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Impearls: CotRCS: Constitution of the Roman city-state

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Earthdate 2007-10-13

Constitution of the Roman city-state

Fig. 1. Map of Roman Silchester (Calleva Atrebatum) [click on image for larger image] (Courtesy: Director, Reading Museum) (Sheppard Frere, Oxford University) f1

Impearls’ earlier piece on the autonomy of cities and provincial peoples in the Roman Empire deserves a more thoroughgoing follow-up, in my view.  To answer the implicit question posed in that preceding piece — namely, how did those cities do it? — we’ll spend the remainder of this essay (organized as usual in such cases in Impearls, as an associated set of postings occupying a single archive page) considering the matter.

Turning once again to historian G. H. (George Hope) Stevenson’s (Fellow and Praelector in Ancient History, University College, Oxford) oddly fascinating work Roman Provincial Administration (1939, which we’ve referred to before) for pertinent details, we draw from (the entirety — at least for now excepting most footnotes — of) Prof. Stevenson’s final Chapter VI: “The [Roman] Municipal System in the Provinces,” to explain how all those splendid, autonomous cities spangling the diverse extent of the vast empire, organized their own affairs to accomplish the job of self-government. 1

To accompany the chapter from Stevenson’s book, a Foreword to the beginning as well as an Afterword providing ex post facto observations have been attached, bracketing Stevenson’s essay.  In a subsequent posting to follow on later we’ll also try to add further illuminating comparisons that can be undertaken with regard to these Roman provincial self-governing states.

Now, forthwith the hypertext Contents to G. H. Stevenson’s “The Roman municipal system in the provinces” (including fore and after commentary).


The Roman municipal system in the provinces   by G. H. Stevenson


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