«by Hugo Thomas Dupuis Whitfield A thesis submitted to the Department of Classics In conformity with the requirements for the Degree of Masters of ...»
15 J.J. Hatt, Histoire de la Gaule Romaine: Colonisation ou Colonialisme?, (Paris: L’académie Française, 1966), pp.91-92. Some of these towns had previously existed and Augustus granted them either Latin rights or made them a Roman colony (i.e. Nemausus).
4 Gallia Narbonensis along with Cyprus became Senatorial provinces (Dio Cass., LIV, 4, 4).
Augustus demonstrated how he trusted Gallia Narbonensis and recognized its stability.16 There are two major events that occurred following Augustus’ death that affected Gallia Narbonensis. First is the grant of the ius honorum to Gallia Narbonensis, which gave members of the Gallic tribes the ability to undertake the cursus honorum and gain honours for Rome. This officially marked the beginning of the invasion of provincials within the magistracies. The date when this occurred remains unknown, but a theory put forth by Chastagnol proposes A.D. 14 as the year that both Augustus and Tiberius granted these rights.17 Second, Claudius’ speech of A.D. 48 in favour of expanding the ius honorum to the Gauls from Gallia Comata recorded in
Tacitus’ Annals: “Omnia, patres conscripti, quae nunc vetustissima creduntur, nova fuere:
plebeii magistratus post patricios, Latini post plebeios, ceterarum Italiae gentium post Latinos.
Inveterascet hoc quoque, et quod hodie exemplis tuemur, inter exempla erit.” (Everything, Senators, which we now hold as ancient, was once new: plebeian magistrates came after patrician; Latin magistrates after plebeian; magistrates of other Italian peoples after Latin. This practice too will establish itself, and what we justify today as an example, will itself be an example.) (Tac., Ann., 11.24).18 This presents the fact that Gauls from Gallia Narbonensis had already obtained the ius honorum, had become members of the senatorial order and were able to secure positions in that august body. Narbonensis began its rise to become a constant source of 16 As opposed to remaining an Imperial province that was controlled by Augustus and future Emperors who would send their own officials and not Senate appointed governors. The fact that Gallia Narbonensis became a Senatorial province further demonstrates the continued pacification that was occurring in the province along with the belief that it was no longer a threat to the empire.
17 A. Chastagnol, Les modes d’accès au Senat romain au début de l’Empire: remarques à propos de la table Claudienne a Lyon, (Bulletin de la Societé nationale des antiquaries de France, 1971), p.289.
18 Claudius’ speech was found in its original form in Lugdunum (modern Lyon) and does present some changes from Tacitus’ description. Tacitus nonetheless captures the essence of Claudius’ message to the Senate. It is located in CIL XIII, 1668.
5 Rome’s elite, of military commanders, consuls, procurators and other men of great distinction during the early Roman Empire.
Of all the settlements and colonies of Gallia Narbonensis, Nemausus in particular is one of the most significant historically and prosopographically. Having expanded from its modest beginnings in the fifth century B.C. to becoming the capital of the Volcae Arecomici, a Gallic tribe, the settlement was first granted the status of a Latin colony and later raised to the status of a Roman colony.19 The town itself is situated in the Rhone valley and on the western bank of the Rhone itself (Strab., 4.1.12). The earliest archaeological evidence for a settlement are quadrangular houses built within a grid-like system, all dating to around 400 B.C.20 Both Pliny and Strabo fail to mention Nemausus’ pre-history and its original settlement, but instead focus on Rome’s building program there. Py argues that Nemausus primarily remained a Gallic settlement while the sizeable building program suggests it was Romanized.21 It, like most other settlements in Gallia Narbonensis, was placed in the Voltinia Roman tribe, when it was given its Latin status.22 According to Strabo, Nemausus controlled 24 oppida ignobilia (ignoble towns) (Strab., 4.1.12). The ignobilia refers to the fact that individuals from these 24 towns had on the one hand retained their Latin rights but on the other hand had lost their judicial rights. The residents of these 24 towns no longer were able to gain their full citizen rights in their towns but had to do so in Nemausus.23 The ignobilia is not to be translated as either ‘unknown’ or to be misunderstood to mean that the 24 towns were dishonourable or that they had lost their Latin rights. A partial 19 Michel Christol and Christian Goudineau, “Nîmes et les Volques Arécomiques au Ier siècle avant J.-C.”, Gallia, vol.45, p.92. Nemausus was granted the status as a Latin colony by Julius Caesar at the end of his Gallic War, c.49 B.C., and became a Roman colony c.30 B.C.
20 M. Py, “Recherches sur Nîmes Préromaines”, Gallia Suppl., vol.41, pp.203-204.
21 Py, n.20, p.210.
22 Every Roman citizen was placed within a Roman tribe that was used for voting units in political assemblies as well as the basis for other state practices such as the census and taxation. Towns from Transalpine Gaul/Gallia Narbonensis tended to be placed in the Voltinia tribe.
23 Michel Christol and Christian Goudineau, n.19, p.97.
6 list of the towns has been recovered, but besides a possible location for some of these towns they have not yet been studied in detail.24 By 30 B.C., Nemausus became a centre for minting Imperial coins, exemplified by the archaeological remains found throughout Gaul. The coins struck at Nemausus had a sketch of a crocodile chained to a palm tree, an image that probably represented the addition of veterans from Augustus’ campaign in Egypt.25 These coins began appearing in the late 20’s B.C. and continued until about 10 B.C., at which point Lugdunum (modern Lyon) surpassed Nemausus as a mint.26 This change occurred because it was understood that Lugdunum was better situated to supply coins for the troops on the German border and later for the island of Britain. Despite this loss of the mint, Nemausus continued to thrive, as will be displayed by the contributions of its senators, equestrians and connections to the imperial family during the early Roman Empire.
The purpose of this thesis is to examine the Romanization and the rise in importance of Nemausus during the early Principate through an investigation of its leading equestrians and senators in order to demonstrate that it became one of the most important towns within the empire. Nemausus’ significance in the Western Roman Empire will be determined by combining the collective influence of senatorial and equestrian careers, as they are the individuals who had an impact in the Roman military, the senate and even in the courts. Historical and epigraphical evidence will be used to evaluate Nemausus’ leading citizens. Chapter Two will review the most significant works of literature used for this dissertation. Chapter Three will examine the physical transformations that occurred at Nemausus to demonstrate the link between the physical changes 24 See CIL XII, 3062 for the inscription. The inscription only lists 11 of the 24 towns and does not provide any other information regarding their geographical location or relation with Nemausus.
25 Rivet, n.4, p.78. For a further discussion on the uses of the crocodile and palm tree on the coins themselves see Christol and Goudineau, n.19, p.99.
C.M.Kraay, “The chronology of the coinage of Colonia Nemausus”, Numismantic Chronicle, 15, (1955):
7 that took place and the rise of its citizens among the Roman political and military careers. The significance of Nemausus can be directly correlated to the degree of transformation that it sustained during the early Roman Empire. The importance of epigraphy in assessing the changes that occur in societies that undergo cultural transformations will further cement the argument of Nemausus’ prominence.
Chapter Four will identify and discuss what we know about each noteworthy equestrian from Nemausus for the period in question. The evidence provides their political and military achievements and allows for a determination of their level of influence within the empire.
Equestrians from Nemausus will be examined as a unit in order to demonstrate how even though they were not the most illustrious group and did not achieve the highest available offices they ensured the growth and administration of Nemausus itself and allowed senators to establish their careers in Rome and throughout the empire.
Chapter Five will provide a lengthy discussion on thirteen Nemausian senators. Other scholars have questioned five senators’ origins, but this author hopes to establish a strong connection between these senators and Nemausus. The senatorial group as a whole will be discussed with added emphasis on the imperial connections that exist between Domitius Afer, Titus Aurelius Fulvus and the Antonine Dynasty. Syme’s proposed Hispano-Narbonensian nexus will be discussed in the context of a more narrow Italica-Nemausus nexus and this author hopes to provide evidence to illustrate that the nexus was in fact controlling the Roman Empire from the time of Trajan to Antoninus Pius. This chapter will also discuss Lucius Pompeius and the role of his daughter, Pompeia Plotina, Trajan’s wife, in Rome, a woman who proactively furthered Nemausian senators’ careers.
Epigraphical studies of Roman settlements within Gallia Narbonensis have been carried out since the early 20th century. These studies include Aquae-Sextiae, Arelate and Tolosa while Nemausus had been forgotten until Yves Burnand’s comprehensive epigraphical study. 27 His first article provides all the possible senators and equestrians from Nemausus, but does not develop any theories as to their significance; this, of course, allows other scholars to expand on his work. He does not expand on the impact that these men had on the Roman Empire due to the scope of his research that covers the entire history of Nemausus during the Roman Empire.
Burnand, in 1982, published another comprehensive study of Roman senators from both Gallia Comata and Gallia Narbonensis. 28 While he does provide analysis on the significance of Gaul’s fifty-five senators within the empire, once again it is done on too large a scale. Burnand provides conclusions on Gallia Narbonensis’ added significance when compared to Gallia Comata but does not exclusively discuss Nemausian senators’ role within the Roman Empire. Burnand’s most recent works have focused on the entire area of Gaul thus leaving out the significance of individual towns. Burnand’s research on senators and equestrians from Gallia Narbonensis and Gallia Comata is extensive but does not include comprehensive work on Nemausus itself.
27 L.-A. Constans, Arles, (Paris: Société d’Édition “Les Belles Lettres”), 1928; Michel Labrousse, Toulouse Antique: Des origines a l’établissement des Wisigoths, (Paris: Éditions de Boccard), 1968; Yves Burnand “Sénateurs et Chevaliers Romains Originaires de la Cité de Nîmes sous le Haut-Empire : Étude Prosopographique”, Mélanges de l’École Française de Rome Antiquité, 87, (1975).
28 Yves Burnand “Senatores Romani ex provinciis Galliarum orti”, in Epigrafia e Ordine Senatorio,, (Roma: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura,1982), pp.387-437.
9 The Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (CIL) is the single largest collection of all ancient Latin inscriptions and it was compiled by a number of prominent 19th century scholars including Theodor Mommsen and Hermann Dessau. It was published from 1893 to 1906 and contains over twelve hundred inscriptions from Nemausus. The CIL along with the Année Épigraphique (AE), the modern periodical that records inscriptions found subsequent to the CIL, are the main resources for prosopographical and epigraphical studies.
Rivet’s study on Gallia Narbonensis provides the historical background to Rome’s increasing role and eventual takeover of the region while also delivering a detailed account of individual Roman towns.29 His analysis of Nemausus provides an overview of its history, the physical changes that were imposed upon the town by Rome and a brief discussion on Nemausus’ role in the province by evaluating some of its oppida ignobilia. Rivet does mention that Cn.
Domitius Afer, Pompeia Plotina and Antoninus Pius called Nemausus home, but he too allows others to develop why this is relevant or significant.
Devijver’s research focuses on equestrian offices and the changes that occurred during the early Principate, which led to the creation of defined military offices for each separate social class. He assembles a collection of articles that focus on equestrian military officers that includes a discussion of Adgennius Macrinus and his cursus along with the monument that his inscription belongs to.30 Devijver also discusses the question of social mobility regarding Roman equestrians and the difficulties that exist for those who are vying for the highest offices and posts. Devijver provides invaluable insight into the difficulties of equestrian posts as well as illustrates their significance to the Roman Empire.
through his work on Tacitus that he proposed a Hispano-Narbonensian nexus during the reigns of the Five Good Emperors, one in which leading senators and knights from Baetica and Gallia Narbonensis came to control many of the most important offices of the empire during the abovementioned period.31 He discusses the rise of provincials, including Cn. Domitius Afer and his two adopted sons, but his work is an investigation into the writings of Tacitus.
In order to be considered an important town within the Roman Empire Nemausus had to first undergo a physical transformation. These changes would lead to a Romanization of the area, which in turn was a major factor in the emergence to prominence of senators and equestrians from the former Celtic tribal settlement.