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citzenship and mobility, legal aspects of  

Claudia Moatti

While migration and mobility have become crucial themes in the study of the Roman world, their relationship with citizenship has been underestimated and understudied. Yet, migrants were not only foreigners who came to Rome voluntarily or by force. Citizens moved too: those, peasants or new citizens, who had come to settle in the city, or those who emigrated from Rome to a colony in Italy and, later, to a provincial city. What was the impact of this mobility on the conception and practice of citizenship? What did the Romans think of these citizens who travelled or lived abroad?

Such questions make it necessary to distinguish between the period when Rome was still one city among others (6th–3rd centuries) and the period of its conquests, when Rome extended its hegemony through the Mediterranean and became a so-called imperial republic (3rd–1st centuries) before becoming an Empire (27 bce–476 ce). In the first period, apart from the double movement of immigration and emigration of citizens, various measures concerning mobility shed light on the very close link between citizenship, property, and territory (loss of citizenship by emigration, recall of citizens every five years for the census, right to return, privileges granted to the Latins who settled in Rome, expulsions of non-citizens, etc.). In the second period, new practices (like the end of civic exclusivism) led, on the one hand, to limits on the immigration of new citizens to Rome, and, on the other hand, to efforts to facilitate emigration to the provinces (these included, in particular, the recognition of legal domicile outside of Italy, and the development of controls and protections for absentees). All these practices suggest the image of a rather fluid world, one which did not end in Late Antiquity. However, this freedom of movement has to be considered alongside the multiple rules aimed at controlling certain categories of people. Over time, mobility and migration progressively became a significant topic within Roman law, as is shown by the semantic evolutions of the main terms designating migrants.


lex Canuleia  

Lewis Webb

The plebiscitum Canuleium (commonly designated lex Canuleia) was a plebiscite proposed in 445bce by the plebeian tribuneGaius Canuleius, which reputedly abrogated (repealed) a provision of the Twelve Tables (450–451bce) that prohibited intermarriage (conubium) between patricians and plebeians (Tabula XI, 1).1Livy links the plebiscite to a bill (rogatio) on the election of plebeian consuls, while Florus and Ampelius link it to an otherwise unattested plebeian secession (secessio) to the Janiculum.2

Scholars often interpret the plebiscite within the context of the so-called Conflict of the Orders.3 While some accept the plebiscite’s historicity, others question its details and historicity on the grounds of anachronism, misinterpretation, or legal validity prior to the lex Hortensia (287bce), and some suggest the abrogation occurred in the reforming milieu of the plebiscitum Ogulnium (300bce).


traffic, urban  

Eric Poehler

The movement of people, animals, and vehicles through the ancient urban environment had a significant impact on the shape of ancient cities, but as an object of study, urban traffic is a relatively recent area of interest, one that has tended to focus on the Roman world. The range of methods available to consider the topic, however, are relatively many, including literary analysis, archaeological field survey, and a battery of technical methods, such as Space Syntax, Network Analysis, and Agent-Based Modeling. In all of these approaches, two models of movement—pedestrian and vehicular—remain paramount. The results of studying urban traffic have shed new light on the impact of different forms of urban design, the ways in which ancient people navigated those designs, and norms and formal systems in place in urban environments to order the movement of people and vehicles.

Whether on foot or borne by animals or vehicles, the movement of people and goods through ancient cities shaped those cities and the lives of those within them. The clustering of humble shopfronts on commercial streets and the monumental facades of processional routes alike owe their character to the passage of people moving for different purposes along their lengths. Indeed, as one of the most common elements of everyday urban life, interest in wheeled and pedestrian traffic consequently has become more defined in the classical world as greater attention is paid to non-elites and their material culture. Urban traffic is in fact another window onto everyday life, opening up opportunities to examine the reciprocal effects of city plans and their architectural elaborations on the political, economic, and social landscapes draped over them.



Sharon James

Only the rape of citizens was taken seriously by law. Sexual assaults on non-citizens were lesser matters. Rape of enslaved persons, a daily reality, was a crime only if committed by someone other than their owner. Rape of citizen males damaged their reputations; rape of citizen females could render them ineligible for marriage. Ancient myth features almost countless stories of rape, usually of human females by divine males. These tales were common subjects in ancient art and literature. Overwhelmingly, the victims are unmarried girls, who may suffer brutal treatment afterward and frequently bear miraculous offspring, some of whom establish cities (e.g., Romulus and Remus). Rape by human men is rarer in myth; rape of a wife causes massive militarized response (e.g., Helen of Troy, Lucretia). War-rape and post-war rape were standard practice around the Mediterranean.

Rape in antiquity was a matter of social and civic class. As a crime, it was understood as happening only to citizens: sexual assault of non-citizens was not a concern of law. The law took rape of citizens very seriously. Rape of citizen girls and women was a violation against the men who were responsible for them—father, husband, brother, guardian—but female victims would have experienced it as a personal violation first, rather than damage to their guardian’s ownership of their sexuality.


lex de imperio Vespasiani  

Kaius Tuori

The Lex de imperio Vespasiani ( CIL VI 930, 31207=ILS 244) is an epigraphic text on a bronze tablet, now partially lost, containing part of a law that granted some or all powers of the emperor to Vespasian in the year 70 ce.1 The text appears to be a piece of comitial legislation. The extant text is on a large bronze tablet discovered by Cola di Rienzo in the 14th century and currently held at the Musei Capitolini in Rome. The text is fragmentary: because there is no introduction to the text, it is assumed that there would have been another tablet preceding the surviving one. Whether Cola di Rienzo saw the missing tablet is disputed. The commonly used title of the law is a modern reconstruction. The law was promulgated in Rome in January, before Vespasian had arrived from Alexandria.2

The surviving text of the law contains eight clauses and a sanction. The beginning of the text is missing, including the preamble.


lex Agraria, 111 BCE  

Tommaso Beggio

The lex Agraria dating from 111 bce is an epigraphic law dealing with the distribution and privatisation of public land (ager publicus) in Italy and the provinces. In its first part, concerning public land in Italy, the law first describes five different categories of land declared to be private, before identifying other kinds of land that were and should remain public. In the second part, relating to land in Africa and Greece, the law establishes rules mainly regarding pasture land and the public sale of land, which then had to be declared private; nonetheless, this land was subject to the payment of the vectigal. Therefore, the lex Agraria can be considered as a law that consolidated some of the achievements of the Gracchan reforms that took a significant step towards the privatisation of ager publicus. However, the question remains open as to whether the lex Agraria could be associated with one of the three post-Gracchan laws cited by Appian (B Civ.


lex Iulia de Maritandis Ordinibus  

Jacob Giltaij

The law of Augustus concerning the regulation of marriage (18 bce), a plebiscite often treated in conjunction with the consular law of Papius and Poppaeus (lex Papia Poppaea, 9 ce, together as lex Iulia et Papia), primarily obliges all Roman citizens to enter into marriage with the purpose of producing legitimate offspring. With this goal, the law probably contained set age limits at which point one was expected to have been married, an age likely reflective of the fertility age, and an extensive list of rewards and privileges for those producing (legitimate) offspring.The literary sources of the 1st and 2nd centuries ce emphasize the reward structure the law contained. For example, Tacitus, in Tac. Ann. 2.51 suggests the number of children was crucial for the election of a praetor. The general overviews of the laws enacted by Augustus in Suetonius, Augustus 34 and Cassius Dio, Historia Romana.


lex Oppia  

Ville Vuolanto

The lex Oppia, decreed in 216 bce, regulated the use of wealth by the Roman women. There are different modern interpretative approaches to the law, dealing with its original contents and purpose (as a sumptuary law or as a wartime emergency measure), its abrogation in 195 bce with Cato the Elder’s speech and women’s demonstrations, and its uses in Livy and the debates in Rome in the late 1st century bce.The lex Oppia was a plebiscitum decreed after a proposal by the people’s tribune Gaius Oppius in 215bce; it was repealed in 195bce. According to Livy, it provided that no woman should have (habere) more than one half an ounce (semiuncia, c. 14 grams) of gold, wear luxuriously coloured (versicolor) clothing, or ride in a carriage (iunctum vehiculum) in Rome, in any town, or within a mile of the settlement in question, except in the performance of public religious rites (.


lex Papia Poppaea  

Jacob Giltaij

The lex Papia Poppaea was enacted in 9 ce by the suffect consuls, M. Papius Mutilus and Q. Poppaeus Secundus, probably on the initiative of the Emperor Augustus. The law complemented, supplemented, and enhanced the provisions of the lex Iulia de maritandis ordinibus (the law of Augustus concerning the regulation of marriage, enacted in 18 bce). The two laws, referred to jointly as the lex Iulia et Papia, had the primary effect of obliging all Roman citizens to marry and have (legitimate) heirs.There are several pre-Justinian sources in which the lex Papia Poppaea is treated separately from the lex Iulia de maritandis ordinibus. For example, in Gaius, Institutes 2.286a, the lex Papia Poppaea is said to have determined that those who did not have children (orbi) would lose half of their estates and legacies upon death. Moreover, Gaius indicated that the lex increased the rights of patrons in the case of the death of their freedmen, providing them with an equal share irrespective of whether the freedmen had left a will (.


senatus consultum Tertullianum  

Kimberley Czajkowski

The senatus consultum Tertullianum was a senatorial decree of the Hadrianic era that placed certain mothers in the line of succession to the estates of their intestate children, thereby improving their position. It is typically discussed alongside the sc Orfitianum in the context of the gradual shift from agnatic to cognatic ties in succession law.The senatus consultum Tertullianum was a senatorial decree of the Hadrianic era that placed certain mothers in the line of succession to the estates of their intestate children (see children in Roman law).1 Until this point, women who were married sine manu, and therefore did not move into the legal control of their husband, had no right of succession to their children’s estates under the ius civile. It should be noted, however, that in the praetorian order of intestate succession, which, in Papinius’ words, aimed to “support, supplement, and correct” the ius civile.