Markets and fairs played a fundamental part in the commerce of the Mediterranean region in the Roman period. But where were they held, and what commodities were sold there? Using evidence from archaeology, inscriptions, and literary sources, Dr Frayn builds up a detailed and enlivening picture of stalls and stallholders, profiteering, and price control in ancient Italy, and she invites comparison with medieval and modern practices.
Besides the macella, or permanent markets in towns, Dr Frayn also looks at the much more numerous nundinae, or local markets, held every eight days - and also at the many fairs and festivals throughout Italy where retailing took place, often associated with shrines and characterized by religious motifs. The book includes a discussion of the economic and social effects of markets and fairs, including their relation to geography, demography, and modern 'central place theory'. There is also a chapter on market law, which can be traced from the ius commercii to the supervision of weights, measures, and pricing.
As trade contacts widened, and merchandise grew more diverse, markets and marketing evolved with increasing complexity into a highly developed system, which in the wake of conquest came to influence larger areas of inter-regional trade.
The book is fully illustrated with plates, diagrams, plans, and maps.
'a thorough and meticulous examination of markets in Rome and throughout Italy'
Greece and Rome, October 1993
'Not in question ... is F.'s admirable ability to marshal all the relevant evidence and to discuss it sensibly ... F. has produced more than simply a starting-point for the study of market production and consumption. For the most part, she ably charts and explains the movement of different types of goods from place to place, and argues persuasively for the centrality of markets in the Roman 'economy'.'
Helen M. Parkins, University of Leicester, The Classical Review, Vol. XLIV, No. 1, 1994
'This volume provides a comprehensive survey of a very important topic... this is an extremely useful volume.'
Kathryn Lomas, University College London, Journal of Roman Studies
`This excellent short book uses a combination of literary and archaeological evidence to paint a picture of trade at every level of society, and always places the evidence in a social context.'
Arch. News 19,1994
Introduction; Markets in Rome and its environs; Markets in Italy outside Rome; Commodities sold in the markets; Patterns of trade in Roman Italy; Market buildings and equipment; Market law and official organizations; Fairs and festivals; Livestock markets; The place of markets in local and long-distance trade; Index of Latin words; General index; Index of inscriptions; Index of references to ancient authors; Bibliography.