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The descendants of Roman municipal freedmen in the ordo decurionum and the limits of the macula servitutis

By Jeffrey Easton

In this paper I seek to bring a fresh perspective to an old debate in Roman social history, namely, how successful the descendants of ex-slaves were in reaching their municipal council of decurions. This type of social mobility represented the pinnacle of honors in the Roman municipal context. Although local families with a long aristocratic pedigree often controlled the council and the highest offices for generations, demographic and social realities also made it necessary to recruit new members ‘from below,’ including the families of prominent local freedmen.

Roman numeral palaeography: a hazard and a help to editors of Latin texts

By Orla F. Mulholland

How did the Romans write a million? Or five thousand? Or a hundred thousand? Most people know the Roman numerals up to a thousand, but even professional classicists struggle to go higher than that. Editors are no different, and where Latin texts include high figures our supposedly critical editions fill up with unreal numerals produced by error or guesswork. For example, all modern texts of Cicero’s letters, including that of Shackleton Bailey, the scourge of inherited nonsense, print a style of numeral shown to be unclassical already in the nineteenth century (Ad Q.

Seeing the Silva Through the Silva: The Religious Economy of Timber Communities in Aquitania and Gallia Narbonensis

By David Wallace-Hare

In this paper I examine a group of deities in Aquitania and Gallia Narbonensis. The names of these deities indicate a thriving forestry made visible through votive dedications. Viewing these votives through the lens of local industries reveals that the border between worship and commerce was somewhat ill-defined for timber communities in Gaul, only becoming more delineated as a result coexistence with Roman businessmen (conventus civium Romanorum) and various military personnel.

Rogo Te ut Me Vindices: A Social Demography of Cursing at Mogontiacum

By Sarah Veale

Archaeological finds at the sanctuary of Magna Mater and Isis in Mainz (Roman Mogontiacum) have significantly contributed to our understanding of cursing in the Roman Empire since the site’s discovery in 1999. To date, thirty-four curse tablets from the sanctuary have been documented and catalogued (Blänsdorf 2012). Scholarship has only recently begun to investigate the ways in which these tablets inform our understanding of religious practices in the Germanic provinces (Haase 2004, Blänsdorf 2010, Gordon 2013).