Wages Around the Beginning of The First Century A.D.

In my book “The Riddle of a Murdered Slave” I tried to provide as much facts as possible concerning the life of common people in Rome by the end of the first century A.D. When my characters used money or paid for anything in shops or taverns, I tried to make sure that the amounts were realistic at the time when the story happens. I have listed below the typical salaries for various profession in the roman empire by the end of the reign of Emperor Nero.


There are always caveats when reading such information especially when as those ones are taken out of context, but it gives quite a good idea of how people lived.

Salaries around 70 A.D. in Rome:

  • Legionary, 10 asses a day;
  • Soldier in the praetorian guard, 30 asses a day;
  • Laborer, 5-16 asses per day (but seasonal jobs);
  • Qualified miner, 6-10 asses per day;
  • Tradesman, 12 asses a day;
  • Arithmetic teacher, 12-20 asses a day, housed and fed.

I am currently preparing a synthesis showing the costs of living still in the first century. This will allow us to better appreciate the value of working in Rome and perhaps to understand in more detail the lives of my characters. I have indeed been keen to transcribe in my books, not in detail but in broad lines, the lives of ‘normal’ citizens. It was much more important for me to depict ordinary citizens rather than their elites.

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