Moving Romans: Migration to Rome in the Principate

Moving Romans: Migration to Rome in the Principate

by Laurens E. Tacoma


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While the importance of migration in contemporary society is universally acknowledged, historical analyses of migration put contemporary issues into perspective. Migration is a phenomenon of all times, but it can take many different forms. The Roman case is of real interest as it presents a situation in which the volume of migration was high, and the migrants in question formed a mixture of voluntary migrants, slaves, and soldiers. Moving Romans offers an analysis of Roman migration by applying general insights, models, and theories from the field of migration history. It provides a coherent framework for the study of Roman migration on the basis of a detailed study of migration to the city of Rome in the first two centuries AD. Advocating an approach in which voluntary migration is studied together with the forced migration of slaves and the state-organized migration of soldiers, it discusses the nature of institutional responses to migration, arguing that state controls focused mainly on status preservation rather than on the movement of people. It demonstrates that Roman family structure strongly favoured the migration of young unmarried males. Tacoma argues that in the case of Rome, two different types of the so-called urban graveyard theory, which predicts that cities absorbed large streams of migrants, apply simultaneously. He shows that the labour market which migrants entered was relatively open to outsiders, yet also rather crowded, and that although ethnic community formation could occur, it was hardly the dominant mode by which migrants found their way into Rome because social and economic ties often overrode ethnic ones. The book shows that migration impinges on social relations, on the Roman family, on demography, on labour relations, and on cultural interaction, and thus deserves to be placed high on the research agenda of ancient historians.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198768050
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 06/21/2016
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Laurens Ernst (Rens) Tacoma studied History at the University of Leiden, where he graduated in 1994 in Ancient History. He defended his Ph.D. thesis on the urban elites of Roman Egypt in 2003. He is currently lecturer in Ancient History at Leiden University, working and teaching in the field of Roman social history. From 2010 to 2014 he worked in a project entitled Moving Romans. Migration, Labor and Urbanisation in Roman Italy, for which he stayed in the year 2013/4 as a Fellow at the Royal Dutch Institute in Rome.

Table of Contents

List of Tables xi

1 Introduction: Migration Before Modernity 1

1 De-modernizing migration 1

2 Rome the cosmopolis 6

3 Interpreting Roman migration: some historiography 9

4 Stones and bones 16

5 Aims and methods 26

2 Conceptualizing Migration 30

1 Defining migration 30

2 Ten types of migration 35

3 Geographical horizons 48

4 Quantification 61

5 Overlap and intersection 72

3 The Roman Migration Regime 75

1 The invention of migration 75

2 Legal status 76

3 Citizenship and geographical mobility 82

4 Supervising mobility 85

5 Expulsions from Rome 92

6 A liberal migration regime? 104

4 Migration and the Family 106

1 Household composition 106

2 A general model 107

3 A demographic profile 113

4 The marriage market 123

5 Return migration 130

6 Variation and similarity 140

5 Migration and Urbanization 142

1 Urban migration theory 142

2 One theory, two variants 144

3 Applications to the Roman world 149

4 Size and composition of Rome's population 152

5 Mortality 157

6 Fertility 163

7 Modelling Roman immigration 167

6 Migration and Labour 170

1 Finding motives 170

2 Slave and free labour 176

3 Skilled and unskilled labour 184

4 Female and male labour 191

5 Permanent, temporary, and seasonal work 195

6 Locating labour migration 199

7 Migration and Acculturation 204

1 A multicultural society? 204

2 Migration and ethnicity 207

3 Language use 214

4 Migrant cults? 223

5 Migrant associations? 232

6 Migrant networks 237

8 Conclusion: Rome's Migration System 241

1 Dramatic changes? 241

2 Family resemblances 242

3 Urbanization-labour-migration 247

4 Quantifying migration 253

5 A transport transition? 257

6 Some implications 264

Bibliography 269

Index of Sources 295

Index of Subjects 302

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