Theodora in Scotland

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Palingenesia of Latin Private Rescripts

193-305 AD: from the Accession of Pertinax to the Abdication of Diocletian.
By Tony Honoré

Theodora in Scotland

Editor's Note—The palingenesia presented on these pages was prepared by Professor Honoré to accompany his Emperors and Lawyers, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), ISBN 0-19-825769-4. It is reproduced here by the kind permission of the author and of the Oxford University Press. Those who consult the palingenesia are asked to observe all appropriate copyright restrictions.

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The Palingenesia lists private imperial rescripts in Latin between 193 and 305 AD. General information about its character is given in the preface. Its core is a comprehensive collection, arranged chronologically, of Latin rescripts to private petitioners on points of law (ad ius). These number 2,609, though as explained in the preface the number of texts listed is somewhat greater, because the compilers of legal codes and other collections have sometimes split a rescript into two or three parts. Some documents that are not private rescripts but that occur in well-known legal sources have also been included. The rescripts have been drawn from a number of sources, including Justinian's Codex (CJ), Digest (D) and Institutes (J Inst) and other ancient collections such as Vatican Fragments (FV), Collatio legum Mosaicarum et Romanarum (Collatio), Consultatio veteris iurisconsulti (Cons), the Visigothic summary of the Codex Gregorianus and Hermogenianus (CG Visi, CH Visi) the Appendices to Lex Romana Visigothorum (Appx LR Visi), and the modern Collectio Librorum Iuris Anteiustiniani (Collectio) together with those found on inscriptions and papyri. All the constitutions listed are taken to be rescripts on points of law in answer to petitions by private individuals (i.e. what were at one time called subscriptiones) except those that are specifically marked as letters to officials or prominent people (epistulae) or other types of imperial law, such as edicts (edicta), final or interlocutory judgments (sententiae), and oral pronouncements made out of court (interlocutiones de plano). In principle these other types of constitution should not be included in the Palingenesia, but exceptions have been made when they appear in well-known legal sources such as CJ or Vatican Fragments, so that their omission might cause puzzlement. Rescripts on matters other than law, such as the granting or refusal of concessions or privileges, are likewise in principle excluded; so are those of which we have only a text in Greek (with the exception of three from Justinian's Codex and Digest), and those that cannot be dated to the period 193-305. The same holds of impromptu answers to petitioners of the sort collected in the Apokrimata of Septimius Severus, which were not referred to the secretary for petitions (procurator a libellis, magister libellorum) to draft a reply on a point of law and so cannot be relied on as evidence for the secretary's style.

The texts are numbered:

(i) when the year of issue is known, in chronological sequence according to the modern calendar by years, months, and days. When the reign and consular date is known but not the month or day the text appears at the end of the calendar year in question. Within this overall framework of dating my allocation of individual texts to secretaries is recorded. In accordance with this scheme, the initial serial number preceding a text (1, 2, 3 . . . 2741) indicates its place in the chronological sequence. If the text is not assigned to a secretary it is designated by this serial number alone. If however the text is assigned to a secretary it is preceded by two further numbers. The second designates the secretary to whom it is assigned (secretary no.1, no.2 . . . no.20). The third gives the place of the text in the series assigned to the secretary in question. Thus the numbers 158/2/54 precede CJ 8.36.1 (1 May 207), which is the l56th text in the overall sequence, and which is assigned to secretary no.2 as his fifty-fourth text.

(ii) when the text emanates from an emperor or emperors but lacks a consular date it is listed, if assigned to a secretary, after the dated texts ascribed to him for the reign in question (e.g. in the reign of Severus and Antoninus 84/1/70 to 91/1/77 for secretary no.1 and 176/2/70 to 201/2/95 for no.2). If not assigned to any secretary, they are simply listed at the end of the reign in question. For example the sixteen undated rescripts of Severus and Antoninus not assigned to any secretary are listed at serial numbers 212 to 227. My practice here differs from that of Krüger, who in his edition of Justinian's Codex listed the undated texts of each emperor or emperors before his or their dated texts. It seems sensible to begin with the texts about which more is known.

The majority of texts come from CJ, in which case the variant readings noted by P. Krüger in his stereotype edition are incorporated in the text in brackets along with a reference to the manuscript or scholar on which the variant rests. When the suggestion comes from Krüger himself I have indicated this by 'Kr.' In the interests of clarity the brackets which Krüger occasionally inserted in the text to indicate a parenthesis have been replaced by commas or dashes. In general the conventions of Krüger's edition are followed: pp. = proposita, acc. = accepta, d. = data, sp. = supposita. Omissions are however preceded by 'omit' (not om.), insertions by 'insert' (not ins.) and deletions by 'delete' (not del.). The names of the emperor or emperors are given at the beginning of the reign but are thereafter omitted from dated texts. Reigns are dated according to the historical evidence and not according to the conventions adopted by the compilers of the legal codes, which sometimes diverge from the truth. In fixing the dates of emperors' reigns I have mostly followed D. Kienast's excellent Römische Kaisertabelle (1990). For undated texts emperors' names are given in an abbreviated form (e.g. Sev et Ant AA). The names of the consuls are given at the beginning of the consular year but are thereafter omitted from texts with a consular date. Dates are given in a modern abbreviated form in English (e.g. 15 Oct 243). When alternative dates or years have been suggested, all are given (e.g. 2/3/8 Apr 205/203) without mention of the manuscript or scholar from which the variant derives. The date that I prefer (in the example given 2 Apr 205), which is very often that adopted by Krüger, is, however, put first. When there are alternative addressees of a rescript all are listed (e.g. Daphno/Dapho/Daphidapono/Dasidapono) without mention of the manuscript or scholar from which the variant is derived; but the preferred reading is again put first. The place of issue or publication, when recorded, is given in the nominative. When there is a customary English form of the name this is given rather than the Latin form (e.g. Rome, Milan, Reims, Adrianople rather than Roma, Mediolanum, Dorocortorum, Hadrianopolis).

When separate parts of a constitution occur in two or more places in CJ or another source, they are counted in the overall sequence as separate texts. For purposes of ascription to a secretary however they count as single texts Thus CJ 2.34.1 and CJ 2.36.1 (both Sev et Ant AA Longino pp. 15 Oct 200) are numbered 74/1/62 and 75/1/62 respectively. When however the parts of a constitution that occur in different places overlap, the equals sign (=) is used to indicate the overlap and the constitution is treated in both the overall and the secretary's sequence as a single twin text (lex geminata). Thus CJ 4.30.1 = 8.32.1 (Sev et Ant AA Hilaro 1 Sept 197) is a single text in the overall sequence numbered 50/1/38. When a version of a twin text is found both in CJ and in another source it is counted as a CJ text. Greek, in the three Greek rescripts and in references to the Basilica in the textual apparatus, is transliterated, ê representing eta and ô omega. Iota subscript is omitted.

The sense in which the term 'secretary' is used needs to be clarified. A secretary is in strictness a person who held the office of secretary for petitions (procurator a libellis/a libellis/magister libellorum) over a period of office, called a tenure, and in that capacity drafted rescripts on points of law for one or more emperors who had power to make and declare the law. But it is arguable that at times a subordinate official (an assistant to the procurator/magister) composed rescripts on his behalf. The evidence on which secretaries are identifed is mainly that of style, and this cannot be used to distinguish between a drafter who held the office of procurator/magister and one who was a mere assistant. In certain cases, therefore, indicated in the book (ch.1 n.172; ch.3 n.12-3,166-8; Table 2), where there is reason to believe that a drafter may have begun as an assistant and then proceeded to the higher office, the term 'secretary' is to be understood as meaning either a procurator/magister or his assistant.

Sometimes a different problem arises. The person who was in general composing rescripts was for some reason such as illness or absence on a mission temporarily not able to do so. In that case someone else, for example an ex-secretary, might step into the breach. Hence within the tenure of a secretary there may be occasions, fortunately rare, on which we find a rescript or a sequence of rescripts composed by someone else (ch.2 n.135-6). A rescript which seems not to have been composed even in part by the secretary who in general composed rescripts at that period is marked with an asterisk (e.g. 123*). These texts are not assigned to any secretary, though it is sometimes possible to guess who the real author was.

To find a text of which the date is known, the reader should look it up under that date. If the text reference is known but the date is unknown, an easy way of finding it is to consult Table 4 in the book, which lists the texts cited and in each case records their initial serial number in the Palingenesia.


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