“Let there be no violence contrary to my wish”: Emperors and Provincial Order

Christopher J. Fuhrmann

in Policing the Roman Empire

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199737840
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199928576 | DOI:
“Let there be no violence contrary to my wish”: Emperors and Provincial Order

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This chapter examines the emperors’ oversight of public order in the Roman provinces, with special attention to the correspondence between Trajan and Pliny the Younger, when Pliny was governor of Bithynia. Emperors typically did not seek out problems to fix in the provinces. Instead, they reacted to conflicts brought to their attention, often via petitions‐‐thus the term “petition‐and‐response” for the model of governance which largely started with Augustus (Chapter 4). The scattered evidence for emperors’ instructions (mandata) to provincial governors reveal that law and order were prime concerns. Among soldiers performing police tasks for the emperors, the frumentarii were an important specialized unit. During the third century, imperial anti‐Christian persecutions, which were partly enforced by police, show the state’s increasing willingness to assert control over citizens‐ lives.

Keywords: Roman provinces; Roman emperors; petition-and-response; Trajan; Pliny the Younger; mandata; frumentarii; persecution of Christians

Chapter.  11267 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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