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Roman manpower resources and the proletarianization of the roman army in the second century BC

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows that there is no firm evidence to support the theory that Roman manpower resources were eroded by a demographical decline from the late 160s BC onwards. In fact, the few clues available suggest that the period 163-133 BC witnessed a considerable increase in the number of adult male Roman citizens. We are faced with the seemingly paradoxical conclusion that the perceived manpower shortage that seems to have worried several politicians of the Gracchan age was caused not by a contraction of the citizen body but by a continuing process of demographic expansion. The main significance of this new interpretation is that it provides us with a better understanding not only of the Gracchan land reforms but also of the steady proletarianization of the Roman army during the last two centuries of the Republic.

Keywords: Gracchan land reforms; proletarianization; Roman army; Roman manpower resources



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