Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums

Renassault

Plebes
  • Content Count

    4
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Renassault

  1. Hello, Recently I've had a nagging question at me. I'm wondering how much a book cost in Rome at around 50 AD. Now, before anyone corrects me, I know that the book in the modern sense didn't exactly exist. They had parchments until the codex was invented c.90 AD in Rome as Juvenal (or someone else) relates. But they did have "the quire" I think, which was a stack of 24 papyrus scrolls. So my question is, how much did a "book" or "quire" or even a single papyrus scroll, or something like that cost in ancient Rome around the year 50? I know that prices would have probably varied from region to region, but any information in general is more than welcomed. I found a cryptic reference in a book to another book called, Paulus: Sein Leben und Wirken (1904), where the author of the first book hastily summarized that a "quire" cost about 20pf. in Rome. What a "pf." means NOBODy knows (they're both Germans, so pfenning?? Surely not). The reference was originally in connection with the Greek silver drachma, but I don't know if that's what the mysterious "20pf." refers to. I looked up the reference to Clemen (p.825, n.2 but I found no note), and after about 30-40 minutes of writing out pre-modern German on google translate (with my almost nonexistent knowledge of German save for a few words), it had practically nothing to do with the citation. Also, if you happen to know how much something else costs, from any other time (or place), feel free to share, it's much appreciated (e.g. how much a vase cost in Greece, 450 BC, or a horse in India 150 AD), it's just the price of a book in around the 1st century in Rome that seriously interests me. Thank you
  2. Renassault

    The price of a book in ancient Rome

    Well thank you all for your responses. I managed to read John J. Phillips' article from JSTOR that Maty suggested. There was some mention about Martial talking about a forgerer and something about 6-10 sesterces, though what the sesterces were meant for is disputed; but the price of the papyrus scroll plus transcription is usually taken. There was a mention to an 1882 book by Theodor Birt called, Das antike Buchwesen in seinem Verh
  3. Renassault

    The price of a book in ancient Rome

    Hmm that's interesting , and yeah, I'd bet a writer had to have some sort of other job if he wanted to make a living hehe. Not unlike today . But yeah, a book still had a value with regards to its content, and especially magic books, would have been pricier as per the footnote in the book I'm reading... but a bit pricier than 20pf. in Rome means??? Nothing that I know lol, it was near the end of the book, it grabbed my interest and it seems the author had been rushing a bit, not giving too much time to less central questions and issues and just left me in the mud like that . Did you know that there has been a 14th century BC book (sorta) made out of wood btw? It seems to explain the reference to "wooden books" or something like that in Homer Thanks for your input
  4. Renassault

    To be CE or AD, that is the question.

    To be honest with you (the OP), as someone who has read many times works from the actual Roman era, aside from the archaic 18th century English I occasionally had to deal with, it was a total pain to try to calculate what year the author was talking about when I needed it either for research or something that was very interesting. Although, from the suggestions I've seen, I agree that using the name of the proconsul in the year that he was in office is best (proconsuls lasted only 1 year from roughly the summer to the next spring, and Olympiads were rarely used, not to mention AUC and although Diocletian's reckoning was used, it will downright confuse everyone), keep in mind that many of your readers won't know who you're talking about (not to mention some won't even know what a proconsul is), so try to avoid as many references in the characters' mouths about dates as you can. And you can always, if you don't mind, have the characters use AD, despite its invention in the 6th century. After all, everyone knows your novel isn't meant to be a history book, and the only need for meticulous accuracy would be if you're trying to fool the scholarly community that this work actually comes from that time (which you aren't ).
×