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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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The Late Roman Republic, 201–31 b.c.e.

The Late Roman Republic, 201–31 b.c.e.

(p.157) 9 The Late Roman Republic, 201–31 b.c.e.
The Origins of Business, Money, and Markets

Keith Roberts

Columbia University Press

This chapter covers the period from the Carthaginian wars to the victory of Octavian at the Battle of Actium in 31 b.c.e., which marks a major turning point in Roman governance. It describes how colonial rule and structural reforms led to the republic's demise and tells the cautionary tale of business's political influence during this period. Business wielded more power and political influence during the last two centuries of the Roman Republic than at any other time before the Renaissance. Italian agribusiness suppressed overseas competition, and publican societies helped persuade the Senate to adopt imperialist policies. Then, using its power to free itself from regulation, Roman big business destroyed much of what it had achieved. Its excesses inspired colonial hatred and bloody uprisings, which led to radical changes in Rome's political structure and world outlook.

Keywords:   Rome, Carthaginian wars, Battle of Actium, business, political influence, agribusiness, publican societies

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