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Roman Consuls, Imperial Politics, and Egyptian Papyri: The Consulates of 325 and 344 CE

From: Journal of Late Antiquity
Volume 1, Number 2, Fall 2008
pp. 278-310 | 10.1353/jla.0.0013



This study re-evaluates the evidence for the consuls in two years when consular proclamations were revoked for unspecified reasons. Thanks to work done in recent decades to index and analyze the evidence for Roman consuls from Diocletian onward, it now is much easier to gain an overview of contemporary understanding of the identity of the consuls of each year. The ever-growing body of epigraphic and, above all, papyrological documentation helps to put flesh on the bare bones of the names preserved in the consular lists of the manuscript tradition. These documentary sources have the virtue of representing a contemporary perspective that is largely free from retrospective editorial manipulation. To appreciate fully the significance of the evidence of the consular formulae employed in late Roman Egypt, it needs to be assessed within the wider context of the use of consular dating both within Egypt in earlier periods and elsewhere.