Statistics in Ancient History

38 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2013 Last revised: 19 Feb 2013

See all articles by Peter Temin

Peter Temin

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 13, 2013


This paper uses new data to extend the argument that there was an integrated wheat market in the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire. I explore the meaning of randomness when data are scarce, and I investigate how we recreate the nature of ancient societies by asking new questions that stimulate the discovery of more information. The case for a prosperous Roman society extending the length of the Mediterranean Sea is strong. This paper draws on and extends work reported in my new book: The Roman Market Economy (Princeton, 2013).

Keywords: small samples, randomness, scarce data, Roman economy, ancient trade

JEL Classification: N73, C20, F61

Suggested Citation

Temin, Peter, Statistics in Ancient History (February 13, 2013). MIT Department of Economics Working Paper No. 13-06, Available at SSRN: or

Peter Temin (Contact Author)

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