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Peasant and Empire in Christian North Africa$
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Leslie Dossey

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520254398

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520254398.001.0001

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Rural Consumption in Early Imperial North Africa

Rural Consumption in Early Imperial North Africa

(p.31) 2 Rural Consumption in Early Imperial North Africa
Peasant and Empire in Christian North Africa

Leslie Dossey

University of California Press

This chapter attempts to trace changes in the presence of commodities at North African rural sites between the imperial period and late imperial period. The focus is on rural consumption. When were the farmers and agricultural laborers of Roman North Africa able to consume goods instead of merely producing them, and when, if ever, did this consumption go beyond the level of basic necessity? A careful analysis of new archaeological data reveals that small sites and villages were more likely to have fineware and other commodities in the late Roman period, even in those provinces where the overall supply of fineware was declining. To explain this change, it is necessary first to understand the inequality of commodity distribution during the early imperial period, a distribution as much determined by the nature of Roman imperialism as by economics.

Keywords:   commodities, rural sites, Roman Empire, imperial period, imperialism, commodity distribution

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