Official Power and Local Elites in the Roman Provinces: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Official Power and Local Elites in the Roman Provinces

1st Edition

Edited by Rada Varga, Viorica Rusu-Bolindeț


194 pages | 31 B/W Illus.

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Presenting a new and revealing overview of the ruling classes of the Roman Empire, this volume explores aspects of the relations between the official state structures of Rome and local provincial elites. The central objective of the volume is to present as complex a picture as possible of the provincial leaderships and their many and varied responses to the official state structures. The perspectives from which issues are approached by the contributors are as multiple as the realities of the Roman world: from historical and epigraphic studies to research of philological and linguistic interpretations, and from architectural analyses to direct interpretations of the material culture. While some local potentates took pride in their relationship with Rome and their use of Latin, exhibiting their allegiances publicly as well as privately, others preferred to keep this display solely for public manifestation. These complex and complementary pieces of research provide an in-depth image of the power mechanisms within the Roman state. The chronological span of the volume is from Rome’s Republican conquest of Greece to the changing world of the fourth and fifth centuries AD, when a new ecclesiastical elite began to emerge.


"… the volume is a valuable contribution to scholarship, providing good coverage of provincial elites in the Roman empire. It is overall a clearly written and scholarly relevant collection of essays providing interesting case studies, which can be used in comparative research of provincial elites in the Roman empire."

- Danijel Dzino, Macquarie University (Australia), in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Table of Contents

List of figures

Notes on contributors


I. Local elites in West Roman Greece: the evidence from Thesprotia and Preveza (Ourania Palli, Georgios Riginos, Vasiliki Lamprou)

I.1. The historical context

I. 2. The passage to Roman rule and the composition of local elites

I. 3. The spread of villa culture in Western Epirus

I. 4. The testimony of grave architecture

I. 5. Discussion

I. 6. References

II. Collective mentality and πραότης: ruling classes in the Eastern provinces in literature, linguistics and epigraphy. A "vademecum" for the politician. (Francesca Zaccaro)

II. 1. A turning point for the Roman Empire’s collective mentality: between first and 2nd century BC

II. 2. Πραότης before Empire: the case of oratory age

II. 3. The imperial shift: the case of Plutarch’s writings as a "vedemecum" of the politician

II. 4. The politician between city and family

II. 5. References

III. Roman State Structures and the Provincial Elite in Republican Iberia (Benedict Lowe)

III. 1. Magistrates as patrons

III. 2. Patrons and communities

III. 3. The granting of citizenship

III. 4. Hospitium

III. 5. Conclusions

III. 6. References

IV. Routes of Resistance to Integration: Alpine Reactions to Roman Power (Hannah Cornwell)

IV. 1. Introductory ideas

IV. 2. The Geopolitics of the Western Alps

IV. 3. Routes and road–building

IV. 4. Resistance and integration in the Cottian Alps

IV. 5. Conclusions

IV. 6. References

V. The Futility of Revolt: Pausanias on local myths of freedom and rebellion (Lydia Langerwerf)

V. 1. Pausanias Periegetes?

V. 2. The Fall of the Achaean League

V. 3. The Rise of the Naupactians

V. 4. Conclusion

V. 5. References

VI. Palmyrene elites. Aspects of self-representation and integration in Hadrian's age (Stefano Magnani, Paola Mior)

VI. 1. Some epigraphical evidence

VI. 2. Archaeological evidence (Funerary contexts; Religious and public buildings)

VI. 3. Conclusion

VI. 4. References

VII. Provincial landmarks of the official power. The praetorium consularis of Apulum (Rada Varga, Viorica Rusu-Bolindeț)

VII. 1. The praetorium of Apulum

VII. 2. The artefacts

VII. 3. The votive monuments

VII. 4. The funerary inscriptions

VII. 5. Conclusions

VII. 6. References

VIII. Power at the periphery: Military authority in transition in late Roman Britain (Rob Collins)

VIII. 1. Introduction

VIII 2. Roman Army Structure from the First to Fifth Centuries

VIII. 3. Commanding Officers from the Wall, c. 120–300

VIII. 4. The Materialities of Command

VIII. 5. The Vindolanda Praetorium

VIII. 6. Discussion

VIII. 7. Conclusion

VIII. 8. References

IX. Administering the Empire: The unmaking of an equestrian elite in the 4th century CE (Mariana Bodnaruk)

IX. 1. Prerequisites

IX. 2. Honorands

IX. 3. Awarders

IX. 4. Building inscriptions

IX. 5. Conclusions

IX. 6. References

X. Kinship, Conflict and Unity Among Roman Elites in Post-Roman Gaul: the Contrasting Experiences of Caesarius and Avitus (Leslie Dodd)

X.1. Official power in barbarian Gaul

X. 2. Imperial offices in post-Imperial Gaul

X. 3. Office, power and kinship in the Church

X. 4. Kinship and the elections of Caesarius and Avitus

X. 5. Explaining the difference: ecclesiastical kinship in context

X. 6. Caesarius and Chalon-sur-Saône: kinship and conflict at the civitas level

X. 7. Conclusion

X. 8. References

About the Editors


Rada Varga is Junior Researcher at Babe?-Bolyai University, Romania, and holds a PhD in Ancient History (awarded in 2012, summa cum laude). Her scholarly interests are focused on Roman social history, epigraphy and demography. She has a particular interest in digital epigraphy and ancient population reconstruction/prosopography.

Viorica Rusu-Bolinde? isSenior Researcher at the National History Museum of Transylvania, Romania. She holds a PhD in Ancient History (awarded in 2001) and her main scholarly interests are centred on the economic life of the Lower Danube provinces. Her book Ceramica romana de la Napoca received the Romanian Academy’s Excellence Prize in 2007.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General