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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 30th, 2015, 03:11 PM   #31

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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.
Italy was richer than Egypt up to the 3rd century though. And archaeological evidence indicates that quality of life in Egypt also declined with the decline of civilization all over the ancient world. Karanis declined greatly with the decline of the Roman Empire and the town was abandoned in the 5th century AD.

Arab conquest occurred for a reason: the civilization in the Mediterranean became weaker and so couldn't muster the logistics to easily deal with threats anymore.

Actually decline of trade in the Eastern Mediterranean started earlier than in the Western Mediterranean. The peak in the eastern Mediterranean was during the Hellenistic period.

So while the decline from 300 AD to 500 AD wasn't as noticeable in the Eastern Mediterranean as it was the Western Mediterranean from 100 BC to 300 AD there already was a large decline in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Anyway, my point was that during the "classical" Roman Empire Egypt was not among the best places to live. Though Alexandria might have been different from the rest of the country.

Last edited by Guaporense; October 30th, 2015 at 03:57 PM.
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Old October 30th, 2015, 03:12 PM   #32

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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.
Sorry I used the dictionary definition:

"an extensive group of states or countries under a single supreme authority, formerly especially an emperor or empress."

Says nothing of decree of bureaucratic organization. Rome ruled the ancient western world since the mid 2nd century BC, it's political organization changed though from a Republican City State controlling vast foreign territories (like the Athenian Empire) to a centralized empire with provinces and governors.

So the Athenian Empire was not an empire either?
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Old October 30th, 2015, 03:19 PM   #33

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The way I see it, any part of the empire was livable if you had access to the right resources, enough money, and the right connections in the world, just like today.
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Old October 30th, 2015, 04:18 PM   #34

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Also: Average house size in the Egyptian town of Karanis was 70 square meters. That's 1/4 of the average house size in Pompeii/Herculaneum or in late Classical Greek towns. They varied from 40 square meters to 200 square meters. I would guess mean size would be perhaps 60 square meters, 1/3 of Pompeii/Herculaneum and 1/4 of Classical Greek towns. Strong evidence incomes were lower there.

From "The Oxford Handbook of Roman Egypt"

Last edited by Guaporense; October 30th, 2015 at 04:57 PM.
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Old October 30th, 2015, 05:53 PM   #35

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Originally Posted by Guaporense View Post
Also: Average house size in the Egyptian town of Karanis was 70 square meters. That's 1/4 of the average house size in Pompeii/Herculaneum or in late Classical Greek towns. They varied from 40 square meters to 200 square meters. I would guess mean size would be perhaps 60 square meters, 1/3 of Pompeii/Herculaneum and 1/4 of Classical Greek towns. Strong evidence incomes were lower there.

From "The Oxford Handbook of Roman Egypt"

Home sizes being correlated to income is rather ludicrous an idea, since home size is fundamentally dependent on pressure on land by populace. Egyptian houses would be smaller than houses in italy because the livable area of egypt is much smaller- nobody is going to build homes on sand dunes, are they ?

Vancouver has smaller apartment size than Sao Paolo. The average income of vancouver is 2-3x that of Sao Paolo. There is absolutely no correlation between home size and income.

Not to mention, the data on home size is not certain, since there is an archaeological bias towards homes made of stone than wood or mud-brick.
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Old November 1st, 2015, 06:04 AM   #36
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The way I see it, any part of the empire was livable if you had access to the right resources, enough money, and the right connections in the world, just like today.
It was very far from 'just like today'. If you were living in Britannia no amount of money could protect you from the weather in a time before modern building materials and heating methods. OK, if you were super rich you could afford a hypocaust in your villa for central heating, but you wouldn't have a snowplow to prevent the snow from completely cutting you off from civilisation during the Winter months, and you'd have much more limited access to food in general during the Winter. And of course you wouldn't have instant communication, so living in Britannia would mean communication (and travel) to Rome would take weeks. And if you were living near a dangerous frontier you might be subjected to raids every so often. Altogether it would have been much better to live in a warm place close to a major city, certainly no further North than the Alps.
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Old November 1st, 2015, 06:37 AM   #37

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i think it depends on the time period. during the early days, and its begin of decline, italy would be the best. for the later days, it would be greece (constantinople). the eastern parts were much more richer than the western parts and the ERE had grown and expanded while the WRE had shrunk to a vassal
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Old November 1st, 2015, 06:50 AM   #38
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Considering I would likely be a barbarian. I would have to go with England or Italy as the best option to live in.
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Old November 1st, 2015, 02:11 PM   #39

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Home sizes being correlated to income is rather ludicrous an idea, since home size is fundamentally dependent on pressure on land by populace. Egyptian houses would be smaller than houses in italy because the livable area of egypt is much smaller- nobody is going to build homes on sand dunes, are they ?
Not a terrible argument. However, population density in rural areas has low correlation with real state prices in urban areas.

Notice that I am comparing house sizes of small towns and hence the price of real state tends to be relatively similar larger cities have higher real state prices so housing tend to be smaller (example: Manhattan versus small midwest town).

Quote:
There is absolutely no correlation between home size and income.
Click the image to open in full size.

Data from the EU and India. Correlation is nearly 1.

Quote:
Not to mention, the data on home size is not certain, since there is an archaeological bias towards homes made of stone than wood or mud-brick.
Archaeologists are pretty sure of their data. You are not an archaeologist and cannot evaluate these things. Pompeii and Herculaneum have been wholly preserved allowing for precise measure of mean house size while archaeologists compare the houses of other tows with a fair degree of certainty.

I should put you back into my ignore list.

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Old November 1st, 2015, 02:17 PM   #40

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So the Athenian Empire was not an empire either?
I don't see it that way. It was a city state, absolutely lacking the inner organization needed to be called an Empire. Your loose definition of an Empire would categorize many other similar entities as an Empire. Nevertheless, even if you have a point about Italy, I again have to emphasize that I did not mean 'livable' only in economic terms, but overall conditions, including political stability. Egypt perhaps did not have so many urban centers as Italy, but it had remained more or less stable, despite occasional turmoil and has weathered the crisis better than some other parts of the Empire.
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