Work, Labor and Professions in the Roman World

When and where:

30 May – 1 June, 2013, in the conference center of Ghent University: Het Pand (Rector Blancquaert zaal), Onderbergen 1, 9000 Gent (Belgium)

This conference is organized by the 'Roman Society Research Center' (Ghent-Brussels) and the international research network 'Structural Determinants of Economic Performance in the Roman World'.


Thursday, 30th May

9:00 Welcome
9:30 K. Verboven, Work, labor and professions: what’s in a name?

I. Labor relations

10:00 Laurens Tacoma & Miriam Groen-Vallinga, The value of labour: Diocletian’s Price Edict
10:30 Discussion
11:00 coffee break
11:30 Walter Scheidel, Slavery and forced labor in ancient China and the ancient Mediterranean
12:00, Arjan Zuiderhoek, Slavery, unfree Labour and wage Labour in the Roman East/Roman Asia Minor
12:30 Discussion
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Cameron Hawkins, Building a Business in Ancient Rome:  Coercion, Contracts, and the Boundaries of Roman Manufacturing Firm
14:30, Claire Holleran, Finding work: the hiring of free labour in the city of Rome
15:00 Discussion
15:30 coffee break
16:00 Seth Bernard, Mobilizing the Roman Builder: Scale, Structure, and Economic Performance in the Imperial Construction Industry
16:30 Discussion

Friday 31 May

II Organization, specialization, skills and learning

9:30 George Grantham, A search equillibrium model for specialization and trade
10:00 Elisabeth Murphy, Roman Workers and their Workplaces: Some Archaeological Thoughts on the Organization of Workshop Labor
10:30 Discussion
11:00 Coffee break
11:30 Nicolas Tran, Ars and Doctrina: the Socioeconomic Identity of Roman Skilled Workers
12:00 Christian Laes, Educators in Christian inscriptions
12:30 Discussion
13:00 Lunch

III. Professional organizations (collegia)

14:00 Koen Verboven, Professional associations and organizing the urban population
14:30 Jinyu Liu, Work, Occupations, and Group Membership: a Conceptual Analysis
15:00 Discussion
15:30 coffee break
16:00 Sarah Bond, Ignominy and Monetarii: Mint Workers in the Later Roman Empire
16:30 Discussion
19:30 Conference diner

Saturday 1 June

IV. Identities and ideologies

10:00 Miko Flohr,Work, ideology and identity in urban space
10:30 Catharina Lis & Hugo Soly, Attitudes to Work and Workers in the Ancient World and the Middle Ages: Change or Continuity?
11:00 Discussion
11:30 Coffee break
12:00 General reflection and project discussion


Practical information and registration:

More information is available at:
Registration is required, by mail to
Participation 15 euro.
Lunch is optional and costs 15 euro a day (only Thursday and Friday), the optional Diner costs 50 euro

The speakers will be staying in the IBIS Opera hotel. Many other excellent hotels and B&B are available in Ghent (check for instance or