The Antonine Constitution, Alex Imrie approaches the famous edict of AD 212 from numerous angles, offering an assessment of its rationale that is rooted in the dynamic period of the early third century. Controversial since its discovery, it is depicted here as a keystone in Caracalla’s attempt to revolutionise the public image of the Severan dynasty after murdering his brother.
There is an inherent paradox between the apparently progressive nature of the edict, and the volatile emperor responsible for it. The enigma is only heightened by a dearth of ancient evidence relating to the legislation. By combining literary and material evidence with the surviving papyrological record, Alex Imrie shows that Caracalla’s rationale is best understood in an embedded context.
Alex Imrie, Ph.D. (2015), is a Tutor in Classics at the University of Edinburgh. He divides his time between teaching and outreach activities across Scotland. He has published articles on Caracalla and the Severan period. This is his first monograph.
"In conclusion, this book is a good introduction both to the CA and to related scholarship. Chapter 1, on historical and literary contexts, makes the topic accessible and interesting to a broad audience of specialist and non-specialist readers alike. The discussion of the practical rationales in chapters 2 and 3 is comprehensive and summarizes, with added nuance, the general state of scholarship on the matter..."
Lydia Schriemer in
"To close, the year 212 will continue to feature in any history of later Rome. What Imrie's book does very well is force us to ask both new and old questions of this moment, of the actual physical copies of the edict and the emperor and dynasty shaping this shift. This is then certainly a worthwhile read, with elements that show great promise." Anthony Smart,
Preface List of Abbreviations List of Figures, Table and Illustration
Introduction The Antonine Constitution in Scholarship
An Edict for the Caracallan Empire
Contexts The Historical Context: 193–212
The Antonine Constitution in Ancient Literature
The Role of the Jurists
The Antonine Constitution and the Giessen Papyrus
The Fiscal Rationale Early Imperial Economic Activity
Decline and Crisis in the High Empire
The Severan Recovery
The Economy under Caracalla
The Economic Function of the Antonine Constitution
The Vicesima Hereditatum
The Purpose of Caracallan Fiscal Innovation
The Military Rationale Obstacles to Legionary Recruitment
The Severan Reforms
The Military Application of the Antonine Constitution
Alexander Imitatio Alexandrian Influences in the Antonine Constitution
Alexander Iconography in the Caracallan Empire
The Political Significance of Alexander Iconography
Securing the Caracallan Empire The Drive for Aequitas
Re-writing the Severan Past
A Religious Offering
The Indulgentissimus Princeps
A Social Contract
Appendix Text, Translation and Commentary of the Giessen Papyrus
All interested in the history of the Severan period and the Roman Empire, more generally, and anyone interested in the spread of citizenship under Rome.