This book explores the economic, social and political forces that shaped the grain market in the Roman Empire. Examining studies on food supply and the grain market in pre-industrial Europe, it addresses questions of productivity, division of labour, market relations and market integration. The social and political aspects of the Roman grain market are also considered. Dr Erdkamp illustrates how entitlement to food in Roman society was dependent on relations with the emperor, his representatives and the landowning aristocracy, and local rulers controlling the towns and hinterlands. He assesses the response of the Roman authorities to weaknesses in the grain market and looks at the implications of the failure of local harvests. By examining the subject from a contemporary perspective, this book will appeal not only to historians of ancient economies, but to all concerned with the economy of grain markets, a subject which still resonates today.