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Cités, rois et Romains : nouveaux textes épigraphiques d’Asie Mineure

cities, kings and romans: new epigraphic texts from asia minor
Mustafa Adak
p. 136-145

Texte intégral

1Prof. Dr. Mustafa Adak from Akdeniz University gave four lectures in early 2022, entitled “Cities, Kings and Romans: New Epigraphic Texts from Asia Minor”. The central focus of the conference cycle was the Greek city-state during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. On the basis of four unedited epigraphic texts found during survey and excavation activities in Caria, Cilicia and Ionia and copied during the years 2017–2021, the relations of cities to other poleis as well as to the dominant powers (Hellenistic kings, client kings and Romans) were examined. The inscriptions belong to different categories but are all of an official nature.

I. The Isopoliteia Treaty between Magnesia on the Maeander and Teos

2This 121-line long isopolity treaty, cut on a 3.1 m. high marble stele, was discovered during excavation work in Magnesia (Ionia) in the temenos of Artemis Leukophryene in 2008. It bears the heading συνθήκα[ι] πρὸς Τηΐους and presents itself in the main text (lines 8 and 23–24) as the renewal of older agreements. Since the text includes non-aggression and military assistance clauses, epigamy and enktesis in addition to isopoliteia, it seems likely that earlier agreements had indeed been revised. A similar treaty of an older type also existed between Magnesia and Phokaia (I.Magnesia 7b with S. Saba, Isopoliteia in Hellenistic Times, Leiden, 2020, 85, 98–100). It probably dates back to the 4th century B.C. The close similarities in the calendar of these three cities and other indications suggest that Magnesia, Phokaia and Teos had maintained good relations with one other since the archaic period.

3On the Magnesian side, a considerable number of magistrates was involved in the formation and composition of the new treaty. Twelve polemarchs, two hipparchs, three oikonomoi, a strategos and the grammateus of the council are mentioned with name and patronymic. Some of these persons were already attested on coins and inscriptions from the late 3rd century. Among them is Lampon, son of Mandrodorus, who held the same position of γραμματεὺς τῆς βουλῆς under several stephanophors in the last decade of the 3rd century (I.Magnesia 89, 90). Our isopoliteia-treaty is dated to the stephanophorate of Kydias son of Isodoros, who is otherwise unknown. The Teian side was represented by the ambassadors Pythagoras, son of Kleitos, and Theodoros, son of Euboulos. The same Pythagoras is mentioned in several asylia documents from c. 203/2. He travelled with his brother Kleitos to Hellas, where he visited the Aitolian League, the Delphic Amphictyony and the Athamanian kings to canvass for the Teian inviolability (K. J. Rigsby, Asylia: Territorial Inviolability in the Hellenistic World, Berkeley, 1996, no.132–135).

4The initiative to renew the treaties was obviously taken by the Teians. They probably wanted to benefit from the immense diplomatic network of the Magnesians before they in turn started their asylia-requests in Hellas and Crete. The Magnesians had visited almost the entire oikoumene in c. 208/7 during their successful missions, which led to the recognition of the inviolability of the city and the isopythic status of the Leukophryena, thereby establishing good relations with numerous states. The Teians appear to have been mostly interested in the good relations of the Magnesians with the Cretan communities. It is no coincidence that the two known Teian missions focussed on Crete and on the Aetolian League.

5Several documents from the Magnesian archive wall show that the Magnesians intensively continued their diplomatic relations with Cretan communities in the years following the Leukophryena mission. Probably around 205/4 Magnesia offered herself to arbitrate in the war between Gortyn and Knossos. In addition, she asked both leading cities of the island for help to solve the problem with Cretan mercenaries who had been settled by Miletus in the territory of ​​Myous and who apparently were considered a threat by the Magnesians. F. Santini (ASNP 12.1, 2020, 61–100) plausibly assumes that in the archive wall a separate section was reserved for Cretan affairs next to the Leukophryena documents.

6The isopolity treaty between Magnesia and Teos thus seems to have been concluded immediately after the latter’s submission to Antiochus III Megas in c. 204/3. The Seleucid king encouraged the city to make a request for inviolability by dedicating the city and its territory to its main god Dionysos; the king also supported the Teians during their diplomatic missions (J. Ma, Antiochos III and the Cities of Western Asia Minor, Oxford, 22002, 260–265; most recently see K. Knäpper, Hieros kai asylos. Territoriale Asylie im Hellenismus in ihrem historischen Kontext, Stuttgart, 2018, 138–144). The Teians probably hoped for more success in their dealings with the Cretan cities, counting on Magnesian support. It is therefore likely that the intensification of relations with Magnesia, which is reflected in the new isopoliteia treaty, immediately preceded the diplomatic missions to Crete and Hellas. However, said Magnesian support found no echo in the Tean asylia documents, while the support of Antiochus III Megas (in the figure of his ambassador Hagesandros from Rhodes) and of Philip V (represented by the Macedonian Perdikkas) is mentioned (see Knäpper, Hieros kai asylos, 142). The two Teian ambassadors, Apollodotos son of Astynax, and Kolotas, son of Hekatonymos, visited Knossos, Polyrrhenia, Rhaukos, Kydonia, Oaxos, Sybrita, Lato, Lappa, Istron, Eleutherna, Arkades, Allaria and Kamara during their diplomatic mission in c. 203/2 (Rigsby, Asylia, no. 136–153).

7Isopoliteia had not been an important political instrument for the Teians up to that time. However, in the last years of the 3rd century they used it more than once. An unusual and one-sided act was the grant of isopolity to the three royal cities in Syria (Ma, Antiochos, 313 no. 18 l. 100–104). This grant must be seen in connection with the many other honours bestowed to Antiochos III Megas which aimed to strengthen the bond between the city and the king. S. Saba (Isopoliteia, 222–226) has clarified that the target of this one-sided grant was not the king’s philoi, but Antiochus himself. The isopolity with the Aeolian polis Temnos (StV IV, no. 607) probably belongs to the same period. The Magnesians probably welcomed the Teian isopolity offer to build a counterweight to their strong rival Miletos, which has made similar treaties with several neighbouring cities (Tralleis, Mylasa, [Antiocheia ad Maeandrum]).

8One concrete clause in the treaty deals with the distribution (by lot and under the responsibility of the polemarchs and the secretary of the boule) of potential citizens to one of the twelve tribes. This happened in the ekklesia before the eyes of the assembled Magnesians, where the citizen candidate from Teos had to be present and was asked to introduce himself. The instructions to the antigrapheus, who registered the new citizens, are given in detail. He had to record the names of the new citizens, their patronyms, the name of the respective phyle, the eponymous magistrate and the exact date (day and month). Such detailed information is absent from the isopolity documents from Miletos or from elsewhere in Asia Minor.

9Some of the twelve or so other clauses, including those concerning the prosecution of persons who had either illegally obtained or abused the citizenship of the partner city cannot be reconstructed completely, as the second half of the stele is fragmentary owing to gaps and weathering on the stone. Therefore, the edition of the text will take some time. Clearly visible in the document is the eminent role of both the polemarchs in Magnesia and the timouchoi in Teos in the lawsuit.

10The treaty ends with the instruction to the oikonomoi to record the treaty on a marble stele and to erect it in the temenos of Artemis Leukophryene. Another copy had to be set up in Teos, in the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore.

11The document also provides new insights into the Magnesian calendar: it becomes clear that the year ended with Anthesterion or, in our case, with an inserted month; the new year began with Artemision in early spring. Both month names are mentioned in the same context for Teos. In the year of the treaty the Teians found themselves in the month of Anthesterion, when at the same time the Magnesians had to insert a thirteenth month to equalize their year.

12With its enormously rich content, the new document from Magnesia will attract the interest of historians of law as well as of those who deal with political institutions.

II. The Client King Antiochos IV of Commagene and the Inscription of Göçük

13Göçük Asar is a small, unfortified settlement at the eastern end of a small mountain range that formed the border between the regions of Lamotis and Selinuntis (Gazipaşa district), in “Rough Cilicia”. This rural settlement, probably a demos of Iuliosebaste Krauata by name, was discovered two decades ago by an American team led by N. Rauh (see JÖAI 78, 2009, 281–283). Of the four inscriptions from the site, a long, heavily worn text on a rock tomb has yet to be deciphered. Two inscriptions are cut on a marble base discovered in the northern part of the settlement. These are honorary decrees of the city of Iuliosebaste for Rosis and Plo[us], who were probably brothers (see SEG 52, 1464). Somewhat south of this marble base, a limestone block with a decree of the Krauatoi, now in the Alanya Museum, is engraved.

14This document can be dated exactly to AD 61 on the basis of the three eras associated with Antiochos IV of Commagene. The text has an unusual structure. The long prescript (l. 1–19) is followed by a very short main clause: [ὁ] δῆμος Kραυατων … πεποίηκεν δι’ αὐτῶ[ν]. Here, an object is unfortunately omitted; it therefore remains unclear what kind of work was done by the archons of Krauata. Since the inscription was found out of context to any specific monument or building, the function of the monument, to which the inscription refers, cannot be determined. It was most likely connected with a monument with statues of the royal family on top of it, or with an altar for the ruler cult. Antiochos probably had a cult as the founder of the city to which the rural settlement of the Krauatoi belonged. At the beginning of the text we may restore the word ktistai (l. 1–6: ἐπὶ βασιλέω[ν] μεγάλ[ων Γαΐ]ων Ἰουλίω[ν] Ἀντιό[χων Ἐπιφ]ανῶν φιλοκαισ[άρων καὶ [φι]λορωμαίων, τῶ[ν κτιστ]ῶν καὶ σωτήρω[ν κ]αὶ εὐερ̣[γ]ετῶν τῆς πόλεω[ς] κτλ.

15The three eras reflect how Antiochos expanded his territorial power through intelligent policy. The first era (ἔτου<ς> εἰκοστοῦ κ[αὶ] τετάρτου) has its starting point in the year 38, when Antiochus, after two decades of exile, regained control of the ancestral land of Commagene from Caligula and also received parts of Rough Cilicia. The second era (κατὰ δὲ Λυκ[άο]νας καὶ Λεκάνατας δε[κά]του) is associated with the revolt of the Cietae and the transfer of the south-eastern part of Lycaonia to Antiochos by Claudius. The Cietan uprising, attested by Tacitus (ann. 12.55), evidently had its starting point in the Lakanitis, which formed the western part of the K(i)etis. Here, in the central Kalykadnos region, he founded the cities of Eirenepolis, Philadelphia and Germanikopolis after defeating the uprising and thus finally gained control of the hinterland. The idea that a region by the same name (Lakanatis) existed in the eastern part of Cilicia Pedias is a modern construct (see Barrington Atlas 67A, CD 2). This error was caused by the confusion of Kalykadnian Eirenopolis with the city of the same name (former Neronias) in the northern slopes of the Amanos.

16In the same year (52 AD) the eastern half of Lycaonia was transferred to the king and received the name Antiochiane. In addition to Laranda and Derbe, the Lycaonian territory of Antiochos probably also included the cities of Ilistra, Dalisandros, Barata and, further north, Hyde as well as Koropassos. Later, the koinon of Lycaonia developed from this area, which as part of the treis eparchiai belonged to the province of Kilikia from c. 138 AD onwards.

17The third era (κατὰ δὲ Ἀρ̣μενίου[ς] τοὺς ἀπὸ τῶν τριῶν σα[τρ]απ̣ίων ἔτους δευτέρο[υ]) confirms a corrupted passage of Tacitus (ann. 14.26), according to which some client kings were rewarded for their military support with areas on the outskirts of Armenia when the Roman candidate Tigranes IV was enthroned as king of Armenia after Corbulo’s successful warfare. The designation of the newly won Armenian territories as “satrapies” follows the Sophenic tradition. The Hellenistic kingdom of Sophene, like its south-western neighbour Commagene, came into being by secession from the Seleucids and consisted of six satrapies corresponding to individual ἔθνη/gentes. The political leaders of these gentes were called satraps until the time of Justinian. Of the Sophenic satrapies, only Anzitene and Ingilene were probably assigned to Antiochos, being closest to Commagene. The actual Sophene, which lay north of Arsanias (Murat Nehri), may have been given to Aristobulos, while the eastern satrapies may have remained under the rule of Tigranes. The satrapy of Anzitene, bordered on the west by the Euphrates, on the north by the Arsanias and on the south by the Taurus chain, included in its main mass the fertile plain of Harput (today Altınova or Elazığ Ovası), whose name Polybius renders with Καλὸν Πεδίον. In its eastern part was the old capital Arsamosata, where in the year 62 Caesennius Paetus brought his wife and son to safety before the fatal encirclement by Vologases. The Taurus chain with the important Ergani pass separated Anzitene from Ingilene, the second satrapy attributed to Antiochus, which reached as far as the Tigris in the east and included the region around Amida in its southeast corner. The main site of this satrapy was Arkathiokerta. The third “satrapy” given to Antiochus in the year 60 was probably Gumathene located directly opposite Commagene. This landscape, described as fertile by Ammianus Marcellinus, had no historical connection with Sophene; its population was predominantly Syrian. Thus, the “Armenian” areas with which Antiochus was rewarded can be territorially circumscribed as follows: Osrhoene formed the border in the south, the Tigris in the east and the Arsanias in the north. Strategic considerations were probably the main reason for the transfer of these territories to the Commagenian king. Next to Commagene, these satrapies could be more easily defended by the king’s troops in the event of a Parthian incursion. At the beginning of the Armenian War, Nero had appointed Sohaemus of Emesa king over Sophene, but cancelled this transfer no later than 60 because the Emesian probably did not meet Roman expectations. Antiochus was certainly better suited for military surveillance of this strategically important buffer zone because it shared a border with Sophene and also had the strongest military force among the client kings. However, Barrett’s suggestion (CQ 29, 1979, 468) that the transfer of these peripheral regions to the client kings was limited to military powers alone should be rejected. Certainly, Antiochus and Aristobulus also exercised judicial power in their “Armenian” satrapies and collected tributes. The inclusion of the Armenian era in the Göçük text suggests that Antiochus attached great importance to his newly acquired territories east of the Euphrates. However, he was not able to enjoy these possessions for long. The Parthian-Armenian counteroffensive took place in the year 61. After negotiations between Corbulo and Vologases, Tigranes IV and the Roman forces evacuated Tigranokerta the following year and withdrew from Greater Armenia. At that time Antiochus, too, must have given up his Sophenic satrapies. The failed campaign of Caesennius Paetus has ruined the prospect of regaining the lost territories. The last phase of the military conflicts took place at the end of AD 62 in the satrapy of Anzitene, which had just been controlled by Antiochus. The capitulation of Caesennius Paetus in Rhandeia after the encirclement of the Roman legions in the plain of Harput resulted in the final surrender of Armenia to Tiridates.

18The document from Göçük also provides some insights into the dynastic strategies pursued by Antiochus. By 61 AD at the latest, the king had appointed his elder son as co-regent and thus officially designated him as his successor. In the following years Epiphanes represented Commagene abroad and commanded the Commagenian military contingents in the wars of Rome. He was married with the homonymous granddaughter of the Pontic queen Antonia Pythodoris, which is one of the most important pieces of information in the new inscription.

19She may have been the daughter of Antonius Polemon, who was initially the dynast of Olba. He was proclaimed king by Claudius, probably as compensation for the loss of the Cimmerian Bosphorus (Cass. Dio 59.12.2 and 60.8.2 with A. Primo, in Client Kings and Roman Principalities, Stuttgart, 2010, 176–177). The other possibility of seeing Pythodoris as the daughter of Polemon II of Pontus is less likely, since the latter bore the gentile name Iulius from his paternal line.

20The marriage between Antonia Tryphaina and Epiphanes was contracted sometime after AD 53. She may have been the mother of Philopappus, who is depicted as a boy on coins of Selinus from the late 60ies or early 70ies (RPC I, 3702). The widespread view that Philopappos and the poet Iulia Balbilla, who was a friend of Empress Sabina, were siblings seems to be an error. Rather, Balbilla may have been the daughter of Kallinikos, the younger son of Antiochus IV from his marriage to Claudia Capitolina. This marriage was consummated after the royal family had already settled in the west after the deposition of the kingdom in 72/73 AD.

III. Record of a Governer’s Inquisition on a Stone from Iuliosebaste in Western Cilicia

21Iuliosebaste was one of the foundations of the Commagenian king Antiochos IV in the coastal zone of Rough Cilicia. It was founded over an older settlement named Nephelion. The older name appears in the Stadiasmus Maris Magni (§ 201–202) and in Ptolemaios (5.8,2). They used Hellenistic sources, which is why the actual name Iuliosebaste is missing in both works. The old name Nephelion (or Nephelis) was not superseded, rather it continued to be used alongside the new name Iuliosebaste. Both names appear in the bishop-lists of Antiocheia and Constantinople, but never together, but always alternately.

22An extract from tribunal proceedings of the governor of Cilicia helps us to identify the ruins of Kıcık Asar with Iuliosebaste (for the ruins see: I. Karamut – J. Russell, Nephelis: A Recently Discovered Town of Coastal Rough Cilicia, JRA 12, 1999, 355–371). The text of the court hearing was cut on a huge block beside an honorary decree for Tib. Claudius Stratonikos, who as governor presided the tribunal. The stone was erected in the Agora of Iuliosebaste and was later used at the entrance of a Byzantine building where we discovered it during a survey in 2017. A Latin frame which can be found in other court proceedings known from the eastern provinces is missing here. Instead of dixit, the Greek equivalent εἶπεν is used. The questioning was conducted in Greek, and the records were apparently written in the same language.

23The tribunal took place in Selinus c. 159 AD. The city is mentioned in line 9 as a place where Roman officials and magistrates of the neighbouring cities met and exchanged news. Selinus/Traianopolis therefore may have been the westernmost conventus in the province of Cilicia.

24In the court hearing the governor tries to find out if the city of Iuliosebaste was obligated to contribute an annual payment of 218 denarii for the transport of public documents (συντελεῖν εἰς τὸν δρόμον τῶν διπλῶν, l. 14). This payment is most likely connected with an edict by Antoninus Pius by which the emperor wanted to reduce the number of city delegations to the imperial court. This edict, which forbade the cities to send a delegation without the permission of the provincal governor, was issued in the early 140s (see IAMar. II, 307 with W. Eck, in Jenseits des Narrativs. Antoninus Pius in den nichtliterarischen Quellen, Stuttgart, 2017, 204–217). The communication between the emperor and the provincials was now to take place increasingly through written exchanges, which placed a considerable burdon on the imperial courier service. To maintain the service, fees were imposed on the cities within the framework of a tariff drawn up by the provincial governors. The central expression συντελεῖν εἰς τὸν δρόμον τῶν διπλῶν in the new inscription seems to refer said fees.

25Some small cities were initially not included in the tariff. In Cilicia in c. 157 AD the tariff underwent a revision when Cornelius Dexter was governer of the province. As a result, some small cities like Germanikopolis and Iuliosebaste were included in the tariff. The document was probably handed over to the procurator who then sent it to the magistrates of Germanikopolis and Iuliosebaste. The Germanikopolitai did not oppose the new regulations and paid the amount fixed for them. The people of Iuliosebaste, however, resisted and apparently tried to be exempted from it through a revocation procedure. However, they seem to have waited for the new governor, Claudius Stratonikos, to lodge their appeal. They probably did not obtain an exemption from the predecessor, Cornelius Dexter, who had approved the new tariff arrangement.

26Apart from Claudius Stratonikos, four persons were involved in the tribunal. The governor spoke a total of four times in the text. Among the persons who answered him, Philo and Sourbis represented the interests of the city of Iuliosebaste. Herakleides, who stood on the opposite side, was most likely one of the kolletiones responsible for the collection of the tributes. Beronicianus was probably a commentarius in the officium of the governor responsible for the archives. He was ordered by Miltiades to add the names of Iuliosebaste and Germanikopolis to the revised tariff (diagraphe), together with the amount of the tribute.

27Kapellas, Miltiades and Cornelius Dexter are referred to in retrospect; they were not present in the tribunal. Although not identified as such in the text, Cornelius Dexter was the governor of Cilicia around the year 157. Exactly for that year he is mentioned in an honorary decree for Antoninus Pius, set up by the people of Derbe (SEG 16, 758). Cornelius Dexter himself was honoured with a decree by the people of Iuliosebaste (SEG 45, 1835). He was obviously the immediate predecessor of Stratonikos. Miltiades seems to have had a high rank in the officium of that governer. He had revised the diagraphe in agreement with Cornelius Dexter, his superior, charging Iuliosebaste with a tribute. Kapellas could be the provincial procurator responsible for the imperial revenues in the province. In this capacity he sent the new tariff to Herakleides, who was obviously involved in the collection of the tributes.

28In their defence, the advocates of Iuliosebaste argued that their town was very small and had not previously been required to make contributions of this kind (ἡ πόλις ἡμῶν διὰ τὸ μεικρὰ εἶναι οὐδεπώποτε ἐτέλεσεν ἤ ἀποδειξάτω Ἡρ̣ακλείδης ποτὲ ἐδώκαμεν, l. 11–12). Herakleides counters that the new tariff also included Iuliosebaste. He can convince Stratonikos that the claim is correct. In the partly destroyed last line enough of Stratonikos’ judgment has been preserved to see that he declared the city to be tributary, as was foreseen in the revised diagraphe. Consequently, the Iuliosebastenians had to pay an annual tribute of 218 denarii for the imperial courier service.

29It is not clear why the Iuliosebastenoi immortalized in stone the court proceedings, since the judgement of the governor was most likely not in their favour. In addition, on the same block they drew up an honorary decree for the same governor, celebrating him as their ktistes. A statue of the governor was probably set up there as well.

30The name of the governor appears on another block which was reused in the early Byzantine city wall of Iuliosebaste: its unpublished inscription is a dedication to Marcus Aurelius, who was not Augustus but Caesar at that time. Antoninus Pius was apparently still alive and is also named with his titles. The governorship of Stratonikos should therefore be dated to around 158–160. He was the immediate successor of Cornelius Dexter, whose governorship, according to the inscription from Derbe mentioned above, lasted at least until 157.

31Before his governership in Cilicia, Stratonikos was probably legate of legio Minervia in Germania inferior (AE 1930, 30). Q. Venidius Rufus Marius Maximus L. Calvinianus is another senator who was appointed as governer of Cilicia while he was still legate of the same legion stationed in Bonna (CIL XIII 7994). The senator Claudius Stratonikos, honoured during the early reign of Septimius Severus in Aizanoi as μέγας εὐεργέτης καὶ σωτὴρ καὶ κτίστης τῆς πόλεως by his patris was most likely his homonymous son (IGR IV 570; for the date see M. Wörrle, in Epigraphische Notizen. Zur Erinnerung an Peter Herrmann, Stuttgart, 2019, 74–75). The elder Stratonikos probably owned estates in Lydia (I.Sardeis II no. 460–461) and was a member of an Ancyrean association closely linked with the cult of Antoninus Pius (I.Ancyra 8, l. 24 and 64–68).

IV. Letter of Septimius Severus to Asian cities concerning the misbehaviour of Roman soldiers

32A stele of bluish marble bearing an imperial letter was uncovered during construction work in Seferihisar (in Izmir region) at the end of the year 2020. Like many other stones, it was brought from Teos to be used as building material. The letter, consisting of 32 lines, is addressed to the koinon of Asia (l. 8). It responds to a petition of the league in which complains concerning abuses of Roman soldiers were put forward. The letter is dated 197 AD and was probably contemporary with the letter to the Lycian koinon, which was subscribed in Mogontiacum in April the 10th of the year 197 (G. Reger, Chiron 50, 2020, 253–285).

33The beginning of the letter is mostly lost, as the stone was exposed to heavy wear. Here, the emperor probably stated that the Roman authorities must do everything necessary to prevent anybody from harassing the cities. The beginning of the letter presumably featured phrases like πᾶσαν δεῖ ποιῆσθαι or πᾶσαν πρόνοιαν ποιῆσθαι, but the traces of the letters do not confirm such restorations. The infinitive ἐνοχλεῖν (l. 9–10) is frequently used in the “Hilferufe”-texts in connection with the harassment by soldiers (see T. Hauken, Petition and Response, Bergen, 1998; R. Haensch, in Epigraphische Notizen. Zur Erinnerung an Peter Herrmann, Stuttgart, 2019, 249–269).

34From line 15 onwards the text is better preserved. First, the emperor announces that he does not wish the soldiers to abuse their authority by mistreating the provincials ([oὐκ ἂ]ν ἐθέλοιμ̣[ι] ὑπὸ [τ]ῶν ἐπι[στάθμω]ν ἐν ταῖς πόλεσι στρατ̣[ι]ωτῶν, οὓς στατιων[α]ρ̣ίο[υ]ς ὀνομάζετε, [λ]υπεῖσ[θ]αι τ⟨ε⟩ καὶ ἀδικεῖσθαι ὑμᾶ[ς], l. 15–18). The petition of the koinon probably emphasized the fact that the soldiers were abusing the provincials for personal profit. Here, the verb ἐνεργολαβεῖν is used in l. 19, which corresponds to the adjective κερδαλεώτατον in the letter of Septimius Severus to the Lycian league from the same year.

35One group charged with corruption and abuse of power in the new letter were the stationarii (l. 17). During the reign of Septimius Severus the number of military stations was surely high in the provinces of Asia Minor. One reason for it was the increasing number and activities of bandits. As regards the province of Asia, we have evidence from Lydia and Phrygia, but also from Ionia. Inscriptions from Ephesos and Symrna mention a stationiarius Ephesi and Zmyr(nae) respectively (the evidence is collected by C. Brélaz, La sécurité publique en Asie Mineure sous le Principat (Ier-IIIe s. apr. J.-C.), Basel, 2005).

36Another group of malfactors were the auxiliar units stationed in the province of Asia. The emperor advises the proconsuls not to send groups of soldiers or entire units to the cities: μηδὲ ὅλως πένπειν αὐτοὺς (sc. ἰς τὰς πόλεις, l. 23). This sentence has a near parallel in the letter of the same emperor to the Lycian League, where Severus accepts the Lycians’ request and orders that the same soldiers should not be sent a second time to the same city (l. 12).

37The cities of Asia probably suffered from both the stationarii and the auxiliar units, who seem to have collaborated. At the end of his letter the emperor warns the soldiers against committing extreme or violent acts (νεωτερίζειν) against the provincials and reminds them of their classic military virtues by saying: μη⟨δ⟩ὲν αὐ[τ]οὺς νεωτερίζειν περὶ ὑμᾶς ἔξω τοῦ νόμου, ἄλλα τὴν προσήκουσαν Ῥωμαίοις στρατιώταις [ε]ὐκοσμίαν καὶ εὐταξίαν διαφυλάττειν (l. 24–27).

38The letter ends with a list of the ambassadors who brought the petition of the Asian cities to the emperor. The emperor refers to two of them as his amici. One of these ambassadors was Pomponius Bassus, a high-ranking senator of an old Italian gens, who was consul suffectus in the turbulent year 193. The Epitome de Caesaribus (20.6) lists him together with the better known Anullinus, Cilo and Lateranus among the best friends of Septimius Severus. The high rank of the ambassador indicates that the matter brought to the emperor was very severe and delicate. It is indeed very remarkable and in need of an explanation why the Asian cities nominated a high ranking senator as one of their envoys. The matter seems to have been very serious.

39It is known that during and in the aftermath of the civil war Septimius Severus was extremely brutal in hunting down supporters of Clodius Albinus. In the west many senators were executed and a “ruthless purge” was going on. Cassius Dio says that “many who had never seen Niger or supported his cause were severely punished as his hetairoi”, which was also true in case of Albinus. 197 was the year in which executions and confiscations took place on a large-scale when Septimius Severus looted Albinus’ secret correspondence.

40Severus own behaviour seems to have motivated the stationarii and soldiers in Asia, Lykia and other provinces of the east, to look for potential supporters or sympathisers of Niger and Albinus and to stamp them as “traitors” and “public enemies”. A fragmentary dossier from Tabala in Lydia indicates that the misabuses of soldiers against the provincials started immediately after the death of Commodus (M. Wörrle, in Epigraphische Notizen. Zur Erinnerung an Peter Herrmann, Stuttgart, 2019, 66–67). Apart from a letter by the dead emperor Pertinax, we have a letter by the provincial governor L. Aemilius Iunctus, who orders that the people of Aizanoi should report soldiers who did not belong to the units sent to the city, but who “are straying around to enrich theirselves” (ἀργυρίζειν).

41The proconsul Aemilius Iunctus was a very popular figure in Asia Minor. He commanded the troops of Niger in the battle of Kyzikos, where he lost his life in 194. He was a relative of Clodius Albinus. Consequently, everybody who had some contact with Aemilius Iunctus, Albinus or with other enemies of Septimius Severus was a target for the soldiers. In the aforementioned letter to the Lycian koinon, the emperor admits that the soldiers practiced torture on their own authority during standard investigatory procedures. Reger thought that the potential victims were members of the elite in the cities, but the people tortured in fact were members of their households, especially slaves. He very cautiously suspected that there was a direct connection with the civil wars and that those persecuted by the soldiers were potential supporters of the defeated enemies of Septimius Severus. The new document from Teos supports this view. Enough of the cryptic wording can be understood to see that even after the defeat of Albinus and the end of the civil war the provincials were still suffering from the aftermath of the clashes.

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Mustafa Adak, « Cités, rois et Romains : nouveaux textes épigraphiques d’Asie Mineure »Annuaire de l'École pratique des hautes études (EPHE), Section des sciences historiques et philologiques, 154 | 2023, 136-145.

Référence électronique

Mustafa Adak, « Cités, rois et Romains : nouveaux textes épigraphiques d’Asie Mineure »Annuaire de l'École pratique des hautes études (EPHE), Section des sciences historiques et philologiques [En ligne], 154 | 2023, mis en ligne le 22 juin 2023, consulté le 28 novembre 2023. URL : ; DOI :

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Mustafa Adak

Directeur d'études invité, École pratique des hautes études-PSL — section des Sciences historiques et philologiques, Akdeniz Üniversitesi, Antalya (Turquie)

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