Tacitus describes how his father-in-law, the Roman general Agricola, ‘assisted communities to build temples, fora, and homes by praising those who were forward and rebuking those who were inactive. Thus, competition for honour took the place of compulsion… And this was called civilization among those who did not know better, although it was a part of slavery.’ The pre-Roman aristocracy of Gaul were not barbarians; they enjoyed significant urbanization, and access to sophisticated consumer goods through native craftmanship and trade. But the period after Caesar’s conquest witnessed a ‘consumer boom’ in the Roman Empire. Rapidly growing affluence, and the promise of citizenship co-opted the aristocracy, while ‘bread and circuses’ dissipated the martial heritage of the masses. For extra insurance, Caesar settled the retired veterans of his 10th Legion in the colony of Narbo Martius. Telo Martius was both a naval facility and main producer of the Rome’s imperial purple dye.
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