BMCR 2001.06.03

Lokale Autonomie und römische Ordnungsmacht in den kaiserzeitlichen Provinzen vom 1. bis 3. Jahrhundert. Schriften des Historischen Kollegs Kolloquien 42

, , Lokale Autonomie und römische Ordnungsmacht in den kaiserzeitlichen Provinzen vom 1. bis 3. Jahrhundert. Schriften des Historischen Kollegs. Kolloquien ; 42. Munich: R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 1999. vi, 327 pages ; 24 cm.. ISBN 3486563858. DM 128.00.

I. Introduction

As the 19th century was drawing to a close and the 20th began, study of imperial Rome’s administrative system was especially at home in Germany and was associated particularly with names like Mommsen and Hirschfeld.1 Attention was at that moment directed largely to the overall structures of the Roman government and to such rules and regulations as gave it shape; indeed, the named scholars’ efforts primarily entailed the delineation of that basic shape. Then, during roughly the third quarter (and a bit beyond) of the past century, and under the influence of prosopography, scholarly interest shifted. In this period, the patterns of administrative careers, at the various social levels within the bureaucracy, chiefly occupied historians. Alföldy, Birley, Boulvert, Eck, Pflaum, Syme, and Weaver are the names most prominently associated with this era of investigation. Most recently, as the millenium waned, there came another shift in interest. Many began to ask, and still are asking, just how this administrative system, whose organizational and social/hierarchical lineaments by now seem rather familiar, functioned on a daily basis. One of the leading figures in the earlier charge of prosopography is pretty clearly the princeps of the current scholarly trend. I refer to Werner Eck.2

In recognition of Professor Eck’s enormously impressive contributions, the Historische Kolleg in Munich awarded him a fellowship for the 1995/96 academic year. That grant intends primarily to provide the awardee with relief from teaching and administrative burdens and thus more time for concentrated scholarly inquiry. However, in order to forestall an utter retreat into the ivory tower, the recipient is asked to organize and host a public conference, one which centers on his own area of interest. And so, for two days in early May of 1996, a number of scholars sat in Munich and discussed with Professor Eck the subject indicated by this volume’s title. Presented here are the acta, which include the following contributions.3

W. Eck, “Zur Einleitung. Römische Provinzialadministration und die Erkenntnismöglichkeiten der epigraphischen Überlieferung.” S. Mitchell, “The Administration of Roman Asia from 133 BC to AD 250.” H. Wolff, “‘Administrative Einheiten’ in den Nordprovinzen und ihre Beziehungen zu römischen Funktionsträgern.” J. Gascou, “Unités administratives locales et fonctionnaires romains. Les données des nouveaux papyrus du Moyen Euphrate et d’Arabie.” H. Cotton, “Some Aspects of the Roman Administration of Judaea/Syria-Palaestina.” J. Nollé, “Marktrechte auberhalb der Stadt: Lokale Autonomie zwischen Statthalter und Zentralort.” R. Haensch, “Heraclea ad Salbacum, die heiligen Dörfer der Artemis Sbryallis und der Kaiser.” A. Jördens, “Das Verhältnis der römischen Amtsträger in Ägypten zu den ‘Städten’ in der Provinz.” J.D. Thomas, “Communication between the Prefect of Egypt, the Procurators and the Nome Officials.” E. Lo Cascio, ” Census provinciale, imposizione fiscale e amministrazioni cittadine nel Principato.” M. Sharp, “Shearing Sheep: Rome and the Collection of Taxes in Egypt, 30 BC-AD 200.” H. Galsterer, “Statthalter und Stadt im Gerichtswesen der westlichen Provinzen.” D. Nörr, “Zu den Xenokriten (Rekuperatoren) in der römischen Provinzialgerichtsbarkeit.” H. Horstkotte, “Die Strafrechtspflege in den Provinzen der römischen Kaiserzeit zwischen hegemonialer Ordnungsmacht und lokaler Autonomie.”

Two things regarding this volume make a particular kind of review, in my opinion, most desirable. The individual contributions are of a high quality, but it seems likely that many people will not be able to devote the time to reading them all. Therefore, I want to offer a brief description of each, though confining comments about them individually to a minimum. Secondly, the book offers neither introductory nor concluding remarks (although Eck’s article functions, roughly, as an introduction). As a result, the reader who does not carefully work through it from start to finish, will not perceive the full impact of this volume. So as to bring that out, I want to give some attention to some commonalities of discussion, and conclusion, that emerge from these essays, when they are taken together.4

II. The Individual Essays

The book opens with an offering from the host. Werner Eck asks what the inscriptions, arguably our best type of source material for administrative matters on an empire-wide basis, can and do tell us—or, better put, cannot and do not tell us. Attention is drawn to a number of points which should, perhaps, be obvious, but to which, in fact, scholars have not paid enough heed. For example, Eck reminds us that the chief intent of cutting a text into stone was to make a long-lasting (effectively permanent) record. Thus, daily matters of innumerable sorts do not— and never did —find representation in the epigraphic record. Moreover, even where (say) imperial pronouncements are concerned, the record is faulty; for the provincials, who mainly turned these responses (as well as other matters) into inscriptions, did so pretty well only when the news was, for them, good. Bad news was better neglected, i.e., not inscribed.5 We are also reminded of the many (easily lost) media upon which administrative records might be kept, e.g., wood.6 Beyond this (to cite but one example) the tabula from Irni in Spain indicates just how much not readily perishable material has been lost because of the ravages of time.7 In short, while the inscriptions are an utterly indispensible source of information for administration, we are here cautioned away from the blithe assumption that they (either as now preserved or even in their original state) form (or formed) a corpus truly representative of daily administrative practices. Hence, generalizations about administrative structures based on epigraphic evidence must be tempered with much caution. And let us not forget, this warning comes from one of the greatest proponents of Latin epigraphy.

Stephen Mitchell is interested in the various administrative ‘units’ of Asia, and how each interacted with the Roman government (mostly with the proconsul); an eye is kept throughout on the role played by geography. The article offers sections on: the road system; assize districts; a quick discussion of Sulla’s division of the province into regiones, and the subsequent (non-specific) use of this term; cities; villages; imperial estates. The investigations tend to center on questions of contact between the governor and these administrative units. Mitchell offers various conclusions. He finds that individual cities ( poleis) were the most usual administrative units in the province and that they maintained the most direct contacts with the central authority. Where villages ( komai) are concerned, Mitchell concludes that the communities did not generally deal directly with proconsuls; they contacted the governor instead, via local religious leaders, the owners of nearby estates, or with the help of representatives from the cities in whose territories they were located. The last two sentences seem to me best to sum up the results (p. 46): “Geography imposed a rule that could not be broken. The active role of officials and military personnel in the administration of Roman Asia never extended far beyond the main roads.” And not surprisingly, if one asks what exactly was looked after by the Romans in these administrative units, one finds mainly jurisdiction and tax collection on record.8

The question that underlies Hartmut Wolff’s article concerns just how far the administration of the provinces (here specifically those along the Rhein-Danube frontier) was “entpolitisiert und objektiviert,” as opposed to having relied heavily on interpersonal relationships (p. 48). The whole is prefaced by several assumptions. (1) The central government undertook matters of taxation and looked after the military while local entities carried out pretty well all other administrative tasks. (2) The (Rhein-Danube) provincial administrative units were as follows: coloniae, municipia, vici, pagi, canabae legionis, and the vici situated near auxiliary troop encampments; on the other hand, local curiae or collegia, imperial estates and mines are not to be classified as administrative units. (3) Roman officials with whom important contacts might be made by these administrative units include not only the emperor and senatorial or equestrian administrators but all Roman functionaries down to the level of imperial slaves or the slaves of conductores (e.g., those in charge of the publicum portorii Illyrici). Having said these things, Wolff then goes on to examine (as best this can be done for the geographical area in question) the interactions between the local administrative units (as per his definition) and Roman officials. There is discussion, for example, of relationships between: cities and their senatorial patroni; provincial communities and locally stationed centurions (esp. with regard to the settlements of boundary disputes); cities and the provincial governor or the emperor, particularly with regard to dedications of building projects; soldiers and their communities of origin in the province. In sum, the Romans ruled in an often iron-fisted manner, but they were very much open to input from those over whom they ruled. The method by which the emperor or his chief ministers found out what was needed, or wanted, in the provinces had nothing to do with concerted information gathering on the part of the Romans. Rather, personal contacts kept the central government generally well enough informed so as to enable any required response.9

In publishing P. Euphr. 1-5 (a group of petitions), Denis Feissel and Jean Gascou found that, “Rome est la même partout.”10 Gascou now returns to the Euphrates papyri in an effort to nuance that earlier impression. He begins by re-introducing these texts. This cache of documents, like Babatha’s, seems to be the result of warfare, specifically the Persian attack of A.D. 256.11 Since there is no exact provenance for the Euphrates papyri, Gascou first lays out what can be known of the region from which they most probably come. In short, these texts seem to originate in an area at the very eastern edge of Syria Coele, at the confluence of the Euphrates and the Aborras rivers. The territory had an administrative center at a place called Appadana. Gascou now locates this Appadana on the right bank of the Euphrates, which implies that the Roman province extended to the east of the Euphrates, at least at the moment here in question (pp. 64-65).12 What kinds of administrative structure existed in such an area? An imperial procurator was on hand, either as the man in charge of otherwise unattested praedia fiscalia in the region, or perhaps in connection with the conventus, which would then have reached this far east. A centurion (Julius Marinus) was also present and received a petition. Beyond this, Appadana is called a praetentura, and is subject to an official called the praepositus praetenturae, perhaps a kind of “ressort de police,” but also with adjudicative duties.13 Otherwise, there are places that are called villages ( komai), though they appear to be grouped together in administrative ‘cantons’ that had existed long before the arrival of the Romans. In short, it was a rural world using pre-Roman administrative divisions, largely under the watchful eye of Roman military personnel. Then, toward the end of the period covered by these papyri, we see change coming. We now hear of a man from Beth Phouraia (the most often mentioned village in Appadana’s territory), who has been named a bouleutes Neopolites —in other words, Appadana has become a municipium with a new name (Neapolis) and a local senate, and, a dignitary from a nearby village has been appointed to this boule (see also Feissel & Gascou, JS [1995] 106-7 on the status change of Appadana). Next comes the Persian invasion. The article closes with an appendix: a preliminary publication of P. Bostra 1 (29 May 260), a petition to a beneficiarius, concerning (chiefly) money sent by a woman to support her sick son which was absconded with by the intermediary.14

The article by Hannah Cotton is divided into two parts. The first, with an eye to a planned fasti of Judaea/Syria Palaestina, offers a new interpretation of the area’s provincialization.15 The second part discusses the administration of the ‘Jewish region’ (i.e., excluding the ‘Hellenistic cities’—Cotton follows here the distinction made by E. Schürer), especially in light of the Babatha and Nahal Hever documents. Now, according to traditional thought, when Herod the Great’s son Archelaus was deposed from his tetrarchy in A.D. 6, the province Judaea was formed; it was initially governed by a praefectus, and later a procurator. Cotton, however, questions whether the evidence really supports this scenario. She makes the highly plausible suggestion that Judaea was, for a period of time, governed by imperially appointed prefects, but that they, and their territory, were subordinate to neighboring Syria and its governor. The conversion of Judaea into a full-fledged province may very well belong to A.D. 44, following shortly the death of Agrippa I. Having first enumerated (in a series of remarks which are very interesting to any understanding of the administrative issues faced in this particular area) the problems of isolating the ‘Jewish region’ from the ‘Hellenistic cities,’ Cotton then offers a portrayal of the administrative divisions of Judaea, Samaria, Galilee, and the Peraea. The new papyri pretty conclusively demonstrate the division of Judaea into toparchies, each of which was named after the largest village in the area (n.b., a pre-Roman arrangement, possibly Ptolemaic in origin). In the other three districts, there appears to have been a similar arrangement, though the name toparchia is not attested.16 The smaller villages may well have been subordinated to the chief town of the toparchy for the purposes of tax collection but otherwise seem to have possessed a significant degree of autonomy. There seem to be some real parallels between these arrangements in Judaea/Syria Palaestina, Egypt (with its nome-metropolis arrangement), and those in other parts of the Hellenic east (esp. with the polis-subordinate village relationship).17

The march of epigraphy and archaeology, as Johannes Nollé points out, has now taught us that pretty well all villages in Asia were subordinated to a nearby polis. But, in contacting high Roman officials (esp. the proconsul or the emperor) might villages act independently of the superior poleis ? Nollé is inclined to think not. However, he offers an investigation, using as a paradigm four inscriptional dossiers that involve the securing of market rights by four villages (the kome of the Arillenoi, in the territory of Sardis; Mandragoreis, in the territory of Magnesia on the Maender; Tetrapyrgia, in Lydia; the village of the Pylitai, possibly in the territory of Tralleis).18 One of these inscriptions ( I Manisa 523), in any case, reveals that Metras, the priest of Zeus Driktes (at a nearby countryside sanctuary), acted on behalf of the Arillenoi and obtained—from the proconsul, the soon-to-be emperor Antoninus Pius—market rights for the village and his sanctuary. Sardis, the polis to which the Arillenoi were subject, seems to have been bypassed. It is also clear that each of the towns here in question had powerful patrons, whose intercession either did help or may have helped to establish the connections that eventually led to grants of market rights. Nollé concludes that, whereas there were very close connections between poleis and the villages subordinated to them, these relationships were not regulated in anything like a legal fashion. Still, it seems best to presume that generally villagers would not want to provoke the ire of the city in whose territory they lay. The mechanism that ultimately allowed such villagers now and again to establish direct contacts with high-ranking Roman officials was the presence of powerful patrons.

Rudolf Haensch writes what is nearly a detective story. He was contacted (in February 1996) by a Turkish citizen then living in Germany and asked to translate a “very old text.” Once he received a transcription from that person, all contact regarding the inscription (as it turns out to be) quickly broke off. So as not to lose this document, Haensch here offers an edition and commentary, based on (since there is nothing else) the problematic transcription he was given. What we have, then, is a bilingual (Latin and Greek) stele (pretty certainly), found about 2 km. outside the ancient Apollonia ad Salbacum in Caria, which recorded the settlement of a boundary dispute. The first problem is getting a plausible text out of the transcription. The Greek is clear enough, but the Latin is more difficult. Still, Haensch manages to suggest a convincing reconstruction of the entire inscription (he very wisely prints, on pp. 122-23, a copy of the original transcription, with his own reconstructed version just under each line of it—this makes following his conjectures immeasurably easier than it might have been). Here is the restored Latin text (the content is the same as in the Greek): [Iussu Imper(atoris) Ca]esaris Nerva[e Traiani] / [Aug(usti) Germ(anici) Dac]ici vici Cosa et Anticosa / [dedicati (?) Di]anae Sbruallidi et ad[iu-]/[dic]ati Heracl[eo]tis a [P]omponio [B]a[sso] / [te]rm[i]nati s[u]nt a B[aebi]o Tullo proco(n)s(ule) / [A]siae per C(aium) Valerium Victorem / [p]raetorem designatum legatum / [pr]o pr(aetore). The chief results are two previously unknown villages, Kosa and Antikosa; a new sanctuary, that of Artemis Sbryallis; a new senator (C. Valerius Victor) serving as legatus to L. Baebius Tullus in Asia in about 110/111, and more information on T. Pomponius Bassus.19 There is also an interesting discussion of the ways in which important persons (like Bassus) might be connected with such out-of-the-way villages and might intercede in their behalf.20

The most significant article in this collection is that by Andrea Jördens. What she has produced is no less than an overview of the administrative system of Roman Egypt during the first three centuries A.D. I can see no useful method of summarizing this article—it contains simply too much. Suffice it to say that anyone interested in the administration of the province in any sense will profit from this article. I should like to add, however, that the significance of Jördens’ piece goes well beyond this, for she in various ways highlights the empire-wide implications of what was happening in this one uniquely documented province. In fact, it seems to me that a part of her concluding remarks characterize, in large part, the Roman way of running an empire. Furthermore, she here gets at a theme which is, I think, central to much of the book here under review. Let me quote her: “Zum einen stellte eine grössere Selbständigkeit der Städte für die Römer nicht etwa einen Wert an sich dar. Zum anderen fehlen weiterhin alle Anzeichen dafür, dass es eines übergeordneten politischen Gestaltungswillens bedurfte, um die neu hinzugekommenen Provinzen trotz unterschiedlichster Voraussetzungen in ein reichsweit mehr oder weniger einheitliches System einzubinden…Dass im Gegenzug eine allmähliche und im Detail vielleicht unmerkliche Angleichung an die neuen Herrschaftsstrukturen erfolgte, die vermutlich mehr und mehr an eigener Dynamik gewann, besitzt gewisse Plausibilität.” (p. 180) Jördens’ article should be required reading for anyone interested in the administration of the early Roman Empire.

David Thomas takes on the mechanisms of administrative communication in Roman Egypt, and in particular, “…the means by which the central administration, the prefect and the procurators, communicated their instructions to the nome officials, above all the strategoi.” (p. 181) His intent is to supplement two earlier articles; however, he worries from the beginning that the evidence will not allow him (or us) to learn many of the things we might like to.21 Given that caveat, he first raises a very important issue, that communication between administrative officials did not have to be in writing. The prefect, for example, traveled the province with regularity, met with nome officials regularly, and could thus settle many problems with his subordinates directly and in person. Written communications, which were, of course, also employed, are then divided into two broad categories: those matters sent to one strategos; and those sent to several, or all, of the nomes. This second category gets most of Thomas’ attention. It begins to look as if the person bearing a particular dispatch to several recipients carried the appropriate number of copies rather than having each addressee make a copy of his own. Was there a fixed route by which such messages traveled the province? It may well be that there was, though this cannot be proved. In any case, it appears that messages to strategoi did not come to them via the superior epistrategos; rather, each strategos received the communication directly. We also have evidence, though it is scant, that might indicate a regularized postal system (employing stationes) and letter carriers ( epistolaphorai) in the mid-second century A.D. The papyrus in question (P. Ryl. II 78) is discussed at pp. 188-89. Later in the article (pp. 192-95), Thomas returns to questions of a regularized postal system, stressing the lack of evidence but nonetheless arguing, on the basis of what is available, that there was an established system for moving official communications around Egypt in the early imperial period.22

Elio Lo Cascio begins by pointing out that, in Italy, the censuses taken locally of both Roman citizens and non-citizens simultaneously met the needs of the individual communities and the fiscal requirements of the central government. He then asks how we are to understand the relationship between the provincial census instituted by Augustus, the local counts accomplished by the provincals for their own purposes, and the central government’s fiscal concerns. Having argued that these were interconnected, Lo Cascio then offers some reflections on yet thornier questions: the basis on which taxes in the provinces were calculated and whether there was ‘personal liability’ or ‘communal liability’ in the provinces. The questions asked here arise from documents that have come to light recently in the Babatha and Hahal Hever finds. Various interesting things emerge. For example, though Babatha is resident of a village (Maoza) within the territory of Petra, she nonetheless makes her property declaration in another village in the territory Rabbath-Moab. Was this done out of mere convenience since Rabbath-Moab was much closer to Maoza than was Petra? Was the registration a method of protecting Babatha from arbitrary tax assessment? Does a generally insufficient level of urbanization in Nea Arabia help to explain this procedure?23 Such questions are not easily resolved. Lo Cascio next raises the various problems surrounding the legati censitores in order to arrive at a larger question: Was the provincial census, as carried out by imperial legati, a regularized, universally orchestrated event? Perhaps, as suggested by Anna Achinger, regular smaller censuses were conducted by governors, while more significant counts aimed at altering the total tax contribution of a province were conducted by specially appointed imperial legates.24 Lo Cascio himself offers another suggestion. Perhaps imperial legates were assigned to takes censuses in imperial provinces while the regularly appointed governors, with help from the local populations, took care of this business in the public provinces. While this position requires that a certain amount of evidence be argued away and will thus probably meet with some resistance, a plausible case is made here for this possibility.

As Garnsey and Saller reminded us some time ago, taxation was one of the very few matters with which the Roman government concerned itself directly and on a regular basis.25 Michael Sharp here wonders about the extent to which the central government appointed its own officials to collect provincial taxes and offers Egypt (chiefly during the period 30 B.C.-A.D. 200) as a test case. A first section searches for evidence of civic officials having been engaged as collectors of state revenues. In the nome metropoleis (before A.D. 200), the evidence suggests that state-appointed officials or private contractors gathered state taxes; some local officials can be found collecting local taxes (e.g., for the maintenance of local baths), but they appear to have worked under the supervision of officials who had been set over them by the provincial government. At Alexandria and in two of the “Greek” cities (Naukratis and Antinoopolis), local authorities may have collected some local taxes; but there is also evidence for state-appointed officials collecting irregular revenues and tax owed by non-citizens.26 There is further evidence that in some villages, the presbyteroi functioned as intermediaries between local populations and the Roman authorities, and sometimes professional associations collected taxes from their individual members. The evidence for both practices, however, is slight. Having argued that the Romans in the period before A.D. 200 did not usually enroll local officials, or engage local institutions in the collection of taxes from the local populations, Sharp then reminds us that the Romans still managed to devolve the lion’s share of this work onto the local communities via the system of liturgical duties. The development of tax-related liturgies during the first two centuries A.D. is quickly surveyed, as is the work of the various officials who were involved in the collection of taxes.27 In sum, much was controlled by the prefect and the other high provincial officials in Alexandria. Nonetheless, there was some local autonomy with regard to the appointments of those who actually collected taxes locally, and even, to some extent, with regard to the assessment of irregular taxes collected locally.

Hartmut Galsterer’s essay moves us from the world of taxation to that of jurisdiction. In particular, he examines local jurisdiction in the Roman and Latin communities of the West, concentrating on sources that reproduce normative rules (e.g., the Lex Irnitana). In other words, Galsterer presents local jurisdiction “wie es sein sollte.” Several matters are noted and dealt with briefly at the outset: the relative paucity of source material (though this has improved significantly in recent years, as Galsterer points out); the emperor as last instance of appeal and the ensuing temptation to move cases (both civil and criminal) quickly to his jurisdiction; Italy as an exceptional place, given the lack of a governor along with the dominance of Rome and its judicial instances over the peninsula. The question as to what kind of law was employed by any given judicial instance is likewise sidelined for the present purposes, since a good argument can be made for a high level of ‘Romanization’ of the law generally in the provinces.28 What then follows is a brief survey of the present state of our knowledge of local jurisdiction in the Latin West (pp. 247-52). Finally Galsterer provides an overview of the jurisdiction exercised by the provincial governor (pp. 252-56).29 Though brief, this is a very useful survey of what can presently be said about local and centralized jurisdiction in the western provinces.30

Dieter Nörr begins with (as he himself puts it) a modest theme: he intends to look at the documents attesting xenokritai. The term appears to have translated the Latin recuperator, which then provokes questions regarding how and why such recuperatores were engaged in provincial settings. This will ultimately prompt some “Gedankensplitter” as to the participation of provincials in the realm of praesidial jurisdiction. From the very outset and despite the appealingly modest presentation, it becomes clear that there is quite a lot at stake here and that Nörr’s ruminations will be of wide-ranging significance. Let me quote him, just at the point where he describes the bare bones of the article (p. 258): “Die Inhaltsübersicht zeigt bereits, dass ein irgendwie anschauliches Gesamtbild hier nicht gezeichnet werden kann. Dabei lassen wir es offen, welchen Sinn es hat, von einem ‘Gesamtbild’ zu sprechen, ob ein solches denkbar, erstrebenswert oder gar notwendig wäre. Das Fragmentarische hat seine besonderen Reize—sei es, dass das Fragment gleichsam ein Symbol für eine einmal gegenwärtige unüberschaubare Wirklichkeit darstellt.” This begins to get at the very heart of this book’s investigations. Nörr goes on to say that his essential theme perches on the borders of several different areas of scholarly interest. The first two have broad implications; the rest apply more purely to understanding the functioning of xenokritai in the imperial East. (1) Given the scattered (both in time and space) nature of our evidence, is it possible to produce a comprehensive yet accurate picture of praesidial jurisdiction against which background the xenokritai can be placed? (2) The problem of the co-existence of local jurisdictions with that (esp.) of the governor must also be taken into account, and into this matrix the xenokritai likewise must be fit. Beyond this, we know of (3) xenika dikasteria —viz., judicial instances where foreigners could litigate—in Athens and elsewhere, and (4) there is also abundant testimony for the so-called juges étrangers —i.e., judges called from polis A to adjudicate in polis B because the folk of the latter did not trust their fellow citizens to decide the matter with impartiality. And last but not least, (5) if the xenokritai are to be understood as recuperatores, there must be some coming to grips with the many uncertainties still surrounding the nature and functioning of these last. As Nörr remarks, each one of these five “Themenbereiche” is itself a can of worms; and so, by attempting to solidify our knowledge at a point where they all converge, namely in the persons of these xenokritai, he hopes to shed light on the larger complex of provincial jurisdiction. The next steps are to work through, one-by-one, the documents that attest these judges and then to evaluate their testimony. Let me proceed to (some of) the results. This institution probably dates back to the Republican period and persists through about the mid-third century A.D. Roman governors, functioning much like praetors, might select xenokritai and might even provide such a judge with a formula for the case at hand. The individual xenokrites might, or might not, be a Roman citizen. In appointing these judges, the Roman provincial government was taking over, at least in part, the older Greek use of juges étrangers, hence supplying (to some degree) impartial resolution of disputes. Having come this far, Nörr then points us speculatively beyond his more concrete discoveries (p. 299): “Es geht um das Wechselspiel von autonomer Gerichtsbarkeit und römischer Gerichtsbarkeit, um die Beteiligung der Peregrinen an der römischen Gerichtsbarkeit, um die Integration der Provinzialbevölkerung in das römische Imperium.” Let me not attempt here to summarize the various thoughts that follow; suffice it to say that this article carries us far beyond its initial set of questions. Nörr takes us precisely to the very core of the question about “lokale Autonomie und römische Ordnungsmacht.”

The book comes to an end with an article by Hermann Horstkotte. He begins by remarking that the criminal law of any given society might be a good guide to that society’s values. With this in mind, Horstkotte offers an investigation of the interworkings of local and praesidial jurisdiction in criminal matters. This should demonstrate, at least in part, exactly who embodied and protected societal order in the provinces. After a brief overview (pp. 304-8) of criminal procedure in the imperial period (including discussion of: the problems of defining ‘criminal law’; the extraordinary cognitio of the imperial period; a bit on local jurisdictions; and knowledge of procedure by litigants),31 the article turns to the principal Roman jurisdictional instances in any given province. There are overviews of criminal jurisdiction by the governor, his legates, and imperial procurators. Then, there is an overview of the kinds of matters which might be handled by local officials.32

III. The Book as a Whole: Results and Conclusions

Before proceeding to discussion of particular results, it is worth mentioning that the papers seem to fall into (and are here arranged in) several distinct groups, although this is nowhere stated explicitly; hence, the central subject matter is approached from several discrete points of view. Eck’s contribution is aimed chiefly at inscriptional evidence, and stands, in this sense, by itself. In addition, the first several pages of his article provide a very good general statement regarding the overall shape of the imperial administration and its essential principles and practices. Thus, the first article serves as an introduction to the rest. Eck’s piece is followed by a first group of papers (Mitchell, Wolff, Gascou, Cotton) which seem to be conceived as, roughly speaking, local studies (respectively: Asia, Rhein-Danube, Syria, Judaea-Palestine) with concentration on administrative ‘units.’ The subsequent group of papers could perhaps have been put under the subheading, ‘administration and communications between officials’ (Nollé, Haensch, Jördens [though in this piece, again, pretty well the entirity of the Egyptian administrative system gets surveyed], Thomas). After this come two articles on census and taxation (Lo Cascio, Sharp). The volume closes with three articles on law, or better, jurisdiction (Galsterer, Nörr, Horstkotte).33 Thus, there are various ‘unifying’ themes that seem to have been planned for the volume: administrative units and urbanization in the provinces; communications of local populations and local administrative units with Roman officials stationed in the provinces; census and taxes; local and centralized jurisdiction.

I will now consider several areas, to which the essays in this volume, if taken as a whole, make especially significant contributions. It must be admitted that the topics I have chosen to discuss correspond only roughly with what look to have been the book’s intended points of concentration. I have selected matters that strike me as being of particularly broad importance for Roman administrative studies though others might well identify other areas of equal interest and importance in this book.

The book opens with a discussion of evidence, and questions of evidence inform the whole. We are confronted repeatedly, almost brutally, with the deficiencies of our documentation. This has not resulted, though, in a retreat to models, parallels with other empires, or the like. Rather, the problems caused by the nature of the legacy we have are faced squarely, and this yields two important results. First, stress is laid on the fact that the piecemeal record forces us (or in any case, it forces the authors in this volume), nolens volens, to ask particular questions, and to come away with particularized answers. This in turn means that any broad, generalizing picture of how the Roman imperial administrative system worked has to be extrapolated with great care from the few, restricted, and scattered glimpses that we can get of the original landscape. Indeed, comparison of the various brief glimpses available might easily lead one even to ask whether it is possible, or wise, to attempt a synthetic overview. In any case, it is necessary to be perfectly clear about the kind of synthetic overview that can plausibly be had (note, again, the passage quoted above from Nörr’s article).34 This is, I think, a very healthy kind of skepticism. But despite the wariness, the essays here do point precisely in the direction of a broader picture which seems to be emerging from recent scholarship, and which is, I think, getting us closer to an understanding of the way the Romans actually conceived of running—and actually did run—their empire. But to this, we shall return momentarily.

A second point is that much of the little evidence we have comes from Egypt; thus is broached the question of the extent to which that province, and the documents preserved there, can compare with other provinces, their documents, and imperial administration as it was practiced in those places. In brief, are the adminstrative structures observed in Egypt during the early imperial period representative of what was happening concurrently in other provinces, and can we thus extrapolate from Egypt to other areas? There is now good reason to answer, yes.35 And in the present book, there is a tendency to agree with this ‘yes’; however, that agreement is here nuanced somewhat. Let me cite Eck at a point where I think his remarks pretty well represent the position of this collection as a whole (pp. 13-14 n. 40): “Zudem ist für Ägypten zu bedenken, dass das Fehlen wirklicher Selbstverwaltungseinheiten bis zur severischen Zeit natürlich ein Element war, das sich strukturell ausgewirkt hat, stärker, als dies zuletzt etwa bei Bowman und Rathbone zugestanden wurde. Aber tendenziell kann sich das Handeln der Statthalter sowie anderer römischer Amtsträger nicht von dem in Ägypten unterschieden haben, weil die sachlichen Notwendigkeiten ähnlich oder gleich gewesen sind.”36 Perhaps we should say, then, that Egypt cannot be seen as simply ‘representative’ of the rest of the Empire, but that we can reasonably expect many of the administrative practices observed there to have been at work in similar ways elsewhere (and vice versa). Nonetheless, if Egypt and other places turn out in many ways to be similar, an important question still remains: Why, exactly? That is, did the Romans impose, throughout their empire, one previously designed, monolithic system of administration? Or, did the unity, such as it existed, and to the extent that it can now be observed, come about for other reasons? Again, this will be a question to which we return momentarily; but, I think that the passage quoted above from Jördens’ article goes a long way toward providing an outline for a convincing answer.

An area where one is obviously inclined to seek empire-wide unity, or a lack thereof, is in the matter of precisely who, in any given province, carried out which administrative tasks. Since local autonomy is the central topic of inquiry here, a theme that surfaces repeatedly is that of the local administrative structures left functioning by the Romans—how these local institutions were organized, what they did, and how they worked together with Roman officials. This whole business, though, is not so simple as it might, on the surface, seem. Eck begins by commenting that, to a very great degree, the cities (“Städte”) were the most obvious governing units in the provinces (p. 5). Nonetheless, the articles here clearly reveal other administrative units, or systems, up and functioning: age-old ‘cantons’ in eastern Syria (Gascou p. 69); so-called ‘regions’ in Asia Minor (Mitchell pp. 29-30); the liturgical system in Egypt (Sharp p. 214); villages in Palestine (and elsewhere) (Cotton pp. 83-84). And then there is the problem of, e.g., imperial estates: along the Rhein-Danube frontier, they can be excluded as administrative units (Wolff p. 48), whereas in Asia they may be considered official administrative units (Mitchell pp. 37 ff.). Two significant conclusions emerge from these essays. In the first place, the Romans appear to have been willing to employ almost whatever local form (or forms) of organization they came upon in structuring administration at the local level. Hence, there appears to have been a fair degree of diversity empire-wide in this regard. Secondly, the overall preference seems to have gone to ‘cities,’ where they were to be found.

This last conclusion leads into yet another area of intense and recent interest and discussion, urbanization, especially as it was encouraged by the Romans.37 The first problem that arises repeatedly in this regard is this: How, exactly, do we know when we are in the presence of a polis ?38 More pointedly, what exactly constitutes a polis as far as administration is concerned? This question causes discussion at various points in this volume.39 But the larger problem concerns any possibly existing central policy of urbanization, whose goal will have been the creation of an empire-wide infrastructure suited to Roman administrative practices.40 For the sake of argument, let us assume a long-term policy of this kind on the part of the central government. But what are we to do with a place like Appadana in Syria? This place appears to have functioned as an administrative center for the area surrounding it throughout the early imperial period and could be called at that time a praetentura; however, in perhaps the early 250s, the name of the place changes to Neapolis, and it now becomes a municipium. Whatever its exact name or status, in what sense exactly is urbanization occurring here, and how exactly can that urbanization be related to anything like a centrally driven policy of Romanization, or of administrative practice? Similar problems arise in Judaea-Palestine. What are we to think when a place called a kome acts like a polis and receives an epistula from a governor (Cotton p. 83)? What are we to make of the NT talking of the presbyteroi, boulai, or synedria in places that appear to have been villages (Cotton p. 88)? What are we to suppose when apparent villages adopt the attributes of poleis (baths, etc.) (Nollé pp. 96-98)? Indeed, what exactly makes any place, at least where questions of administration are concerned, an urban center? Is a local, urban aristocracy the sine qua non for urbanization (Mitchell p. 38)? Or is the position of the place in the larger administrative structure of the province the most important factor, even if the place is called a village or even if it seems in some ways more like a village than a city, (Jördens p. 141; cf. also pp. 142-46, 148, 169, 175 n.175)? And beyond this, does urbanization, or a lack thereof, play a role in Babatha’s declaring her property at Rabbath-Moab, and not Petra (Lo Cascio pp. 202-3, and cf. p. 211)? It seems to me that this volume raises some very important, thorny, and as yet not sufficiently resolved problems with regard to urbanization in the provinces: how we are to define urbanization; the extent to which some kind of urbanization was perceived by the Roman central government as crucial to provincial administration; the ways in which any such policy of urbanization actually affected practice. A volume devoted specifically to such matters seems to emerge as a desideratum, given the material presented in this book.41

Whatever one says or thinks, about urbanization or the administrative ‘units’ that were fostered or employed by the Romans in the provinces, there remains the problem of contact between Roman officials and local governmental organs. Here, the present volume comes down clearly: personal contacts of various sorts were essential. This is a central point in the articles by Wolff and Nollé, and the same theme arises repeatedly elsewhere in the book (e.g., Haensch p. 135; Jördens pp. 155-56, 174). Roughly related to this is the fact that individual Roman soldiers were often the point of contact with the central government for many a provincial.42 This too is a topic that might well deserve broader, more comprehensive treatment.

Finally, let me return to a very broad question, one to which I have already alluded several times. If we look around the Roman Empire, we find, on the one hand, not a few similiarities of administrative practice. On the other hand, there are probably equally numerous differences in governmental practice or structure that might be pointed out. How, then, are we to resolve, or understand, this situation? There is, of course, a strong inclination to glance in the direction of the central government to determine what kind of impulses may have come from that quarter. What one chiefly observes at the capital, especially through the lens of more recent scholarship, is a loosely organized, laissez-faire operation. As a rough indication of this, let me quote Eck from the present book (p. 4): “Nicht zum wenigsten aus der Entwicklung dieser sogenannten ritterlichen Verwaltung hat man zum Teil in der Forschung die Schlussfolgerung gezogen, das römische Kaiserreich habe in den Provinzen ein umfassendes, die Räume durchdringendes administratives System geschaffen, das mit Hilfe eines grossen Verwaltungsapparates bürokratisch die Untertanengebiete beherrschte. Die Wirklichkeit, die mit dieser modernen Terminologie beschrieben werden soll, entspricht aber keineswegs der historischen Realität.” In short, the factors confronting us are as follows. (1) This is an empire in which there were, despite some significant differences, marked similarities of administrative practice. (2) The central government took an abiding interest in very few matters (principally taxation, and the maintenance of law and order—cf., e.g., Wolff p. 47), gave little organizational attention even to these matters, and exhibited equally little readiness to undertake long-term administrative initiatives. (3) As a result of the second point, there arises real difficulty in accounting for the striking elements of unity that can be observed. Although this book, as a whole, does not precisely set out to resolve such problems, and while Nörr, as pointed out above, rightly questions the very desire for a “Gesamtbild,” nonetheless, just such a synthetic picture can be glimpsed, peeking from between the lines of this volume. How, then, given the apparent reluctance of the government in Rome to strive consciously or consistently for unity of administrative practice or structure and given the obvious elements of empire-wide disunity, can we account for the patent marks of a true “Gesamtbild” that emerge from the essays in this volume? Here, again, I think that Jördens has hit the nail on the head when she says that, “…eine allmähliche und im Detail vielleicht unmerkliche Angleichung an die neuen Herrschaftsstrukturen erfolgte, die vermutlich mehr und mehr an eigener Dynamik gewann…” To rephrase this slightly, there were certain very deeply set Roman attitudes about running an empire; and these attitudes, when played out in daily affairs, must frequently have elicited similar reactions from local populations the Empire over. Thus, there is a “Gesamtbild,” whose lineaments we can describe. It is a “Gesamtbild” that came to exist, however, because many individual encounters with many individual Roman officials, their attitudes, and their methods of operating, gave rise to many similar reactions. As Nörr puts it, “das Fragmentarische hat seine besonderen Reize.”43 That is also, perhaps, an apt method of describing the special attractions of this very rich collection of essays.


1. I refer, of course, to the Römisches Staatsrecht 3 (Leipzig 1887-88) by the former, and Die römischen Verwaltungsbeamten bis auf Diocletian 2 (Berlin 1905) by the latter.

2. Two volumes of Eck’s articles should (and there is significantly more to his oeuvre than these) make clear his leading position in the current generation of administrative studies: Die Verwaltung des Römischen Reiches in der Hohen Kaiserzeit 2 Bde. (Basel 1995-97). Note also a third collection—although it is not quite as relevant to the topic at hand— Tra epigrafia, prosopografia e archeologia. Scritti scelti, rielaborati ed aggiornati (Rome 1996). Nor am I alone in considering Eck the current leader in the study of the Roman imperial administration. According to G. Alföldy, Provincia Hispania superior (Heidelberg 2000) 2, he is “…heute…der beste Kenner der Verwaltungsgeschichte des Römischen Reiches.”

3. None of the conference discussion is printed in the volume; however, each contributor has used some of the comments made when the papers were originally presented.

4. There is an index, which will at least help any reader to locate topics of interest throughout the volume. It is not, however, nearly thorough enough to replace reading through the articles.

5. M. Gleason, “Festive Satire: Julian’s Misopogon and the New Year at Antioch” JRS 76 (1986) 117 also makes the point that provincials preferred not to inscribe reprimanding communications sent to them by emperors, of which there ought to have been quite a few. Note also Wolff in this volume (p. 55), presumes the Skaptopara petition was inscribed because it was successful. See also below, n. 32, where the people of Colophon record in stone their attempt to retain capital jurisdiction, even over Roman citizens. Does this inscription indicate their success in this?

6. Notice also Eck’s own article, “Inschriften auf Holz. Ein unterschätztes Phänomen der epigraphischen Kultur Roms” in P. Kneissl and V. Losemann (eds.), Imperium Romanum. Studien zu Geschichte und Rezeption. Festschrift für Karl Christ zum 75. Geburtstag (Stuttgart 1998) 203-17. See as well the remarks on inscribing public records on white-washed boards, stone, and bronze in B. Salway, “Prefects, patroni, and decurions: a new perspective on the album of Canusium,” in A.E. Cooley (ed.), The Epigraphic Landscape of Roman Italy (London 2000) 120-23.

7. Indeed, between the time of this article’s writing and its appearance in print, other extremely important inscriptions have been discovered and presented. Just two examples: Alföldy, Provincia Hispania superior (above n. 2), and id., “Das neue Edikt des Augustus aus El Bierzo in Hispanien” ZPE 131 (2000) 177-205. Note also the comments of Nollé in this volume (pp. 99-101). We have only four extant grants of market rights to Asian villages; nonetheless, we know for certain that there were more grants like these four, since our preserved examples mention them. So, either the other grants were never recorded on stone or the inscriptions that once held them have perished.

8. On roads, transportation, and communication, see now A. Kolb, Transport und Nachrichtentransfer im Römischen Reich (Berlin 2000). With regard to use of the term regio, more evidence from other areas of the Empire demonstrates soldiers designated as working in a regio or topos. There too the terminology seems to be rather loose and does not attest to a carefully planned administrative division over which the soldiers ruled or in which they functioned. See briefly M. Peachin, “Five Vindolanda Tablets, Soldiers, and the Law” Tyche 14 (1999) 230 n. 25. In discussing the jurisdiction of imperial procurators over the villagers in the neighborhood of the estates managed by these officials, Mitchell remarks that the procurators’ legal authority was not unlike that wielded by the governor himself (p. 39 with n. 98). He makes the distinction, though, that the procurators did not legally possess capital jurisdiction (here depending on P. Brunt’s essential article on procuratorial jurisdiction; cf. also below in this volume, Horstkotte pp. 312-13). While this is correct, it should not be forgotten that we have some evidence for procurators undertaking capital jurisdiction (though perhaps not executions) despite the illegality. For example, Ulpian, in his book on the duties of the provincial governor, discussed the business of provincial procurators usurping adjudicative powers where the lex Fabia (concerning kidnapping, a capital offense) was concerned: Mosaicarum et Romanarum Legum Collatio 14.3.1 (Paul, 9 de offic. procos.). See further D. Nörr, Rechtskritik in der römischen Antike (Munich 1974) 131-32. Capital jurisdiction over local populations apparently was also allowed by specific grant to a praefectus. For an example, see Cotton in this volume, pp. 77-8. Also, on capital jurisdiction possibly held by local authorities, see Galsterer (pp. 251-52) and Horstkotte (pp. 313-16) in this book, as well as n. 32 below. And on the concurrence of local and Roman jurisdictions (n.b., not capital), cf. Nörr in this book p. 261.

9. One minor point. At p. 51, Wolff argues that because the municipal charters (he cites the Lex Ursonensis and the Lex Irnitana), the Digest, the CTh, and the CJ demonstrate not a little concern with the costs of embassies, such missions must have been numerous. While the conclusion may be right, a bit of caution is in order where the legal sources are concerned. D. Johnston, Roman Law in Context (Cambridge 1999) 27 makes the relevant point where divorce is concerned: in the law books, this is a topic that receives much attention, but can we because of the frequency with which the jurists raised this topic, assume a very high rate of divorce among the Romans? Or, was this simply a subject of interest to jurisprudents, hence, a subject that received a good amount of attention in the books compiled by them? Note also S. Treggiari, Roman Marriage. Iusti Coniuges from the Time of Cicero to the Time of Ulpian (Oxford 1991) 482 n. 225, who remarks that remarriage to the same coniunx is a topic dealt with often by the jurists but something that probably was not at all common in the real world. In short, the exact relationship between regulations in the legal literature and everyday happenings is not perfectly clear and must be handled with extreme caution.

10. See their comments at JS (1995) 66-67. The quote is from Gascou’s article in this volume (p. 61).

11. Note, however, that 257 may have been the date: D. Potter, Prophecy and History in the Crisis of the Roman Empire. A Historical Commentary on the Thirteenth Sibylline Oracle (Oxford 1990) 50 (257); A. Watson, Aurelian and the Third Century (London & New York 1999) 28 (256 or 257). M. Christol, L’Empire romain du IIIe siècle: histoire politique (de 192, mort de Commode, a 325, concile de Nicee) (Paris 1997) 133 also puts the attack in 256.

12. Feissel and Gascou, CRAI (1989) 543 initially located Appadana on the west bank of the river, about midway between Dura and the confluence of the Euphrates and the Aborras rivers. That location was adopted by F. Millar, The Roman Near East 31 B.C.- A.D. 337 (Cambridge, Mass. 1993) 576, who also took the eastern border of Syria Coele to be fixed by the Euphrates (p. 122). On the other hand, M. Roaf and St J. Simpson, who compiled map 91 for the new Barrington atlas, placed Appadana on the west bank of the Aborras, about 30 km to the north of the confluence—i.e., also east of the Euphrates (n.b., their map was completed in 1994). It is not clear to me how they reached their decision; but, it seems to coincide with what Gascou argues in the present article. See R. Talbert (ed.), Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World (Princeton 2000) Map 91 B2, along with the map-by-map directory, p. 1302.

13. This may be compared with what we know from elsewhere around the Empire regarding soldiers and their connections with legal matters. See Peachin, art. cit. (n. 8 above), and id., “A Petition to a Centurion from the NYU Papyrus Collection and the Question of Informal Adjudication Performed by Soldiers,” in A.J.B. Sirks and K.A. Worp (eds.), Miscellanea in Honour of P.J. Sijpesteijn (forthcoming). Given what we know from elsewhere, however, we should probably be careful of assuming judicial duties as such for military personnel in outlying areas. Soldiers may have accepted petitions, and they may even have undertaken judical action with regard to such petitions. Nonetheless, there is no trustworthy evidence for their having been assigned such tasks. Other tasks, e.g., the gathering of various types of documentation for court cases, may actually have been assigned to soldiers, though also apparently on an ad hoc basis.

14. Also, expanding on the present article, see now D. Feissel, J. Gascou, J. Teixidor, “Documents d’archives romains inédits du Moyen Euphrate,” JS (1997) 20-21 on the administrative institutions at Marcopolis.

15. The fasti of Syria Coele, down to the time of Septimius Severus, are available in an up-to-date form: E. Dabrowa, The Governors of Roman Syria from Augustus to Septimius Severus (Bonn 1998). And of course, for the entirity of Syria, down to the time of Diocletian, there is still the magesterial work by B.E. Thomasson, Laterculi praesidum (Göteborg 1984).

16. An appendix (pp. 90-91) argues for a similar administrative division in Arabia (though with three levels of subordination, at least at Bostra, rather than just two).

17. There is one matter about which I wonder. Cotton ends her article by mentioning the fact that, in the Severan period, several of the chief towns of toparchies received the title polis —e.g., Lydda became Diospolis in 199/200. This point leads into talk of the area’s urbanization in this period. Cotton sees this urbanization as having been “…concurrent with the strengthening of the non-Jewish element in the province, first the pagan and later on the Christian.” (p. 89) The term urbanization, though, might imply various things, e.g.: increased numbers of urban dwellers, changed institutions (as well as names—we have seen Appadana above, which became Neapolis, and simultaneously received a boule) in the places in question, or new building (e.g., walls, baths, etc.). Since I do not control this evidence, and since there are presumably others in the same situation, it might have been worth setting out in more detail what changes exactly are implied by ‘urbanization’ here. I shall return below, in slightly more detail, to the questions and problems raised by urbanization. See esp. nn. 37-40 below.

18. Nollé is exemplary in his caution about what these four inscriptions can reveal. As he remarks, the four come from a period of time that extends from ca. A.D. 136 until the early fourth century; they come from Lydia and the Maeander valley, two areas that may not have functioned exactly alike; they refer to market rights obtained previously by other villages, conceivably without interference from their superior poleis; the erection of a stone to commemorate such a grant may not have been common at all; and even if it was common the chances of preservation of such stones must always be reckoned with. The inscriptions in question are: I Manisa 523 + J. Nollé and W. Eck, Chiron 26 (1996) 267-73; SEG 32 (1982) no. 122; TAM V 1, 230 = SEG 32 (1982) no. 1220; SEG 38 (1988) no. 1172.

19. See now PIR 2 P 705. This was not available to Haensch, nor was his article to L. Vidman, who wrote the PIR entry. It may be that Bassus carried out the assignation of Kosa and Antikosa to Heraclea ad Salbacum in 79/80, when he was legate to the proconsul Asiae M. Ulpius Traianus ( pater). We now know more about the activity of the latter as proconsul: G. Alföldy, “Traianus Pater und die Bauinschrift des Nympäums von Milet” REA 100 (1998) 367-99.

20. Dr. Haensch informs me of a misprint. A line is missing from the top of p. 139: “Daneben gibt es eine im Auftrag von Στ ( ατίλιος) Ἄτταλος ἀρχίατρος —also”. There are also some problems with diacritical marks in the Greek in note 78 (on that page). It may further be remarked that this new inscription, and Haensch’s interpretation of it, have now been integrated in a broad discussion of the resolution of boundary disputes: G.P. Burton, “The Resolution of Territorial Disputes in the Provinces of the Roman Empire” Chiron 30 (2000) 195-215.

21. The two earlier articles are: W. Eck, “Zur Durchsetzung von Anordnungen und Entscheidungen in der hohen Kaiserzeit. Die administrative Informationsstruktur” SFIC 10 (1992) 915-39 = id., Die Verwaltung (above n. 2) Bd. I, 55-82; and, S. Strassi, “Problemi relativi alla diffusione delle disposizioni amministrative nell’Egitto romano,” ZPE 96 (1993) 89-107.

22. Kolb (above, n. 8) 282 and 295-99 argues (her argument also depends, in part, on P. Ryl. II 78) that (roughly speaking) the “postal” situation in Egypt was not altogether unlike what appears to have gone on elsewhere. She nonet heless pleads against a centrally organized “staatlicher Kurierdienst” as the corollary of such evidence. On this, cf. also Eck in the volume here under review, pp. 4-5 n. 14.

23. Lo Cascio is here in dialogue with N. Lewis P. Yadin 16 (p. 69) [the first suggestion] and B. Isaac, “Tax Collection in Roman Arabia. A New Interpretation of the Evidence from the Babatha Archive” MHR 9 (1994) 256-66 [the second suggestion]. The last possibility is Lo Cascio’s tentative formulation, if I have followed his argument correctly. At the end of the article (p. 211) he returns very briefly to the idea that insufficient urbanization may have affected the ways in which taxes were collected.

24. See A. Aichinger, “Zwei Arten des Provinzialcensus? Überlegungen zu neupublizierten israelischen Papyrusfunden” Chiron 22 (1992) 35-45.

25. P. Garnsey & R. Saller, The Roman Empire. Economy, Society and Culture (Berkeley 1987) 20: “The basic goals of the government were twofold: the maintenance of law and order, and the collection of taxes.”

26. At Alexandria there is attested an epitropos prosodon Alexandreias. In Naukratis and Antinoopolis a nomarch may have supervised tax collection. At Ptolemais in the Thebaid, the other “Greek” city, it may be that the boule was responsible for most of the tax collecting.

27. As Sharp says, this is a large and complicated topic, and he offers only a very brief survey of it. See now, though, C. Drecoll, Die Liturgien im römischen Kaiserreich des 3. und 4. Jh. n. Chr. (Stuttgart 1997) esp. 105-57.

28. As for the emperor and his place in the Empire’s legal system, I have made at some length roughly the argument adumbrated here by Galsterer: M. Peachin, Iudex vice Caesaris. Deputy Emperors and the Administration of Justice in the Early Roman Empire (Stuttgart 1996) 10-91. On the use of Roman law in a purely provincal setting, i.e., where all those involved seem not to have possessed the Roman citizenship, cf. FIRA III no. 163. Galsterer himself (p. 254) points to the very interesting, and similar, situation indicated by the Tabula Contrebiensis. There is also the highly interesting case of Babatha (not, of course, a Roman citizen), with her apparent intent to use Roman formulary procedure before the provincial governor. See, e.g., M. Lemosse, “Le proces de Babatha” IJ 3 (1968) 363-76, and note as well the remarks of Nörr in the volume here under review, p. 259 n. 8, p. 283. Cf. also now the brief remarks on civil cases and the jurisdictions before which they came in Judaea/Syria Palaestina in H.M. Cotton, “The Languages of the Legal and Administrative Documents from the Judaean Desert” ZPE 125 (1999) 230-31. Or, things might go the other way around. See, e.g., J.A. Crook, Legal Advocacy in the Roman World (Ithaca 1995) 75-75 no. 6 ( CPR I 18 = M. Chr. 84), where a Roman judge (a praefectus cohortis functioning as iudex datus) gives judgement to Graeco-Egyptians and does so on the basis of Graeco-Egyptian law.

29. Galsterer suggests (pp. 252-53) that with the gradual ossification of the governor’s edict law in the provinces became more predictable. While this might be so, it seems to me that it would be very difficult to measure, over (e.g.) the period covered by this book, relative levels of predictability in the law as it was practiced around the Empire. Hence, a suggestion such as this must remain thoroughly hypothetical. With regard to knowledge of the governor’s edict in the East, see Nörr in this volume p. 270. At pp. 254-55, Galsterer also raises the interesting possibility that the sort of bureaucratic jurisdiction held by provincial governors (and various other imperial-age officials), and which most generally goes by the name cognitio extra ordinem (n.b., this label—as are the others applied to this ‘procedure’—is a modern concoction, not an ancient technical term), might sometimes have been given to the magistrates of colonies. As he points out, the evidence for this suggestion is terribly slim. Also (and this Galsterer pretty clearly has in mind even as he raises the possibility) granting this kind of “legalisierte Formlosigkeit” (Mommsen, Strafrecht 340) to someone other than a duly appointed official of the Roman State would have allowed the colonial magistrate in question a huge portion of power. Thus, I incline to think this kind of grant unlikely.

30. Note that Galsterer wants especially to introduce, and integrate in a larger, more comprehensive picture, the evidence of the various documents (e.g., Lex Irnitana, the Murecine tablets, etc.) that have come to light in recent years.

31. On the almost completely political nature of the criminal courts in the Ciceronian period, see now A. Riggsby, Crime and Community in Ciceronian Rome (Austin 1999) esp. 151-71. And for some interesting general remarks on criminal law and procedure, see J.-J. Aubert, “Double Standard in Roman Criminal Law? Death Penalty and Social Structure in Late Republican and Early Imperial Rome” in id. and A.J.B. Sirks (eds.), Speculum Iuris. Roman Law as a Reflection of Economic and Social Life in Antiquity (Ann Arbor forthcoming).

32. In this context, note the inscriptions erected by the citizens of Colophon recording embassies to the governor and the emperor (Mitchell in this volume, p. 26). The intent of these missions had been to preserve local adjudicative privileges, one of which was the right to control capital jurisdiction even in cases that involved Roman citizens. The fact that these attempts were commemorated in stone may well indicate that they were successful (cf. the remarks of Eck, this volume), i.e., that Colophon retained such jurisdiction. On such matters, cf. also n. 8 above.

33. Note that Eck p. 5 n. 15 mentions these last three articles almost as a kind of unified chapter.

34. For all of this see esp. (aside from Eck): Nollé p. 101; Jördens pp. 142-43; Thomas pp. 181-82; Nörr pp. 259-61. Also of note are the significant contributions of newly discovered documents. Gascou’s article presents one group of such texts, Galsterer’s contribution is largely dependent on new documents, Lo Cascio’s argument proceeds from the Babatha and Nahal Hever finds; and the various articles in this book, when taken together, do much to help integrate many recently discovered materials into the larger landscape of Roman administrative studies.

35. For example, in a fairly recent and quite important article, A.K. Bowman and D. Rathbone, “Cities and Administration in Roman Egypt” JRS 82 (1992) 107-27 argue that the Romans imposed their particular system of administration on that province, which might make observable practices there representative of that which was (presumably) likewise imposed elsewhere. They are followed by R. Bagnall, Reading Papyri, Writing Ancient History (London & New York 1995) 64-68.

36. See also: Eck pp. 14-15; Gascou pp. 61-62; Cotton p. 77, p. 81 n. 37; Sharp pp. 214, 217; Nörr p. 258; Horstkotte p. 307.

37. Let me just point out some of the recent literature on this topic: A.T. Fear, Rome and Baetica. Urbanization in Southern Spain c. 50 B.C. – A.D. 150 (Oxford 1996); H. Parkins (ed.), Roman Urbanism. Beyond the Consumer City (London and New York 1997); D. Sperber, The City in Roman Palestine (Oxford 1998); E. Fentress (ed.), Romanization and the City. Creation, Transformations, and Failures (Portsmouth 2000). Though a bit older, note as well R. Bedon, R. Chevallier and P. Pinon, Architecture et urbanisme en Gaule romaine, II: l’urbanisme en Gaule romaine (52 avant J.-C.—486 après J.-C.) (Paris 1988). There is also valuable material on this subject in two other recent books: G. Woolf, Becoming Roman. The Origins of Provincial Civilization in Gaul (Cambridge 1998) and R. MacMullen, Romanization in the Time of Augustus (New Haven and London 2000). As further evidence of the ongoing interest in urbanization in the Graeco-Roman world, note the topic of the 2002 annual meeting of the Association of Ancient Historians: ‘Urbanism, Colony and Empire’.

38. For a sense of the complexities involved in this question, see the reviews in this journal by A. Chaniotis of the Acts of the Copenhagen Polis Centre ( BMCR 95.12.2 and 97.7.16) along with the informative response to Chaniotis by M. Hansen ( BMCR 98.2.7). Note also, e.g., Fear, Rome and Baetica (previous note) esp. 6-13.

39. See, e.g.: Cotton pp. 82-83; Nollé p. 94 n. 4; Jördens p. 141.

40. Eck, for example, in talking of a “weitgespannte Urbanisierungspolitik” (p. 3) points to what looks like the current consensus.

41. There is much in the volumes cited in n. 37 above that is here relevant. The crucial nexus, however, is that of urbanization and provincial administration, especially as the latter was planned, or conceived, by those in power in Rome. Note also W. Ball, Rome in the East The Transformation of an Empire (London and New York 2000) 149: “‘Roman foundation’ of a city in the East or its definition otherwise of its status was usually nothing more than a bureaucratic matter that had only minimal effect on the city concerned.” Appadana comes to mind, as does, perhaps, the urbanization of Palestine mentioned by Cotton (cf. my comments above).

42. See: Mitchell pp. 38-39; Wolff pp. 50-52, 56-57; Gascou pp. 63, 70; Sharp pp. 236-37; Horstkotte pp. 307-8.

43. On the whole question of a centrally dictated administrative uniformity, see also now G.P. Burton, “Was there a Long-Term Trend to Centralisation of Authority in the Roman Empire?” RPh 72 (1998) 7-24.