Arthur Shippee forwarded this reference from the Explorator newsletter to a Science Daily article about how Roman coin hoards are being used to learn about the ancient population.
Using a mathematical model to predict population trends based on ancient coin hoards, a UConn biologist and a Stanford University historian have concluded that the population of ancient Rome was smaller than sometimes suggested.
Although the first century BC in Italy has been extensively studied, and much is known about the great figures of the era, including Cicero, Caesar, Virgil, and Horace, some basic facts – such as the approximate population size of the late Roman Republic – remain the subject of intense debate.
Depending on who historians believe was counted in the early Imperial censuses (adult males or the entire citizenry including women and children), the Italian population either declined or more than doubled during the first century BC.
The ultimate answer is important. If the high count is correct, much of Roman history as it currently stands would have to be re-written and it would have enormous implications for the popular view of the economic scope and social structure of ancient Rome.
To read the complete article, see:
Buried Coins May Hold Key To Solving Mystery Of Ancient Roman Population
Wayne Homren, Editor
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