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Power and Privilege in Roman Society


  • Date Published: March 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316604335

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About the Authors
  • How far were appointments in the Roman Empire based on merit? Did experience matter? What difference did social rank make? This innovative study of the Principate examines the career outcomes of senators and knights by social category. Contrasting patterns emerge from a new database of senatorial careers. Although the highest appointments could reflect experience, a clear preference for the more aristocratic senators is also seen. Bias is visible even in the major army commands and in the most senior civilian posts nominally filled by ballot. In equestrian appointments, successes by the less experienced again suggest the power of social advantage. Senatorial recruitment gradually opened up to include many provincials but Italians still kept their hold on the higher social groupings. The book also considers the senatorial career more widely, while a final section examines slave careers and the phenomenon of voluntary slavery.

    • Uncovers large-scale social discrimination in senior appointments in the Roman Empire
    • Undermines some meritocratic views of Roman promotion policy
    • Throws new light on senatorial recruitment policy and its results
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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316604335
    • length: 241 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 150 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.36kg
    • contains: 17 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Social Status and Senatorial Success:
    1. Introduction: the senator
    2. Social standing and its impact on careers
    3. The career ladder at Rome
    4. Service overseas
    5. Defenders of the empire
    6. Influx from the provinces
    7. The chronology of the senatorial evidence
    8. Career inscriptions and what they leave out
    Part II. Equestrian Perspectives:
    9. Defining the equites
    10. The public employment of equites
    11. The economic involvements of equites
    12. The devaluation of equestrian rank
    Part III. The Unprivileged:
    13. Slavery: the background
    14. Slavery as a career
    Appendixes: Appendix 1. Scoring systems for senators
    Appendix 2. Non-vigintiviri and additional senators
    Appendix 3. The duration of army posts
    Appendix 4. Details of vigintiviri
    Appendix 5. Some senatorial careers
    Appendix 6. Early and late priesthoods
    Appendix 7. Inventory of senators in the database.

  • Author

    Richard Duncan-Jones, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge
    Richard Duncan-Jones is a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and has also been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He has published widely on Roman social and economic history. His previous books published by Cambridge University Press are The Economy of the Roman Empire, 2nd edition (1982), Structure and Scale in the Roman Economy (1990) and Money and Government in the Roman Empire (1994). He has been a Fellow of the British Academy since 1992.

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