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Jones and the late Roman Economy

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is on Jones and the late Roman economy and it explains why his view of it was so pessimistic in his Later Roman Empire. Before judging as pessimistic Jones' minimalist assessment of late Roman commerce, one needs to view it in a broader context, and be aware of how he described the role of trade in earlier Roman times. In his 1959 article, ?Over-Taxation and the Decline of the Roman Empire?, rates of taxation, a shrinking of the Roman economy, and the overall decline of the empire were explicitly and forcefully linked. As any reader of the Theodosian Code must, Jones accepted that tied labour was an important feature of the late Roman period. The minimalist, and predominantly pessimistic, view that Jones had of the later Roman economy was to a large extent possible because he almost completely ignored archaeological evidence.

Keywords: Later Roman Empire; A.H.M Jones; archaeological evidence; late Roman economy; late Roman taxation; Theodosian Code; tied labour



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