What Kind Of Jobs Were In Ancient Rome

Daily Occupation

In Ancient Rome, Roman citizens were expected to have some kind of occupation; otherwise it was considered a disgrace. Most of the working population held careers in agriculture, trade, and manufacturing. The few that escaped labouring, held more prestigious occupations such as doctors, priests, teachers, soldiers, and senators. It was necessary to have a job in order to receive annual payments and the rights of citizenship.

Agriculture was the most populous profession in Ancient Rome with nearly one-third of the population employed in it. This includes those who worked in the fields, raising and harvesting various forms of crops. It was divided into two main sections: large scale farming and small-scale farming. Most of the land was owned by wealthy aristocrats. They engaged slaves or low wage workers to manage and maintain their lands.

Demographically, the majority of the population was employed in trade, manufacturing and commerce. This includes merchants, artisans, and other professions related to the exchange of goods and services. They were responsible for providing basic necessities and luxuries. This sector flourished and the cities of Rome was filled with businessmen, traders, and professionals engaging in the economy.

Other occupations that were popular in Ancient Rome includes doctors and medical practitioners. They were trained medical professionals and held high status in the society. Additionally, teachers and educators played an important role in government and society. They were responsible for imparting knowledge to others and were often held with high respect. They were also was responsible for creating and maintaining libraries, schools and universities.

Roman soldiers also had an important role in the Ancient Roman society. They were responsible for providing security and peace in the nation and defending it against external forces. They were highly respected and held high positions in the government and civil society. The most prestigious position a Roman could hold was a senator. Senators held positions of power and influence and were responsible for providing advice and support to the government while representing their state.

Modern Equivalents

Many of the occupations held in Ancient Rome have modern equivalents. It is important to note that the working conditions and wages have significantly improved over the centuries. Agriculture is still one of the most popular professions in modern times. It involves the same practices of managing and maintaining land and harvesting crops. However, with the advancement of technology, farmers are now able to increase their yield and production.

Similarly, trade, commerce and manufacturing has had vast transformation, with the inclusion of technology and modern gadgets. Professionals are now using cutting-edge tools, gadgets and machines to complete their tasks faster and more efficiently. Similarly, doctors and medical practitioners are now able to use advanced equipment, treatments and cures to treat patients. They also have access to specialized training and education to help them become better at their job. Not only do they now earn a better salary, they are also able to use more sophisticated methods to perform their tasks.

Educators also have access to advanced methods to teach. They are able to use more interactive methods such as online lectures, video-conferencing, and a number of different software programs. Teachers are now able to communicate more effectively with their students and create an environment of learning. Additionally, they now have access to specialized training programs to help them become the best at their job.

Army personnel and military personnel are now provided with better training, technology and salaries than before. They now have access to cutting-edge weapons and equipment to complete their tasks with precision and effectiveness. Lastly, senators still hold the highest authority and are responsible for representing their state and providing vital input in the government. They are now provided with better benefits and salaries.

Social Implications

The occupation of Ancient Rome did have a few social implications. One major implication was the stratification of classes. Those who held prestigious occupations were held in high esteem, while those who toiled in agriculture and manual labour were held with little respect. This created a divide between classes and created a disparity in living standards.

In addition, the disparity in wages between different occupations was a cause of concern. Those who worked in agriculture and manual labour jobs were paid significantly less than those who held professional occupations. This further increased the divide between the social classes. This caused many individuals to lead a life of poverty and struggle as they were unable to support themselves with such low wages.

Finally, it is important to note that there were several rights and privileges for those who held prestigious positions. They had access to better resources and opportunities in comparison to peasants and commoners. This had an adverse effect on the working population, as they were not able to enjoy the benefits of a higher wage or social status.

Cultural Significance

Despite its drawbacks, occupation in Ancient Rome also had many cultural and economic implications. Occupations were linked to societal status, which was essential for the maintenance of traditional customs and practices. Those who held prestigious occupations were respected greatly and provided with titles and status. This brought glory and pride to their families, who then enjoyed the respect of society.

Additionally, occupation in Ancient Rome also contributed to the economic success of the state. Trade and commerce provided great opportunities for the citizens and helped the state to progress and develop. Similarly, the agricultural sector contributed significantly to the economy and helped create stability and security. All these occupations combined to create an efficient, prosperous and wealthy state.

Finally, occupation in Ancient Rome also held immense significance in terms of cultural identity. Romans were proud of their heritage and celebrated the national festivities on an annual basis. Occupations helped strengthen this sense of identity and pride in their culture and traditions. It is this sense of identity that still continues in modern day society.

Gender Implications

Gender structure and roles in Ancient Rome were clearly defined. Men held the superior positions in trade, commerce and the military, while women were barred from these professions. Instead, they held more domestic roles such as children minding, cooking, and other household chores. It is important to note that these gender roles were strictly enforced, and any violation of these expectations was severely punished.

Nevertheless, there were also a few professions in which men and women were equal. Examples of these professions include doctors, teachers, priests and other professionals who had access to specialized training and education. It is important to note that women were provided with equal opportunity and respect in these fields, although it could not be said for all professions.

In addition, it is also important to note that some women were able to break the gender stereotypes and succeed in a male-dominated field. Examples of such women include Hypatia, a famous philosopher and scientist in Ancient Rome, and Aglaonice, a prominent astronomer. Such women gained fame and respect in society and went on to prove that women could succeed in fields such as education and science despite the beliefs of Ancient Rome.

Though gender roles in Ancient Rome are vastly different from that in modern times, it is important to note that the same themes of patriarchy, gender roles, and opportunities still exist in society.


Occupations in Ancient Rome have had a huge impact on modern-day life. Not only have the working conditions improved, but wages have also been significantly increased. Furthermore, the occupations of Ancient Rome have been adapted and modernized to better suit the needs of our current era. This includes the use of technology, specialized training, and modern tools.

Furthermore, the roles and gender expectations established in Ancient Rome still influence society today. In addition, it is also important to note that the presence of a job market and economy is something that is still prevalent in modern times. This means that if one decides to pursue a profession, they need to be aware of their rights and the laws governing their profession.

Overall, occupation in Ancient Rome has a legacy in modern times, and it is evident that it has had great impacts on our current system.


Occupations in Ancient Rome were vast and varied, with people engaging in a number of different professions to sustain their livelihoods. It was a society where roles and gender expectations were clearly defined, although some people were able to break these stereotypes. Occupations in Ancient Rome still have a legacy in modern times, with many of its practices and roles adapted to better suit the current era.

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

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