Timeline of Roman Grain Supply

I made this when working on the first version of the coin book while on sabbatical in 2013-2014.  It like so much of that first version is too fine grained for what CUP will publish.  That said, It seems really useful so I’m putting it out here now.

486 – Sp. Cassius “plotted”at regal power using agrarian and other popular proposals (Livy 2.41, Dion. Hal. 8.69-80 as Consul; Val. Max. 5.8.2 as Tribune)

480 – Ti. Pontificius, tribune, proposed agrarian law (Livy 2.44, Dion. Hal. 9.5)

476 – T. Genucius, tribune, proposed agrarian law (Livy 2.52, Dion. Hal. 9.27)

473 – Gn. Genucius, tribune, defends agrarian laws of Cassius (Livy 2.54-55, Dion. Hal. 9.37-38)

439 – Maelius’ “plot” to privately relieve a famine and Minucius’ public distribution at one as per modius (Livy 4.12-16).

415 – S. Maecilius and Metilius, tribunes, propose an agrarian law and are vetoed (Livy 4.48)

414 –M. Sextius, tribune, proposed agrarian law (Livy 4.49-50).

412 – L. Icilius, proposed agrarian law (Livy 4.52).

410 – M. Menenius vetoed the levy while attempting to carry an agrarian bill (Livy 4.53)

401 – Tribunes proposed agrarian law (Livy 5.12)

384/383 – Pestilence and famine attributed to divine displeasure at the execution of Manlius (Livy 6.20-21; cf. other early reports at 5.31 and 3.31 attributed to weather).

299 – Fabius Maximus, curule aedile, averts famine through market regulation (Livy 10.11).

240/238 – First Floralia held with fines from private encroachment on ager publicus (Ovid Fasti 5.292)

232 – Distribution of the ager Gallicus by a plebiscite of C. Flaminius (Polyb. 2.21.8 with Walbank Comm.)

[216 – Bronze coins with a corn-ear struck in Sicily by a Roman commander, perhaps Crassus, RRC 40]

215 – T. Manlius Torquatus sends grain from Sardinia to the aediles, type unspecified (Livy 23.41)

[214-212 – Roman Diadrachms and bronzes with corn-ear struck in Sicily, RRC 42]

[211-208 – Roman Denarii, Quinarii, and Sestertii with corn-ear struck in Sicily, RRC 68]

[211-210 – Roman Victoriati, 20-as gold pieces, denarii, quinariii and seven bronze denominations with corn-ear struck in Sicily, RRC 72]

[209-208 – Roman Denarii with corn-ear and staff (or drill) struck in Sicily, RRC 77]

209 – Grain surplus sent from Sicily to Rome (Livy 27.8)

203 – M. Valerius Falto and M. Fabius Buteo, curule aediles, sold grain at four asses per modius to each district of the city (Livy 30.26).

202 – “During this time the supplies which arrived from Sicily and Sardinia made provisions so cheap that the traders left the corn for the sailors in return for its freight” (Livy 30.38).

201 – L. Valerius Flaccus and T. Quinctius Flamininus, the curule aediles, sold the grain sent from Africa by Scipio was sold at four asses per modius “with strict impartiality and to the general satisfaction” (Livy 31.4).

200 – M. Claudius Marcellus and Sex. Aelius Paetus, the curule aediles, sold grain from Africa at two asses per modius (Livy 31.50).

196 – M. Fulvius Nobilior and C. Flaminius, the curule aediles, sold a million modii of grain to the people at two asses per modius. “This wheat was sent by the Sicilians out of regard to C. Flaminius and in honour of his father’s memory” (Livy 33.42).

191 – Two-tenths of the Sardinian grain harvest for the year under the supervision of L. Oppius, praetor was sent to Rome, similarly two-tenths of the Sicilian harvest was sent to the armies in Greece (Livy 36.2)

190 – Sicily and Sardinia were each required to supply two-tenths of their grain harvest for the year; part of the Sardinian harvest was sent to Rome, the rest to the armies in Greece (Livy 37.2).

189 – P. Claudius Pulcher and Ser. Sulpicius Galba, the curule aediles, and Q. Fulvius Flaccus, a plebian aedile, prosecuted merchants for holding back grain (Livy 38.35).

171 – Floralia made an annual after crop failure. (Ovid Fasti 5.337).

142 – Famine and pestilence inspire religious supplication (Obsequens 22).

140 – Laelius proposes and then withdraws agrarian legislation (App. BC 1.8)

138 – C. Curiatius, a tribune of the plebs, publicly pressed the consuls and Senate to seek grain abroad to bring down the prices at Rome (Val. Max. 3.7.3).

134 – Marcius coin issue (RRC 245/1)

133 – T. Minucius coin issue (RRC 243/1)

133 – T. Gracchus’ agrarian law establishes a new land commission (App. BC. 1.9-13)

130/129 – Q. Caecilius Metellus, an aedile, is found arranging shipments of Thessalian wheat because of a shortage at Rome (Garnsey, Gallant and Rathbone 1984; Garnsey and Rathbone 1985)

129 – Land commission’s judicial powers handed over to the consul Tuditanus who avoids taking action.  Scipio’s sudden death linked to this unpopular proposal (App. BC 1.19-20).

128 – C. Minucius coin issue (RRC 242/1)

124 – T. CLOVLI coin issue Roma/Victory in a biga with corn-ear below (RRC 260/1).

123 – C. Gracchus proposes a regular monthly sale of cheap grain and distribution of public land as private allotments.

122 – The elder Drusus makes an alternative agrarian proposal to that of C. Gracchus (App. BC 7.23; Plut. CG 5.2)

119 – Marius as tribune opposed a proposal regarding grain distribution (Plut. Mar 4).

119 – Lex Thoria(?) discontinues Gracchan land commission assessments of legal holding and proposes that money from the rents of the land should be distributed to the people (much disputed, see Roselaar 2010: 261-271).

118 – Founding of Narbo, characterized by Cicero as a ‘popular’ move (date disputed, Cic. Brut. 2.160; RRC 282).

111 – Lex agraria privatizes certain former ager publicus in the post-Gracchan era (much disputed, see Roselaar 2010: 261-278).

[109 – lex mamilia de limitibus? Date disputed]

107 – L. Valerius Flaccus puts large grain ear behind Mars on the reverse of his denarius (RRC 306)

104-101 – Second Sicilian Slave Revolt

104 – The senate removes Saturninus, the Ostian quaestor, from control of the corn supply; Aemilius Scaurus is the first reliably attested individual to hold the praefecture of the annona (Cic. Har Resp. 43,Sest. 39;Diod. 36.12. 1)

104 – Agrarian bill of the tribune L. Philippus is defeated (Cic. Off. 2.73)

100 – Saturninus proposes the division of lands taken from the Cimbri, the larger share of which was designated for the Italian Allies rather than the urban plebs (App. BC 1.29).  As well as a bill establishing veteran colonies in Sicily, Achaea, Macedonia, and perhaps Africa.

100 – Saturninus proposes a grain law which Caepio violently opposes, for which the latter is prosecuted.

100 – Piso and Caepio as quaestors issue coins with AD FRV EMV EX SC on them (RRC 330).

100 – Ceres and yoke of oxen (RRC 321/1).

99 – L. IVLI places a large ear of grain behind the head of Roma on an otherwise conservative bigati type (RRC 323/1).

99 – Sex. Titius’ agrarian law is withdrawn because of omens and/or vetoed by conservative fellow tribunes (Cic. De. Or. 2.48, Leg. 2.14 & 31, Val. Max. 8.1.3).

99-97 – Quinarii issues of the Quaestors P. SABIN. T. CLOVLI. And C. FVNDAN (RRC 331, RRC 332, and RRC 326/2).

94 – Quinarii issue of the quaestor C EGNATVLEI C.F. (RRC 333)

91 – Drusus proposes a grain bill along with his agrarian bill (Livy Per. 71)

87 – Marius cuts off the grain supply of the city during hostilities prior to his reinstatement from exile (App. BC 1.67 & 69).

86 (C), 85 (M) – plebian aediles issue with distribution scene echoing 100 BC type and head of Ceres (RRC 351).

83 – Norbanus coin with grain ear next to fasces caduceus and sometimes a prow (357).

[82 – Mercury and Ulysses’ homecoming on denarii of Limetanus]

81 – Ceres and yoke of oxen with farmer behind echoing 100 BC type (RRC 378/1)

75- riots over food scarcity; Cicero as quaestor sends grain from Sicily (Sall Hist.[2.42] {2.45M}; Cic. Verr. 2.3. 18, 215-216, Planc. 64; Plut. Cic. 6.1-2.)

74 – Seius, curule aedile, distributed grain at one as per modius (Cic. Off. 2. 58).

74 – M. Antonius’ command against the pirates.

73 – The consular Lex Terentia Cassia makes provision for the purchase of grain in Sicily (and the other provinces?) for subsidized distribution at Rome (Cic. Ver. 2.5.52; Sall. Hist. Speech of Macer).

72 (M), 70 (C), 69 (H), 66 (H/W) – T Vettius Sabinus SC Iudex in biga with large grain ear behind.

66 – L. Cassius Longinus holds a commissionership for the public grain supply apparently at the same time as overseeing the quaestio de maiestate.

63 – Cicero as consul defeats the tribune, Rullus’ agrarian proposals (Cic. de leg. agr. I-III).

63 – Ceres flanked by ear of wheat and ear of barley, curule chair and fasces with axes on reverse (RRC 414/1)

63 – Cato proposes to the Senate a monthly corn distribution in the aftermath of the Catilinarian conspiracy allegedly to quell popular support for Caesar VERY end of year

60 – Pompey seeks land for his veterans and is rebuffed by the Senate; L. Flavius, tribune, bring such a bill to a vote but it fails passage.  Cicero supported it with amendments to protect possessors (Dio 37.49-50; cf. Cic. Att. 1.18.6, and 19.4; 2.1.6-8)

59 – Caesar proposes agrarian legislation to the Senate, supported by Crassus and Pompey.  When rebuffed there, he has it passed in a public assembly.  It is this bill that is said to have led to Bibulus’ initial retreat to his home.  Board of twenty commissioners established (Plut. Caes. 14; Dio 38.1-6).

58- Clodius proposes distributing grain for free

[58 – M. Piso. M. F. Frugi (son of the cos of 61 BC?) puts herm of Mercury on his coins (RRC 418/1).]

57- Food Riot. (Ascon. Comm. Mil. 38)

57 – Pompey appointed commissioner of the grain supply.  Pompeius carries out a census of freedmen, in order to assess the scope of the corn dole. (Dio Cass. 39.24. 1-2)

56 – Faustus coin celebrating grain supply command as well as Pompey’s other commands.

56 – P. Rutilius Lupus, tribune, attacked Caesar’s agrarian law (Cic. Quint. F. 2.1.1-3),

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s