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Document Details :
Title: Roman Economic Policies during the Third Century AD
Subtitle: The Evidence of the tituli picti on Oil Amphorae
Author(s): BROEKAERT, Wim
Journal: Ancient Society
Volume: 38 Date: 2008
Although the food supply of Rome has generated numerous publications, many details remain obscure. This contribution focuses on the oil supply during the 3rd century and the changes in the tituli on Dressel 20 oil amphorae. After a status quaestionis and refutation of the main hypotheses, the author argues that the tituli indicated the person(s) who were legally responsible for the cargo during the voyage. When during the reign of Septimius Severus the emperor’s name appears on the amphorae, the emperor is taking full liability for the transported cargoes. This was meant to be a way of stimulating skippers to serve the Roman supply system. Two episodes in Roman history prove that the central government had turned to this method before. Because of the great financial risks the emperor took, the financing of the supply system was once again reorganised by Severus Alexander.