Imperial Rome has a name for wealth and luxury, but was the economy of the Roman Empire as a whole a success, by the standards of pre-modern economies? In this volume W. V. Harris brings together eleven previously published papers on this much-argued subject, with additional comments to bring them up to date. A new study of poverty and destitution provides a fresh perspective on the question of the Roman Empire's economic performance, and a substantial introductionties the collection together. Harris tackles difficult but essential questions, such as how slavery worked, what role the state played, whether the Romans had a sophisticated monetary system, what it was like to be poor, whether they achieved sustained economic growth. He shows that in spite ofnotably sophisticated economic institutions and the spectacular wealth of a few, the Roman economy remained incorrigibly pre-modern and left a definite segment of the population high and dry.