‘Roman Economy of Castilla-La Mancha’, by Gregorio Carrasco

‘Roman Economy of Castilla-La Mancha’, by Gregorio Carrasco


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This content is part of "El Aula Circular", it is prepared by El Tomanotas.

A new study published by the University of Castilla-La Mancha updates scientific knowledge on the Roman economy in the territorial scope of our region.

Cambridge professor and Princess of Asturias Award winner Mary Beard wonders at the beginning of The Living Heritage of the Classics, “To what extent can the ancient world help us understand our own? What limits should we establish in our reinterpretation or reappropriation of all that tradition? ”, Responding somewhat later that“ the classics have probably legitimized as many revolutions as political dictatorships ”.

Human beings have a long tradition of looking at the past to justify their present and predict their future as a civilization. And of all the possible pasts, we want to believe that in the Roman Empire there are many of the answers.

Away from this somewhat tricky use, the University continues to advance its knowledge, researching and interpreting antiquity regardless of the anxiety of the conjunctural situation.

In this sense the work Roman economy in Castilla-La Mancha, published by Editions of the University of Castilla-La Mancha "comes to fill a gap in research, since there was no monograph that was dedicated exclusively to this issue so crucial to better understand the historical past of our community", in the words of Gregorio Carrasco Serrano, coordinator of this work and Professor of Ancient History at the Faculty of Letters of Ciudad Real.

“Antiquity continues to arouse general interest and the classical world continues to surprise today. However, in the study plans, antiquity and classical philology suffer a great setback ”, laments Professor Carrasco.

“Latin and Greek are in clear decline in both high school and college curricula. This despite the fact that the study of antiquity is a great source of direct income, especially in Castilla-La Mancha, where we have important archaeological parks with great tourist attraction. Segóbriga, Carranque, El Tolmo de Minateda, or deposits such as NohedaThey are great poles of attraction and they should generate much more wealth. But for this, qualified training is necessary, having specialized tourist guides, promoting employment workshops and a clear commitment to research ”.

The recently published collective work has its origin in the Colloquium on Roman Economics held three years ago in said Faculty and which has the highest specialists in each of the topics discussed, such as those dedicated to economic exchanges between both Plateaus, by Professor Julio Mangas, the study of the sculptural workshops by José Miguel Noguera Celdrán or the one who addresses the subject of musical productions (mosaics) in the Southern Plateau, by Guadalupe López Monteagudo, considered one of the greatest experts on this subject.

As Professor Carrasco explains, “the current territory of Castilla-La Mancha in Roman times is inserted into administrative units that will evolve in this period. When the first territorial division of the Iberian Peninsula is made, the current regional territory will be divided between Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior. After Augustus reforms, most Castilla-La Mancha became part of Hispania Citerior Tarraconensis and within it in the so-called Conventus Carthaginiensis, although not exclusively ”.

A time in which the current territory of Castilla-La Mancha would have “two important districts in terms of mining, especially in the exploitation of cinnabar in the southwest area of ​​the province of Ciudad Real, and in terms of specular plaster (lapis specularis) in all the Segóbriga area”, In what would be two of the most profitable productions in the territory.

A time in which our territorial scope would also stand out for a great agricultural and livestock production, which translates into a large number of agricultural villages of enormous importance. Without forgetting that the region passed great communication routes, so it was an important area of ​​passage, which facilitated commercial activities and the circulation of currency.

Returning to the importance in the regional economy of the cinnabar era (mercury sulfide) known in Rome as minium, Gregorio Carrasco quotes the “remarkable cinnabar production that was exported to the Italian Peninsula from the sisaponense region and that had a double interest. On the one hand, as an important element for pigmentation and also as an element for obtaining precious metals through amalgamation ”, a process for which mercury is essential.

"These cinnabar mines sisaponense”, Continues the coordinator of the work,“ they were property of the State but exploited through a tenant company called Societas Sisaponensis, of which we have enough news and epigraphic testimonies. This type of company was made up of “publicans” who benefited from the exploitation regime ”.

Text: José An. Montero


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