Markets and Fairs

Claire Holleran

in Shopping in Ancient Rome

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199698219
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741326 | DOI:
Markets and Fairs

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The retail network of Rome included both the permanent markets of the macella, and the high- and low-frequency periodic markets of the nundinae and the mercatus. This chapter begins by tracing the development of the macella, contending that these were purpose-built luxury food markets, specialising in the sale of meat and fish, with the latter in particular often sold by auction. Although nundinae continued to operate in Rome into at least the Julio–Claudian period, little is known about their structure and organisation, but it is argued that they continued to play a role in the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables in particular, and may have taken on more of a wholesale function by the first century ad. The mercatus and the festival of the Sigillaria, on the other hand, were of minor significance in the retail system of Rome, meeting primarily a local need associated with religious celebrations in the city. Trajan's ‘market’ is also briefly considered, but it is argued that this structure is unlikely to have been a unified market building.

Keywords: markets; macellum; nundinae; mercatus; Sigillaria; Trajan's market

Chapter.  15160 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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