Skip to main content Accessibility help

‘Tribvnicia Potestate’

  • Harold Mattingly

The problem of the reckoning of the tribunician power of the Roman Emperors leads us along thorny paths; but they are paths which the seeker after a true chronology must tread. The method usually followed by historians to-day—that of Eckhel, as developed and amplified by Mommsen—certainly approximates to the truth and seldom leads one far astray. There remain, however, sufficient evidences to show that it is not the whole truth; and, where exactness in dating really matters, nothing but the whole truth will do.

Hide All

page 78 note 1 Eckhel, , Doctrina numorum veterum, viii, pp. 391 ff.; Mommsen, , Römisches Staatsrecht, ii,3 pp. 796 ff.

page 78 note 2 ‘Die Tribunenjahre der römischen Kaiser’ in Philologus, vol. xxxii (1873), pp. 1 ff.

page 79 note 1 Dio. liii, 17: τὴν δὲ δὴ δύναμιν τὴν τῶν δημάρχων πᾶσαν, ὅσηπερ τὰ μάλιστα ἐγένετο, προστίθενται, καὶ δι΄αὐτῆς καὶ ἡ ἐξαρίθμησις τῶν ἐτῶν τῆς ἀρχῆς αὐτῶν, ὡς καὶ κατ᾿ ἔτος αὐτὴν μετὰ τῶν ἀεὶ δημαρχούντων λαμβανόντων, p. lxxvi. προβαίνει.

page 79 note 2 Cp. Stobbe, op. cit. pp. 23 ff.; Num. Chron. 1919, pp. 199 ff.

page 79 note 3 Acta Fratrum Arvalium (ed. Henzen, W.), p. lxxvi.

page 80 note 1 Cohen, , Description historique des monnaies frappeés sous l'Empire romain, i (Domitian) no. 297, hereafter referred to as C., with number of coin under the reign in question; Mattingly, and Sydenham, , Roman Imperial Coinage, ii, pp. 176–7, nos. 197 ff, hereafter referred to as M. & S.

page 80 note 2 C.I.L., iii 8703 = Dessau, I.L.S. 278.

page 80 note 3 Cp. Stobbe, op. cit. pp. 31 ff.

page 80 note 4 C. 85 ff.; M. & S. ii., p. 226, nos. 42 ff.

page 80 note 5 Other evidence confirms this conclusion, cp. C.I.L. iii, p. 868 ( = Dessau I.L.S. 2004)— TR.P.XIIII, not TR.P.XIII on Feb. 17th, A.D. 110.

page 81 note 1 C. 171 ff., 598; M. & S. ii., pp. 276–7, nos. 444 ff.

page 81 note 2 C.I.L. iii, p. 862—TR.P. not TR.P.II on Feb. 20th, A.D. 98, is a difficulty in either view. It is just possible that TR.P. is used as title, without number, as occasionally on coins. It is more probable that the official reckoning of the power of Trajan was not yet generally known.

DrStrack, Paul L., in his Untersuchungen zur Reichsprägung i (1930), pp. 1921, esp. 21, no. 48, accepts the evidence of the diploma and suggests a change from the old to the new (December) reckoning in autumn 98.

page 82 note 1 I had originally attempted to use the evidence of two rare medallions or sestertii—C. (Hadrian), 1424— rev. S·P·Q·R·A·N·F·F· HADRIANO AVG· P·P·, C. (Antoninus Pius) 790 — rev. S.P.Q.R.A.N.F.F. PRINCIPI·PIO—attempting—a difficult task—to attribute them to one and the same occasion. Since, however, my arguments are closely connected with the theory of a posthumous coinage of Hadrian, struck by Antoninus Pius, and since fresh evidence has caused me to modify, if not entirely to abandon, that theory, it has seemed better to omit them here.

page 82 note 2 Dessau I.L.S. 337.

page 82 note 3 We must assume, as a working hypothesis, that the colleagues used the same form of reckoning; the practical inconvenience of two discordant tribunician years would be serious. But see below.

page 82 note 4 Dessau I.L.S. 356.

page 83 note 1 For the coins, cp. M. & S. iii, pp. 1 ff., 46 ff., 81 ff., 131 ff., 177 ff.

page 84 note 1 Cp. Stobbe, op. cit., pp. 43 f.; Dodd, Num. Chron. 1914, pp. 34 ff.—a very full and able discussion.

page 84 note 2 M. & S. iii, pp. 264. ff., 336 ff.

page 85 note 1 C. 286 (PR·P· for TR·P·—a slip): the date is, however, certainly unusual and needs confirmation.

page 85 note 2 C. 458 ff.

page 85 note 3 C. 419 ff., 446 ff., C. 176, PART·MAX·PONT TR·P·IIII COS·; C. 178, PART·MAX·PONT. TR·P·V· present difficulties: in one case we expect TR·P·V for IIII, in the other we miss COS.

page 85 note 4 The date TR·P·VII COS III, A.D. 229, C. 362 f., for Severus Alexander is quite exceptional and probably without authority.

page 86 note 1 C. 44 ff., 53 ff.

page 86 note 2 C. 224 ff., 237 ff.

page 86 note 3 On the coins, COS is sometimes used as title, without the appropriate number, e.g. TR·P·COS not COS·III. This deprives us of our best means of testing tribunician dates. If the two diplomas, quoted by Schulz, , Vom Prinzipat zum Dominat, p. 227, C.I.L. iii, p. 2003, 2003 (897) (896), can be trusted, Philip received his tribunician power on January Ist: for on December 28th, 247, he is TR·P·IIII, on January 7th, 248, TR·P·V.

page 86 note 4 Stobbe, op. cit., pp. 65 ff.

page 87 note 1 Schulz, op. cit. pp. 227 ff, argues against a double system of dating, but without explaining the difficulties of an alternative hypothesis.

page 87 note 2 Dessau, I.L.S. 523, 4.

page 87 note 3 C. 97, 92 ff.

page 88 note 1 Dessau, I.L.S. 520.

page 88 note 2 B.M.C. (Alexandria), pp. 274 ff.

page 88 note 3 But cp. above, p. 79, Nero, whose first year is T. It is only fair to add, however, that Alexandrian coinage was far more regular in the third century than in the first.

page 88 note 4 Dessau. I.L.S. 531. Schulz, op. cit., pp. 89 ff., shows a correct appreciation of the value of this inscription for dating. His own explanation is that Valerian's formal acceptance by the Senate was delayed till the autumn of 253 and that he dated from that. The coins of Aemilian at Alexandria with LB are really sufficient to prove that the remedy must go deeper than this.

page 90 note 1 Journ. of Egyptian Archaeology, 1927, pp. 14 ff.

page 90 note 2 N.Z., 1901, p. 108.

page 90 note 3 C. 158 ff., 160, 165.

page 90 note 4 C. 836. Cp. C.I.L. viii, 1487 ( = Dessau I.L.S. 541). Dessau annotates ‘expect TR·P·IX.’

page 90 note 5 Cp. C.I.L., x, 4874 ( = Dessau I.L.S. 543). Dessau annotates ‘expect TR·P·XIII or XII.’

page 91 note 1 But the date TR·P·VI·COS·V of a coin of Probus A.D. 282, C. 460, proves that his tribunician year cannot have been renewed on Dec. 10th, but must have run from the dav of first conferment: had it been renewed in December, the sixth year would have ended before A.D. 282: for this point, see Alföldy, , Blätter für Münzfreunde, 1923, pp. 352 f.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Roman Studies
  • ISSN: 0075-4358
  • EISSN: 1753-528X
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-roman-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed