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Shopping in Ancient RomeThe Retail Trade in the Late Republic and the Principate$
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Claire Holleran

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199698219

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199698219.001.0001

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Markets and Fairs

Markets and Fairs

(p.159) 4 Markets and Fairs
Shopping in Ancient Rome

Claire Holleran

Oxford University Press

The retail network of Rome included both the permanent markets of the macella, and the high- and low-frequency periodic markets of the nundinae and the mercatus. This chapter begins by tracing the development of the macella, contending that these were purpose-built luxury food markets, specialising in the sale of meat and fish, with the latter in particular often sold by auction. Although nundinae continued to operate in Rome into at least the Julio–Claudian period, little is known about their structure and organisation, but it is argued that they continued to play a role in the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables in particular, and may have taken on more of a wholesale function by the first century ad. The mercatus and the festival of the Sigillaria, on the other hand, were of minor significance in the retail system of Rome, meeting primarily a local need associated with religious celebrations in the city. Trajan's ‘market’ is also briefly considered, but it is argued that this structure is unlikely to have been a unified market building.

Keywords:   markets, macellum, nundinae, mercatus, Sigillaria, Trajan's market

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