Status identification on the road: requisitioning of travel resources by senators, equestrians, and centurions without diplomata. A note on the Sagalassus inscription (SEG XXVI, 1392)

Lukas Lemcke

Abstract


This article seeks to answer the question posed in a study which I undertook with Altay Coşkun (forthcoming in Latomus 2013) how high-ranking users (senators, knights, and centurions) of the imperial information and transportation system (most commonly known by its late antique name, cursus publicus) would prove their social class, military rank, and official nature of their journey in order to qualify for requisitioning at stations (mansiones, mutationes) without permits (diplomata). Using the results of this study as basis, I offer a survey over the susceptibility of each of the classes of high-ranking users for status usurpation. This section is followed up by a discussion of the various ways in which identification was possible, including status symbols (ornamenta), travel permissions (legatio libera, commeatus) as well as other written documentation (mandata, codicilli, army records). It will thus be shown that there were acceptably reliable mechanisms in place to prove one’s social status. This result will further corroborate the findings of our previous study that permits, in accordance with the edict of Sotidius Strabo (SEG XXVI, 1392 [20/37]), were not obligatory for certain status groups. Permits became a requirement for all users only in the reign of Claudius.

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