Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECT. III.—: ROMAN COMMERCE. - Treatises and Essays on Subjects connected with Economic Policy with Biographical Sketches of Quesnay, Adam Smith & Ricardo
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SECT. III.—: ROMAN COMMERCE. - John Ramsay McCulloch, Treatises and Essays on Subjects connected with Economic Policy with Biographical Sketches of Quesnay, Adam Smith & Ricardo 
Treatises and Essays on Subjects connected with Economic Policy with Biographical Sketches of Quesnay, Adam Smith & Ricardo (Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, 1853).
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That prejudice against the peaceful pursuits of commerce and manufactures which had so considerable an influence in the Grecian states, was still more strongly felt in Rome. The Romans were a nation of soldiers. The warlike genius of the people, their military education, and the spirit of their laws, concurred in estranging them from industrious undertakings. Commerce was despised. A law was passed, in the year of Rome 535, which prohibited patricians from owning ships of more than a very limited burden (300 amphoræ), because, as Livy says, all gain was held to be discreditable to a senator, quæstus omnis patribus indecorus visus est.1 The higher classes could not openly engage in any branch of commercial or manufacturing industry. And though this prohibition did not directly extend to the inferior class of citizens, it did so indirectly, by stigmatising these pursuits as ignoble or vulgar.2 It was the opinion of the early legislators of Rome, that the citizens should be brought up only to the plough and the sword; that the counter and the shop-board, though ever so necessary, should be consigned to aliens and slaves; that the Roman youth should addict themselves to nothing that might impair their strength or ennervate their courage; and that to scale the breach and strike down the enemy in the sight of the Roman army, was riches and honour, and the only true nobility.1 In such a society the mechanical arts, commerce, and navigation, were necessarily abandoned to slaves, freedmen, provincials, and the very dregs of the populace.
This contempt of industrial occupations, which was natural to a rude, a warlike, and an agricultural people, was not less congenial to its tastes, after it had been enriched by plunder, and had spread its conquests over all the surrounding states. Instead of depending on their own exertions, the Romans trusted to the reluctant labour of slaves, and to subsidies extorted from conquered provinces. They endeavoured not only to make the interminable contests in which they were engaged defray their own expense, but to render them an abundant source of wealth. Rome drew to herself the spoils and tributes of a conquered world; and, in the end, Italy was in the enviable situation of enjoying a nearly total immunity from taxation.
The philosophy, too, of the ancient world contributed to perpetuate anti-industrial prejudices. That taste for refinement, for improved accommodation, and for foreign products, which is an ordinary result of commerce, was reckoned by the ancient moralists an evil of the first magnitude. They necessarily, therefore, looked upon its source with aversion. Hence Cicero, who had mastered all the philosophy of the ancients, speaks very disparagingly of manufacturing and trading pursuits. There can, says he, be nothing ingenuous in a workshop; and he adds that commerce, when conducted on a small scale, is mean and despicable; and, when most extended, barely tolerable—non admodum vituperanda!
In one of the lately discovered fragments of his treatise De Republica, Cicero eulogises the sagacity of Romulus in founding the city of Rome at a distance from the sea; partly because it was less liable to surprise, but principally because it was more likely to escape that demoralisation, and that decay of patriotism and of the martial spirit, which, he says, are distinguishing characteristics of all great sea-port towns. It is needless to say how completely this statement is contradicted by all history; even by the cases of Tyre, Corinth, Syracuse, and Carthage, with which Cicero was well acquainted. But these declamatory harangues in favour of poverty and rusticity did not appear absurd, even in the mouths of those who, like Sallust and Seneca, were indulging in every sort of luxury. They were also, as might be anticipated, a favourite theme of the poets. Virgil has described, as follows, the peculiar destiny and duty of the Romans:—
These apparently lofty, but really narrow and illiberal prejudices, became in the end alike inconvenient and mischievous. Military skill and bravery were for centuries the only means by which distinction could be attained; and hence the contempt of wealth, and the unparalleled energy, fortitude, and perseverance of the Romans. But, to be always at war, there must be enemies to contend with. And after Italy, Carthage, and Macedonia had been subjugated, the martial virtues became of less importance, and were less valued. And while this decline took place, on the one hand, on the other the vast wealth which poured into the city from the conquered provinces produced an entire revolution in the sentiments and habits of all classes, and riches became the grand object of pursuit. When this change took place, or soon after, the estates of the higher classes were mostly cultivated by slaves, under the superintendence of stewards or bailiffs; and being either excluded from those industrial occupations in which they might have employed their time and acquired affluence, or despising them as mean and servile, they were forced to look out for other methods of advancement. The extraordinary eagerness with which the principal offices of the state began about this time to be sought after, was thus, in truth, the result of the novel circumstances under which the candidates were placed. They were not coveted merely as means by which individuals might distinguish themselves and rise to eminence, but as means by which they might support a lavish expenditure, repair ruined fortunes, and amass vast wealth. Though provinces could no longer be conquered, they could be made available for the private advantage of their governors. The rapacity of the Proconsuls, Prætors, Præfects, and other provincial rulers, in the latter ages of the republic, and particularly during the civil wars, was such as almost to surpass belief. The proceedings of Verres in Sicily are known to everybody from their having been made the theme of the indignant invective of Cicero.1 But Verres was not so much an exception to, as a specimen of, the class to which he belonged.2 The disgust occasioned by the intolerable exactions of the governors and tax-gatherers, occasioned the massacre of the Romans in the East; and did much to enable Mithridates to wage a lengthened contest even with their best generals.3 Though curbed and restrained by the emperors, the oppression and extortion practised on the provinces were never effectually put down; and every now and then the grossest abuses were brought to light.
While, however, the patricians disdained the pursuits of manufacture, they were, notwithstanding, by what seems a singular contradiction, at all times prone to engage in the practice of usury. From an early period they endeavoured to multiply their clients, and augment their resources, by the adoption of all those usurious devices which brought discredit on the Jews and Lombards of modern times. And the oppression and hatred thence arising led to frequent and sometimes serious commotions; and stimulated the plebeians in their efforts to limit the power and privileges of the nobles.
The wealth acquired by the plunder of provinces, of allies, and of the public, was usually spent in ostentatious folly and sensual gratifications. The crowds of slaves and other retainers belonging to the Roman grandees, and the magnitude of their expenditure, exceed anything of which history has preserved an account.
The wars in which the Romans were involved with the Carthaginians, and not the desire of extending or protecting trade, first prompted them to aim at maritime power. But though they soon perceived that the dominion of the sea was necessary as a preliminary step to the dominion of the land,1 they looked upon the naval service in a subordinate point of view, and reserved it for those citizens who, not being worth 400 drachmas, were not admitted into the legions.2 Nothing, however, can set the opinions entertained by the Romans with respect to naval affairs in a more striking point of view than their conduct on becoming masters of the ships of their enemies. Sometimes, as in the case of the vessels taken from Gentius, king of Illyria, they presented them to their allies;3 but their usual practice was to commit them to the flames. Livy has noticed the grief of the Carthaginians when, at the end of the second Punic War, the Romans burned fifty of their principal ships.1 In so far as related to maritime affairs, they relied less on their superior strength for security, than on the impotency of others.
This barbarous policy led to some very undesirable results. During the most flourishing period of the republic, the Mediterranean was infested with pirates, who plundered the merchant ships of all nations, and paid but little respect to the majesty of the Roman flag. These mauraders belonged partly to the Balearic islands, partly to Illyria and Epirus, partly to Crete, and partly, and chiefly, to the coasts of Asia Minor, Cilicia being their principal stronghold and headquarters. Their depredations were conducted on an extensive and systematic plan. They had above 1,000 ships of different sizes, with watch-towers, arsenals, and magazines. And being formed into a species of commonwealth, they elected magistrates and officers, who distributed their naval force into fleets, assigned to each its proper duty and station, and gave unity and consistency to their operations. Emboldened by their success, and by the occupation afforded to the Romans by Mithridates, they ravaged the whole line of the Italian coast, sacked the towns and temples, the villas and country seats on the sea-shore, and carried off the inhabitants, whom they ransomed or sold as slaves. Nay, such was their audacity, that they blockaded the entrance to the Tiber, destroyed a Roman fleet within the port of Ostia, and even threatened the “eternal city,” which they more than once deprived of its accustomed supplies of provisions.2 To make head against this enormous and rapidly increasing evil, Pompey was invested with the proconsulate of the Mediterranean, and with the absolute command of that sea and of the adjoining coasts, to the extent of fifty miles inland. And though by his vigour and activity he succeeded in repressing the evil for a time, it was far from being completely abated. During the subsequent civil wars, the pirates re-appeared in great force. The leaders in the struggle were glad to avail themselves of their services. And the younger Pompey having joined their fleets to his own, and put himself at their head, became the most formidable of all the antagonists of Augustus.
After the battle of Actium, and the final triumph of Augustus, he lost no time in taking such measures as seemed best fitted to ensure the command of the Mediterranean, and to protect the commerce of the empire. For this purpose, he organised two powerful fleets, one of which was appointed to rendezvous at Ravenna on the Adriatic, and the other at Misenum, in the bay of Naples. The former was destined to command the eastern, the latter the western, division of the Mediterranean. Each of these squadrons had its own separate commanders; and to each was attached a force of several thousand men. Besides these two ports, on the improvement of which Augustus expended large sums, and which may be considered as the principal stations of the Roman navy, a considerable squadron was stationed at Frejus on the coast of Provence, and the Euxine was guarded by about forty ships and 3,000 men. To these have to be added a squadron stationed near Alexandria, another on the Red Sea for the protection of the Indian trade, another to preserve the communication between Gaul and Britain, and a number of smaller vessels on the Rhine and the Danube, with others employed in different subsidiary services.1
Originally the common legionary soldiers were in the habit of serving, when required, with little or no previous training, on board ships of war, handling the oar at one time and their shields and swords at another. The inconvenience of this practice having become obvious, a peculiar description of men (classiarii) began to be raised for the sea-service, being a sort of half seamen and half soldiers. Though quartered on shore, they were instructed in seamanship, and were ready to embark on the shortest notice. Inasmuch, however, as this service was not reckoned so honourable as that of the land, an inferior class engaged in it, and it was sometimes performed by manumitted slaves.1
The conveyance of corn and other articles of provision to the capital, formed the most important branch of Roman commerce, and was placed under the especial care of the government. The contiguous territory was at no time sufficient to supply Rome with corn; and long before the republican constitution was subverted, supplies were brought from distant countries. As the population of the city increasd, and the former corn-fields were converted into pleasure-grounds and pasture, the demand for corn was proportionally increased, and the supply from Italy proportionally diminished.
The onerous and difficult task of making good this deficiency, and of furnishing a quantity of corn adequate to the wants of the metropolis, was not, however, the only duty connected with this matter which devolved on the Roman magistrates. At all times corn had to be sold at a reasonable price. And according as the city population increased, and political power became more and more diffused, the practice began to grow up of distributing corn gratis to the indigent portion of the community. At first this gratuitous donation appears to have taken place only on peculiar occasions, such as the election to high office of some rich, ambitious, or powerful party, who wished to extend his popularity or influence. But the practice, once begun, afforded too easy a means of seducing and corrupting the public to be relinquished. The policy in regard to it was not, however, by any means uniform. Sometimes the quantity of corn which individuals might receive from the public warehouses was varied; sometimes it was sold to them at a certain low rate, and sometimes at another; sometimes it was supplied gratuitously; and sometimes the number of persons entitled to receive it was restricted. In general, it may be observed that all the more able and intelligent statesmen were fully aware of its pernicious influence over agriculture1 and over the industry and well-being of the population, of its tendency to increase, and of the serious inroad which it made on the public revenue.2 The vigour and ability of the government might, indeed, be inferred from the nature and extent of the restrictions which were laid on the donations of corn. But the practice was too universal, and the popularis aura too dependent on a bountiful supply of this necessary, to admit of its being subjected to any lasting or efficient regulation. Every weak or unpopular ruler endeavoured to strengthen his position, or to acquire or regain the public favour, by the magnitude of his largesses of corn. And the most powerful of the emperors, and those least disposed to pander to the wishes of the mob, never attempted to abolish its public distribution. The most they dared to do, was to raise the price at which it was sold, or to reduce the number of recipients. And latterly but little could be done even in this way. The cry of panem et circenses was too powerful to be resisted. Nothing, indeed, was so appalling to the government as an apprehended scarcity of corn. And every device was resorted to that could ensure the delivery of adequate supplies.
The office of Præfectus Annonæ, that is, of the magistrate charged with the superintendence of the corn-trade, became of the highest importance. It was held by Pompey, Cæsar, and Augustus. And succeeding emperors did not consider that their dignity was compromised by adding to their other titles what we should call that of commissary-general of corn.
Numerous estimates have been formed of the quantity of corn imported into Rome for gratuitous, or nearly gratuitous, distribution. But the subject is involved in almost inextricable difficulties, and none of them are entitled to much weight. At one time Cæsar is said to have limited the number of recipients to 150,000. But not long after his assassination, they had increased to 320,000; and were again reduced by Augustus to 200,000. And as each recipient is said to have received 60 modii, or 14¼ bushels2 a-year, the entire annual consumption would be 2,850,000 bushels. But the number of recipients, and probably also the supply allotted to each, was perpetually varying. If, however, we take 300,000 for the ordinary number of the former, and 14¼ bushels as their average allowance, the annual distribution would amount to 4,275,000 bushels, or 534,000 quarters.
It has been said that though 14 bushels was an ample allowance for an individual, it was too little for a family. The probability, however, seems to be (for there is nothing else to go by), that free males only, of the age of five and six years and upwards, were included in the list of recipients; and that women and slaves were excluded from it. Senators, knights, and foreigners were also excluded. The degree of destitution necessary to entitle a party to be put on the free corn list is not stated, and no doubt was very undefined. But it is expressly mentioned that destitution, independent altogether of character,1 was a sufficient title to this public bounty. Besides what was distributed gratuitously, corn was frequently sold, especially in times of dearth, by government to all classes, at reduced prices.
In addition to the quantities required for gratuitous distribution, large quantities of corn were imported into Rome for sale. It is impossible to say what proportion of the whole was supplied by Italy, and what by the provinces. But it is probable that by far the largest share was furnished by the latter. Perhaps, if we estimate the population of Rome at 1,200,000,2 the provincial imports, which were wholly by sea, would not, in ordinary years, be less than 800,000 or 1,000,000 quarters. These, it will be observed, consisted wholly of wheat and barley; the latter being comparatively inconsiderable. It was principally, or rather perhaps altogether, brought from the countries round the Mediterranean, exclusive of the Black Sea.
This supply of corn was obtained in various ways: partly, and principally, by contributions imposed on Sicily, Mauritania, Egypt, and other corn-growing countries, which were obliged to furnish certain quantities gratuitously, or at specified prices, which were always considerably below the market prices at the time; and it was partly, also, purchased by government agents, especially in scarce years, and private parties, in the markets where it was to be met with.3
Down to the time of the emperor Claudius, great difficulty was experienced in importing corn into the Tiber from the badness of the old harbour of Ostia, opened by Ancus Martius. In consequence, ships were frequently obliged to discharge their cargoes at Puteoli, in Campania, a great way from Rome. Julius Cæsar, it is said, had determined to obviate this serious inconvenience by constructing a new and more accessible harbour at Ostia. The design appears, however, to have been laid aside; and was not revived till a famine, which raged at Rome in the reign of Claudius, obliged him to take measures for the accomplishment of this necessary improvement. A spacious basin was accordingly dug in the mainland, the entrance to which was formed and protected by moles projecting into the sea. It is also stated, that, to facilitate the access to the port, a light-house, in imitation of the Pharos of Alexandria, was constructed near its mouth.1
But the accumulation of the sand and mud brought down by the river, which had destroyed the ancient port of Ostia, immediately began to affect the harbour of Claudius, which shortly became unfit to receive vessels of such considerable burden as many of those engaged in the corn trade. To remedy this defect, a new port was constructed by the emperor Trajan at Centum Cellæ, now Civita Vecchia, about thirty-eight miles W.N.W. Rome. And such was the judgment evinced in the selection of its site, and such the skill and solidity displayed in the contrivance and execution of the works, that Civita Vecchia continues to this day to be the port of Rome; and is, indeed, one of the best harbours on the west coast of Italy. It is formed by a breakwater, which has now the appearance of an island, constructed, as we learn from Pliny, precisely in the same way as the breakwaters in Plymouth Sound and at Cherbourg.1 Vessels leaving this port with a favourable breeze, were carried in about seven days to the Pillars of Hercules, and in nine or ten to Alexandria, in Egypt.
After the conquest of the latter, it became one of the principal granaries from which Rome first, and afterwards Constantinople, were supplied. Augustus paid the most marked, and indeed jealous attention, to everything that tended to consolidate and secure the Roman power in Egypt, to increase the supplies which it furnished of corn, and to render its conveyance from Alexandria to Rome safe and regular.2 In this view he established a fleet of merchantmen, of a larger size than any that had previously been employed in the Mediterranean, for the importation of the corn of Egypt. This fleet was protected by an escort of ships of war. It received the names of sacra and felix embola, and enjoyed several peculiar privileges. Among these, Seneca includes the right, which could only be exercised by the corn ships from Africa, of hoisting the small top-sail called supparum when they approached the coasts of Italy. Some of the fast-sailing vessels attached to the fleet were sent forward to give notice of its approach; and a deputation of senators went down to Ostia, Puteoli, or Centum Cellæ, as the case might be, to receive the fleet, which anchored amid the acclamations of the spectators. The captains of the ships were obliged to make oath that the corn which they had on board was that which had been delivered to them in Egypt, and that the cargoes were entire as shipped.3
In addition to the corn imported by the regular fleets, the greatest encouragement was given to its importation by private parties. Tiberius, on occasions of scarcity, gave a high bounty on the corn imported into Ostia. And during the famine to which we have already alluded, Claudius pledged himself to give the importers of corn such a bounty as should yield them an adequate profit, after every expense to which they might be put was deducted. He also endeavoured to make corn be imported during winter, by offering to take upon himself whatever losses the merchants might sustain from risking their ships at sea during a season when it was the invariable practice to lay them up. And farther to encourage importation, Claudius conferred the freedom of the city on all who built ships of the moderate burden of 10,000 modii (about 2,500 bushels) of corn, and who employed them for six years in the corn trade. The extraordinary importance attached to large importations of corn, especially if a scarcity were averted or stayed by their means, is also evinced by the fact that it was customary, from a very early period, to issue medals in commemoration of the circumstance.1
Some of the ancient writers mention that Augustus was so sensible of the value of Egypt, that he had resolved to annex Ethiopia, or Abyssinia, to the empire, not on account of its intrinsic worth, but because it had been reported to him that the Ethiopians had it in their power to render Egypt a desert by diverting the waters of the Nile, to which it owes all its fertility, into another channel. And, singular as it may seem, this destructive project would appear to have been repeatedly entertained. At all events, it is said to have been seriously contemplated by Albuquerque, the famous Portuguese viceroy, in revenge of the conduct of the Egyptian sultan, who had, at the instigation of the Venetians, opposed the establishment of the Portuguese in India.2
Besides being the source whence Rome derived her principal supplies of corn, the possession of Egypt was in other respects of much importance. The paper of antiquity, prepared from the papyrus, a plant found in the pools and ditches communicating with the Nile, was her peculiar product. She also furnished a large amount of revenue; and was the centre of the most extensive foreign trade carried on in the Roman dominions, or indeed in the ancient world. “Rome,” says Robertson, “enriched with the spoils and the tribute of almost all the known world, had acquired a taste for luxuries of every kind. Among people of this description, the productions of India have always been held in the highest estimation. The capital of the greatest empire ever established in Europe, filled with citizens who had now no occupation but to enjoy and dissipate the wealth accumulated by their ancestors, demanded everything rare, elegant, or costly, which that remote region could furnish, in order to support its pomp or heighten its pleasures. To supply this demand, new and extraordinary efforts became requisite; and the trade with India increased to a degree that was hitherto unknown.”1
This trade was carried on, down to the reign of the emperor Claudius, nearly in the ancient mode. The ships engaged in it, after leaving Myos-Hormos, Berenice, and other Egyptian ports on the Red Sea, appear, on entering the Indian Ocean, to have sailed along the coast of Arabia, touching at Aden, Canè, and other emporiums, till they arrived at its south-eastern promontory (now Cape Ras-el-Had), whence they sometimes steered north-west to the Persian Gulph, and sometimes crossed the sea to the country near the months of the Indus, or waited for the ships from thence. It is singular that, in making this voyage, neither the Phœnician, Egyptian, nor Greek sailors should have availed themselves of the assistance which the regular recurrence of the trade-winds affords for getting to and returning from India. But at length, in the reign of Claudius, Hippalus, the commander of a vessel from Egypt, having, either through accident or design, left the promontory of Syagros (now Cape Fartaque), on the coast of Southern Arabia, was carried by the western monsoon direct to Zigeris (probably the modern Jayghur), on the Malabar coast; whence he returned, after a prosperous navigation, by the eastern monsoon. And the voyage was soon after still further abridged, by sailing direct from Ocelis, at the mouth of the Arabic Gulph, to Musiris, which is perhaps identical with Mangalore, in Canara.1 The memory of the discoverer of this new route was perpetuated by giving his name to the wind which had borne him to India. And the facility which it afforded for carrying on an intercourse with that distant region was so great, that the previous route by Cape Ras-el-Had was comparatively deserted. From this remote epoch down to the voyage of Vasco de Gama round the Cape of Good Hope, in 1497, the course followed by Hippalus continued, with little variation, to be the pathway of the commerce between Europe and India. And now, by a not less remarkable revolution, that commerce, after having deserted it for more than 340 years, has again partially reverted to this ancient and direct channel. We may add, that, including the river navigation and land carriage in Egypt, a voyage from Alexandria to Musiris, and back again, was usually accomplished in about twelve-months. But, thanks to the improvement of navigation and the introduction of steam, the voyage from England to India, by Alexandria, is now accomplished in less than half the time the Egyptians formerly consumed in sailing thither from Berenice.2
There is no evidence to show, and perhaps little ground for supposing, that any of the vessels from Egypt that traded with Musiris, and other ports on the Malabar coast, made any exploratory voyages, or that they were ever seen on the farther coast of India. They were met at Musiris by caravans bringing produce by land, and by vessels from the contiguous ports, and probably, also, from those on the Bay of Bengal. And notwithstanding the difficulties under which it was carried, on, and the limited knowledge which those engaged in it had of India and its markets, the trade was such that even now it would appear to be of considerable magnitude and importance.
Egypt suffered much from the revolutions, disorders, and excesses of all sorts, which prevailed during the reigns of the degenerate Ptolemies preceding its conquest by the Romans. It is most probable that its commerce with the East partook of the general depression. But after the vigorous government of Augustus had put down abuses, and introduced good order, Egypt became more prosperous than ever. Strabo mentions that, in the preceding reigns, only twenty ships sailed from the Arabic Gulph for India, whereas, under Augustus, no fewer than one hundred and twenty ships annually cleared out for that continent.1 The customs-duties on the commodities which they exported and imported produced a large revenue, at the same time that new sources of wealth were opened to those who had enterprise and activity enough to profit by them. Horace, it is probable, had this extraordinary development of the trade with India in view when he says,—
The principal articles of importation into Rome from the East may be comprised under the heads of spices and aromatics, precious stones, pearls, ivory and silk.
The immense number of temples devoted to religious purposes in the ancient world, and the custom of burning frankincense and other costly spices on all grand festivals, occasioned their consumption in large quantities. But their expenditure in the gratification of vanity and ostentation far exceeded their expenditure in honour of the gods. The fashionable ladies of Greece and Rome were so perfumed with costly unguents, that their odour attracted the attention of those by whom they were not seen. On great occasions, and especially at the funeral of an emperor, or other illustrious personage, the outlay on spices surpassed all bounds. The body, and the funeral pile on which it was laid to be burned, were covered with the finest and most expensive varieties. To such an extent was this extravagance sometimes carried, that a greater quantity of spice is said to have been burned at the funeral of Poppœa, the mistress of Nero, than Arabia Felix produced in a year.1
But though principally, these spices were not wholly, supplied by Arabia. The balsam, said by Pliny to be the choicest of all aromatics, was a product peculiar to Judæa, being originally grown only in two small gardens belonging to its ancient kings. In their final struggle with the Romans, the Jews endeavoured to destroy the plants which furnished the balsam. But they were defeated in the attempt, and the shrub was exhibited, with the other spoils of Judæa, in the triumph of Titus. The balsam was thereafter included among the tributes of the Roman people.2
In addition to those furnished by Arabia and Judæa, spices were imported from India, Ethiopia, and Ceylon. Whether any came from the Moluccas it is impossible to say.
Precious stones and pearls were probably, next to spices, the most valuable of the articles supplied by the East to Rome. The art of cutting diamonds was imperfectly known to the ancients; but they held, notwithstanding, a high place in their estimation, though not so high as that which they hold in ours. The values of these and other gems varied according to the differences in their size and qualities, the diversity of tastes, and the caprices of fashion. The immense number of precious stones mentioned by Pliny, and the care with which he describes and arranges them, show how much they were prized by his countrymen.
But of all the articles of luxury and ostentation known to the Romans, pearls seem to have been the most esteemed. Principium culmenque omnium rerum pretii margaritœ tenent.3 They were worn on all parts of the dress; and such was the diversity of their size, purity, and value, that they were found to suit all classes, from those of middling to those of the most colossal fortune. The famous pearl ear-rings of Cleopatra are said to have been worth about £160,000; and Julius Cæsar is reported to have presented Servilia, the mother of Brutus, with a pearl for which he had paid above £48,000. And though no reasonable doubt can be entertained in regard to the extreme exaggeration of these and similar statements,1 the fact that the largest and finest pearls brought immense prices is beyond all question. It has been said, that the wish to become master of the pearls with which it was supposed to abound, was one of the motives which induced Julius Cæsar to invade Britain.2 But though a good many were met with in various parts of the country, they were of little or no value, being small and ill-coloured, subfusca ac liventia.3 After pearls and diamonds, the emerald held the highest place in the estimation of the Romans.
Pliny appears to have been rather intolerant of the finery in which the Roman ladies were disposed to indulge. He says that he had looked with astonishment at Lollia Paulina, the dowager of Caligula, whose head-dress, necklace, and bracelets, consisting of pearls, emeralds, and other precious stones, cost forty millions sesterces, or about £320,000!4 And yet, despite this contempt of expense, the richest Romans were destitute of various articles which the poorest individuals amongst us regard as indispensable. Lollia had neither shifts nor stockings; and even the windows in the imperial palaces were without glass.
The famous murrhine cups, vasa murrhina, with respect to which there has been so much learned, though not very satisfactory discussion, were first brought to Rome from the East by Pompey about sixty-four years before the Christian æra. They were used as drinking cups, and fetched enormous prices; Nero having given, according to the common method of interpreting, £58,000 for a single cup! The extravagance of the purchaser may, in this instance, be supposed to have increased the price; so that the degree of estimation in which they were held may be more accurately inferred from the fact that, of all the rich spoils of Alexandria, Augustus was content to select one for his share.1 Pliny2 says they were made in Persia, particularly in Karamania. Those who contend they were China ware, chiefly found on the following line of Propertius:—
“Murrheaque in Parthis poculacocta focis.”3
In despite, however, of this apparently decisive authority, Le Bland and Larcher, in two very learned dissertations,4 which Robertson has declared are quite satisfactory, have endeavoured to prove that the vasa murrhina were formed of transparent stone dug out of the earth in some Eastern provinces, and that they were imitated in vessels of coloured glass.5 Dr Vincent6 inclines to the opposite opinion; but the weight of authority is evidently on the side of his opponents. At all events, it is plain that if the murrhine cups were really porcelain, it had been exceedingly scarce at Rome, as their price would otherwise have been comparatively moderate. But it is most probable that the ancients were wholly unacquainted with this article; which, indeed, was but little known in Europe till after the discovery of the route to India by the Cape of Good Hope.
Silk was introduced into Rome as early as the age of Pompey and Cæsar; but though greatly admired by the public, and often mentioned by the Greek and Roman authors, they had not, for several centuries after its use became common, any certain knowledge either of the countries whence it came, or of the manner in which it was produced. Some supposed it to be a fine down adhering to the leaves of certain trees or flowers; others imagined it to be a variety of wool or cotton; and even those who had learned that it was the product of an insect, show by their descriptions that they had no accurate idea of the mode of its formation.1
For a lengthened period its price was quite exorbitant. It was deemed a dress too expensive and delicate for men, and was wholly appropriated to ladies of the highest rank and opulence. In the reign of Tiberius, a law was passed, ne vestis serica viros fœdaret—that no man should disgrace himself by wearing a silken garment.2 But Heliogabalus despised this law, and was the first of the Cæsars who, in the words of Gibbon, “sullied the dignity of an emperor and a man,” by wearing a dress composed wholly of silk (holosericum). The example once set, the custom of wearing silk soon became general among the wealthy citizens of Rome, and throughout the provinces. According as the demand for the article increased, efforts were made to import larger quantities; and the price seems to have progressively declined from the reign of Aurelian, when it is said to have been valued at its weight in gold. That this must have been the case, is obvious from the statement of Ammianus Marcellinus, that silk was in his time (anno 370) very generally worn, even by the lowest classes. Sericum ad usum antehac nobilium, nunc etiam infimorum sine ullâ discretione proficiens.3
China continued to draw considerable sums from the Roman empire in return for silk, now become indispensable to the western world, till the 6th century. About the year 550, two Persian monks, who had long resided in China and made themselves acquainted with the mode of rearing the silk-worm and the preparation of its products, encouraged by the gifts and promises of Justinian, succeeded in carrying the eggs of the insect to Constantinople. Under their direction they were hatched and fed; they lived and laboured in a foreign climate; a sufficient number of butterflies was saved to propagate the race, and mulberry trees were planted to afford nourishment to the rising generations. A new and important branch of industry was thus established in Europe. Experience and reflection gradually corrected the errors of a new attempt. And the Sogdoite ambassadors acknowledged in the succeeding reign, that the Romans were not inferior to the natives of China in the education of the insects, and the manufacture of silk.1
In addition to the great articles now mentioned, the ivory of Ethiopia and India,2 with the cottons, sugar, and drugs of the latter, were brought to Rome. So early as the time of Herodotus, the Greeks were aware that the Indians prepared cloth of wool obtained from a plant.3 And cotton is farther noticed by Arrian after Nearchus,4 by Strabo,5 and by Pliny, who commends, the whiteness and softness of the cloth manufactured from the plant in upper Egypt, nec ulla sunt iis candore mollitiâve præferenda.6 It is probable, therefore, that small quantities of cottons found their way to Italy from the time when the Romans began to trade with Alexandria. But there is no reason to think that they ever were common, or in much request in Rome. It would appear from the Periplus of the Erythræan sea that Indian cottons were principally exported from Baragyza, now Baroche, in the gulph of Cambay. But they were no doubt found in all the ports visited by ships from Egypt.
The knowledge which the ancients possessed of sugar, was if possible still more defective than that which they possessed of silk. They appear to have thought that it was found adhering to the cane, or that it issued from it in the state of juice, and then concreted like gum. Indeed, Lucan expressly alludes to Indians near the Ganges,—
“Quique bibunt tenerâ dulces ab arundine succos.”1
But these statements are evidently without foundation. Sugar cannot be obtained from the cane without the aid of art. It is never found native. Instead of flowing from the plant, it must be forcibly expressed, and then subjected to a variety of processes. It is not, however, quite so clear as has been generally supposed that the Romans were wholly unacquainted with the mode of procuring sugar. The remarkable line of Statius,—
“Et quas percoquit Ebusia cannas,”2
has been conjectured, apparently on pretty good grounds, to refer to the boiling of the juice of the cane. But the passage has been differently read, and is too enigmatical to be much depended on.
Pliny in describing sugar, says that it is brittle between the teeth, dentibus fragile;3 and from this and similar passages, Moseley conjectured, that the sugar known at Rome, was sugar-candy obtained from China. And it would seem that the preparation of sugar-candy has been understood and practised in China from a very remote antiquity; and that large quantities of it have been in all ages exported to India, whence, it is most probable, small quantities were brought to Rome.4
The route by Egypt and the Red Sea, though the principal, was not the only channel through which an intercourse was formerly carried on between the East and Europe. At a very early period, the products of the former were conveyed from Bactria and Persia to the Caspian Sea; and thence, partly by land and partly by water, across the intervening territory, to the embouchure of the Phasis in the Euxine. From this latter point the goods were forwarded to Constantinople, and to Sinope and other parts on the Black Sea.1 There were also other routes by which caravans made their way from Persia and Syria to the Euxine, and to Smyrna and other ports of Asia Minor. Constantinople drew, for some centuries before her fall, a large portion of her supplies of eastern products through these routes.
The commerce of the Romans during the flourishing period of the republic and the empire, was partly carried on with ordinary products, and partly with gold and silver. The papyrus of the Nile, the glass of Diospolis, the linen and tapestry of Alexandria, vases of various sorts, with iron, lead, tin, oil, wine, wool, and other products, from Italy and Europe generally, were exported from Egypt to Arabia, India, and other eastern countries. These, however, do not appear to have been equivalent to the articles imported; and hence, in spite of repeated prohibitions to the contrary, the precious metals were annually exported in considerable quantities to India. Tiberius complained to the senate that the wealth of the state was irrecoverably consigned to foreign and hostile nations, in exchange for luxuries and female ornaments.2 And Pliny computes the annual drain for cash to India only for the same objects at fifty millions sesterces, or £400,000;3 and to India, China, and Arabia at double that sum, or at about £800,000 a-year.4 And he farther adds, that the articles were sold, when brought to Italy, for a hundred times their original cost; that is, for the incredible sum of £80,000,000! Most probably, indeed, Pliny’s estimate of the sums exported to the East is exaggerated. But whether that be so or not, the rate of increase at which he supposes them to be sold should be looked upon merely as a rhetorical mode of saying that their price was very greatly increased in the transit from India and Arabia. The statement is too extravagant to admit of any other interpretation. If the addition made to the value of the Eastern products, in their way to Rome, were estimated at five or six times their prime cost, that is, if they were supposed to be worth in the latter £4,000,000 or £4,800,000, there is every probability that it would not be within, but very materially beyond, the mark.
But whatever may have been the drain of the precious metals to the East, there is no ground for supposing that it had the bad effects which have been attributed to it by Mengotti1 and others. It was not the exportation of bullion, but other and very different causes, the reliance placed by the Romans on tributes and subsidies, their contempt for industrious pursuits, and the incurable defects in their provincial administration, which hindered the improvement of agriculture and the useful arts, and ultimately occasioned the impoverishment and dismemberment of the empire. The dread of being deprived of an adequate supply of bullion was as visionary then as now. Silver was the metal principally exported to India. And while there is no reason to suppose that gold had become scarcer, Gibbon has shown that the proportion which it bore to silver in the time of Pliny, was considerably increased in the reign of Constantine. Whatever, therefore, may have been the amount of the Arabian and Indian imports, they did not deprive the empire of a sufficient stock of the precious metals. The influx of the latter from other quarters, and the produce of the mines, sufficed to meet the demands for foreign payments, without lessening the home supply, or increasing their value.2
Although, however, the genius of the Roman people was averse from commercial pursuits, the vast extent of their empire, the various nations which it comprised, and the protection which its government afforded to all individuals, made it the theatre of a considerable internal trade. The union among nations was never so entire, nor their intercourse so secure, as within the limits of this great empire. The whole civilised world was subjected to a uniform and well-digested system of law, which, though sometimes “violated by power, and perverted by subtlety and venality,” preserved a degree of order and security that was elsewhere unknown. Commerce was not obstructed by the jealousies of rival states, interrupted by frequent hostilities, or limited by partial restrictions. It was left to be carried on, with but little interference on the part of government, under a system of free and open competition.
But notwithstanding these peculiarly favourable circumstances, the trade of the Roman world was confined within much narrower limits than we might at first be inclined to anticipate. A little attention will, however, suffice to show that it could not be otherwise. In modern times, the subdivision of employments is everywhere carried to a very great extent; and there are but few individuals, even of the humblest classes, who are not indebted to others, and those frequently foreigners, for by far the largest portion of the articles required for their consumption. And hence the universal diffusion and vast extent of modern commerce. But in antiquity a different order of things prevailed. The labouring class consisted principally of slaves, who were supplied with little but necessaries; and these were mostly produced on the estates or in the families to which they belonged. Domestic manufactures were universally established. And it is, perhaps, needless to add, that where they exist there can be little or no trade. “Almost every profession, either liberal or mechanical, might be found in the household of an opulent senator.”1 And it was not unusual, both in Athens and Rome, for rich individuals to have large bodies of slaves trained to different businesses, which they let to others or to the state. These, however, were but seldom engaged in what we should call manufacturing establishments; but were mostly hired to serve in some sort of menial capacity. And hence, with the exception of the corn and provision trade of Rome and some other great cities, but few branches of commerce could be said to originate in, or to be materially promoted by, the demand of the bulk of the population. And though the aristocratical classes were rich and numerous, yet as the leading articles of their food and clothing were principally or wholly supplied by their slaves and dependants, they had little to buy other than rare and costly articles of luxurious consumption and enjoyment, such as the various products of the East, and the choicest specimens of art. But in the aggregate, the amount of these would be much less than is commonly supposed. The aristocracy of England, like that of Rome, is a very large body, and is possessed of immense wealth. But when compared with the rest of the community, its riches and expenditure become all but evanescent quantities. And supposing that the outlay of all parties belonging to this country, who have £5,000 or £6,000 a-year and upwards, were suddenly to cease, the effect upon the national revenue and trade would hardly be perceptible. But in antiquity it was quite different. In the Roman economy, slaves occupied the place which labourers occupy amongst us; and while the middle class was comparatively circumscribed, it sold little and bought little. Without the freedom of the lower classes, and the extensive subdivision of employments, it is impossible, whatever may be its advantages in other respects, that any country can attain to opulence or distinction in manufactures or trade.
The public revenue of the Romans, though principally derived from the tributes imposed on the conquered provinces, was also in part derived from duties on merchandise, and other sources. The portoria, or customs payable on the commodities imported into and exported from the different ports of the empire, formed an ancient and considerable branch of the national revenue. They were imposed, as Tacitus has observed, when the spirit of liberty was highest among the people. A consulibus et tribunis plebis institutæ; acri etiam populi Romani tum libertate. The rates at which the duties were charged were fluctuating and various, and little is now known with respect to them. The most complete list of foreign articles on which customs duties were levied, is to be found in the law compiled by Marcian, relating to the duties to be imposed on goods imported from the East into Egypt.1 Bouchaud has given a learned, elaborate, and tedious commentary on the various articles mentioned in this law.2
It may be justly said of the Romans that they never have been equalled in the difficult art of effacing national and local prejudices, and of consolidating different and distant nations into one homogeneous people. Much of their success in this respect is due to their colonies and high roads. No country was considered as fully subjugated till colonies of Roman citizens were established in it, and till highways, communicating with those leading from Rome, had been carried to its remotest extremities. The former served at once to overawe and bridle the conquered people, and to communicate to them the language and the arts of the conquerors; while the latter served as channels to convey information from and to the imperial city, and by which the victorious legions could be marched wherever disturbance or danger was apprehended. But the military and political influence of those establishments, how powerful soever, was not greater than their influence in diffusing civilisation, and in promoting the intercourse of the different provinces. Hence the intimate relation that subsisted among the various parts of the Roman empire, and which was said to give it more the appearance of a city than of a vast territory stretching from the Euphrates to the Severn, and from Atlas to the Rhine.
The roads were accurately divided by mile-stones, and ran in a direct line from one city to another, with very little respect either for the obstacles of nature, or of private property. Mountains were perforated, and bridges thrown over the broadest and most rapid streams. Such was the solidity of their construction, that they have not entirely yielded to the effort of fifteen centuries. Posts were established along all the great lines of road. Houses, provided with an adequate number of horses, were erected at the distance of every five or six miles, so that, with the help of these relays, it was easy to travel a hundred miles a day along the Roman roads. Though originally intended only for the public service, the use of the post was afterwards indulged to the business or conveniency of private citizens.2
From the foundation of Constantinople, ad 324,3 the trade which had previously centered at Rome, as well as its political importance, gradually declined. The situation of the former, on the narrow straits separating Europe from Asia, and uniting the Mediterranean with the Euxine, is one of the finest that can be imagined; and is infinitely preferable, in a commercial point of view, to that of the old capital of the empire. For a considerable period a large portion of the revenues of the Roman world was brought to the new city. And after the Western Empire had been overrun and subjugated by the barbarians, Constantinople continued to be the metropolis of many rich and fertile provinces. But, during the latter portion of its existence, the dominions of the Eastern Empire were much curtailed, and its population, alike effeminate and worthless, could hardly lay claim to a single manly virtue. The city, however, not having suffered from hostile irruptions, had a large population, great wealth, and numerous manufactures. It was also the grand mart for the products of the East. These it received partly from Alexandria, and partly by the route, already noticed, by the Caspian and the Black Sea. Till the merchants of Venice, Amalphi, and other free cities appeared in the field, the whole trade of Europe in Eastern commodities was in the hands of the Greeks. And though it had greatly fallen off from what it had been in the flourishing ages of the Western Empire, it still continued to be far from inconsiderable. When the crusaders visited Constantinople, they were much struck with its magnitude, the magnificence of its public buildings, and the riches of the inhabitants.
The population of Constantinople, like that of Rome, was for some centuries principally supported on corn imported by government, and either distributed gratis, or sold at a comparatively low price. It was partly brought from Egypt, and partly from the Black Sea. The exports from the former fell off greatly in the lengthened interval between Augustus and Justinian; but the increase in those from the Black Sea helped to balance this deficiency. After a long decline and agony, the Greek empire finally expired on the 29th May 1453, when Constantinople fell, by assault, into the hands of the Turks.
[1 ] Livy, lib. xxi. cap. 63.
[2 ] Les citoyens Romains regardoient le Commerce et les Arts comme des occupations d’esclaves; ils ne les exercoient point.—Montesquieu “Grandeur et Decadence des Romains,” cap. 10.
[1 ] Dion. Halic. lib. ii. cap. 28. Sallust. Cat. cap. 7.
[1 ] Æneid, lib. vi. lin. 848.
[1 ] And yet Cicero does not scruple to inquire, An quis amplissimus Galliæ cum infimo civi Romano, comparandus est? Pro Marco Fonteio.
[2 ] Lugent omnes, quæruntur omnes liberi Populi: regna denique jam omnia de nostris cupiditatibus et injuriis expostulant: Locus intra oceanum jam nullus est, neque tam longinquus, neque tam reconditus quò non, per hæc tempora, nostrorum hominum libido, iniquitasque pervaserit.—Cicero in Verr, lib. iii.
[3 ] Tantumque se (Mithridatem) avida expectat Asia ut etiam vocibus vocet. Adeo illis odium Romanorum incussit rapacitas Proconsulum, sectio Publicanorum, calumniæ litium.—Justin, lib. xxviii. cap. 7.
[1 ] Qui mare tenet, eum necesse est rerum potiri.—Cicero ad Att., lib. x. Ep. 7.
[2 ] Polybius, lib. vi. ex. 2. Marius was among the first to disregard this limitation, and to recruit from all classes.
[3 ] Huet, “Commerce des Anciens,” cap. 30.
[1 ] Liv. lib. xxx. cap. 43.
[2 ] Cicero pro Lege Manilia; Huet, “Commerce des Anciens,” cap. 36.
[1 ] Gibbon, “Decline and Fall,” cap. i.
[1 ] Vegetius de Re Militari, lib. iv. cap. 31; Adam’s “Antiquities;” Campbell in “Harris’ Voyages,” i. 426, ed. 1764.
[1 ] This, however, has been excessively exaggerated. The influence which importations of corn have over the agriculture of the country into which they are brought, depends wholly on their magnitude. Supposing the total importation of corn into Rome under the emperors to have amounted to 1,000,000 or 1,200,000 quarters, there is no ground for thinking that it would have been reduced so low as 500,000 or 600,000 quarters had it been imported under a free system, as in England. But without insisting on this consideration, it is quite futile to suppose that an importation of 1,000,000 or 1,200,000 quarters could have inflicted any serious, or indeed sensible, injury on the agriculture of so great and so fertile a country as Italy. Its decay must be sought for in other causes than this. In the depopulation occasioned by the civil wars and the proscriptions; and still more, perhaps, in the extension of pasturage, and in the conversion of small into large estates principally cultivated by slaves, which it was cheaper to import than to breed. The beggarly population of Rome, the misera ac jejuna plebecula, as Cicero called it, could not support itself. It had to be supported by others. And it surely was more for the advantage of Italy that it should be supported by the provinces than by itself.
[2 ] Frumentariam legem C. Gracchus ferebat. Jucunda res plebi Romanæ: victus enim suppeditabatur large sine labore. Repugnabant boni quod et ab industria plebem ad desidiam avocari putabant, et ærarium exhauriri videbant. Pro Sextio, cap. 48.
[1 ] Lucan, lib. iii. v. 55, etc.
[2 ] A modius is nearly, but not quite, ¼th part of a bushel, being 1·902 imperial gallons.
[1 ] “Frumentum publicum tam fur quam perjurus et adulter accipit, et sine delectu morum quisquis civis est.”—Seneca, De Benef. iv. 28.
[2 ] This is Gibbon’s estimate. Dureau de la Malle estimates it at only 562,000; while later authorities carry it up to above 2,000,000, or to about the population of London within the extended bills of mortality. But though the estimate of Dureau de la Malle be supposed to be a good deal within the mark, we have not the least doubt that it is much nearer to it than the latter, which is quite extravagant.
[3 ] See the learned article on the Frumentariæ Leges, in Smith’s “Dictionary of Antiquities,” and the valuable treatise on the Corn Trade of Athens and Rome, in No. 168 of the “Edinburgh Review.” The texts of the ancient writers bearing on the subject are collected in the treatise of Contarenus, “De Frumentaria Romanorum Largitione.” 12mo. Vesaliæ, 1669.
[1 ] Suetonius, “Vit. Tib. Claudii,” cap. 20, ed. Pitisci. Bergier, “Hist. des Grands Chemins,” ii. 341; 4to, Bruxelles, 1736.
[1 ] Plin. Epistolæ, lib. vi. Ep. 31.
[2 ] If we may rely on the authority of Aurelius Victor, these precautions were not taken before they were necessary. He states that, on one occasion, during the reign of Augustus, there was only a three days’ supply of corn in the city; and that the emperor had determined to take poison unless the corn fleets arrived in the interval! Luckily they did arrive; and the safety of the people was ascribed to the good fortune of Augustus.—Aur. Victor, Epit. de Vita et Morib. Imperatorum, cap. i. p. 22, ed. Pitisci.
[3 ] Senecæ Epist. No. 77; Bilhon, “Commerce des Romains,” p. 73; Huet, “Commerce des Anciens,” cap. 48, etc.
[1 ] Taylor’s “Elements of Civil Law,” pp. 501, 505; and the numerous authorities there referred to. The importers of corn were early formed into a corporate body.—See Dig. lib. iii. tit. 4, de Naviculariis.
[2 ] Huet, “Commerce des Anciens,” cap. 49.
[1 ] Disquisition on India, p. 43, 4to ed.
[1 ] Plin. Hist. Nat. lib. xi. cap. 23; Robertson’s India, p. 49, 4to ed.
[2 ] Sharpe’s “Hist. of Egypt,” p. 374, ed. 1846.
[1 ] Strabo, lib. ii. cap. 4, § 5, and lib. xxii. cap. 1, § 7.
[2 ] Epist. lib. i.; Ep. 1, line 45.
[1 ] Plin. Hist. Nat. lib. xii. cap. 18.
[2 ] Ibid. lib. xii. cap. 25.
[3 ] Ibid. lib. ix. cap. 35.
[1 ] See ante, p. 58.
[2 ] Sueton. Vit. Jul. Cæsar, cap. 47.
[3 ] Tacit. Agricola, cap. 12; Gough’s “Camden,” iii. 189, edit. 1806.
[4 ] Hist. Nat. lib. ix. cap. 35. The father of Lollia, Marcus Lollius, acquired his immense wealth by abusing the powers entrusted to him in the East.
[1 ] Sueton. lib. ii. c. 71.
[2 ] Lib. xxxvii. c. 2.
[3 ] Lib. iv. Elig. 5, line 26.
[4 ] Mémoires de L’Academie, tom. xliii.
[5 ] Robertson’s “Disquisition on India,” note 39.
[6 ] Commerce and Navigation of the Ancients, vol. ii. p. 723.
[1 ] Robertson’s “India,” p. 55, 4to ed.
[2 ] Tacit. Annal. lib. ii. c. 33.
[3 ] Lib. xviii. c. 6.
[1 ] Gibbon, “Decline and Fall,” cap. 40.
[2 ] India mittit ebur. Virg. Georg. lib. i. lin. 57.
[3 ] Lib. iii. cap. 106.
[4 ] Hist. Ind. cap. 16.
[5 ] Strabo, lib. xv. cap. i. § 10. In the same paragraph, Strabo says that silks were produced, somewhat after the manner of cottons, from thread or wool obtained from the bark of certain trees.
[6 ] Hist. Nat. lib. xix. cap. 50.
[1 ] Lib. iii. 1. 237.
[2 ] Sylv. lib. i. v. 15.
[3 ] Lib. xii. cap. 8.
[4 ] “Treatise on Sugar,” 2d edit. pp. 66-71.
[1 ] See the Dissertation on the Commerce of the Euxine, annexed to Falconer’s Translation of Arrian’s Periplus of that sea, p. 116, etc., and the authorities there referred to.
[2 ] Tacit. Annal. lib. iii. cap. 53.
[3 ] “Digna res, nullo anno imperii nostri minus H. S. quingenties exhauriente India, et merces remittente, quæ apud nos centuplicato veneant.”—Hist. Nat. lib. vi. cap. 23.
[4 ] “Minimâque computatione millies centena millia sestertium annis omnibus, India et Seres, peninsulaque illa (Arabia) imperio nostro adimunt. Tanto nobis deliciæ et fœminæ constant.”—Ibid. lib. xii. cap. 18.
[1 ] “Del Commercio De Romani,” p. 220, etc., ed. Milano 1802.
[2 ] “Decline and Fall,” cap. 2.
[1 ] Gibbon, “Decline and Fall,” cap. 2.
[1 ] Dig. lib. xxxix., tit. iv. cap. 16, de Publicanis et Vectigalibus.
[2 ] “Essai sur l’Impot du vingtieme sur les successions,” etc., pp. 399-450.
[1 ] Rutilii Itin. lib. i.
[2 ] Gibbon, “Decline and Fall,” cap. 2.
[3 ] The ancient Byzantium was included within the ample circumference of the imperial city.