record 268 different occupations in the city of Rome, and 85 in Pompeii.
Professional associations or trade guilds (collegia) are attested for a
wide range of occupations, including fishermen (piscatores), salt
merchants (salinatores), olive oil dealers (olivarii),
entertainers (scaenici), cattle dealers (pecuarii), goldsmiths (aurifices),
teamsters (asinarii or muliones), and stonecutters (lapidarii).
These are sometimes quite specialized: one collegium at Rome was
strictly limited to craftsmen who worked in ivory and citrus wood.
performed by slaves falls into five general categories: domestic, with epitaphs
recording at least 55 different household jobs; imperial or public service;
urban crafts and services; agriculture; and mining. Convicts provided much of
the labour in the mines or quarries, where conditions were notoriously brutal.
In practice, there was little division of labour between slave and free, and
most workers were illiterate and without special skills. The greatest number of
common labourers was employed in agriculture: in the Italian system of
industrial farming (latifundia), these may have been mostly slaves, but
throughout the Empire, slave farm labour was probably less important than other
forms of dependent labour by people who were technically not enslaved.
and clothing production was a major source of employment. Both textiles and
finished garments were traded among the peoples of the Empire, whose products
were often named for them or a particular town, rather like a fashion
"label". Better ready-to-wear was exported by businessmen (negotiatores
or mercatores) who were often well-to-do residents of the production
centres. Finished garments might be retailed by their sales agents, who
travelled to potential customers, or by vestiarii, clothing dealers who
were mostly freedmen; or they might be peddled by itinerant merchants. In
Egypt, textile producers could run prosperous small businesses employing
apprentices, free workers earning wages, and slaves. The fullers (fullones)
and dye workers (coloratores) had their own guilds. Centonarii
were guild workers who specialized in textile production and the recycling of
old clothes into pieced goods.