Upcoming Publication | August 7, 2012
The Demography of Roman Italy
MPIDR researcher Saskia Hin has written a book that provides a new perspective on the population history of Italy during the late Roman Republic (201 BCE –CE 14).
Her book considers how the conquest of an Empire affected the demographic lives of Roman citizens in the Imperial heartland, and what this meant for population trends. Linking in with one of the core debates among historians of the ancient Mediterranean, Saskia Hin’s work covers a diversity of topics, from soldiers’ risk at death, to migrant fertility in the rapidly expanding metropolis of Rome, to the impact of rising economic inequality
Adaptive strategies allowed Roman citizens to counter some of the adverse (in)direct effects of warfare on the demography of Italy, so she argues. These included early marriage of women and childcare by extended family members. The last two centuries BCE also brought new opportunities for citizens: rapid urbanization and warfare itself opened up economic niches, and improving climatic conditions favored the productive expansion of agriculture. They also eased trade and travel. Taken together, these developments suggest that the free population of Italy was able to maintain itself, and even slowly grow, between Hannibal’s incursions and the reign of Augustus. Literary texts on the Roman census and archaeological site remains lend support to this picture.
Drawing on a range of sources and a multidisciplinary approach, The Demography of Italy is intended to bridge the interests of specialists in ancient history and those of demographers and other social scientists with an interest in history.
- The Demography of Roman Italy. Population Dynamics in an Ancient Conquest Society (201 BCE –CE 14) will be published in February 2013 by Cambridge University Press and is now available for pre-order.