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Bread and Bandits: Clodius and the Grain Supply of Rome

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P. Clodius' lex frumentaria of 58 BC tends to be viewed as a populist law that greatly exacerbated, if not largely created, the problems associated with the provision of grain in the 50s. Yet the law was intended to alleviate the high costs due to increased demand created by Cato's lex frumentaria of 62. Moreover, it was not conceived as a one-shot, populist solution, but was part of a larger strategy aimed at mitigating the problem of supply. In ways hitherto unrealised, Clodius' annexation of Cyprus and the consular exemption of Delos from taxation formed part of a wider debate on tackling the root cause of high costs and unreliable supply: the resurgence of piracy in the eastern Mediterranean.
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Keywords: CLODIUS; CORN DOLE; CYPRUS; DELOS; LEX FRUMENTARIA; PIRACY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2019

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  • Hermes, founded in 1866 and currently edited by Siegmar Döpp, Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp and Adolf Köhnken, is an international, peer-reviewed journal on Greek and Roman antiquity. It focuses on linguistics, literature as well as history. It features original articles in English, German, French and Italian.
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