The first full-length study of famine in antiquity. The study provides detailed case studies of Athens and Rome, the best known states of antiquity, but also illuminates the institutional response to food crisis in the mass of ordinary cities in the Mediterranean world. Ancient historians have generally shown little interest in investigating the material base of the unique civilisations of the Graeco-Roman world, and have left unexplored the role of the food supply in framing the central institutions and practices of ancient society.
"...accurate and stimulating interpretative account of several interconnected issues to do with the incidence of shortages, and the responses to them of rural dwellers, patrons or benefactors, and governments...Garnsey presents extremely complex, and interrelated, issues and problems, and advanced hypotheses, with exemplary clarity, coolness, and good sense...The book will function both as a reliable introduction to its issues, and as a contribution to them; both functions are ably supported by the full references throughout the book to the best of the literature on the subject." Greece & Rome