What was the main work activity in ancient Rome?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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As in most major economies of this period, the most common economic activity was food production. Other than that, ancient Rome was home to a wide range of different crafts and related economic activities.

First, it should be noted that a large portion of the population were slaves; scholars estimate that slaves constituted over 30 percent of the population, although there really are no accurate statistics. One major area in which slaves worked was domestic service, including cleaning, cooking, and childcare. Slaves also worked in mines and in agriculture.

Women were generally responsible for weaving and making clothing. They were also involved in cooking and childcare.

Among men, pottery was an important profession, as were masonry and other forms of building, metallurgy, leather-working, architecture, medicine, law, and rhetoric. Men also served as teachers in primary, secondary, and tertiary schools. Ancient Rome was home to many bakeshops and small food stalls as well.


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