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View Poll Results: Most livable part of the Roman world?
Egypt 11 18.64%
Italy 28 47.46%
Asia Minor 11 18.64%
Gaul 2 3.39%
Hispania 3 5.08%
Britannia 1 1.69%
Syria 3 5.08%
Voters: 59. You may not vote on this poll

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Old October 29th, 2015, 08:19 AM   #21
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Really depends on when. In the first century I would vote for Ephesus and surrounding area. Second century, probably Alexandria. Third century, as far away from Rome as I can get, probably Caesarea Maritima.

Fourth and above would see me in Constantine's new city.
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Old October 29th, 2015, 08:39 AM   #22

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I guess italy and anatolia would be on par. considering anatolia already having perfect infrastructure and lots of cities. Greece would be an option aswell but as far as i know it was in big decline compared to italia and anatolia.
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Old October 30th, 2015, 01:06 PM   #23

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guaporense View Post

By the way, the wealthiest parts of the Roman Empire were senatorial provinces while the poorest were imperial provinces:
Presuming that there was any essential difference between the Senatorial and Imperial provinces during the Principate, it remains a fact that these rich provinces had been acquired during the greatest expansion of Rome under the Republic.

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Originally Posted by Guaporense View Post
For the 210 years from 30 BC to 180 AD there was I think only one civil war in the Empire. Not counting rebellions in provinces.
Yes, but I was speaking of political instability in Italy. Persecutions were not that rare, there were serious purges under Tiberius, Caligula and turmoil under Nero.
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Old October 30th, 2015, 01:17 PM   #24

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Originally Posted by Valens View Post
Presuming that there was any essential difference between the Senatorial and Imperial provinces during the Principate, it remains a fact that these rich provinces had been acquired during the greatest expansion of Rome under the Republic.
The Roman Empire was fully formed by ca. 160 BC. After that they only incorporated vassal states formally. The only major territorial expansions after were Gaul/Germania/Britannia which weren't relevant territories before.

All the core regions of the ancient western world were Rome's by 160 BC. What happened later was the institutional change of the empire from "City State Rome and it's vassals" to a more centralized/bureaucratic state with governors in the provinces and everything.

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Yes, but I was speaking of political instability in Italy. Persecutions were not that rare, there were serious purges under Tiberius, Caligula and turmoil under Nero.
Persecutions of whom? Senators?

Last edited by Guaporense; October 30th, 2015 at 01:22 PM.
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Old October 30th, 2015, 01:22 PM   #25

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It really depends on the era, but I voted for Egypt overall. It was rich, far from borders shared with Rome's enemies or rivals, and far from the capital, which tended for obvious reasons to be the focus of internal struggles for the purple in more turbulent times. Alexandria was also for a long time cleaner, more cosmopolitan, wealthier, grander, and a greater center of learning than Rome and it's people had a better standard of living. During the 1st Century B.C. the most impressive city in the Mediterranean was not Rome, it was Alexandria.
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Old October 30th, 2015, 01:25 PM   #26

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Originally Posted by Guaporense View Post
The Roman Empire was fully formed by ca. 160 BC. After that they only incorporated vassal states formally. The only major territorial expansions after were Gaul/Germania/Britannia which weren't relevant territories before.
That wasn't my point. Nevertheless, by the time you mention, Rome was still governed by the Senate. There wasn't an 'Empire' at that time.

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Persecutions of whom? Senators?
Persecutions under Sejanus were rather serious. When I mentioned security and stability, I've also included the upper classes. A slave or a poor freedman was more or less the same in Italy, Egypt or Gaul.
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Old October 30th, 2015, 01:31 PM   #27

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scaeva View Post
It really depends on the era, but I voted for Egypt overall. It was rich, far from borders shared with Rome's enemies or rivals, and far from the capital, which tended for obvious reasons to be the focus of internal struggles for the purple in more turbulent times. Alexandria was also for a long time cleaner, more cosmopolitan, wealthier, grander, and a greater center of learning than Rome and it's people had a better standard of living. During the 1st Century B.C. the most impressive city in the Mediterranean was not Rome, it was Alexandria.
I would think that Egypt would be better for the rich Romans who effectively had all power, rather than the common people(native Egyptians).
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Old October 30th, 2015, 01:42 PM   #28

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I would think that Egypt would be better for the rich Romans who effectively had all power, rather than the common people(native Egyptians).
That depends. Which people? Egyptian women for example in the 1st Century BC enjoyed greater freedoms than Greek or Roman women, so arguably life would be better for them in Alexandria than Rome. Women would also account for roughly half of everyone in Egypt.
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Old October 30th, 2015, 02:14 PM   #29

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Originally Posted by Valens View Post
That wasn't my point. Nevertheless, by the time you mention, Rome was still governed by the Senate. There wasn't an 'Empire' at that time.
Empire means a government who governs foreign peoples. Rome became an empire when Rome started annexing it's neighboring cities in central Italy, around 350-300 BC.

Quote:
Persecutions under Sejanus were rather serious. When I mentioned security and stability, I've also included the upper classes. A slave or a poor freedman was more or less the same in Italy, Egypt or Gaul.
Not really.

Literary evidence suggests that there were vast differences in real wages for unskilled workers between provinces. In Egypt a unskilled worker made 1 gram of silver a day, in the more developed provinces, literary evidence indicates it was around 3-4 grams of silver.

Same with archaeological evidence: in Roman Italy, median houses in Pompeii and Herculaneum were 180 square meters while in a village in Roman Egypt (whose name I forgot) they were tiny 60 square meters (in Karanis).

Also, I quote this study about a town in Roman Egypt:
Quote:
Originally Posted by PETER VAN MINNEN
The number of people in Karanis at the height of its development may have been 12,000-
15,000. If we divide this number by the number of houses we arrive at an average of 4-5 people
per house. This is two thirds the Pompeian figure or less and seems to put Karanis in a different
class of town from Pompeii altogether. If we take the average size of a house in Karanis into
account, this discrepancy becomes even more urgent. If, as I have calculated, there are more than
100 houses to a hectare in Karanis, this implies an average size about one third the Pompeian size
(say, about 90 m2 as against about 270 m2). However, the number of people per house in Karanis
seems to coincide with the average number of rooms per house (4-5 rooms)33 just as in Pompeii.
Now, if we limit ourselves to the houses of similar size in Pompeii, the quartile with an average
size of 108 m2, the average number of rooms comes very close to that in Karanis: 4.734 as against
4-5 rooms. This suggests that living conditions in the two towns were at once similar and
different. There was one room per person in both towns, but on average the rooms were twice as
large in Pompeii as in Karanis. The main reason for this difference was the presence of a
considerable number of larger houses (read: wealthier people) in Pompeii. But the majority of the
population of Pompeii lived very much like the population of Karanis.
Although I would disagree with the conclusion because the number of people per house in Pompeii (1 per room) was a guess. If the typical house size is 1/3 in Karanis versus Pompeii then it clearly suggest lower per capita incomes in Karanis. Also, over 100 a houses per hectare suggests lower average size of 70 square meters.

Overall, it appears that the Roman Empire was extremely unequal in terms of social and economic development. That's because some regions of the empire were populated by more democratic city states while other regions retained the institutions of typical ancient empires: most of the population consisted of peasants living at the subsistence level. While in the richest parts of the Roman Empire it was a middle class society.

Last edited by Guaporense; October 30th, 2015 at 03:58 PM.
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Old October 30th, 2015, 02:29 PM   #30

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guaporense View Post
Empire means a government who governs foreign peoples. Rome became an empire when Rome started annexing it's neighboring cities in central Italy, around 350-300 BC.
A thesis not accepted by the majority of historians. It's a pretty narrow definition of an Empire as there were plenty of states who governed foreign peoples but did not have the inner organization and the level of development required to be regarded as an Empire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guaporense View Post
Not really.

Literary evidence suggests that there were vast differences in real wages for unskilled workers between provinces. In Egypt a unskilled worker made 1 gram of silver a day, in the more developed provinces, literary evidence indicates it was around 3-4 grams of silver.

Same with archaeological evidence: in Roman Italy, median houses in Pompeii and Herculaneum were 180 square meters while in a village in Roman Egypt (whose name I forgot) they were tiny 60 square meters.

Overall, it appears that the Roman Empire was extremely unequal in terms of social and economic development. That's because some regions of the empire were populated by more democratic city states while other regions retained the institutions of typical ancient empires: most of the population consisted of peasants living at the subsistence level. While in the richest parts of the Roman Empire it was a middle class society.
I was not speaking only in economic terms, but overall quality of life. Stability was also an important factor. Egypt saw little change in overall quality of life from the rule of Ptolemaic dynasty up to the Arab conquest. It remained a rich land while the same could not be said of Italy in the latter stages of Roman history.
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