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the senate flooded the market with its Sicilian tithe-corn. Rather, when ships could bring to the Roman grain market corn from land adapted to its raising, the Roman peasant was released, as it were, from an ever-deteriorating corn-culture and could then specialize upon the products for which his soil was more fitted. To be sure, the change probably caught some conservative farmers off their guard, and it unfortunately worked for the plantation system to the detriment of intensive farming, but the same results would eventually have been effected by the freer commerce of the growing state even if the senate had not secured its annual 750,000 bushels of tithe-corn for the home market.
If we thus grasp the economic situation of Latium we shall not find it difficult to understand the Sicilian corn regulation. In deciding to control Sicilian corn, the landlord senators were neither generously benefitting the populace to the ruining of their own market, nor were they diabolically devising some scheme for getting rid of the Sicilian grain or for enriching Roman shippers. They adopted the Ptolemaic policy on purely political grounds and they could do so without jeopardizing Roman interests, for they had already discovered profitable substitutes for their own corn crops.
We have now reviewed all the evidence that can be cited in favor of commercial influences in republican politics. In the several treaties of the early part of the second century we find that there is no special privilege for the Roman trader. The treaty with Antiochus safeguards the commercial privileges of the Rhodians but asks nothing more. In 167 the royal monopoly of salt is confirmed to the Macedonian republics. In 154 Marseilles was able by the aid of Roman support to free her wine market from the competition of a hostile Gallic tribe. Rome guaranteed the strength of the treaty by her signature, but the wording of it was dictated by the Greek city. The Aetolian treaty is the only one in which special commercial privileges were exacted, and these were accorded to the numerous Italian rivals of Rome as fully as to the Roman traders. On the other hand, the Termessian treaty and the Sicilian regulations mentioned by Cicero sustain the view that Rome seldom asked subjectallies for the freedom of the port in behalf of her merchants.
Supporting this positive evidence, there is the solid authority of the republic's failure to adopt a number of measures that might effectively have aided her merchants if she had desired to favor them. We hear of no mare clausum as in the treaties exacted by Carthage, no export and import prohibitions regarding Italy as in the occasional enactments of Athens, no differential tariffs such as appear during the empire, no creation of new commercial monopolies
such as were practised in the Hellenic world, no direct encouragement of harbor improvements by subsidies and insurances such as the emperor Claudius later introduced. In view of these facts the historian can hardly continue to hand on the conventional statements that the commercial lobby of Rome directed the foreign policies of the senate in the second century B. C., much less that it secured the destruction of Corinth and Carthage.
When Carthage fell no Roman harbor was provided in Africa. Utica, a free city, inherited Carthage's commerce, and even handled the produce of the Italian farmers who settled in Africa. When Corinth was destroyed, the Delian harbor profitted to be sure, but, as we shall presently see, Delos was a port already filled with Greek, Syrian, Egyptian, and South-Italian merchants, and these enjoyed the full privileges of the port as much as did the Romans. Caesar was the first Roman statesman who formed comprehensive plans to further Roman commerce; but, as he fell before these plans could be executed, the task had to await the patronage of Claudius. Then first can one speak of state encouragement of commerce at Rome.
The supposed mercantilism of the last two centuries of the republic thus disappears under examination. Apparently the state was not greatly interested in foreign trade. Can we determine the extent and importance of this trade? There is no ancient estimate now in existence, and yet we are not left wholly to conjecture. The best indications are to be found in the recently excavated inscriptions of the famous island-city of Delos. Since the city was never rebuilt after its destruction by Mithradates in 88, its numerous inscriptions have lain undisturbed in the ruins until the present day; and since Strabo informs us that it was the centre of the Roman foreign trade during the republic, we may in some measure restore the history of that commerce from these inscriptions.
Now, these inscriptions1o at once prove that the Romans were late comers at Delos, that in fact they were not at all a vital element in the Aegean trade during the days when the Roman state was spreading its political influence through the East. During that period the mercantile associations of the Orient predominate at Delos.
19 These inscriptions are now being published by French scholars in vol. XI. of Inscriptiones Graecae. Meanwhile one must consult the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum and the current numbers of the Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique. See also article on Delos in Pauly-Wissowa, and Homolle, "Les Romains à Délos ", Bull. Corr. Hell., VIII. 75-158 (1884). Homolle has placed the immigration of Roman merchants too early. He has not given due weight to the fact that the earliest Roman names are those of officials connected with navies and armies, and that the other western names of early date are not Roman but South-Italian. Furthermore, he dates several inscriptions too early; they should be checked up by Ferguson's latest list of archons (Klio, VII. 216, 1907).
Syrian cults had entered the island early in the second century20 and Syrian mercantile societies erected dedications there from 160 on. CIG. 2271 is a decree of the "synod of Tyrian merchants" dating from 153, and Roussel21 gives a collection of inscriptions of the merchants' association (Poseidonists) of Beirut, Syria, from the second half of the century. Egyptians entered Delos even earlier. Temples to their deities existed there in the third century, and their inscriptions, some of which go back to the third century,22 have come to light by the score. In the latter half of the second century, when Alexandrian merchantmen came in even greater numbers, new temples were raised to Egyptian gods.23 Other tablets recording honors and gifts show an influx of easterners from a dozen different cities soon after Delos was made a free port in 167. The cities most frequently mentioned are Alexandria, Antioch, Tyre, Sidon, Beirut, Aradus, Ascalon, Laodicea, Heracleia, and other cities of the Pontic sea. It is the peoples from these places who gained most when in 167 Rome declared Delos a free port and in 146 Corinth fell.
Westerners, however, are by no means absent. In fact before the end of the second century, they seem to predominate. Let us see what the inscriptions have to say about who these westerners were and when they came. It will be remembered that the Roman fleet frequently harbored at Delos during the wars with Philip and Antiochus. That fleet was largely officered and manned by the people of South-Italian cities who were the "naval allies" of Rome. Perhaps this accounts for the fact that almost all the Italian names that occur in the Delian inscriptions before 150 are South-Italian. In a list of the year 18024 Vibius and Oppius are Oscan names, Staius is from Cumae. The only other early list,25 dating from about the same time, records the names Oppius, Staius, Vicirius, Plotius, Sehius, and Claudius. Apparently the last name alone is Roman, and even that is the name of a freedman. Sestius 26 (before 167) is explicitly designated as a native of Fregellae, Avillius27 is a native of Lanuvium, and Trebius Loisius 28 is now known to be a Sicilian.29
20 BCH., VI. 295 (1882).
21 Ibid., XXXI. 335-377 (1907).
22 Ibid., XXXII. 397 (1908).
23 Ferguson, Klio, VII. 226 (1907).
24 BCH., VI. 29 (1882).
CIL., III. 7218.
20 BCH., VIII. 89 (1884).
CIL., III. 7242.
28 BCH., IV. 183 (1880).
29 Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae, 5370.
These Italians may possibly have formed a club or conventus3o even before Delos became a free port, since an inscription31 attesting communal worship seems to date from about 180. When it was that Roman citizens began to predominate in this club we do not know. We cannot draw conclusions from inscriptions like that of the BCH., V. 463 (1881), dating from about the middle of the century, where the members are called "Romans". This tablet was raised in honor of an Athenian officer; and, since Athens had received Delos from Rome, Athenian official inscriptions regularly speak of the members of the conventus as Romans, not as Itali or Italici, which was the designation used by the members of themselves. Actual names of Roman merchants are extremely rare until after Asia had become a Roman possession in 132, and Delos could in consequence be used as a convenient way-station between Pergamum and Rome. From that time on Roman societies grow numerous. temple was then erected to Mercury. A society calling itself by the high-sounding title "Hermaistes, Apolloniastes, Poseidoniastes", was formed about 113.32 A little later Roman traders built the socalled Schola Romanorum, a club-house which was then the largest building on the island. About 100, Roman freedmen and slaves formed a society for the worship of the lares compitales, and have left a generous record of their piety. In 88 there were enough Romans in Delos to influence the policy of the island, for it refused to follow the example of Athens by joining Mithradates against Rome, thereby bringing upon itself the king's wrath.
This brief survey of the Delian records justifies the inference that strictly Roman commerce was of little importance in the Aegean before 132 B. C., when Asia was made a province. Incidentally it proves that the Roman trader could have had no privileges which were not accorded the traders of Cumae, Naples, Tarentum, and a score of other Italian seaport towns; for, had the Romans enjoyed special commercial privileges, a diversity of interests would have precluded the existence of a common conventus. It certainly confutes the old hypothesis that in ordering the destruction of Corinth in 146 the Roman government was consciously influenced by the merchants and capitalists interested in the trade that centred about Delos.
30 On the conventus of Italians and Romans in foreign parts see Schulten, De Conventibus Civium Romanorum, and Kornemann's article "Conventus" in PaulyWissowa.
"CIL., III. 7218. It is usually dated early because two of the names seem to be identical with names occurring on Demares's list of 180. It is still a moot question whether an organized cult implies the existence of a conventus of the usual kind.
BCH., XXXIII. 493 (1909).
Other evidence regarding Rome's foreign trade also supports the contention that it grew up after the days of expansion. Recent excavations prove that the natural harbor of Rome at the Tiber's mouth was still a very small town in Caesar's day. Livy's accounts of the mercantile docks built at Rome in 192 and 174 show them to be only unimportant structures. During the age of the elder Cato, to be sure, there are many references to imports of all kinds, for the wealthier classes were beginning to enjoy eastern wines and table luxuries, finer weaves of cloth, and decorative articles. Sicilian grain and hordes of slaves were also shipped in. Cato even makes reference to the profits that would accrue from judicious investments in the shipping business. That, however, this shipping business was to any great extent in the hands of Romans is very unlikely, for Rome's export trade at the time was insignificant. Roman industry manufactured nothing during the century of Cato that could compete across the seas with the more finished products of Greece. and the Orient, while Roman wine and oil, which later were marketed far and wide, had not yet established a reputation abroad.
In the beginning of the last century of the republic references to Roman traders busy in foreign parts become more numerous. 88, that is, forty years after the province had been formed, agents of Mithradates found eighty thousand Romans and Italians in Asia. This number of course includes tax-gatherers and farmers of the state lands as well as merchants, bankers, and their servants. Sallust tells us that many Romans were engaged in business in Numidia at the end of the second century B. C. and Cicero says that in the first decades of the first century B. C. most of the trading in Gaul was carried on by Romans. To this evidence we may add the inscriptional reference35 to a club of Italici at Argos which bears the date 69 B. C., and a similar inscription found in Beroea, Macedonia, dating from 57 B. C.
Contrasting with the increasing number of references to Romans engaged in foreign business there is the distressing record of the state's neglect to keep the seas clear of pirates. Rhodes had formerly policed the eastern seas to protect her commerce but found herself unable to bear this burden after the loss of her independence. Piracy flourished disgracefully at the end of the second century B. C. and the senate then made a half-hearted effort to suppress it. This work, however, was not thoroughly done until the year 67, when Livy, XXXV. 10; XLI. 27. See Jordan, Topographie der Stadt Rom in Alterthum, III. 173.
*Val. Max., IX. 2, 3; Sallust, Jugurtha, 40; Cicero, Pro Fonteio, 19. Kornemann, Pauly-Wissowa, article Conventus".