Measuring Quality of Life Among Ancient Roman Populations

Presented by Kim Bowes (University of Pennsylvania) on Dec. 2, 2011 at the Center for Historical Research, Ohio State. This talk will focus the problems of applying data from the ancient world to modern metrics for quality of life, and offer some solutions, looking particularly data on the rural poor. The Roman rural poor are typically assumed to have had very low quality of life by any number of indeces, particularly climatic and agricultural factors that lead to a precarious subsistence living, low life expectancy, and only very distant ties to a market economy which limited income. Our new data a far more complex situation with multiple contradictory indicators.
Comment: Nathan Rosenstein, Dept. of History, Ohio State


The Ohio State University Center for Historical Research in the Department of History provides a stimulating intellectual environment for studying important historical issues around the world. Each year the Center brings together scholars from various disciplines to examine issues of broad contemporary relevance in historical perspective.