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The Origins of Business, Money, and Markets$
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Keith Roberts

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153270

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153270.001.0001

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Roman Businesses

Roman Businesses

(p.217) 12 Roman Businesses
The Origins of Business, Money, and Markets

Keith Roberts

Columbia University Press

This chapter describes important Roman businesses other than agribusiness and public contracting. The businesses fall into three broad categories: manufacturing, trade, and services. Much manufacturing took place where the raw materials were found. Ore, for instance, was refined at the mine mouth; marble was roughly shaped into blocks and pillars at the quarry; wood was stripped and trimmed in the forest; sheep were sheared and the fleeces washed on the farm. Most manufacturers were artisans who lived in and sold their goods from the workshop. Romans divided trade into several functions. Financiers provided the inventory and cash for working capital; others, sometimes the financiers' slaves or clients, accompanied the goods to market; still others might sell at the destination. Skippers, soldiers, and veterans often played a major role in the trading process. Among the services Romans enjoyed were art, medicine, hospitality, and entertainment that made life more enjoyable; education, mail, and legal counseling that facilitated social life; and transport and finance which Roman businesses depended on.

Keywords:   Roman business, business enterprises, manufacturing, trade, services

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