Rome and Near East in the Year 0, Wealth and Economy

This map shows per capita wealth of the ancient world at 0 AD, or the Common Era as denoted by modern scholars. The Roman and ancient economies never produced the same wealth comparable with modern societies. There were great trade roots, lots of cities (a few large ones), and sophisticated infrastructure [1]. Many of the structures are visible today and some are still standing. In fact they could even pour concrete under water [2]. Iran (mostly Pathia) and Iraq are the only country borders shown not part of the Empire at this time.



One can see only Italy (Rome) and Greece were as developed economically as north Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, and near east according to Madison data. The wealth of these countries ranged from 500 to 800 per year per capita what we might call 3rd world today. The per capita today is well over 20,000 dollars in many advanced economies.  There were many slaves and landless labours which owned very little. By this time there where a few very wealthy individuals and families while during the Roman Republic wealth was spread more evenly among the citizens which comprised about 20-30 percent of the population. The poor always struggled for survival.


roman empire



About Matthew Mulbrandon

I really like maps, as I am a geographer, and with the help of my more artistic partner I make cool maps. My focus in work and education has been centred on urban problems particularly housing and transportation. I have built and am working on several agent-based housing models. I am also interested in developing innovative ways to combat urban congestion using buses and electric kick scooters. Also it has led me to more theoretical pursuits such as how we determine if a model or methodology is sound (epistemology). How individuals relate to their social and built environment and their resulting interactions (social theory). Cities and really all our institutions are made of people with all their issues, virtues, and dreams and cannot be discounted when examining policy or predicting behaviours.

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