but may not include the wife or emancipated citizens.
What did elite Romans have in the front room of their homes?
The atrium this is where they kept portraits of their deceased family members to show the importance of their lineage.
What were the two kinds of marriages in Rome?
cum manu -- under legal authority
sine manu -- not under husbands legal authority
What controversial legislation did Augustus push through regarding marriage?
He pushed through legislation that encouraged people to get married and have kids and discouraged extra martial sex and adultury
In the ideal Roman house, what were the sites of otium and negotium?
The otium - a square pleasure area with nature and columns
negotium - a work atrium a place to show off wealth power prestige and family lineage.
What is our textbook’s ultimate conclusion about the nature of Roman marriages, with regard to emotional love?
That even though they were legalistic that ultimately it was stony ground that still often found love how much can't be said though
What factors does the textbook give for why Roman parents might have had distant relationships with their children?
May have been raised by slaves, high infant mortality, authoritarian structure, short life expectancy parents may die when you are still young, and a high number of relatives in the same household.
What is the stereotype of the apartment complex in ancient Rome?
That they were noisy and dangerous
What do the (exaggerated) descriptions of the city by Juvenal and Martial reveal about its workings?
That it was crowded and busy and full of trade activity at many hours of the day and night.
What sorts of things do we have to consider with skepticism whenever we encounter a piece of evidence about sexuality in the culture of ancient Rome?
The Romans often used sexuality as a means to slander their political opponents and any deviant behavior may very well have been suppressed. The moralizing tales of the "cinaedus" and "tribad" are good examples of this
What is the structural model of ancient sexuality promoted by Winkler/Halperin and accepted by most scholars, and what are the issues some classicists have with it?
That sexual relations were primarily determined by status/ class that the active perpetrator was generally a free male and the passive recipient was generally lower status whether a young boy, a female, or a slave
some argue that the between man and boy was just a rare moralizing attack although this is not commonly accepted
What was the typical Roman attitude toward sexuality (especially with regard to the visual arts)?
Romans viewed sexuality good as long as it lead to children. Regarding artwork they frequently displayed images of nudity from mythological scenes
What was the role of prostitution?
Prostitution was legal and prostitutes had to wear a toga but they were deprived of many rights including protections against rape
Who was priapus and what was he used for?
Priapus was a Roman deity represented as having a giant dick and was used as a apotropaic - "fuck off" for evil and bad influence
What was stuprum, and who was not protected by the laws on it?
struprum was any sexual crime: slaves and prostitutes as well as actors were not protected from it
What was the cinaedus, and what was the tribad?
cinaedus was a gay man who was only ever wanted to be a passive recipient a tribad was a female who sought to be the active partner in sex both were used as moralizing figures against sexual deviancy and decline of Roman values
Why did Roman elites fear the Galli?
because they castrated themselves it put them in a strange position did they become female for the Romans it was very strange for them
What aspects of the “bath complex culture” in the Roman world demonstrate to you how important baths were in daily life for the Romans?
the frequency with which Romans went to the baths, the fact that elite trying to earn favor with the people might allow free access to the baths, the fact that much was sold there, the fact that it was an important gathering point, the fact that they were elaborately decorated
How did the baths show sexuality
Men and women often had to go at different times of day
what was the order one went in the baths
changing room, warm bath, hot bath, scrape dirt, cold bath
How did Seneca (and, evidently, Shelton!) think the Roman use of baths during the Empire differed from during the Republic?
They thought that the baths had gotten more complex and well decorated and had lost their simple purpose of being used to get clean and were evidence of Roman moral decline.
How was Roman sexuality enacted in bath complexes?
It was thought of as a place where the cinaedus would go to seek a partner with his typical shibboleth
Consider the absences from the ancient Roman educational curriculum that most modern American students learn. What do you think the sociocultural consequences of those absences might be?
No math and sciences - no knowledge of the stuff
No History - no way to know what really happened no common identity etc.
What did Roman students study in their schooling?
primarily they learned to read and write also reading literature
What were suasoriae and controversiae, and what was their purpose?
suasoriae is where a student emulates a historical figures decision making process at an important point of their life
controversiae was speaking for one side in a legal debate
Why was reading literature particularly difficult for schoolchildren in ancient Rome?
There was no beginner level reading and there were no spaces to make the reading easier one had to know the words to know where they ended
What was a common classroom activity related to, but not the same as, reading and writing?
They had to memorize passages and recite them to the teacher
Why did they bother with it?
Memorization was an important skill in the ancient world as it was more difficult to find information that you wanted to come back to and being able to memorize speeches was important
What two other subjects (than reading and writting) were common?
memory work, and literature study, argumentation, some mathematics
What materials were used to learn?
ostracon - broken pottery that could be written on
papyrus - written on or read from
codex - modern hardcover book except big only available in latter antiquity
wax coated tablet and a wooden stylus which was flattened to erase the writting
When did the codex appear
the early imperial period
Ancient Roman multilingualism is generally connected not to education, but to what?
the fact that many languages were spoken at home and in the city due to the migration of people largely through conquest and slavery
What is one major exception?
Greek was often taught in schools outside of Italy as it was the lingua Franca of the ancient world
Why are French, Spanish, and Italian derived from Latin and not from the local languages of those ancient regions? What’s the one major exception to this phenomenon?
Because these regions were seen as uncultured and latin was strictly enforced
When were the Twelve Tables supposedly created, and what was their nature?
450 BC they codified Roman law for the first time to help prevent exploitation of plebians
What were advocates, and how were they embedded in broader aristocratic ideology?
an aristocrat who made their name by representing others in the courts - it got them prestige and it was the duty of the noble to give such service although they often got payment through gifts
What were “jurists” and why did they become important in the 1st century BCE? What are the names of 3 important Roman jurists (and 2 works written by them)?
A jurist was someone who wrote about Roman law
They became important because they could use their prestige to get into positions of power and due to the rise of expertise
additionally if they agreed they could be seen as having the force of law
Gaius - institutes
Justinian - digest - compiled laws
What was the fundamental principle of Roman law, and how did it affect the application of law to different people?
In Rome there was a sense of rights like the modern sense not like in Athens were any rights could be overridden by popular decree.
What was a “legacy,” and what were “legacy-hunters”?
legacies were inheritance given to non family members a legacy hunter was someone who tried to get on a person's good side just before they died so that they could be included in their legacy
How did the Romans’ approach to philosophy differ from that of the Greeks, in general?
The Romans were most interested in the field of axiology what has value and what is good/bad just/unjust beautiful/ ugly but not ontology or epistimology like the Greeks
What was the culturally-remembered “introduction” of Greek philosophy to Rome?
Some Athenian statesmen came to the city and started giving philisophical debates in the forum which people liked
What were the basic tenets of Epicurean philosophy, and what Roman is most closely associated with it?
pleasure is the goal of life was seen as counter to many parts of Roman culture
infinite universe - seek pleasure because nothing you do matters
Lucretius was a poet who was closely associated with it
What was the process of learning that Academic philosophers, at their best, followed?
Aporia they would try to ever refine knowledge of something but would never quite get to the truth but trying to achieve a nearer truth was a note worthy goal
Why did some people (particularly Cato the Elder) look down on Academic philosophers?
Some just refused to accept truth and only tried to tear apart any argument and it was seen as silly.
What were the basic tenets of Stoic philosophy, and what Roman was its most famous Stoic philosophizer?
the highest pursuit of life is harmony there is an order to the universe that you should follow
don't show much emotion
fill your obligation as a natural leader marcus aurelius and seneccca the younger were both famous stoics
How do the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius demonstrate the ethical attitude of the Stoics?
Fullfill duty, unemotional, harmony fits very well
What explanations (not just from Shelton, but also from your own contemplation) could explain why Romans enjoyed violent spectacles in the arena?
violent life, confirmed the place of Rome in the order of things, people like violence, the culture was very martial, they weren't entirely considered people
What explanations (not just from Shelton, but also from your own contemplation) could explain why Romans enjoyed violent spectacles in the arena?
They became very popular during the empire because they had lost the right to assembly
What is the history of gladiator games at ludi, and where was their origin?
They had started as etruscan funeral celebrations
What were the Roman fans’ attitudes toward gladiators and charioteers like?
They were viewed very positively much like fans today treat rockstars and sports heroes