sehepunkte 11 (2011), Nr. 5

Michael Alexander Speidel / Hans Lieb (Hgg.): Militärdiplome

This volume, dedicated to the memory of the British scholar Margaret M. Roxan, probably the leading international expert in this matter, includes fifteen conferences held at the University of Bern in October 2004. The aim of that symposium, as the editors affirm in their introduction, was to continue the labour of the still famous symposium that was held and developed in Passau more than twenty five years ago, organised by two of the most outstanding experts in this question, Werner Eck and Hartmut Wolff. [1] The discovered material is now nearly three times the amount of those days, which justifies this update and explains the fact that many contributions are now updated from the previous or original.

The first paper (1-14) is by Franciska Beutler, ("Claudius und der Beginn der Militärdiplome: Einige Gedanken") and deals with the meaning of CIL XVI 1 (11 December 52 AD). The author studies the diplomata issued under Claudius for auxiliary soldiers being granted Roman citizenship (vide appendix 12-14). The next contribution (15-53) by Regula Frei-Stolba is an interesting prosopographic study focused on the witnesses appearing in the military diplomas, including a list of those mentioned by the diplomas issued between 52 and 79 AD (40-47). Then there is Slobodan Dusanic' s article entitled "Three Sidelights on the Early Diplomata Militaria" (55-85) dealing with the 'early' period, taking as a terminus a quo Claudius' reign and proposing the death of Domitian as the end of this stage. The author comments upon some formal aspects such as the role played by the mention of the loci, dies or the signatures of witnesses. The symbolic loci constitutionum fixarum (bearing in mind the Capitol in the years before 88/90 AD) are carefully dealt with. Also a typology of the loci is provided, (65-9) and a study on the witnesses and the dies. The controversial case of CIL XVI 28 issued in 82 AD and regarding the Dacian war is tackled (82-5) by taking into account the statements made in the precedent pages.

"Die Veränderungen in Konstitutionen und Diplomen unter Antoninus Pius" (87-104) by Werner Eck is a remarkable contribution dealing with a crucial moment in which many regulations - mainly regarding conubium and citizenship of the children - were modified, in the reign of Antoninus Pius. This paper tackles the debated question of the new formula appearing in the diplomas issued after 138 AD (CIL XVI 83 and RMD IV 253), in which "cum uxoribus, quas nunc habent" replaces 'cum uxoribus, quas tunc habuissent', which means that the exact point of conubium and the relationship of the auxiliary soldier with his uxor affects the aim of this change in the text. However, the last target of this reform is far from clear.

RMD I 39, issued in 140 AD is also commented upon. According to Eck, there is - against Roxan - no doubt that the new system in which Roman citizenship is not yet granted to the children of the auxiliary soldiers is clearly in force in that year. Roxan (RMD IV 266) proposed a period between 140 and 143. A list of the constitutiones regarding Antoninus' policy is offered (102-4).

The next paper is Paul Holder's "Observations on Auxiliary Diplomas from Vespasian to Commodus" (105-63). This contribution insists on some aspects tackled by Eck in the precedent article since it discusses certain hypotheses advanced by Margaret Roxan in the Passau symposium about the changes in the formula in diplomas around 140 AD, but Holder also points out other problems. [2] By taking into account the new evidence, Holder offers a statistical study of the copies made of the constitutions granting the normal privileges. This scholar deduces that Roxan's theory was, in general terms, correct.

The next article - in some way related to the precedent - is also by Paul Holder: "Observations on Multiple Copies of Auxiliary Diplomas" (165-86). Holder states that - starting from the text of four imperial constitutions - apparently there was no uniform method for the production of diplomas according to the variations in their texts (175). Peter Weiss ("Von der Konstitution zum Diplom" 187-207) discusses this procedure in full.

There is one essay on the name and function of the commanders in the diplomas, by Basnabás Lörincz ("Die Nennung und Funktion der Statthalter in den Auxiliarkonstitutionen II" 209-20), a topic also dealt with by this scholar in Passau. [3] Lörincz establishes that thanks to the new findings we can affirm that the auxiliary diplomas lasted more than the evidence demonstrated in 1986, since the last example is dated in 203 AD and before only in 190 AD.

Barbara Pferdehirt deals with the auxilia in the provinces ("Entsandte Hilfstruppen in Provinzheeren und ihre Behandlung in Bürgerrechtskonstitutionen" 221-45). This contribution tackles the question previously dealt with by Dusanic, the displacement of auxiliary forces and the mention in the text of diplomas of the original province (et sunt in...) and also of the commander (sub.). [4] Pferdehirt starts BY commenting upon two imperial constitutions enacted by Antoninus Pius (CIL XVI 99; RCZM 32) and after studying different cases the author points out the complicated organisation of the Roman army in the provinces around the vexillationes.

The Zsolt Visy contribution is about the lists of auxilia: "Neuere Untersuchungen zu den Hilfstruppenlisten römischer Auxiliardiplome" (247-265). The author takes the Marcomannic wars as the moment in which the topographic lists of the troops are abandoned. The next paper is that of Sébastien Gallet and Yann Le Bohec: "Le recrutement des auxiliaries d' après les diplomes militaries et les autres inscriptions" (267-292) and here the authors outline some methodological cautions, such as paying attention to the origin of the soldiers according to the diplomas and exploring the question of how the actual recruitment in provinces worked, bearing in mind not only the diplomas, but also other epigraphic sources.

Michael A. Speidel in his interesting paper "Honesta Missio. Zu Entlassungsurkunden und verwandten Texten" (293-325) tackles the question of the new situation of the soldier after his dischargement when he became free from the ius militare. The author explores matters such as the time of service (not always related to the total fulfilment of service and the honesta missio (D. 40.12.29 pr.) or the cause of dischargement, and the moment of granting the honesta missio, which is not always clear. Sometimes the context is reconstructed starting from linked documents (317-21).

Miroslava Mirkovic deals with "Married and Settled. The Origo, Privileges and Settlement of Auxiliary Soldiers" (327-43). The Origo is studied as an element related to the discharge and settlement and the author commented upon its meaning in some particular cases in which local traditions are respected by the Roman authorities. Hartmut Wolff offers a brilliant contribution focusing on Roman citizenship according to the diplomas ("Die römische Bürgerrechtspolitik nach den Militärdiplomen" 345-72), dealing with the foundations of that grant and its ideological framework, which the author considers not very clearly expressed in the imperial policy. In fact the problem - as is widely known - has always been controversial. The essay by Hans Lieb ("Dientsaltersangaben. Aut plura-plurave-pluribusve" 373-87) closes this by dealing with seniority in the military service and linking matters such as the distinction between dimissi and exauctorati. To conclude, it is worth mentioning that this book, whose outstanding significance for research has been sufficiently pointed out, has been carefully edited and includes a source index and also an index of names and topics.


[1] As it is generally known from this symposium of Passau (1984) arose the classical book edited by the aforementioned scholars, Werner Eck / Hartmut Wolff: Heer und Integrationspolitik. Die römischen Militärdiplome als historische Quelle, Köln 1986.

[2] vid. M. M. Roxan: Observations on the Reasons for Changes in the Formula in Diplomas circa AD 140, in: Werner Eck / Hartmut Wolff: Heer und Integrationspolitik, cit. 265-92.

[3] B. Lörincz: Die Nennung und Funktion der Statthalter in den Auxiliarkonstitutionen, in: Werner Eck / Hartmut Wolff: Heer und Integrationspolitik, cit. 375-84.

[4] S. Dusanic: Pre-Severan Diplomata and the Problem of Special Grant, in: Werner Eck and Hartmut Wolff: Heer und Integrationspolitik, cit. 205

Rezension über:

Michael Alexander Speidel / Hans Lieb (Hgg.): Militärdiplome. Die Forschungsbeiträge der Berner Gespräche von 2004 (= MAVORS. Roman Army Researches; Vol. XV), Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag 2007, 414 S., ISBN 978-3-515-09144-2, EUR 88,00

Rezension von:
Carlos Sánchez-Moreno Ellart
Departamento de Derecho Romano, Universidad de Valencia
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