The 'sordid' occupations and attitudes towards them in the late Roman Republic: some studies in the literary evidence
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 16:14 by Laura K. Hickey
Despite the wealth of information available in Cicero’s corpus on occupations in Rome, the research undertaken in the early 20th century by Marion Park and Mima Maxey has received insufficient re-examination commensurate with the advances of modern social analysis. With special reference to the Ciceronian corpus, drawing also on the contemporary evidence of Varro, Caesar and Sallust, together with the data provided by Cato (given his abiding iconic status) and the rich evidence of Plautine comedy (also on the presumption of its currency in Ciceronian Rome), the study aims to highlight the important contributions that slaves and ‘lower class’ individuals made to society and the economy, contributions the Roman elite deemed too ‘sordid’ to merit considered observation. Those elite attitudes are themselves a focus of the study. Through an investigation into the nature and variety of occupations in Ciceronian Rome, this study will shed light both on common practices and elitist ideals prevalent during this period.