Aes, bronze, also more loosely copper or brass, hence (a) money, coinage, pay, period for which pay is due, campaign; (b) document on bronze. The earliest Roman monetary system involved the weighing out of bronze by the pound or its fractions (see
The annona was the imperial service responsible for overseeing the supply of key food items to the city of Rome and the army. Primarily concerned with grain, the service became increasingly involved in the provisioning of other commodities, such as olive oil, wine, and pork. By the end of the 3rd century, the annona was a complex machinery involving private and public agents in different parts of the empire, overseen by the prefect of the annona, based in Rome. The operation of this system is documented in literary texts, administrative documents such as papyri and writing tablets, inscriptions, and a rich archaeological record, in Rome and in the provinces. However, the precise working of the system and the degree to which it was controlled by the Roman state remain open to debate. The annona was also involved in the supply of the army, especially with regards to provisions brought from distant producing centres. During the later empire, the system became more centralised, being overseen by the praetorian prefecture.
John Ellis Jones
Paul C. Millett
For Greek city-states of the Archaic and Hellenistic periods the ethos of self-sufficiency (autarkeia) dominated the ideology of food supply. In reality few Greek cities ever outgrew the food production capacities of their territory and the small number which did responded by intensifying agricultural production. This is well documented in the case of Athens. However, most Greek states operated in politically and environmentally unstable conditions. Weather (see
By ‘food’ (sitos) is meant *cereals. Though other crops were grown and important in the ancient Greek diet, grain was the preferred staple, especially wheat and barley. Hence shortfalls in these crops proved the most problematic at all levels. Grain was at the heart of the political discourses which evolved around the problem of food supply in most city-states.
Jeremy Paterson and Antony Spawforth
The olive is probably native to the Mediterranean region. It is long-lived and highly drought-resistant, though sensitive to frost, and thrives best at relatively low altitudes. Olives generally only crop every other year, and usually trees are regionally synchronized. Despite the attempts of farmers from antiquity to the present to break this habit, it has never successfully been circumvented.
Olives are easily propagated by cuttings, ovules (trunk growths, Gk. premna), or by grafting, a well-known technique in the classical world. Domesticated scions were frequently grafted onto wild stocks. Trees grown from cuttings planted in a nursery beds seem to have been more characteristic of Roman than Greek regimes. Greek farmers apparently preferred planting ovules, which have a greater success-rate under conditions of water-stress than cuttings. Olives do not grow true to type from seed. Many varieties were known and cultivated for both oil and table use in classical antiquity.