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Onasander

Why does the Antonine Constitution get such a bad rap?

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Im reading another absolutely wonderful recent Oxford history by Peter Sarris that among other things, is into the Byzantine vs Rome identity crisis that Caldrail assured me no historian of note has held to in the last thirty years.....

 

The book is 'Empires of Faith: The Fall of Rome to the Rise of Islam 500-700'.

 

At location 278 of 864 of the free kindle sample download, he brings up the Antonine Constitution..... where most Romans got citizenship.

 

He repeats without hesitation what I have been told since elementry school... that it was more symbolic than real and didnt really matter, and just look away, and hey look, do you like shadow puppets..... this is a bird flapping its wings.....

 

 

Why on earth should I accept such a regurgitation of opinion?

 

Who first came up with this line of reasoning? Was it some thick headed fool in the House of Lords back in the 1600s not wanting those dirty plebians to start getting ideas?

 

Clearly, it meant something to everyone who suddenly lost restrictions, or those who lost advantages. It hsd to of changed the tax structure, a sense to patriotism or nationalism..... something..... something changed, and it was of consequence, for better or worst.

 

Why arent we thinking critically on this one? If you woke up one day, to discover you had Japanese Citizenship.... or 'UN Citizenship', wouldnt you take notice?

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You can't just say 'it must have meant something and who ever said otherwise must be a moron'. What were the rights, what the obligations of Roman citizens at that point? What the rights and obligations of non Roman citizens? How did their life change?

There is plenty of historians who analysed the issue.

Anyway, some historians argued that the Antonine Constitution didn't give citinzenship just to every free man of the Empire.

Edited by Number Six

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Im reading another absolutely wonderful recent Oxford history by Peter Sarris that among other things, is into the Byzantine vs Rome identity crisis that Caldrail assured me no historian of note has held to in the last thirty years.....

 

 

Are you sure you aren't confusing him with me saying something similar about gilius' claim that the Roman Empire has never fallen and the Pope is the present day ruler [somehow including the EU]? Is Sarris saying this because it'd be pretty interesting--to put it mildly--if a Cambridge prof would claim this.

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Of course I can say it, if you dont believe me, I can say it again as proof.

 

Who are these scholars? Ive only gotten this information packaged like this since I was a child..... and it always sounded a bit suspicious, but you expect to find out about it more indepth, the greater reasoning, in time.

 

I haven't..... I still stumble across this same dodge, in a very recent work by someone who droned in and on about his reachers at Oxford..... so now I am calling it out. I wouldnt long tolerate this kind of thinking in a philosophy debate, its a clear indication of a weakness in argument.

 

There is something fundamentally disturbing about how this assertion has been recycled my whole life. Someone started this, and the way it is phrased, it doesnt sound like the Romans..... so who done it? I got zero data, only enough contextual information from the assertion itself to smell something rotten.

 

We really should probe these assertions.

 

And Virgil...... Im guessing you and Gilius were debating the Vaticans medieval claims to owning the lands of western europe? That was indeed asserted by certain medieval popes, but also disproved by Bishops who smelled something rotten themselves. Its a claim literally no one has backed in hundreds of years. I think you two should separate for a while, meet other people, cause this strange relationship between the two of you isnt going anywhere positive. I didnt see you to debate it out, but I can guess it was silliness and a lot of slamming your head off the wall.

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Of course I can say it, if you dont believe me, I can say it again as proof.

 

Of course you can. I'm just saying your statement isn't helping to think of it crirically either. If you wanna critically challenge that statement, you should try to answer the questions that I suggested: What were the rights, what the obligations of Roman citizens at that point? What the rights and obligations of non Roman citizens? How did their life change?

 

Personally I am not scholarly interested on the Antonine Constitution and I cannot help you much. But a simple search on JSTOR gives me numerous entries, although many of them are in German.

Edited by Number Six

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And Virgil...... Im guessing you and Gilius were debating the Vaticans medieval claims to owning the lands of western europe? That was indeed asserted by certain medieval popes, but also disproved by Bishops who smelled something rotten themselves. Its a claim literally no one has backed in hundreds of years. I think you two should separate for a while, meet other people, cause this strange relationship between the two of you isnt going anywhere positive. I didnt see you to debate it out, but I can guess it was silliness and a lot of slamming your head off the wall.

 

No. I wasn't debating anything with him, he made this comment;

 

"The Pope is now the head of the Roman Empire of today (the church and state of the European Union and Catholic Church)" here: LINK

 

I assumed you mixed up my answer with Caldrail.

 

I have no relationship with the guy, he posted a lot of crap on a history site & quite a few posters--as well as myself--called it BS.

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At location 278 of 864 of the free kindle sample download, he brings up the Antonine Constitution..... where most Romans got citizenship.

 

He repeats without hesitation what I have been told since elementry school... that it was more symbolic than real and didnt really matter, and just look away, and hey look, do you like shadow puppets..... this is a bird flapping its wings.....

 

 

Why on earth should I accept such a regurgitation of opinion?

 

 

You shouldn't because he didn't say the sweeping statment you seem to think he said, it goes:

 

,,,Nevertheless it is clear that by the end of the second century AD the incorporation and acculturation of indigenous elites had reached an advanced stage, and in the year 212 the so-called Constitutio Antoniana (Antonine Constitution, also known as the 'Caracallan Edic') granted Roman citizenship to virtually all free (i.e. non-slave) inhabitants of the empire. For many contemporaries the importance of this development must have been more symboloic than real, but it is significant historically in that it indicates that the Roman Empire was gradually evolving into something with at least the outward appearance of more than a mere 'Italocracy'--the imposition of Roman or Italian dominance on an alien provincial landscape [he cites footnote #7].

 

There's nothing wrong with that statement. If you were living in a mud hut tilling an acre of soil or some like mean existence [the majority of people] it probably didn't matter to you. If you were some young guy or that guy's parents you'd be stoked because that meant you might get a shot at joining the higher paying legions instead of auxiliaries. From some of the source documents found in Campbell's book on the Roman Army joining the legions could be a really big deal.

 

But FFS he's not doing a tome on Caracalla's edict, it's just a preface to a book on late antiquity, Rome & Islam.

 

As #6 hinted at JSTOR by itself has 366 articles on "Antonine Edict". Start there. Some of JSTOR is available for online reading now I think.

Edited by Virgil61

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Most of JSTOR is, I'm currently maxed out for a few weeks on free picks.

 

It is a big deal, given its a regurgitation of opinion taken as fact. One I heard since I was young enough to even take note of history. I simply wanna know who started this trend, and why it is so easy to accept and not question.

 

I can guess a lot of hypothetical reasons why getting citizenship beyond military access (of course, anyone could enlist under the auxiliary), a larger tax base susceptible to direct taxation, streamlining of the court system (no more roman or subject-national courts, meaning a unification of law, and less need to fund (or allow such non roman courts to collect their own taxes to fund themselves))

 

Of course, I don't really know, nor do we on this forum apparently offhand, because no one knows which historian it was that dropped the ball for us. We all just kinda matter of factly accepted it. It was the vogue when I was a kid, I have no idea how long the uselessness of this edict was pushed.

 

It seemed to of had a impact..... Belisarius viewed the inhabitants of the west, especially Libya, as Romans, and reigned in his men's behavior, not letting them loot or offend the inhabitants. 

 

I like your idea Virgil about the military, and lean towards it..... just the reality is, Romans started dodging military service. It eventually became a system of foreigners brought in, settled as a group to fight as an army. This be like the US bringing in 30,000 people from Hyperbad, families included, to staff the 10th Mountain Division and the 82nd Airborne. Would I question their loyalty? At first, but not second or third generation. However, I would note the lack of regular Americans not joining up as a concern.

 

How long could such a reform last positively for the military?

 

(And I am very much in the right to tear this guy off, this book is low quality, I was already disappointed before even reaching this point. I don't expect much from someone overly pushing their college credentials, but it drives me nuts knowing he had access to a top notch library, as well as to fellow historians who recently wrote on a similar topic, and this is what he produces. I am deeply uninspired. I'd thought Oxford would have some sort of peer review process before publishing, if for nothing else to protect their Brand Name..... someone attending a community college is Nebraska with a associates degree in History could of written that. 

 

Compare his book to say, The Nativists Prophets of Early Islamic Iran by Patricia Crone...... a Damn good book by a academic who shows she knows what she is doing. She gives credit to her institution. I would love to talk to her, but this guy? What's the point of Oxford if this is what is produced. 

 

I can get similar Quality stuff from Cam Tea, but at least he doesn't have pretentious leanings, doesn't pretend to be a Oxford scholar, just a military engineer with kids.... and when I read him, I learn a lot about the secondary sources he sights in-depth. Both heavily borrow from Secondary Sources, just Cam is more honest and offers his books at a very respectable price for what is available inside.

 

This book, it's 99

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I like your idea Virgil about the military, and lean towards it..... just the reality is, Romans started dodging military service. It eventually became a system of foreigners brought in, settled as a group to fight as an army.

 

That certainly became a fact later from the mid-3d century on but a lot of people would have welcomed it in 212--no need to be 'adopted' by a Roman veteran [as it is suspected was done often in the legions in Egypt circa the 1st/2nd century AD]. As you get into the late 3d century w/the meat grinder of civil wars 'crisis recruiting' [to use one historian's phrase] became common.

Edited by Virgil61

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Anyway, I am still waiting for the Antonine Constitution rap that was advertised in the title.

I gave up after reading the review above then reading the whole 'sample' intro/preface & first chapters & finding no issue with it. Found it to be a solid work, enough so I ordered a hard copy from Amazon.

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As usual, I am at work in my coffee break and reading this thread, with none of my books to hand. I do seem to remember reading about an inscription found in York, in which a Syrian soldier celebrates being made a citizen at last. If I remember correctly, he renamed himself 'Antoninus' to broadcast his gratitude. I think that perhaps for one or two generations, the Antonine Constitution was a very big deal.

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First off, this is a really interesting thread, and I would be inclined to agree with Northern Neil's view on this occasion. Caracalla's edict would certainly appear to have had a tangible effect on the lives on the proceeding generations of newly empowered citizens, as opposed to being purely symbolic.

I have recently been reading up on the importance of civic institutions and their associated franchises as bulwarks of regional identity in Egypt under Roman hegemony. During my reading I found some information that I thought may add something to the overall all debate regarding the importance of the edict, and the impact it would have had to peoples' daily lives on the ground.

A.K Bowman and D. Rathbone, in their article

Edited by AEGYPTUS

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