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By David S. Potter

A impressive fulfillment of ancient synthesis mixed with a compelling interpretative line, The Roman Empire at Bay allows scholars of all classes to appreciate the dynamics of significant imperial powers. David Potter's accomplished survey of 2 serious and eventful centuries lines the process imperial decline, skillfully weaving jointly cultural, highbrow and political heritage. specific consciousness is paid all through to the buildings of presidency, the increase of Persia as a rival, and the various highbrow routine within the empire. there's additionally a powerful specialise in Christianity, remodeled during this interval from a perimeter sect to the major faith. in contrast specified history, Professor Potter argues that the lack of energy can ordinarily be attributed to the failure within the imperial elite to reply to alterations inside and out the empire, and to inner struggles for regulate among diverse parts within the executive, leading to an inefficient centralization of energy at courtroom.

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In this case the evidence is yet to be assembled in the way that it has been for animal flesh. What we do know, on the notoriously unreliable evidence from our literary texts, is that fish tended to be regarded as a luxury food for the rich, and that the fisherman was notoriously poor. The Mediterranean as a whole is less productive of aquatic life than other oceans (a feature of its relatively high temperature and high salinity), and it was harder to fish with the technologies available in the premodern period because of its steep continental shelves.

The insecurity of the food supply in the premodern world suggests that the inhabitants of the countryside lived under the perpetual threat of shortage. Even if the diet was less heavily dependent on wheat as is sometimes suggested, shortages of grain translate into the death of animals, and loss of fertilizer and seed for the future. What is more, conditions of premodern agriculture suggest that a majority of the rural inhabitants of the Roman world suffered from a diet that lacked sufficient vitamins to be nourishing.

49 There is no reason to think that figures from medieval France are not on the same scale as those from the Roman period, showing substantial interregional variation in accordance with local ecological conditions. 5:1). 53 The overall picture that may be derived of farming in the Roman Empire is that conditions were similar to those in the Middle Ages, with its patterns of good and bad years. The insecurity of the food supply in the premodern world suggests that the inhabitants of the countryside lived under the perpetual threat of shortage.

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