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Brill's Series on the Early Middle Ages, Volume: 15 The appearance in of A.H.M. Jones' The Later Roman Empire – A Social, Economic, and.
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Nummius Albinus, consul in 34 5, was never anything but comes ordinis primi. Of this we can be certainfrom the record of his career put up by his son. In other cases definite proof is lacking, but the consular fasti include, besides members of the imperial family, praetorian and urban prefects, and magistri militum, the names of men who are not recorded to have held any high office.
Some are mere names to us, others are known to have belonged to one of the great families, like Anicius Hermogenianus Olybrius and Symmachus, the grandson of the orator, consuls in and They may perhaps have held a brief prefecture of which no records survive, but more probably they thought even the highest office beneath them. Even in the fourth century there were imperial favourites like Optatus or Datianus who were accorded the patri- ciate and the ordinary consulship, but are never recorded to have held any office.
Many members of the new nobility of the fifth centuries seem like their Western colleagues to have confined themselves to a few illustrious offices, and some to have held none at all. Most of the senatorial commissioners at the Council of Chalcedon had held some illustrious office, but Senator, consul in 43 5, is recorded in the minutes as 'the most glorious ex-consul and patrician'. The consular jasti record as many Eastern as Western consuls who are not known to us to have held any office, and not a few of these doubtless, like Senator, actually held none.
Such great nobles, who held no offices of state, were not neces- sarily idle men. Senator not only served on the imperial com- mission which guided the debates of the Council of Chalcedon, but undertook the more arduous task of going as ambassador to Attila. He was, as Theodoret' s letters to him indicate, an active member of the comitatus, whose support it was worth while to enlist. But many great aristocrats, especially in the West, seem to have taken no interest in public affairs. They lived that life of leisured ease otium which was acknowledged as the birthright of a senator.
He castigates their ostentatious luxury- their palatial mansions, their huge staffs of pampered slaves, their towering carriages, their extravagant clothes, and their gargantuan banquets, where enormous fish and birds were solemnly weighed at table, and their weights recorded by attendant notaries. He is even more severe on their idleness and frivolity.
They regard a journey to one of thejr more distant estates as a major expedition, they care for nothing except the races, dancing girls and ganling. Their libraries are locked like mausolea, and the only literature they read is the satires of Juvenal and the scandalous biographies of Marius Maximus. Great senators certainly lived on a princely scale.
The biographer of Melauia waxes lyrical about the huge stocks of silken and embroidered garments and of silver plate which she and Pinianus distributed to the churches when they adopted the ascetic life. Symmachus mentions in his correspondence, besides three houses in Rome, fifteen villas which he possessed in various parts of Italy. The staffs to maintain all these mansions with their parks and gardens must have run to many hundreds, if not thousands as John Chry- sostom alleges.
Near Enna in Sicily have been revealed the ruins of a country house which may well have belonged to the Symmachi, who are known to have sometimes resided in the territory of Enna.
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The house was built at the beginning of the fourth century, and remained in use down to the sixth century and later. Most of its thirty-odd rooms are grouped around a spacious colonnaded court, by feet, and a great corridor, feet long and 16 feet wide, which runs parallel with the eastern side of the court.
To the north-western corner of the court is attached a sumptuous suite of baths, with an octagonal tepidarium flanked by eight apsidal rooms. Off the eastern side of the great corridor opens a huge dining or reception room, 40 feet wide and 8o feet long, ending in a wide apse. To the south of the main court is another smaller oval colonnaded court, on to which opens on the east another great reception room, a square 70 feet either way, flanked by three apsidal exedrae.
The splendid floor mosaics illustrate the tastes and interests of the owners. There are themes drawn from Greek mythology, including the Labours of Hercules, Orpheus charming the beasts, and the story of Lycurgus and Ambrosia. There are scenes of hunting and fishing and country life. The vestibule of the baths is adorned with a huge picture, 70 feet long, of a chariot race in the Circus Maximus, and the great corridor with a giant composition showing wild beasts being hunted and trapped and put aboard ships for transport to the Roman arena.
The picture of the senatorial aristocracy of Rome in the late fourth century which emerges from Symmachus' letters is very different from Ammianus' caricature, and so is that of the Gallic aristocracy in the following century which Sidonius Apol- linaris draws. Neither Symmachus nor Sidonius, it is true, nor the majority of their friends, led very active or useful lives. Though he lived through stirring times, Valentinian's German wars and the revolt of Firmus, the battle of Adrianople and the desperate struggle with the Goths, the rebellions of Maximus and Eugenius and the final victory of Theodosius the Great, the revolt of Gildo and the invasion of Italy itself by Radagaesus and by Alaric- Symmachus scarcely mentions public affairs save in so far as they impinged directly on his friends, or involved taxes on senators or endangered the corn supply of Rome.
The one subject on which he shows enthusiasm is the celebration of his son's quaestorian and praetorian games. Symmacbus unmercifully pestered his wide circle of acquaintances with letters asking for their co- operation. He wrote to the great Stilicho, asking for leave to use the amphitheatre to accommodate the large audiences which he anticipated; to distribute presents of silk garments-recently forbidden as an unnecessary extravagance-and to give an aquatic theatrical display-probably a maiuma, again recently prohibited on moral grounds. He wrote to numerous friends who had estates and studs in Spain, asking them to assist his agents in buying the best Spanish race horses available.
He secured warrants from the praetorian prefects for his agents to travel and to transport the horses by the public post. He asked proconsuls and vicars of Africa for antelopes and other wild beasts of the desert, and also for hunters to fight them in the arena. He had bears brought from Dalmatia; he managed to secure crocodiles, which he considered essential for a theatrical entertainment; he gratefully acknowledged a gift of seven Irish hounds from Flavian, the praetorian prefect; he thanked the emperor for a present of leopards.
He asked his son-in-law, Nicomachus Flavianus, then prefect of the city, to send officials to Campania to round up a party of charioteers and actors last reported to have set sail from Sicily. Gladiators also figured on his programme: he had been promised some Saxon prisoners by the emperor, but when twenty-nine of them commit- ted suicide before delivery, he abandoned his claim on this 'gang more villainous than Spartacus' and fell back on recruiting volun- teers in the ordinary way.
But one would hardly guess from his letters-at any rate before he became a bishop-that the empire was fighting a desperate battle against the encroachments of the barbarians in Gaul. Both Symmachus and Sidonius may in a sense be called frivolous. They passed their time in hunting, in reading, in corresponding with their large circle of friends and acquaintances and occasionally in writing belles lettres. But they were not vulgar pleasure seekers; they were men of culture, if not great scholars or profound thinkers.
Not that such were lacking among the nobility. The group of great aristocrats depicted in Macrobius' Saturnalia are men of scholarly tastes, deeply read in classical literature and repositories of a vast pedantic erudition. Many of the Anicii of the fifth and sixth centuries were serious scholars who edited classical texts, and one of them, Boethius, the great philosopher of his age. The Roman senatorial nobility played their part in maintaining classical culture in an age of growing barbarism, but one may wonder if they thereby adequately compensated the empire for the huge proportion of its wealth which they absorbed.
Civil servants played a vital role in all departments of government, in the drafting and circulation of laws and ordinances and the administration of justice, in the recruitment and supply of the armies, and above all in the operation of the vast and complicated fiscal machine.
They issued writs, executed judgments and kept and filed the records of the courts. They drafted answers to petitions on every kind of question. They issued commissions to officers, enrolled recruits, regulated the distribu- tion of rations, uniforms, arms and horses. They prepared the estimates of expenditure and computed the rates of taxation, maintained the registers of tax assessments, checked the payment of the revenue and demanded, and often exacted, arrears.
Without its civil servants the whole complicated machine of government which held the vast empire together would have collapsed. The civil service, like most other institutions of the later empire, had its root in the Principate. Those offices which developed out of the emperor's personal household, that is, besides the domestic staff of the palace, the finance ministries and the central secretariats, and the financial staffs of the procurators in the provinces, were filled by imperial slaves and freedmen. On the other hand the praetorian and the urban prefects and proconsuls and legates were served by soldiers seconded from units under their command, or, if they had no troops under them, from the armies of neighbouring provinces.
The standard ojjicium of a legate comprised a centurion as princeps ojjicii, six senior non-commis- sioned officers three cornicu! Proconsuls seem to have had similar staffs. Procurators also possessed, besides their servile financial staff, military ojjicia to assist them in their judicial work; these were on a much more modest scale.
During the second and third centuries the slave and freedmen staff became largely hereditary. The fiscus did not normally buy slaves, but employed its vernae, the sons of its slaves; manumission of imperial slaves, though a regular practice, seems usually to have been postponed till they had produced sons who, having been born in servitude, remained imperial property until they in turn were manumitted.
The military officia tended at the same time to become increasingly divorced from the fighting troops. A soldier, once seconded for clerical duties, normally remained a clerk, and by the third century we find men who served in clerical posts from their recruitment. By the latter part of the third century certain changes had taken place. In the central offices manned by freedmen and slaves an increasing number of senior posts were given to men of equestrian rank.
The head of each ministry had since the early second century normally been an equestrian, but his chief assistant and others of yet lower grade often were so now. Caelius Saturninus in Diocletian's reign began his official career as an assistant adiutor in the department of studia at 6o,ooo sesterces, the lowest equestrian salary scale, was then transferred at the same salary to the department of sacra consilia, was promoted in this branch to zoo,ooo sesterces, and then became successively magister libellorum probably at 30o,ooo and magister studiorum.
In the second place, to deal with the new financial duties in connection with requisitions, the praetorian prefect built up a staff of military accountants tabularii and scriniarii in addition to his judicial staff of cornicularii, commentarienses and so forth, and legates and no doubt proconsuls also acquired an officium rationum. Finally the frequent doubling of the posts of procurator and legate or proconsul must have resulted in the amalgamation of the procurator's staff, with its small military ojjicium of judicial clerks, and its larger slave and freedman familia of accountants, with that of the legate or pro- consul, with its large judicial and rudimentary financial staff of military clerks.
I Diocletian appears to have standardised and simplified the officia without radically altering their structure and personnel. Later evidence suggests that not only the domestic staff of the palace, but the junior clerks in the central finance departments. The staffs of the diocesan rattonales and magtsfrt, hke those of the old procurators, on which they were probably modelled, comprised grades benejiciarii and stratores are b;rt mal! Praesides seem also to have mhented some Caesartant from the staffs of the provincial procurators whom they superseded; Eusebius mentions one Theodulus who belonged to the familia praesidi.
The Notitia Dignitatum shows a remarkably uniform structure for the officia of the praetorian and urban prefects, the vicarii, and all grades of provincial governor, the origins of which may well go back to Diocletian. After eliminating later accretions the following scheme can be reconstructed. Each officium was divided into three branches, the judicial, the financial and the sub- clerical grades-orderlies, ushers, messengers and the like.
The judicial side consi. These latter grades are subsumed m the Notltla under the term exceptores, shorthand writers, a title which in the sec- ond century was given only to the personal assistants of the principal officials, but had by Constantine's reign become. The financial side consisted of tabu! These were military grades in the fourth century, and had apparently absorbed the slave and freedman accountants who still survived under Diocletian. Perhaps for that reason, and perhaps because the military grades were themselves of comparatively recent origin, the financial branch was regarded as inferior to the judicial, and its members were sometimes, even in the fourth century, deprived of their military status and made liable to torture.
Such was a typical provincial officium. The ojjicia of vicars and prefects were naturally more elaborate. In the Notitia these have, in addition to the above-named officials, curae epistolarum. The praetorian prefect had several of these, one for each diocese which he controlled; they handled financial correspondence with the vicars, but belonged to the judicial branch, not being accountants THE CIVIL SERVICE but letter writers; the vicars presumably had one each.
The praetorian prefects in. N e1ther of these offices is attested before the but the. Duces had o. Here the only. They held neither nor military tltles, but were graded as primae, secundae and! The title Caesariani also survived to designate the officials of the rationales who replaced the old pro- curators. He was also issued w1th vestu , and W?
He was enlisted, hke a sold1er, by a probatoria and was entered on strength of some fictive regiment. The clerks of the praetonan prefecture of the East were still in Jus- tinian's day enrolled in Legio I Adiutrix and the officials of provincial governors, the cohorta! Civil in many held military non-commissioned grades, from the prmClpate, long obsolete in the army of the day, nsmg be cornicularius and centurio princeps, and finally OJ?
A sharp distinction was drawn between serv1ce m the real army militia armata and in a g'? Civil servants were not soldiers, and on retlrement did not rank as veterans but received their own specific gratuities and privileges. These were eunuchs, and, as such, almost necessarily imported barbarian slaves. We know of only two Roman citizens who served as cubicularii. The pretender Magnus Maximus broke with tradition and appointed as his first praepositus sacri cubiculi an elderly man of free birth.
The experiment was shortlived: a year or two later a eunuch once again occupied the post. A certain Mamas from the village of Zomeri in the territory of Sebasteia, the metropolis of the province of Armenia I, had an accident in youth and had to be castrated for medical reasons. He took advantage of his disability to enrol himself as a cubicu! The majority of the cubicularii came from Persia, Armenia or other Caucasian lands; under Justinian the main source of supply was the barbarous kingdom of the Abasgi.
They were usually bought from dealers, but might come by gift from great nobles, who also had their staffs of eunuchs. By a law of Leo they were declared free persons on entering the imperial service. Sometimes there was a single establishment, sometimes the emperor and the empress, or other ladies of the imperial family, had their separate bedchambers; in those of the imperial ladies there were women of the bedchamber cubiculariae , also of servile origin, as well as eunuchs. There were various posts in the bedchamber, or the several bedchambers, which were held by the cubicularii. Among the less important was the keeper of the wardrobe comes sacrae vestis , first recorded in The post of manager of the imperial estates in Cappadocia, which supplied the income of the bedchamber in the East comes domorum per Cappadociam , was also filled from about by a eunuch.
More important were the captain of the bodyguard spatharius , known from the. An older post was that of majordomo of the palace castrensis , which is recorded as earl as the reign of Constantius II. He is the only eunuch officer o whom a detailed account survives in our copy of the Notitia Dignitatnm. He had under him two accountants tabularii , one for the emperor's and one for the empress's expenses, an assistant adiutor and a secretary chartularius with a scrinium of clerks.
Next above him ranked the senior eunuch primicerius sacri cubiculi and above him the superintendent of the sacred bedchamber praepositus sacri cubiculi. The praepositus was selected by the emperor or empress and served during his or her pleasure; some enjoyed long terms of office. The posts of comes domorum, castrensis and primicerius, on the other hand, went by seniority and were held for a fixed term, two years in Justinian's reign. Constantius II was reported to be entirely in the hands of his eunuchs, and in particular of his notorius praepositus, Eusebius.
The praepositus Eutropius was for a brief period the virtual head of the government in the reign of Arcadius and in the latter years of Theodosius II the spatharius Chrysaphius controlled affairs. But apart from such exceptional cases, where a strongminded eunuch dominated a weak emperor, the ordinary run of cubicularii had many opportunities of making their influence felt. Eutherius, Julian's praepositus, served as his envoy to Constantius, and endeavoured, vainly in the event, to reconcile the Augustus 'to his presumptuous Caesar.
The fate of Ambrose's mission to Maximus seems to have been decided by the latter's praepositus, the eunuch Gallicanus, who refused him a private interview with the emperor, and insisted that he be received at a public consistory. Cubicularii were also sometimes used for confidential missions in the provinces. Arsacius, a eunuch, accompanied the new prefect of Egypt, Phila- grius, who was charged with installing Gregory as bishop of Alexandria in In Hesychius the castrensis was one of the two imperial commissioners sent with the Eastern group of bishops to the council of Sardica.
All who wished for a private audience with the emperor had to obtain it through the cubicularii, and gold often unlocked the door. Anyone who desired some favour would find it advisable to conciliate the goodwill of the eunuchs, and this was often obtainable for money. A powerful praepositus could virtually sell the great offices of state by auction. In the ordinary way it became customary, it would seem, for all recipients of offices to tip the staff of the bedchamber for forwarding their applications. The cubicu! Eusebius the praepositus is singled out by Ammianus as one of the leaders of the sinister group who played on Constantius II' s fears of conspiracy and secured the estates of those who were victims of his suspicions.
But apart from such exceptional cases cubicularii seem to have made a regular practice of petition. When Theodosius II enacted that petitioners must go halves with the treasury, this rule was soon relaxed in their case. In the sixth century the management of their patrimonies required two scrinia, each manned by six clerks; fifty-four clerks sufficed to manage all the other lands of the church throughout Thrace, Asiana, Pontica and Oriens. The laws indicate that ordinary cubicu! A constitution of Theodosius II enacts that the estates of all retired cubicu!
John of Ephesus tells the story of a very pious eunuch named Theodore, who may be presumed not to have exploited his position unduly, and retired prematurely as castrensis owing to ill health. He was so lavish in his charitable gifts to the poor that within a year he had dissipated his entire fortune in gold, which amounted to I5 to 20 centenaria about I2j,ooo solidi. In the next two years he disposed of all his silver plate and clothes, and freed all his slaves.
He was thus reduced to beggary, but Justinian allocated him a pension of I ,ooo solidi a year. The scale of the pension, which exceeds the salary of a provincial governor of spectabilis grade, is some indication of the standard ofliving enjoyed by cubicularii. The praepositus was in raised to parity with the praetorian and urban prefects and the magistri militum: in the Notitia he is already illustris. The primicerius and castrensis rank as spectabi! U It was a strange anomaly that barbarian slaves should become senators, and there was in the fourth century, in the West at any rate, a strong prejudice among the aristocracy against the cubicularii, who were habitually accused of unbounded avarice, and of un- scrupulously making money by accepting bribes from those who desired access to the emperor, and, what was worse, of poisoning the emperor's mind with charges of treason against innocent men.
Ammianus makes an elaborate apology for praising the one vir- tuous eunuch of whom he knew. He educated himself as best he could, and displayed remarkable judgment and loyalty. Transferred to the service of Constans, he exercised his influence, but in vain, to keep him on the right track. Promoted to be Julian's praepositus, he had a healthily sobering influence on the enthusiastic young Caesar. He finally retired to Rome, where he long lived respected and liked by all ranks of society.
Most cubicularii, Ammianus declares, retired into obscurity with their ill-gotten gains. Eutropius caused passionate indignation, in the West at any rate, by his ostentatious exhibition of his power, and above all by holding the consulate. This was too much for public opinion even in the East, it would seem, and he was the first and last eunuch consul ordinarius. In the fifth century, when the senior eunuchs regularly held the rank of senators, prejudice seems to have waned, and by Justinian's reign the extraordinary career of Narses, who, as sacellarius and later praepositus, commanded armies and finally became commander in chief and governor general of Italy, excited no adverse comment.
The menial services of the palace were carried out by a staff known as paedagogiani, ministeriales, and curae pa! They were not eunuchs-laws of Leo and Zeno allude to their wives. If the chief barber whom Julian summoned was typical, the senior ranks of the service were well paid-he received twenty annonae and twenty capitus and a large money salary, apart from perquisites obtained by petitions.
We heat of another, a Persian named Mercurius, who rose from palace butler to rationalis under Constantius II, and another castrensianus, Hyperechius, was a friend of the pretender Procopius and was appointed by him to a military command. By the early fifth century there was evidently great pressure to enter the service, for a maximum number of established posts statuti had been fixed, and outside it was a long waiting list of supernumeraries. The establishment was divided into three grades-forma prima, secunda and tertia-and promotion was normally from grade to grade.
But the supernumeraries were also graded, and thus it came about that when a vacancy occurred in the first grade of the establishment, a supernumerary of the first grade claimed it, and promotion from the second grade of the establish- ment was blocked. Theodosius li in ruled that to obviate this anomaly vacancies in the first class should go alternately to statuti of the second class and supernumeraries of the first and similarly for vacancies in the second class.
Anyone who tned to jump the queue by obtaining an established ,POSt without waiting his time, was to be punished by becoming the junior supernumerary of the third grade. By the sixth century, if not earlier, many of the posts must have been sinecures or have involved only part-time duties. Under Justinian we hear of a banker or money lender argentarius of Constantinople, who enjoyed the office of castren- sianus of the sacred table. It is probable that by this date posts in the service were saleable: it is known at any rate that argentarii made a regular practice of investing their profits in saleable offices for themselves or their sons.
They are classed in a fourth-century law with the ministeriales and paedagogiani, and were still in the sixth century under the dis- position of the praepositus sacri cubiculi:! John, one of the decurions, was sent with a letter of Marcian to Alexandria after the Council of Chalcedon. Eustathius, the primicerius of the silen- tiaries, was charged by Theodosius II to decide an ecclesiastical dispute at Ephesus, and Magnus took part in the proceedings against Eutyches in the same reign. By a law of 4I 5 decurions on retirement ranked equally with retired duces, that is as spectabiles, and by 43 7 ordinary silen- tiaries, who retired after thirteen years' service, became senators.
The privileges which they were accorded at this date suggest that they were men of property. By the sixth century decurions retired with the title of master of the offices or comes domesticorum inter agentes, thus ranking above all honorary illustres, and other silentiaries became honorary illustres.
By this time the corps was highly fashionable: Gubazes, ex-king of the Lazi, was enrolled in it, and Paul the silentiary, who wrote the famous description of the church of St. Sophia, was a man of noble birth and great wealth. No silentiary rose to great eminence except Anastasius, who by winning the esteem of the empress Ariadne, whom he personally served the empress had four silentiaries especially attached to her person , rose to be emperor. Originally they seem to have been quite humble persons. Libanhts always alludes to them contemptuously as clerks, men without literary culture, skilled only in shorthand, and cites cases of men who were sons of sausage makers, cloak- room attendants and manual workers.
But owing to the confi- dential nature of their work, and their close proximity to the emperor's person, they rapidly rose in importance. Already under Const mtine it was a notary, Marianus, who carried the emperor's invitation to the bishops assembled at Tyre to celebrate the dedica- tion of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In 3 53 Paulus was ser:t to Britain to up of Magnentiu. In 3 58 two, Spectatus and Procopius, were successively sent as envoys in two embassies to Sapor, the Persian king, and another, Gaudentius, was dispatched to Gaul to keep watch over the newly appointed Caesar, Julian: he was later sent to Africa to confirm its loyalty when J ulian was proclaimed Augustus.
Decentius was entrusted with the delicate task of demanding troops from Julian Caesar in 3 59, and con- ducting them to Constantius II. But, what was worse in the eyes of gentlemen of the old school like Libanius, several were promoted to be quaestor, master of the offices, proconsul of Asia and even praetorian prefect, and some held the supreme honour of the consulship.
As early as 3 58 we find Procopius, a relative of the future emperor Julian, serving as a notary; he was then 32 years of age and must have seen about ten years' service. It is significant that Jovian, the senior notary, was thought of as a possible rival to the emperor Jovian. In 37I we find Bassianus, son of one praetorian prefect and son-in-law of another, and in 3 74 Faustinus, nephew of a third praetorian prefect, serving in the corps, while Theodore, the second senior notary in nr, receives high :'raise from Am- mianus, as a man of the highest culture and educatiOn and moreover sprung from an ancient noble family of Gaul.
By Gratian's law the primicerius and secundicerius, the first and second on the list by seniority, ranked equal with proconsuls, the remaining tribunes and notaries were equated with vicars, and the lower grade of domestici et notarii with consulars: all were thus senators. Theodo- sius reserved equality with a proconsul to the primicerius, but distinguished tribuni praetoriani et notarii from the ordinary tribunes and notaries, giving them rank equivalent to the comes Orientis or Aegypti.
Julian, if Libanius is to be believed, reduced their number to four. By 38I, according to Libanius again, who is probably thinking of the Eastern parts only, they numbered 5 This had certainly happened in the West by the early fifth century. The poet Claudian, who was a tribune and notary, is not likely to have done much serious secretarial duty, nor are the various young nobles of the high Roman aristocracy who served in the corps, such as Petronius Maximus, who was tribune and notary at the age of 19, or Marcellinus, who presided over the Conference of Carthage in 41 r when his brother Apringius was proconsul of Africa.
By the middle of the fifth century there were apparently a large number of wealthy men who bore the title of tribune and notary in the Western parts, but only thirty who were in active attendance at court. Praetorian tribunes and notaries are found conducting ecclesiastical negotiations like Marcellinus in the West.
Aristolaus was en- trusted with a series of missions of this character after the Council of Ephesus in 43 r, Damascius presided over the trial of Ibas at the Council of Tyre in , and Eulogius, together with Elpidius, a count of the consistory, was charged with maintaining order at the Council of Ephesus in But the original clerical duties of the notaries seem already in to have passed to memoriales or agentes in rebus, who served as 'secretaries of the divine consistory'.
The number of absentee notaries grew, until Zeno ordered that 'those tribunes who, occupied with their own affairs, have not troubled to attend at the sacred palace', should be degraded by one year for each year's absence up to four, and for five or more years' absence should be struck off the active list, retaining, however, the title and privileges of tribunes and notaries.
Even so promotion was slow in Justinian's day; according to John Lydus it took many years for tribunes to reach the end of their service. As the primicerius under Zeno's law held his post for two years, and thus each tribune only went up one rung in the ladder of seniority every other year, progress would have been slow even if there were only about thirty on the active list. The post of tribune and notary was by the early sixth century saleable: the retiring advocati jisci of the praetorian prefect of the East were entitled to free places for their sons.
He received from 42 5 the honorary codicils of master of the offices on retirement, with precedence as if he had actually held the post. He had charge of the laterculum maius, or 'notitia omnium digni tatum et administrationum tarn civilium quam militarium': that is to say he maintained the list of all holders of higher offices, and probably issued their codicils of appointment. His assistant adtufor , who was chosen from the corps, got more modest sums, 3 solidi in most cases. In the Eastern parts the primicerius also issued com- missions to the tribunes of the scholae, the regiments of the field army, and many of the regiments of, the was a faterculum minus, under the quaestor s.
In the fifth and sJxth centunes the third tertiocerius of the notaries the secundicerius prob- ably by this date a prescriptive. The office first appears in 42 7 in the East, and existed in t. There were according to Peter the patrJCJan only three established posts of referendary, two attached to the t;mperor and one to the empress, but a larger number held the tJtle perf? Their reached fourteen under Justinian, but he ordered that it should be reduced to eight. By a law of Constantine they were charged w1th checking all the judicial records of provincial governors, which were sent up to the comitatus every six months.
Those who served the acted as clerks in his high court of when he With the praetorian prefect. They also recer;red petltJons of all kinds, including those for grants of and read out in the consistory the requests of provmcJal and diocesan delega- tions. By a law of they received annual re.
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They also received re. This task was distributed in what appears to be a quite arbitrary way between the three scrinia. A law of Leo sets out a schedule. The scrinium memoriae issued probatoriae to the agentes in rebus, and the palatini of the largitiones and res privata; the scrinium epistularum to officials of the praetorian and urban prefects, proconsuls and vicars; the scrinium libellorum to officials of the magistri militum and duces, and to various minor palatine offices.
The scrinium memoriae also issued commissions to the commanders of alae and cohortes, who were listed on the laterculum minus under the care of the quaestor. The senior of the quaestor's assistants, who was at the same time the third senior clerk of the memoriales, handled this business and was accordingly known as the laterculensis. Promotion was strictly by seniority, each clerk exceptor rising step by.
Promotion at first must have been slow as the proximi served three years. In their term of office was reduced to two years in the East, and in to one year in the West: in the one year rule was also adopted in the East. Thus each clerk moved up one place a year. By the fifth century, however, if not earlier, an aspirant might have to wait many years as a supernumerary before he obtained an established post at all.
As the proximus of each scrinium retired each year, he could sell the vacancy thus created at the bottom of the list for the fixed price of 2 5o solidi to the senior supernumerary, and if he refused, to the next and so on till a willing purchaser was found. Occasional yacancles were also caused by the death of clerks during service: m these cases the heirs of the deceased clerk similarly sold the vacancy arising at the bottom of the list to the senior supernumerary at the fixed price of 2 5o solidi.
Those who acquired an established post had also to pay to the melloproximus or adiutor an entrance fee of 20 or r 5 solidi according to the custom of the scrinium. Justin an old rule th. Exceptions were, however, made m favour of three senior assistants of the quaestor, who were the! These were allowed to nominate successors to themselves on the quaes- tor's staff when they returned as melloproximus and as proximi to their own scrinia. Later further concessions were made to aged assistants of the quaestor, who, if too infirm to perform their duties were allowed to nominate substitutes.
Sons of deceased assistants enjoyed a preference, and five clerks who had? Men of curial families seem often to have served. It is probable John Chrysoston::'s father,. On the other hand in Polychronius, retin;d cohortalis a provincial of! In in the and in 3 86 in the East the proximi were accorded the of Vicars on retirement and in the East in all clerks achieved that of consulares retiring after twenty years' service.. In in the East the proximi were accorded during their period of office the rank of comites of the second class, instead of the third as hitherto, and in received on retirement the honorary rank of comes consistorii.
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A.H.M. Jones and the Later Roman Empire
The army of the Caesars. G7 x 3. Greenhalgh, P. Pompey, the Roman Alexander. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, , c G73 3. The Hellenistic world and the coming of Rome. G78 3. Harris, William V. Rome in Etruria and Umbria. Oxford, Clarendon Press, H37 3. War and imperialism in Republican Rome, B.
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