CFP: Transport infrastructure and economic development in the Roman World

Seen on the Classicists list:

Call for Papers: The XVIth World Economic History Congress (8-13 July 2012,

Stellenbosch, South Africa)
Ancient History Session
Panel Title:
“Transport infrastructure and economic development in the Roman World (1st
c. BC – 6th c. AD)”

We are organising a panel at the XVIth World Economic History Congress
(Ancient History session)

According to the analyses of modern scholars, the Roman Empire developed one
of the most successful pre-industrial economies. This said, in what ways and
to what extent could the Roman economy perform better than previous (and
indeed later) economies? Factors of economic development such as the
favourable conditions offered by internal peace and the unification of the
Mediterranean World in one empire have often been explored.
However, much less attention has been paid to understand what impact the
Roman network of infrastructures had on economic growth. Doubtless, the
establishment of a network of land, river and sea routes greatly fostered
communication between the different areas of the Empire. Yet, what was its
bearing on the development of the Roman economy?
In the wake of the main theme of the congress, "Exploring the Roots of
Development", this panel aims to demonstrate how the infrastructure built by
the Romans helped the economy and especially trade to develop. More
significantly, this session will attempt to reconstruct the official policy
conceived by Roman rulers and administrators in order to create and
constantly improve this network.
By combining theoretical and case-study papers with a specific focus on the
Eastern part of the Empire, this panel will explore the possibility that an
integrated transport system existed in the Roman World and that its
establishment and improvement represented major factors of economic
development and growth.
We welcome papers that meet either of the following criteria:
a) Theoretical studies. These papers should investigate how public
initiative (whether driven by imperial action or promoted by local
administrators) aimed to develop a coherent and Empire-wide system of
communication and transport which triggered economic growth.
b) Regional studies. Ideally, papers that qualify for this criterion will
concentrate on a region within the Eastern part of the Roman Empire. Such
papers should aim to bring out the economic effects that the development of
a network of infrastructures had on the region studied and show how the
newly established links contributed to connecting this and other areas thus
creating a global economy, albeit in an embryonic stage.

Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words to Dario Nappo
dario.nappo TA classics.ox.ac.uk or to Andrea Zerbini
andrea.zerbini.2008 TA rhul.ac.uk by 31 May 2011.

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