Oxford Roman Economy Project University of Oxford

Ancient City Populations Bibliography


Compiled by Andrew Wilson. Version 1.1, July, 2014.


 You can now download the bibliography in the following formats:



Bairoch, P. (1988). Cities and Economic Development: From the dawn of history to the present. London, Mansell.

Bairoch, P. (1989). ‘Urbanization and the findings of two decades of research’, Journal of European Economic History 18: 239–90.

Schofield, R. and Coleman, D. (1986). ‘Introduction: The state of population theory’, in D. Coleman and R. Schofield (eds), The State of Population Theory: forward from Malthus. Oxford, Blackwell: 1–13.

Pasciuti, D. and Chase-Dunn, C. (2002). Estimating the Population Sizes of Cities. Riverside, Institute for Research on World-Systems, University of California.

Osborne, R. (2004). ‘Demography and survey’, in S. Alcock and J. Cherry (eds), Site-by-Site Survey: Comparative regional studies in the Mediterranean world. Oxford, Oxbow: 163–172.

Naroll, R. (1962). ‘Floor area and settlement population’, American Antiquity 27.4: 587–589.

LeBlanc, S. (1971). ‘An addition to Naroll's suggested floor area and settlement population relationship’, American Antiquity 36.2: 210–211.

Wiessner, P. (1974). ‘A functional estimator of population from floor area’, American Antiquity 39.2: 343–350.

Casselberry, S. E. (1974). ‘Further refinement of formulae for determining populations from floor area’, World Archaeology 6.1: 117–122.

Brown, B. M. (1987). ‘Population estimation from floor area: a restudy of ‘Naroll’s Constant’’, Behavior Science Research 21: 1–49.

Sumner, W. M. (1989). ‘Population and settlement area: An example from Iran’, American Anthropologist, n.s. 91.3: 631–641.

Hassan, F. A. (1981). Demographic Archaeology. London, Academic Press.


Roman world


Beloch, K. J. (1886). Die Bevölkerung der griechisch-römischen Welt. Leipzig.

Thompson, L. A. (1982). ‘Development and underdevelopment in the early Roman Empire’, Klio 64.1–2: 383–402.

Hopkins, K. (1983). Death and Renewal (Sociological Studies in Roman History 2). Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Goldsmith, R. W. (1984). ‘An estimate of the size and structure of the national product of the early Roman Empire’, Review of Income and Wealth 30: 263–288.

Parkin, T. G. (1992). Demography and Roman Society. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press.

Frier, B. W. (1992). ‘Statistics and Roman society’, Journal of Roman Archaeology 5: 286–290.

Harris, W. V. (1994). ‘Child-exposure in the Roman Empire’, Journal of Roman Studies 84: 1–22.

Shaw, B. D. (1996). ‘Seasons of death: Aspects of mortality in Imperial Rome’, Journal of Roman Studies 86: 100–138.

Shaw, B. D. (1997). ‘Agrarian economy and the marriage cycle of Roman women’, Journal of Roman Archaeology 10: 57–76.

Scheidel, W. (1997). ‘Quantifying the sources of slaves in the early Roman Empire’, Journal of Roman Studies 87: 156–169.

Harris, W. V. (1999). ‘Demography, geography and the sources of Roman slaves’, Journal of Roman Studies 89: 62–75.

Scheidel, W. (1996). Measuring Sex, Age and Death in the Roman Empire: Explorations in ancient demography (Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplement 21). Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

Scheidel, W. (ed.) (2001). Debating Roman Demography. (Mnemosyne Supplement 211).   Leiden, Brill.



Beloch, K. J. (1895). ‘Nuove osservazioni sulla popolazione antica della Sicilia’, Archivio Storico per la Sicilia Orientale n.s. 20: 63–70.

Lo Cascio, E. (1994). ‘The size of the Roman population: Beloch and the meaning of the Augustan Census figures’, Journal of Roman Studies 84: 23–40.

Lo Cascio, E. (1997). ‘Le procedure di recensus dalla tarda reppublica al tardo antico e il calcolo della populazione di Roma’, in La Rome impériale: démographie et logistique (Collection de l'École Française de Rome 230). Rome, École française de Rome: 3–76.

Lo Cascio, E. (1999). ‘The population of Roman Italy in town and country’, in J. Bintliff and K. Sbonias (eds), Reconstructing Past Population Trends in Mediterranean Europe (3000 BC - AD 1800). Oxford, Oxbow Books: 161–171.

Lo Cascio, E. (2000). ‘Registrazioni di tipo censuale e stime della popolazione delle Mégapoles nell'antichità: il caso di Roma imperiale’, in C. Nicolet, R. Ilbert, and J.-C. Depaule (eds), Mégapoles méditerranéennes: Géographie rétrospective (Collection École française de Rome 261). Rome, École française de Rome: 3–76.

Lo Cascio, E. (2001). ‘La population’, Pallas: revue d'études antiques 55: 179–198.



Bagnall, R. S. and Frier, B. W. (1994). The Demography of Roman Egypt. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Thompson, D. J. and Hawthorn, G. (1995). ‘The demography of Roman Egypt’, Journal of Roman Archaeology 8: 483 –488.


North Africa

Lassère, J.-M. (1977). Ubique populus. Peuplement et mouvements de population dans l'Afrique romaine de la chute de Carthage à la fin de la dynastie des Sévères (146 a.C. - 235 p.C.). Paris, Éditions du C.N.R.S.

Whittaker, C. R. (1980). ‘Review of Lassère, J-M: Ubique Populus. Peuplement et Mouvement de Population Dans L'Afrique Romaine de la Chute de Carthage à la Fin de La Dynastie des Sévères (146 A.C.-235 P.C.) (Études d'antiquités africaines). Paris: C.N.R.S. (1977)’, Journal of Roman Studies 70: 233–235.

Duncan-Jones, R. P. (1963). ‘City population in Roman Africa’, Journal of Roman Studies 53: 85–90.



Wilkes, J. J. (1977). ‘The population of Roman Dalmatia’, in Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt, vol. II.6. Berlin, de Gruyter: 732–766.

Zotovic, R. (2002). Population and Economy of the Eastern Part of the Roman Province of Dalmatia (BAR International Series 1010). Oxford, Archaeopress.

Ellis, L. (1998). ‘‘Terra-deserta’: population, politics, and the [de]colonization of Dacia (Romania, demography, and archaeology)’, World Archaeology 30.2: 220–237.



Carreras Monfort, C. (1995–1996). ‘A new perspective for the demographic study of Roman Spain’, Revista de Historia da Arte e Arqueologia 2: 59–82.



Duncan-Jones, R. P. (1964). ‘Human numbers in towns and town-organisations of the Roman Empire. The evidence of gifts’, Historia. Zeitschrift für alte Geschichte 13: 199–208.

Crouch, D. P. (1972). ‘A note on the population and area of Palmyra’, Mélanges de l'Université Saint Joseph, Beyrouth 47: 241–250.

Lohmann, H. (1979). ‘Beobachtungen zum Stadtplan von Timgad’, in Wohnungsbau im Altertum (Diskussionen zur archäologischen Bauforschung 3). Berlin, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut: 167–187.

Will, E. (1988). ‘La population de Doura-Europos. Une évaluation’, Syria 65: 315–321.

Simon, S. J. (1993). ‘The population of Cyrene, Ephesus, and Corinth’, The Ancient World 24: 55.

Koester, H. (ed.) (1995). Ephesos: Metropolis of Asia: An interdisciplinary approach to its archaeology, religion and culture (Harvard Theological Studies 41). Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press.

Storey, G. R. (1997). ‘The population of ancient Rome’, Antiquity 71.274: 966–978.


Health, hygiene and demography

Salmon, P. (1992). ‘La contamination des eaux et son impact sur la demographie du monde greco-romain’, in G. Argoud, L. Marangou, V. Panayotopoulos, and C. Villain-Gandossi (eds), L'eau et les hommes en Méditerranée et en Mer Noire dans l'antiquité de l'Époque Mycénienne au règne de Justinien. Actes du Congrès International, Athènes, 20-24 mai 1988. Athènes, Centre de Recherches Néo-Helléniques: 541–555.

Lo Cascio, E. (2001). ‘Condizioni igienico-sanitaire e dinamica della popolazione della città di Roma dall'età tardorepubblicana al tardoantico’, in J.-N. Corvisier, C. Didier, and M. Valdher (eds), Thérapies, médecine et démographie antiques. Arras, Artois presses université: 37–70.

Sallares, R. (2002). Malaria and Rome. A history of malaria in ancient Italy. Oxford, Oxford University Press.


The Antonine Plague

Duncan-Jones, R. P. (1996). ‘The impact of the Antonine plague’, Journal of Roman Archaeology 9: 108–136.

Greenberg, J. (2003). ‘Plagued by doubt: Reconsidering the impact of a mortality crisis in the 2nd c. A.D.’, Journal of Roman Archaeology 16: 413–425.

Bruun, C. (2003). ‘The Antonine plague in Rome and Ostia’, Journal of Roman Archaeology 16: 426–434.


Aqueducts and city populations

Lloyd, J. A. and Lewis, P. R. (1976–1977). ‘Water supply and urban population in Roman Cyrenaica’, Libyan Studies 8: 35–40.

Duncan-Jones, R. P. (1977–1978). ‘Aqueduct capacity and city populations’, Libyan Studies 9: 51.

Stephens, G. R. (1984/1985). ‘Aqueduct delivery and water consumption in Roman Britain’, Bulletin of the Institute of Archaeology of the University of London 21/22: 111–117.


Some comparisons:

Pre-Roman civilisations

Postgate, N. (1994). ‘How many Sumerians per hectare?—Probing the anatomy of an early city’, Cambridge Archaeological Journal 4.1: 47–65.

Osborne, R. G. (1987). Classical Landscape with Figures. London, George Philip.

Mueller, K. and Lee, W. (2005) ‘From mess to matrix and beyond. Estimating the size of settlements in the Ptolemaic Fayum/Egypt’, Journal of Archaeological Science.


Medieval and early modern Europe

Bechtel, H. (1930). Wirtschaftsstil des Deutschen Spätmittelalters. Leipzig, Duncker & Humblot.

Russell, J. C. (1938). Late Ancient and Medieval Populations.

Abrams, P. and Wrigley, E.A. (eds) (1978). Towns in Societies: Essays in economic history and historical sociology. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Patten, J. (1978). English Towns 1500-1700. Folkestone, Dawson.

Goose, N. (1994). ‘Urban demography in pre-industrial England: What is to be done?’, Urban History 21: 273–284.

Goose, N. (2001). ‘The demography of early modern towns: York in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (review)’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 75.1: 131–133.


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