Chapter

Elite Consumption

Claire Holleran

in Shopping in Ancient Rome

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199698219
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741326 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199698219.003.0007
Elite Consumption

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As the political centre of a vast Mediterranean-wide empire, Rome was home to a significant concentration of elite consumers, all of whom possessed incredible wealth. Since much of this wealth was expended in Rome, the city found itself at the centre of a thriving trade in luxury goods. This chapter takes account of sumptuary legislation, changing ideas of luxury in Rome, and the ideology of self-sufficiency. It then explores the various ways in which the elite acquired the necessary trappings of their wealth and status, considering the private circulation of goods as gifts and legacies, the visits of retailers and manufacturers to private homes, and the sale of expensive goods at auctions and in locations such as the Via Sacra and the Saepta, as well as in the bookshops of Rome.

Keywords: elite consumption; luxury; gift-giving; legacies; bookshops; auctions; Via Sacra; Saepta

Chapter.  11251 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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