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For the last few decades, the modern orthodoxy on the Roman economy has been a simple one: the vast majority of the population lived at or near subsistence, and that changed little over the lifetime of Roman civilization. Many parts of the Roman world witnessed dramatic population growth during the last few centuries BCE. Crucial performance indicators show dramatic aggregate and per capita increases in production and consumption from the third century BCE, or sometimes a bit later, until the Roman economy reached a spectacular peak during the first century BCE and the first century CE. Roman law is certainly part of the story of Roman economic success. Roman emperors of the first and second centuries CE repeatedly insisted on the importance of good government. The limits of the growth included long-distance trade which was interrupted in many regions, and so was manufacture of traded goods. Similarly, the sea trade to India that suffered an economic crisis was virtually abandoned.
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