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Galerius's jigsaw puzzle: the Caesariani dossier

Corcoran, S; (2007) Galerius's jigsaw puzzle: the Caesariani dossier. Antiquité Tardive , 15 221 - 250. 10.1484/J.AT.2.303120.

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Abstract

The tetrarchic era is well known for the survival of imperial pronouncements inscribed in Latin in the Greek east, especially for texts found in multiple copies, which are rare before, but occur nine times between 301 and 362. This article concentrates on four of these texts: the First Caesariani Decree of 305, the letter on the Caesariani, the Edictum de Accusationibus (usually attributed to either Constantine or Licinius in 314 or 320), and the Second Caesariani Decree. The argument is that these four texts actually represent a single interrelated dossier of three pronouncements issued by Galerius in the summer of 305 and rests on the following points. 1] These texts, which are thematically complementary, occur at multiple overlapping sites, where they also share physical similarities. 2] The only explicit epigraphic dating is to 305 in the First Decree, for which the Caesariani letter is in fact the preamble, and with which the Edictum de Accusationibus should also be associated via the Padua inscription (CIL V, 2781), further confirmed if the Corcyra text of 305/6 is a copy of the Edictum (AÉp, 2000, 1302). The Theodosian Code (CTh IX, 5, 1) dating evidence is unreliable and should be disregarded. 3] The similarities in the concluding formulae of the Edictum and Second Caesariani Decree suggest that the Edictum was promulgated along with another edict (the Second Decree) and a letter (the First Decree). The dossier, therefore, consists of an edict of indulgence restoring property held by the fiscus, a letter to the praetorian prefects quashing abusive fiscal claims and monitoring them more closely in the future, and a general edict regulating and limiting the bringing of accusations, criminal or fiscal. Overall, the dossier displays a concern for protecting innocent provincials and their property against abuses perpetrated by imperial financial officials such as the Caesariani. The context for this dossier in the summer of 305 is highly appropriate, coming shortly after Galerius became Augustus and while he was plotting to assume control of the imperial college following the imminently expected demise of Constantius. The association of some other epigraphic multiple texts (e.g. the Prices Edict) with Galerius’s sphere of influence further suggests that this phenomenon is a mark of Galerius’s own style of government and not a general feature of the period.

Type:Article
Title:Galerius's jigsaw puzzle: the Caesariani dossier
DOI:10.1484/J.AT.2.303120
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > History

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