Julio-Claudian Building Programs: A Quantitative Study in Political Management

Authors: M.K. Thornton, R. L. Thornton
Product Code: 2034
ISBN: 978-0-86516-203-7
Pages: 176
Availability: In stock.
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With a totally original and creative approach this work provides persuasive and defensible alternative evaluations of the separate Julio-Claudian emperors, sometimes to support and sometimes to denigrate the highly political and possibly biased reporting by the standard literary sources. Using a quantification and an evaluation of their social goals the book melds together the needs of the city, the personality of the emperors and their ability to choose loyal subordinates as bases for judgments. From this melding the book furnishes valuable new understanding of the political and economic forces which shaped the Early Empire. In the process the labor supply of the city becomes the important measure of the depth of commitment and the focal quantification is expressed in construction manpower terms.

Because of inadequacy of the food supply in Rome during much of the Julio-Claudian period, this study includes detailed analyses of two critical food supply projects: the draining of the Fucine Lake and the construction of the Harbor of Ostia. The study concludes that the emperors used sophisticated methods to match the priority of the projects with the available manpower, moving people from projects to projects against priority needs and in recognition of seasonal limitations.

The quantitative core around which the study is built is a project by project quantification of relative public construction manpower needs within the city and its environs.

This work pays some attention to the macroeconomic impact of sudden changes in the size of public works programs. This analysis is limited, however, because of the lack of suitable indicators of general economic well-being in the ancient sources.

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