"He had purchased a record amount of grain to feed the electors back in the capital "
Roman coin showing Africa personified. The stalk of grain (right) and plough (below) represent Africa's importance to Rome's grain supply
Public DomainRoman coin showing Africa personified. The stalk of grain (right) and plough (below) represent Africa's importance to Rome's grain supply - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Rome was too big a city to be self-sufficient, relying heavily on trading and grain imports. The main centres of grain production in Rome’s empire were Sicily, North Africa and Egypt. The grain supply was so important that its care was made one of the official duties of the office of aedile.

Grain was so important to Rome that it was sometimes depicted on coins. Click here to see stalks of grain on a coin of the first emperor Augustus.

 

A Roman aqueduct in a field of grain
Creative Commons AttributionA Roman aqueduct in a field of grain - Credit: Francesco Z at Flickr