external image LEG-X-fix-P1060092-copy.jpg


341 ILS 9059 =FIRA 1. 76, tablet, Arsinoite nome, Egypt, AD 94
(Exterior face, names of nine witnesses in the margin)
In the consulship of Lucius Nonius Calpurnius Torquatus Asprenas and Titus Sextius Magius Lateranus (AD 94), 2 July, year 13 of Emperor Caesar Domitian Augustus, Conqueror of the Germans, month of Epeiph, the eighth day, at Alexandria in Egypt: Marcus Valerius Quadratus, son of Marcus, of the tribe Pollia, veteran, honourably discharged from Legion X Fretensis, declared that he had had a copy made and authenticated from the bronze plaque, which is affixed in the Great Caesareum, as you climb the second flight of steps beneath the portico on the right, beside the temple of the marble Venus, on the wall, on which is written the text which is set out below:
Emperor Caesar Domitian Augustus, Conqueror of the Germans, son of the divine Vespasian, chief priest, in the eighth year of his tribunician power (AD 88-89), acclaimed imperator sixteen times, censor in perpetuity, father of the fatherland, declares: I have decided to proclaim by edict that the veterans among all of you (i.e. soldiers) should be free and exempt from all public taxes and toll dues, that they themselves, the wives who married them, their children, and their parents, should be Roman citizens with every proper legal right, that they should be free and immune with total exemption, and their parents and children mentioned above should have the same legal rights and the same status in respect of total exemption, and that their land, houses, and shops shall not [ _ ] against their will and without payment (?) [ _
(Interior face) [ _ ] of veterans with their wives and children mentioned above (whose names) have been inscribed in bronze, or if they were unmarried, with those whom they married afterwards, limited to one wife for each man, and who served at Jerusalem in Legion X Fretensis and were honourably discharged when their service was completed by Sextus Hermetidius Campanus. legate of the Emperor with propraetorian power, on 28 December, in the consulship of Sextus Pompeius Collega and Quintus Peducaeus Priscinus (AD 93), and who began their military service in the consulship of Pubhip of Publius Galerius Trachalus and Tiberius Catius (AD 68), and in the consulship of Titus Flavius and Gnaeus Arulenus (AD 69).
(Copied?) on the authorization of Maron of Marcus Junius Rufus, prefect of Egypt, in the consulship of Lucius Nonius Calpurnius Torquatus Asprenas and Titus Sextius Magius Lateranus, on 1 July, year 13 of Emperor Caesar Domitian Augustus, Conql.Stus, Conqueror of the Germans, month
of Epeiph, the seventh day.
At that place (where the original inscriplnal inscription was displayed) Marcus Valerius Quadratus, son of Marcus, of the tribe Pollia, in the presence of those men who were to act as witnesses, detnesses, declared and swore by Jupiter Best and Greatest and the Genius of the most revered Emperor Caesar Domitian Augustus, Conqueror of the Germans, that Lucius Valerius Valens and Valeria Heraclus and Valeria ,d Valeria Artemis, the three children mentioned above, were all born to him during his military service, that they had been inscribed on the original bronze record, and that they had
acquired Roman citizenship through the benevolence of the same splendid emperor.
Trans:
Campbell, Brian. The Roman Army: A Sourcebook (Routledge 1994).

1. What occurred at Jerusalem and what was special about the service of the Legion X Fretentis?
2. What prompted the Emperor to give tax breaks and citizenship to the veterans and their families?
3. What is the Great Caesareum?
4. Who was Emperor Caesar Domitian Augustus and why is he called conquerer of the Germans?
5. What is the significance of Jupiter Best and Greatest and the Genius of the most revered Emperor?

All good questions; you will want to consult some maps and perhaps biographies of Domitian, as well as texts on Roman religion.
Analysis: This document attests to several interesting aspects of the Roman World at the time of its creation. First and most obviously it highlights how military service is a vehicle for social mobility not only for veterans, but also their families; the Romanization of Egypt, the nature of Emperor Domitian, (A different link also provided below) and the rising importance of the Army to the emperors can also be seen from the document.

Social Mobility for Veterans and their Families
Service in this Legio X Fretentis brought all the soldiers, their wives, children, and parents the all-important status of Roman Citizen “with every proper legal right” and the economic bonus of tax exemption for themselves and their families. While this honor may not have been universal to the veterans of the legions, it can be seen that such an elevation was possible by service to Rome. While many across the struggled and fought hard for Roman citizenship, these veterans were granted it without struggle by the Emperor.

Romanization of Egypt
Egypt had become a center of Imperial Power, it was governed directly by Imperial Agents, not governors, and was extremely important to the Emperors. The Great Caesarium is a grand example of the Romanization of Egypt. It was built by Cleopatra to honor her murdered lover Julius Caesar and her husband Marc Antony. However when Octavian (also known as Augustus) conquered the city, he dismantled every statue of Cleopatra and rededicated the site to himself. The site also a beacon of Romanization of Egypt as it was clearly home to Roman gods in Egypt, the marble of Venus is distinctly mentioned in the document. While an idea of the wide spread of Roman culture cannot be inferred from this document, it can be seen that some aspects of Roman culture were transplanted to Egypt.

Style of Domitian's Rule
The style of Domitian’s rule is also made evident by this document. Domitian tried to associate himself with the military and military glory, likely in an attempt to liken himself to the greatness of his father Vespasian and to a lesser extent his brother Titus, his title “Conquerer of the Germans” was largely overblown. Early in his career he claimed military accomplishments for defeating rebellious German tribes, but they were likely defeated before he and his troops even arrived on the scene. He married the daughter of Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, a great military leader from a distinguished military family (Interestingly Domitius also commanded the Legio X Fretentis at one point during the campaign against Armenia between 58 – 63 A.D.) , to try to associate himself with the military family. Even his choice of association with the god Jupiter is evidence of his military aspirations. Jupiter Best and Greatest was the god who gave Roman armies victory in war and firmness in battle, by making Jupiter Domitian’s genius, he associated the powers and blessings of Jupiter, god of Roman Victories, personally to himself.

Perhaps as a memorial to his father and as an example to the empire, he exemplified the soldiers that fought for the empire to preserve the Empire. The Legio X Fretentis had distinguished themselves in the Siege of Jerusalem for their skilled use of siege equipment and in the battle for the city. The battle of Jerusalem proved important to continued Roman rule of the Levant as no more major rebellions occurred in the Levant following the sack of Jerusalem to the time of Domitian. So it seems that the elevation of those who participated in this battle was to commemorate the importance of this victory.

The Rising Status of the Army to the Emperors
The elevation of soldiers and their families under Domitian shows the growing importance of the soldiers to the Emperors over the years since Augustus. Augustus forbade marriage outright to soldiers and did not recognize their children, however Domitian not only recognizes soldiers wives and children, but includes them in his generous offer of citizenship and rights. The emperors by the Time of Domitian had thus recognized their need for the support of the army due to the many civil wars and did what they could to gain their support. Domitian likely was seeking to gain status within the army's ranks with this actions in order to gain their loyalty.

Remarks on the Roman Economy
The strength of the Roman economy at the time can perhaps also be gleaned from this document. Domitian, for all his faults, was an excellent administrator and collector of taxes and revenues due to the Empire. He instituted several measures for coinage, reconstruction projects, and more. The success of his financial administration is evident in the surplus he left in the Roman Treasury. Thus not all Roman citizens needed to pay taxes, the government could afford to allow some people to be exempt. If Rome was in short supply of funds, it would not be likely that they would release citizens from their taxes.

Lingering Questions
Lingering questions are if the tax exemption and citizenship carried on to future generations of the veterans of the soldiers. The exact composition of gods and nature of the Great Caesarium is also a mystery to me.

Links -
Emperor Domitian
The Great Caesarium
Legio X Fretentis
Jupiter Best and Greatest
Standard of the Legio X Fretentis (as above)
Siege of Jerusalem Wiki
Egypt
Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo

Works Cited -

"The Caesarium of Alexandria ? Scene of the Crime." Alexandria — A Novel of Late Antiquity by Don Dixon. Web. 17 May 2011.
<http://alexandria.cosmographica.com/caesarium.html>.

Donahue, John. "Roman Emperors - DIR Domitian." Roman Emperors - DIR--De Imperatoribus Romanis Roman History Roman Roman
Empire Imperator Basileus De Imperatoribus Romanis Encyclopedia Byzantine. College of William & Mary, 10 Oct. 1997. Web. 17
May 2011. <http://www.roman-emperors.org/domitian.htm>.

Lendering, Jona. "Legio X Fretensis." Livius. Articles on Ancient History. Web. 17 May 2011.
<http://www.livius.org/le-lh/legio/x_fretensis.html>.

Strong, Anise. "The Romans." Lecture.

Comments:
Your analysis shows that you put a lot of time and energy into interpreting this document. The background information you use is very helpful when it comes to interpreting the intent and context of the document, and I also was impressed with your analysis of Emperor Domitian. The only comment I would make is that your analysis is a bit confusing to read. I would suggest splitting up your analysis into different sections so the reader knows what you are talking about in each paragraph and which part of the document you are referring to.
-Ellie Oates
(Thanks Ellie. Reorganized my analysis and put them under headings. Makes it more clear I think).

I think the analysis of this letter, especially in terms of Domitian's rule, is really well thought out. I recommend incorporating your links into your article for further clarification while people are reading and placing links to definitions of uncommon words into your article. Also, I hope it's only my computer that is creating this difficulty, but for some reason I cannot see the picture that you have placed into the document.
-Lillian McBee

(Thanks Lillian, links have been added)

I think your analysis of this primary source is extensive and insightful. I think it is interesting that your primary source is a copy of an edict, specifically Emperor Domitian's proclamation about the social status of veterans and their families. I am not sure but is Domitian the first emperor to address the issue of a soldier AND his families status? A little historical background covering laws addressing familial positions might strengthen your analysis. Also, I agree with Lillian in that it may help to provide links through out the document that offer descriptions of unfamiliar term/people that you do not address in your analysis. Overall I think your analysis provides a strong argument.
-Quadeera J.

(Thanks Quadeera, I went and looked up other documents after your remark about soldiers and their families, found one, and put it in my analysis).

Document Links

(These two discussed together)
Soldiers' families - Discusses Augustus' ban on marriage in the army and its effects on soldier's family lives and the lives of their families.
Officer's Memorial - Description of an officer who rose to double pay status, promoted by Trajan and the many accolades he won.

This ban described in "Soldiers' families", proclaimed by Augustus(?) directly conflicts with the statements made in this edict. In "Soldiers' families", marriages were forbidden to troops and their children were not legitimate nor legally theirs. However, Domitian makes specific mention to soldiers wives and children. Somewhere this ban was lifted - this ban being lifted coincides with the rise of the status of the Army to the Emperors as evident in the "Officer's Memorial". From at least Domitian onwards, the Army and the soldiers in it were held with great regard. The officer described in "Officer's Memorial" was of double pay status granted to him by Trajan. To double the pay of someone is extreme and clearly a tactic to win over the soldier's support. Money is used as a tool by which to control the army by this point and it would be the same for much of the rest of Imperial Roman history. Money is also used as a tool to control the populace overall as evidenced by the next document.

Praise for Nero
Nero's praise for himself and his attachment to the divine.

The nature of an Emperor's status, how he perceived himself and how he desired to be perceived can be understood by comparing these two documents. In both, the Emperor's attribute themselves to divinity and highlight their achievements in various ways. The Emperor Nero likened himself to Zeus - King of the Greek gods while Domitian likened himself to Jupiter - king of the Roman gods (Jupiter and Zeus are actually the same god if one was to analyze Indo-European gods) they attribute themselves not only to divinity but the hight of Divinity. Association with the divine is clearly important to Roman Emperors - also the fact that they wished for everyone to know their greatness and generosity. They also used tax breaks to gain favor with specific groups (Domitian with the army, Nero with the Greeks). The ability to institute these tax breaks perhaps reflects economic prosperity in the empire. Perhaps they use these methods to try to legitimize their rule.