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Aug 10, 2011

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Mike Aubrey

One of the challenges with using economic strata is that it imposes somewhat of a Marxian lens onto the ancient world. The Greco-Roman world was not so much defined by class as it was by an intricate web of pyramidal patron to client relationships. A slave could be economically comfortable while a free farmer may have been living on the edge. Still, when we come to the question of who were “the poor,” it gives us a clearer picture.

I think it's important to note on this issue is the fact that none of the categories in the economic scale include slaves. Now I haven't read the book just yet (it's on my list), but at least from your presentation, the scale doesn't preclude slaves from being at any of these economic levels--and I would hope that a scholar as respected as Longenecker would already be aware of that.

Just a thought.

Michael W. Kruse

Mike, I think the point would be that "slave" was not an economic status, nor was it limited to one type of work. Slaves did a wide spectrum of work. While certainly most slaves were very poor, some slaves of the wealthiest Romans had great power and influence. A slave could have something approximating his master's status. That is why the "class structure" analysis is limited. That is why you don't see slave mentioned as a status within the descriptions. He actually has a wonderful chart in the book that highlights some of this.

sports good

A slave could be economically comfortable while a free farmer may have been living on the edge. Still, when we come to the question of who were “the poor,” it gives us a clearer picture..Good blog...

Bob Robinson

Thanks for this review, Michael!

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