The creation of the Roman state, AD 200-340 : social and administrative aspects
The subject of the thesis is that of the transformation of the Roman empire in the third and fourth centuries. The starting date in the title reflects a belief that the impetus for this change was generated by the decree of the emperor M. Aurelius Antoninus (Caracalla), whereby all free subjects were made citizens in AD 212. This laid the foundations for the transformation of the Roman empire, centred on the city of Rome, into a Roman nation-state, with a government dissociated from that of the City. The study is divided into three parts. Part One is an examination of the impact of the Constitutio Antoniniana. It is argued that both the extent and nature of this impact can be measured by an examination of the changes that Roman naming practices underwent in the subsequent period, and that the new naming practices of the later third century onwards reflect the creation of a new basis for the social hierarchy. Part two analyses the development of the praetorian prefecture, an office which is recognised to be one of the key institutions of the late Roman state. It traces the change in the nature of the office from one of personal service to the emperor to its later fourth-century incarnation as virtual viceroy for civil affairs over discreet portions of the empire. This is followed by a prosopographical catalogue of the prefects from 284-344, and appendices laying out the documentary evidence for the analysis. In Part Three an analysis of the holders of the ordinary consulship from 260 to 360 is undertaken. This begins with a prosopographical catalogue, in which the consuls are classified as to social origin and occupation. These results are analysed statistically in order to elucidate the relationship between the magistrates of the city of Rome and the imperial administration, concluding that there was a symbolic divorce between the two during the reign of Constantine. Appendix 3 provides revised fasti for the consulship 260-360. The Conclusion draws together the findings of these three studies to show their implications for our interpretation of the nature of the late Roman state.