«by Hugo Thomas Dupuis Whitfield A thesis submitted to the Department of Classics In conformity with the requirements for the Degree of Masters of ...»
Romanization is the transformation of a conquered society into a Roman mold of customs and traditions. It is the result of Roman imperialism and occurred because of Rome’s superior military prowess not because its culture was superior to that of the local population. Change was most keenly felt among the local elites who were forced by the Romans to integrate within the newly installed political system and social customs. Once they had accepted this change, it was hoped that it would then trickle down the social ladder so eventually it would affect the entire populace. The end result of Romanization is the formation of a new provincial culture, one that is, one can argue, neither Roman nor indigenous, but rather a fusion of both. Of all the transformations, most obvious is the physical change that arises within the settlement. Roman buildings are erected within the region once Rome has established its military superiority. These infrastructural changes are the bricks and mortar of Romanization as they facilitate the integration of the newly conquered subjects into the Roman Empire.
Two phases of construction occurred at Nemausus, the first during the age of Augustus (31 B.C.- A.D. 14), the second phase during the second half of the first century A.D. The buildings that Augustus dedicated to the city were oriented to accommodate the new religious and political system and to provide the city with greater security from outside threats. The remaining
inscription found on the Porte d’Auguste reads:
IMP(ERATOR) CAESAR DIVI F(ILIUS) AUGUSTUS CO(N)S(UL) XI TRIB(UNICIA) POT(ESTATE) VIII PORTAS MUROS Q(UE) COL(ONIAE) DAT Emperor Caesar Augustus son of the Divine, consul for the 11th time, holding tribunician power for the 8th time, gave the walls and gates to the colony (CIL XII, 3151)
determined by his consulship. As to the extent of these walls, they enclosed, according to Rivet, about 200 hectares of land.32 Six kilometers in length, they surrounded the city and protected it from outsiders; the walls also positioned Nemausus as a regional urban centre and capital. In the city-centre, a new Roman style forum was constructed that served as its political centre, eliminating the political symbols of the previous Celtic rule. The forum, unimpressive as its remains may be, did provide an area where local elections could be held, business matters could be discussed, and was a natural place for the population to congregate.33 Also to be included at this time is the temple that survives in the area of the Forum, the so-called Maison Carrée (Square House); of all the temples that remain, this is considered the best preserved within Provence. One area that has succumbed to damage is its inscription, which is used to date the temple.34 The recent research of Anderson illustrates how problematic dating the temple is, as he rejects both the generally accepted interpretation of Séguier and the other leading theory by Espérandieu.35 According to Anderson, Séguier’s interpretation of the inscription only provides a greater statistical likelihood over Espérandieu’s and thus leaves both interpretations as mere theories and nothing more.36 Both leading theories will be briefly examined to discuss the merits of each one.
32 Rivet, n.4, p.164.
33 The date the forum was built in Nemausus remains unknown, as there is very little knowledge and information concerning the forum itself. It is placed during the first phase of construction because of its connection and importance to the Romanization of Nemausus.
34 Only the clamp holes of where the inscription once stood remain at the front of the Temple and thus reconstructing the letters from these holes poses quite the challenge.
35 James C. Anderson “Anachronism in the Roman Architecture of Gaul: The Date of the Maison Carrée at Nîmes”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians vol.60, no.1 (2001): p.70.
36 Anderson, n.35.
13 J.-F. Séguier, in 1758, after careful examination and study of the clamp holes, determined
the inscription to read in the following way:
C(AIO) CAESARI AUGUSTI F(ILII) COS L(UCIO) CAESARI AUGUSTI F(ILII) COS
DESIGNATO PRINCIPIBUS IUVENTUTISTo Gaius Caesar, son of Augustus, consul, to Lucius Caesar, son of Augustus, consul designate, for the commanders of the youth (CIL XII, 3156) This inscription dedicated to Gaius and Lucius Caesar, Augustus’ grandsons, places the inauguration of the temple at A.D. 2, while the addition of the second line, which gives them the added title, was placed in A.D. 4.37 The second line is found on the architrave of the temple indicating that it was added at a later date when both Gaius and Lucius were given the title. Amy uses Séguier’s interpretation while making minimal changes that provide greater precision to the inscription.
In contrast to that above prepared reading, Espérandieu offers a very different one:
M(ARCUS) AGRIPPA L(UCII) F(ILIUS) CO(N)S(UL) III IMP(ERATOR) TRIBUN(ICIA) POTEST(ATE) III COL(ONIAE) AUG(USTAE) NEM(AUSO) DAT Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, consul for the 3rd time, holding tribunician power for the 3rd time, gave [this] to the Colonia Augusta Nemausus The theory that Agrippa dedicated the temple to Nemausus suggests that it was dedicated around 16 B.C.38 Espérandieu’s theory is based on two inscriptions found in Nemausus that were reconstructed by Mommsen to include the word fecit (he built/dedicated).39 These two inscriptions do not allow us to conclude that Agrippa had a history of dedicating buildings in Nemausus and as a result Espérandieu’s theory cannot be used for the temple’s architrave. On 37 Amy, Robert and Gros, Pierre, “La Maison Carrée de Nîmes”, Gallia, suppl.39, (1979): p.193.
38 Amy and Gros, n.37, p.178.
39 Both inscriptions CIL XII, 3153 and CIL XII, 3154 were reconstructed with fecit in the inscription.
14 account of Anderson’s research neither interpretation can be used even if Séguier’s theory is historically attractive, the date of the Maison Carrée must remain unknown.
A nymphaeum was also built during the time of Augustus in an existing spring sanctuary that was dedicated to a Celtic version of Aesculapius, as evidenced by both the large number of dedications describing his healing capabilities and the Celtic archaeological remains such as the spring for holy washing, a nearby temple and a grand portico for the sick.40 The nymphaeum was built in order to unite the Imperial cult of Augustus into the sanctuary: “The sanctuary would interlock the role of god(s), ceremony, water healing, culture and loyalty”.41 This concludes the first phase of the building program at Nemausus that aimed to ensure that the city was protected, that the political changes brought forward by Rome were established and that they promoted Roman religious beliefs.
The second phase of prolonged construction as mentioned above, from the second half of the first century A.D., provided Nemausus with more impressive buildings that were not necessary for its day-to-day operations, but that greatly increased its standard of living and social standing. The first structure was an aqueduct that supplied fresh water to Nemausus. A recent study suggests that it was built during the middle of the first century A.D., most likely during the reign of Claudius.42 “The existence of a tunnel passing below the town’s walls built in c.15 B.C.
is one of the best arguments for taking authorship of the aqueduct’s water system away from Agrippa.”43 The aqueduct, using Eure near Ucetia (modern Uzès) as its source, travels almost 50 kilometers in length before reaching its destination, while always maintaining a miniscule 40 James Bromwich, The Roman Remains of Southern France, (London: Routledge Press), 1993, p.101.
41 Bromwich, n.40.
42 G. Fabre, J.-L. Fiches and J.-L. Paillet, “Interdisciplinary Research on the Aqueduct of Nîmes and the Pont du Gard”, Journal of Roman Archaeology, vol.4, (1991): p.72.
43 Fabre et al, n.42.
15 gradient to ensure the water would reach Nemausus, as witnessed by a total incline of 17 metres from start to finish.44 The most prominent feature that is still standing today is the Pont du Gard that crosses the River Gardon and displays the sophistication of Roman architecture and ingenuity. The aqueduct further cemented Nemausus’ position as a leading town of Gallia Narbonensis, as the 50 kilometer aqueduct with an impressive multi-level vaulted archway was a symbol of its standing within the province.
The Roman amphitheatre at Nemausus, one of the best-preserved amphitheatres of the whole empire, is still used today, holding upwards of 15,000 patrons while staging bullfights and other events.45 Its construction date is not specifically known but estimates place it between A.D.
54-95, the same time period that the aqueduct was built.46 Both the amphitheatre and the aqueduct were built during the second phase of construction in order to cement Nemausus’ political position and to further continue the process of Romanization. The building program and the improvements to the buildings parallel the rise in the number of senators and equestrians during this period.
Rome’s building program in Nemausus contributed to the Romanization of its elite.
There are two models of Romanization: a top-down model and its opposite a bottom-up model.
The top-down model of Romanization follows the simple logic that by converting the local elites 44 Trevor A. Hodge, Roman Aqueducts & Water Supply, (London: Duckworth Press, 1992), p.184. Émile Espérandieu, Le Pont du Gard et l’Aqueduct de Nîmes, (Paris: Henri Laurens, 1926), p.33.
45 Émile Espérandieu, L’amphithéatre de Nîmes, (Paris: Henri Laurens, 1967), p.7.
46 Espérandieu, n.45, p.25.
16 to the Roman life they will, as a result, be able to ensure that revolts and rebellions are averted.
Rome’s aim was to administer the province through its local elites by giving them power and more importantly the incentive to follow Roman customs and traditions.47 The top-down model ensures a continuation of local leaders, helping to reassure the native population. The leaders remain the same while the policies differ but at least the entire social structure is not altered. By converting the local elites, Rome was creating its future provincial leaders and officials who could occupy important positions once they became accepted within the Roman political world.
The conversion of local elites into Roman officials became prevalent in Gallia Narbonensis and Nemausus in particular where a gradual acceptance of the local elites in Rome allowed certain individuals to achieve the highest honors possible. Emphasizing the local elites in order to determine Nemausus’ Romanization may be viewed as flawed since it only takes into account a very small percentage of the population but it is this elite group of individuals that needs to be transformed first and foremost in order to ensure a complete compliance within the Roman system. The local elites govern the towns and colonies and solve the small problems that may arise which gives Rome the opportunity to focus on larger issues. By empowering the local elites to govern within the Roman model, a certain level of consistency remained when many changes were taking place. Rome did not have to directly control every town that it conquered, which eased its bureaucratic burden. It is the local elites of Nemausus, the men, who became the equestrians and senators who will be discussed.
Evaluating the inscriptions of the leading citizens of Nemausus will provide first hand evidence as to how they were able to integrate within both the Roman political and military systems. Many of these men achieved the highest possible offices, an indication that the process 47 Martin Millett, “Romanization: historical issues and archaeological interpretation”, in The Early Roman Empire in the West, ed. Thomas Blagg and Martin Millett, (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 1990), p.38.
17 of Romanization was now thorough and complete. It is this production of men with illustrious political and military careers paired with an overhaul of the bricks and mortar, or in this case, marble and stones, that proves the Romanization of Nemausus while also providing useful insight into how it was able to gain importance as the Roman Empire progressed during the first two centuries A.D.
During the period covered by this thesis, the senatorial order was the political class of Rome, the class or order whose members held the chief political offices of the state (consul, praetor, censor) and who were among the Emperor’s closest advisors. Below the senators, however, was the business class, the official term for which was the equestrian order, whose members we call equestrians or simply, knights. Although the term equestrian in early Rome referred to the richest Romans, those who served as the cavalry of the state, by the second century B.C. it was the term used to describe the rising bourgeoisie, those involved in manufacturing, transportation and finance. The growth of this class in Rome was slow, but it was gradual and steady, and with its growth came increased responsibility. One way this is seen is in the military where knights came to be the ones who served as the junior officers in such positions as centurion or primipilaris, the latter of which is the senior centurion of a legion. Thereafter they were promoted to the positions of prefects, such as the praefectus fabrum, the prefect of the engineers, or the praefectus alae, the commander of a small cavalry unit. Besides military advancement, the equestrians made political gains, mostly outside of Rome in the municipia and colonies of Italy and the provinces. The local magistrates of those settlements, the duoviri or the quattuorviri, were equestrian in rank.
As the political power of the equestrians grew, many of the senatorial order saw them as a threat to their control of the state. As tensions increased, particularly with regard to the control of juries for trials of extortion and financial felonies, some senators took up the cause of the equestrian order; the heated debates that followed often led to violence in the city and throughout
ensuing violence was one of the chief reasons for the fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Imperial form of government.