Exploration of the
Trade Guilds of the Latter Roman Empire:
Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia
The Social and Economic Conditions of the members of the "Collegia'
|Preface||Intoduction||PART I||Collegia connected with the "annona" and the "public needs" of Rome and Constantinople||Chapter 1.1||Taxation in the .... Empire||Chapter 1.2||Taxation in the .... Empire Chrysargyron||Chapter 1.3||The annona||Chapter 1.4||The Revicularii||Chapter 1.5||Lesser collegia connected with the annona: Menscrae, Caudioarii, Lenuncularii||Chapter 1.6||The pistores||Chapter 1.7||Collegia connected with the meat supply and the wine supply||Chapter 1.8|| Collegia connected with the other public needs of Rome |
Section 1. Hanciper Thermarum etc, Section 2. Limeburners and Wagonners
|PART II||Workers in the State mines, workshops, mints, weaving and dyeing establishments||Chapter 2.1||General condition of sub members of the Collegia employed by the State||Chapter 2.2||Miners and quarrymen||Chapter 2.3||Workers in the Mint||Chapter 2.4||The Armourers||Chapter 2.5||Gynaecia, baphia, barbaricaria, etc. (weaving & dyeing)||PART III||Collegia in the municipalities, and in Rome and Constantinople considered as municipalities (i.e., Collegia not connected with the annona)||Chapter 3.1||The internal organisation of the Collegia , their aims and their place in the local administration accompanied by some remarks on the general conditions of labour of their members||Chapter 3.2||Role of the collegia in the local government and condition of their members in the 4th and 5th centuries.||Chapter 3.3||Fabri, centorarli, cendrophori||CONCLUSION||
The economic decline of the Roman Empire; |
some causes connected with the position of the Collegiati, Causes and effects.
|Web Editorial||Editorial Comments, Sources, Acknowledgements & Notes - P.R.F.Brown|
The members of the great "corpora" serving the annona, the workers in the State Mines and manufacturers, and the remaining collegia of ..... and artisanna throughout the Empire all need separate treatment.
No attempt has been made to deal with the military collegia and the purely funerary and religious collegia are merely mentioned. Nor have I dealt with the laws or literary evidence concerning the professors, philosophers and doctors. These collegia are in no ..... industrial and the object of this study is to give some account of the industrial and commercial classes in the period from Constantina to Theodosius II. Where information slightly earlier, or slightly later in .... is available, it has been used.
Part III is no more than an attempt to state some of the general characterisations of the collegia and to specify a few of the problems which await solution. I have not even, as yet, been able to --- and ----- of all the inscriptions which I have collected for this purpose.
Generally speaking I have done no more at present than touch the fringes of a vast subject, for although the subject is the social and economic conditions of the "collegiati" it has been impossible to draw a picture of the working conditions and day to day life of the artisan and merchant.
As yet I have done little more than furnish a statement of the position of the "collegiati" in the eyes of the law. My main source has been the Theodosian Code which gives very full information about the collegia dealt with in Part I.
I have carefully perused the church histories of Socrates and Sozomen and the Histories of Zosimus and Aemismus Marcellinus. I have also consulted Lvagrius Nusehius Kunapius. John Chrysoatom's Homilies have afforded many illustrations and these homilies together with the Edict of Diocletian could, I believe, be made to furnish a good deal of information about the thoughts, the human needs, the working conditions and the payment of the artisans and merchants. The edict although ineffective must be held as stating what were regarded as the normal relation between wages and the cost of living.
I hope to continue my study of the industrial classes in the Roman Empire in the future.
The other original sources used together with the modern authorities consulted are given in the Bibliography.
MA Thesis at the London School of Economics, 1925
TRADE GUILDS OF THE LATTER ROMAN EMPIRE
Those of men following the same craft or profession, and those which were merely burial clubs.
The latter were called "collegia tenuiorum" and were formed amongst the poorest of the population, frequently even amongst slaves, as burial insurance societies.
The member paid so much a year to the collegium and in return the collegium saw to it that he had a decent burial when he died and in some cases an inscription to perpetrate his memory. This would be inscribed on an urn or column or over the niche in the column-barium where his ashes rested. Most collegia had a "ustrin" (crematorium) and a burial ground or a columbarium, i.e., a subterranean sepulchre in the walls of which were niches for urns of ashes. The members also worshipped a special patron god and met together for such religious purposes. They even had their days of revel and feasting. Once or twice a year there would be a general remembrance festival of the dead brother. These were called the days of the rose and the days of the violet (dios rosae and dios violae).
Members who attended the funeral of a brother sometimes received a small sum of money from the common fund, no doubt just enough to compensate for their loss of a day’s, or a half-day’s labour. The wish to avoid the horror of the common pit after death and to secure a little remembrance, together with the desire for association with others in some semblance of social life were sufficient reasons for the formation of such collegia. That slaves were often members, and that such funerary collegia were formed amongst the 'families' of slaves of great households is not remarkable. The most wretched slave must have found some slight solace in association with others who experienced misfortunes similar to his own; the lowest workman must have felt some faint touch of human dignity and importance in the knowledge that he would not be entirely forgotten after death.
The collegia of craftsmen were in a somewhat different case. Their objects were also in part funerary but they had others besides. A discussion of their possible functions, and of the ends the workers had in view, is attempted in Part III, Ch. I, but it is generally recognised that they existed particularly for social and religious purposes. They, like the purely funerary collegia, saw to the burial of their members, and the members subscribed during their lifetime for this purpose. But these collegia also existed to make life more joyous, amenible and interesting. the members frequently held feasts together and many of the ordinances which have come down to us concern regulations for such feasts and for the amount of food and wine to be distributed. Frequently the collegia had their own halls of reunion, temples or "scholae" and they, like the purely funerary collegia, had a patron god that was to perform religious rites.
Indeed the distinction between the "collegia tenviorum" and the others, is difficult to maintain unless it is admitted that the latter associated for economic ends; for regulation of labour conditions, for monopolies and so forth (see Part III, Ch.I) otherwise, the difference is not much more than one of degree: the collegia tenuiorum were primarily funerary and religious, but also met for festivals if they were rich enough; the craftsman and merchant collegia were primarily social and had more funds to spend on festivities and reunions. the collegia tenuiorum did in fact sometimes consist of men of one craft, for men of one craft were apt to worship the same god and to know each other. The collegia tenuiorum must have declined in numbers with the spread of Christianity so the function was taken over by the Ohuro. Finally in 415 A.D. their funds were confiscated by the State. The funerary and religious side of the collegia has already been fully investigated and is dealt with in great detail in Waltzing, and other writers.
There seems no doubt also that all collegia were in origin, if not purely religious, primarily associations of a social nature. The collegia created a sort of communal life for their members who felt themselves lost in the immensity of the Empire; they did in fact provide, in some sort, just those amenities, and that necessary intercourse with one's fellows which was provided, in the Greek view, by the polis.
The fact that such collegia as the late drinkers (seribibi) and the comrades in death (commorientes) existed tends to show that collegia were in some sense like modern clubs or similar associations which satisfy the individual's desire for a group life now that the state is too immense to satisfy that craving. Man does in fact seem to be a "political animal". With the end of the City state other forms of association came into being within the big state. But since in the Eastern provinces the "polis" in its attenuated form still satisfied the social needs of men, it is not there, but in the West, that the collegia flourished.
It is difficult to trace the early history of the collegia and the subject does not come within the scope of this work. A brief resume of that history, so far as it is known, seems all that is necessary.
There was a legend at Tome that King Numa had formed various kinds of craftsmen into "collegia" and this shows their great antiquity. Down to 64 B.C. no hindrance was put on the formation of such associations and in the troubled days of the 1st century B.C. many associations seem to have been formed, ostensibly for innocent purposes such as burial insurance or to perform religious rites, but in reality as political clubs, to support by organised hooliganism either the Conservative or the Popular party (Optimates and Pupulares). The same --- to stop disorder accordingly ordered the dissolution of all collegia of recent creation. Glodius the Tribune, idol and leader of many such pseudo-collegia, reestablished full freedom of association in 58B.C. but Julius Caesar later suppressed all collegia not specifically allowed by the law. After his time only certain important and old-established collegia were recognised as legal, though many others were formed, and flourished without hindrance. Only in times of disorder, or suspected political disaffection, was action taken against them. For example the Emperor Trojan told Pliny to publish an edict in Bythnia ordering the dissolution of all private collegia in his province for Pliny had been specially sent by the Emperor to deal with that disordered province.
Pliny was indeed forced while there to persecute some Christians whose associations were counted as collegia and therefore came under the ban of the law.1/
It is well known that Trajan refused to allow a fire brigade to be formed at --icomedia in case the association should develop into a seditious one.
Still in the ordinary way "collegia" which were not licita i.e. legally recognised, were not interfered with. There were "illicita" in the sense of not being recognised rather than in the sense of being illegal. If there were disorders or riots anywhere or any suspicion of sedition amongst members of a collegium the "collegia illicita" were liable to be suppressed.2/
When the Government felt very ----- and the Empire had settled down to peace and prosperity in the 2nd century "collegia" of every description are found flourishing all over the Western Empire.3/ Evidently there was no longer any question of ambition or suppression. The 2nd century was indeed the golden age of the collegia as it was the golden age of trade and industry.
The 3rd century is the intermediate period during which many of the collegia declined in wealth and independence and the state services they undertook came to be called "munera" - a word of ominous import.
In the 4th century the collegia or corpora are entirely in the hands of the state which does as it pleases with them. Just as the State had incorporated, and was in the East to subject, its late enemy the Christian church, so it had incorporated and now used for its own purposes the collegia - those lesser imports in ----- which it had once suppressed.
But from another point of view the collegia in the 4th century are merely one form of the groups into which all the inhabitants of the Empire were collected. The order of curiales and the corpus of navicularli in a city can be referred to in one sentence as two groups to be treated in the same way. The ordo equester, the ordo senatoria and the ordo of principalares are other groups. All classes of people, civil servants of various kinds, soldiers, local senators, cultivators of the soil, artisans, all are classified and grouped in crates. All have their appointed task, all are hereditarily bound to their calling. The son of a senator becomes a senator and holds high office; the son of a Knight also follows his father’s profession or holds the same position in the state service, the son of a curial becomes a curial, the son of an artisan or a shipowner must follow his father’s trade or calling.
We are only concerned with the collegia of artisans and merchants but it must be remembered that their type of was only one of many. The collegia were from the point of view of the government merely convention groups who could be made collectively responsible for taxation, for the performances of work by their members’, for the succession of the to his father’s place and of his property to its service. Where no collegia existed artificial groupings were probably allowed and this would be especially the case in the eastern provinces where few collegia seem to have existed.
It is noticeable that
Corpora seems to be the usual name used for the great associations of navicularii, mensores , suarii, pistores etc. i.e. those groups which were concerned with the annona and who are dealt with in Part I, collegia on the other hand seems to be the general name for all the local
FNs: 1/ The Christians met for a common meal and for the worship of a god and they had elected officials - all --- of a collegium. On the whole subject of the persecution of the Christians as members of forbidden associations see Mr. H.T. Merrill's book "Essays in Early Christian History". 2/ For example after the massacre occasioned by the jealousy between Pompeii and Ruceria in 59A.D. the collegia concerned were suppressed. See Reid.Ch.15. p.523. 3/ The epigraphic evidence is abundant. Most inscriptions relating to collegia date from the 2nd century.
CHAPTER 1 - TAXATION IN THE LATER EMPIRE
It had always been recognised that the government could demand supplies of food, wood etc. from the provincials for the needs of the army, for new buildings or repairs and so on. The governors had often abused these powers in Republican times and the Emperors had taken away from them the right to requisition supplies in their province. But the principle that the government had the power to requisition supplies upon occasion or to demand 'corvees' from the inhabitants remained and occasionally such demands were made. Pliny the younger speeches of requisitions under the name "indictio" in his panegyric of Trajan. (1)
There were also certain provinces such as Africa and Egypt, which instead of a money tax paid a percentage of their produce, the canon frumentarius.
In the troubled days of the 3rd century the Emperors became more and more frequent in their imposition of "indictiones" that is to say they issued decrees at short intervals demanding a certain quantity of corn, oil, wine, military garments and so forth from each landholder in the Empire, or from the landholders of certain provinces only. Nevertheless until Diocletian, these "indictiones" though very frequent, were still regarded as Special levies of taxation, they were not systematic or uniform and were indeed for that reason particularly grievous. Diocletian reduced all the provinces, including Italy, to the same level and transformed the "indictio" into a regular yearly land tax. He had a Census taken every five years from which it was calculated exactly how many "units" there were in the Empire.
Each year so much natural produce was demanded from each "unit" (2) and the collection was made by the Curiales of each municipia from the "units" in their territory. The term used for each unit was a "caput" or head, but the calculation of the "capita" was not merely one of population as may be gathered from the fact that the 'indictio' was a land tax. The units or "caputs" were calculated in the following manner: Each individual cultivator of the soil, whether he here a farmer farming his own land, or a tenant farmer, or a hired labourer, or a slave, was one Caput. Any woman, wife, daughter or slave counted as half a Caput. In addition, so much land counted as a Caput, the amount varying according to whether it was plain or hilly.(1)
FNs: (1) For the above account see Seeck.B.II Ch.6. whose views on this subject I have adopted here.Each year so much natural produce was demanded from each "unit" (2) and the collection was made by the Curiales of such municipia from the "units" in their territory. The term used for each unit was a "caput" or head, but the calculation of the "capita" was not merely one of population as may be gathered from the fact that the 'indictio' was a land tax.
FNs: (1) Paneg. of Trajan 29.4. He refers to the supression of extraordinaria indictiones by that Emperor who, when the "canon" was insufficient arranged matters with private persons. (2) The financial year was from Sept. 1 - April 31 and the taxes took the name of indictio from the notice sent out by the Emperor before Sept. 1. Goth:Parat.ad.C.Th.XI 1.5.The units or "caputs" were calculated in the following manner: Each individual cultivator of the soil, whether he were a farmer farming his own land, or a tenant farmer, or a hired labourer, or a slave, was one Caput. Any woman, wife, daughter or slave counted as half a Caput. In addition, so much land counted as a Caput, the amount varying according to whether it was plain or hilly.(1)
FNs: (1) For the above account see Seeck.B.II Ch.6. whose views on this subject I have adopted here.Each year a definite quantity of grain, oil or wine or other food stuffs was demanded from each Caput, but although the demand might vary from year to year, there was a normal rate established in course of time. The members of the municipal senates, i.e. the curiales, were responsible for the collection from each “Caput” in the territory of the municipality and each year they chose a certain number from their midst to do the collection, these collectors were responsible for any deficit and had to make it up from their own property. They could call in the soldiers and executioners of the government to assist them in dealing with recalcitrant peasants, but it is obvious that it would be the big landowners who could and would refuse to pay. These latter could not be tortured, and might often be too powerful and too close to the Emperor’s ear or to the ear of some high official for the curiales or the governors to dare to press them for what was due. Hence it was the poor and powerless who had to be forced to make good themselves. Hence “tot curiales tot tyranni” became a true saying. Such curiales who disliked this task of becoming extortioners and torturers, or those who in spite of such measures were unable to raise the necessary amount, often attempted to run away from their native towns to escape being curiales. They are even found to have gone into the country and become tenant farmers (coloni) themselves. [1 - C.Th.XII.18. etc.]
The reassessment of the number of "Capita" per district being only made every five years [2 - Later on it seems to have only been made every 15 years C.Th.XII.12 and Goth commentary.] no account was taken of land left waste in the interval by the flight or death of the inhabitants; the curiales had to make good the deficit; the Treasury demanded the same amount. When at the end of the five years the reassessment was made; the officials responsible were unwilling to report a smaller number of "Capita" than at the last indiction for fear of incurring the Emperor's displeasure. Furthermore, it would again be the rich and powerful who by bribes and intimidation would lessen the number of Capita at which their lands and slaves were assessed.
It is to be noted that it was only the actual cultivators of the soil who paid the tax. The owner of the land who resided in a city whether he let it out to smallholders (coloni) or cultivated it by means of slave labour was not himself assessed.[1 - Seeck op.cit. p.267.]
The landowner indeed paid for his slaves but the peasant and Colonus paid for themselves.
How very much more heavily the tax weighed on the tenant farmer and the small holder than on the great landowner is clearly shown by Seeck. "Let us take, for example, a married peasant with 20 acres of arable land of first quality, this land would count as one Caput, he himself as another and his wife as 1/2 a Caput. He had therefore to pay at the rate of 2-1/2 caputs for his little farm i.e. 1/6 Caput per acre. On the other hand he who cultivated 2000 acres with 50 slaves counted as 150 units i.e. only 3/40 per acre. Thus in this case the burden of the peasant compared with the burden of the great landowner was in the proportion of 5 to 3". [2 - Ibid. Ck.II.Ch.6. p. 270 and 71].
The main sufferers, apart from the coloni, were the curiales who had to make good from their own property deficiencies in the amount of taxation: the middle class in the provinces were not powerful enough to escape their burdens and who found those burdens becoming ever more onerous as the produce and man-power of the Empire declined.
It has been necessary to go into some detail about the "indictio" both in order to understand how supplies in kind were obtained in other countries than Egypt and Africa and to make clear how great a privilege was exemption from the curia for the members of the special collegia to whom it was granted.
A distinction must be made between the provinces whose taxes in kind were sent to Rome and Constantinople, and those whose supplies were used for the payment and nourishment of the officials and soldiers in the province or sent further away for the supply of military expeditions. The former will be dealt with specially under the chapter entitled Annona.
As regards the ordinary provinces which were not productive enough to do much more than supply the needs of the military forces and of the officials in the province the taxes were brought to the municipia and there some were stored and some handed over to the 'susceptores' of the central government. There was beyond the supply of so much foodstuff per capita a demand for so many horses(1) and so many "militares vestes" from every so many "capita". A colonus might therefore find himself taxed with part of the cost of a horse and 1/8 of the cost of a woollen garment in addition to his contribution of corn or wine or oil. We know that in the case of Thrace one vestris had to be ........
Note: Page H7 is coming
or mend a road, to restore a public building. He could not refuse to do any bodily service demanded of him anymore than he could refuse the taxes. But whereas in the case of the "indictio" no cultivator of the soil was excused from payment, in the case of the munera sordida et extraordinaria certain privileged classes were excused. All senators were held to the payment of the indictio on their lands, though they themselves were not reckoned as capita. They paid for their land and their slaves and could not be excused. But they were exempt from all "munera civilia" including bodily service in corvees which one might otherwise have concluded would have been performed by their slaves. From the other form of personal service e.g. as members of local curiae and so as tax collectors or as holders of other posts in the local government they were equally exempt.
There was, however, a special extra tax placed on senators only. It was a money tax on land instituted first by Constantine according to Zosimus (1 - Zosimus, Bk.II.) and called variously: follis senatorius, gleba senatoria, glebalis pensio, canon senatorius.
The revenue from this tax came straight to the Treasury, that is, it was an extra source of revenue for the central government and did not in any way benefit the municipia in whose territory lay the lands so taxed. In fact the special treatment of the senators meant that they became a class apart who took no part in the local government, bore no direct share in local taxation and so gave no help in the provinces where they lived; they were so to speak lifted out of the provinces to form a class of citizens of the Empire having no connection with the individual units of the Empire; they were directly under the Emperor instead of approaching him via the municipality or local governing bodies. There was another tax which only concerned Senators; the aurum oblatitium. This was a yearly money payment levied at a varying rate according to the wealth of the senators, there being three, and then four classes in which they were grouped. It was in theory a voluntary offering, but in fact a tax. On special occasions such as the coronation of an Emperor on his five yearly jubilees, or celebrations of victories, it was levied at a specially high rate.(1 - C.Th.XII. 13.1.)
To correspond with the aurum oblatitium for senators there was the aurum coronarium for the curiales. This was an old tax which had persisted since the early Empire as in theory a voluntary offering of gold crowns by the curiae of the municipalities. It had for long been a tax which could not be refused, and it was levied on special occasions such as coronations, jubilees and celebrations of victories. Julian tried to make it only a voluntary gift and decreed that it was not to be exacted (indici) from other classes any more than from senators (who were never liable). He distinguishes it carefully from the indiction which is a regular lawful tax.(2 - C.Th.XII. 13.1)
However it was soon exacted again for in 364 Valentinian decreed that all "possessores” except senators and those specially exempted were to be made to pay it.(1 - XII.13.2)
It is quite clear that the tax was only paid by the curiales, for senators the glebalis payment took its place.(2 - XII.13.2) No one but curiales were to be made to pay.(3 -XII.13.2) The pretence that it was a voluntary offering was still sometimes kept up for in 379 it is decreed that such ordines of the various curiae as "moved by pride, or the joy of giving, or by success in business, have made an offering in golden crowns" are not to be told to pay in some other specie; whatever material their offering is made in is to be accepted.
It would appear that the native rulers of Eastern provinces under the protectorate of the RF. Empire were also called upon to pay this aurum coronarium (4 - C.Th.XII.13.6. "All satraps on account of the devotion which is owed to the R. dominion should make a solemn offering to our serenity from their own property”.) but this point does not concern us.
Apart from the custom duties which had long existed there is only one other important tax which has not been mentioned. This is the CHRYSARGYRUM ORLUSTRALIS COLLATIO collected every five years from all who lived by industry or trade of any sort. It specially concerns the subject of this thesis and needs separate treatment.
CHAPTER II - The Chrysargyron
FNs: (1) Lamp.Alex. Sev.24. "Braco-ariorum, linteonum Vitresariarum, pellionum, plaustrariorum, argentariorum, aurificum et coterarum artium, vectigal pulcherrimum instituit ex coque jussit tharmas... populi usibus exhiberi". (2) Zosimus Bk.II. (3) ibid. 446. (4) e.g. W. A. Brown State control of industry in 4th cont. A.D. Political Science Quarterly II. 494.Just how far it was a tax on earnings and how far a sort of capital levy on property, whether the 'property' consisted in tools or goods - it is impossible to say,. It may be surmised that it was a mixture of the two just as the indictio was half land tax, half poll tax.
It may again have been a tax on production and sale copies from Egypt, for Persson has shown that such taxes took the place of royal monopolies as early as the first century B.C. and were continued by the Romans.(1)
Although unable to show exactly on what principle the assessment for the tax was made it is possible to define the classes who had to pay it.
The position becomes clearer when it is realised that the word "negotiatores" as used in the laws means both artisans and merchants.
It is applied both to those who bought raw materials to sell them later as finished products whether small artisans or owners of large workshops, and to all merchants who bought finished products to retail.(2)
No one, says Constantius, in 356 and again in 380, who is engaged in any sort of trade is to be exempt "Negotiatores comes protinus convenit curum argentomque praebere"(3) and "universi qui negotiandi videntur exercere sollertiem, ad onus
FNs: (1) Perason "Staat un Manufactur in Rom: Reich. (2) Ibi tantum ad argentique destinentur oblationum qui merces emendoatque vadendo commitantes, qui in exercitio tabernarum usuque versantur". C.PH.XIII. 1.8. (3) XIII. 1. 1.opalationis edstringantur"(1) with the exception of peasants and coloni who, living on the lands of senators, retail locally only such things as they produce from the lands they cultivate.(2)
If this decree did not include all peasants retailing their own produce but only those on the lands of senators, the subsequent decrees give exception to all landowners or coloni who retailed their own produce.(3)
A special distinction is made between the sort of peasants mentioned above and those who "for gain or because their nature so impells them" are sellers and retailers.(4) The latter are to pay the tax they must be peasants who but goods from their fellows and retail them or those who carry on some small retail business in merchandise procured from the towns; whilst at the same time cultivating their lands.(5)
The simple village craftsman, such as the potter and the smith, who with their own hands procured their subsistence are also exempted, but the dealers in the same articles who are real merchants who have devoted their life to trade are to pay.(6)
FNs: (1) C.Th. XIII. 1.2. (2) XIII. 1.3 Ad senatum: "Rusticanos colonesque . . . . . . si es bomines vestri ac rusticeni atians in possessionibus commosantos distrohant, quas in his terris quas incolunt aque in codem rure gignuntur". (3) XIII. 1,6,8,10,12,13. (4) XIII. 1,3 and 10. (5) ibid and 13 "emendi vendendive corpendtis ultro citroque quaesitis familiaris coi ..... (6) XIII. 1.10.It is obvious that the Emperors try to make a distinction in the country districts between those who sell the produce of their own labour and those who are buyers and sellers i.e. real merchants. These latter whether large wholesale dealers or small shopkeepers(1) are all to pay; those who live off the land and who are already sufficiently taxed by the "indictio" and likewise simple village craftsmen in the country districts, are not to pay.
Generally speaking the tax is obviously designed to touch those who did not pay the indictio. Thus Julian removed the abuse whereby curiales had been forced to pay the tax in a body and decreed that only those engaged in commerce were to be held liable (nisi forte decurionem aliquid mercari constiterit)(2) such curiales who were only landowners were already sufficiently taxed and were in no sense liable.
The number of laws forbidding exemption to any of the classes is liable to show how many people endeavoured to avoid the tax and also how complicated was the collection in view of the difficulty of ascertaining just who was and who was not, liable. It may with confidence be conjectured that the tax gatherers were often not too squeamish in demanding payment from those whose occupation might or might not bring them within the category of exemption. It would be extremely difficult to prove whether a man was selling only the products of his own farm or the pots he had made himself or whether he had bought them elsewhere to retail them. It would be safer to force him to pay and be done with it.
FNs: (1) XIII.1.8. "qui in exercitio tabernarum usuque versantur" (2) XIII.1.4.If the exemption of small handicraftsmen such as potters and smiths who with their own hands worked at their means of subsistence (qui manu victum rimantur aut tolerant) (1) was ever held to apply to the towns such exeption was not universal or lasting. The ancient authorities show how the very poorest who possessed nothing but their tools were compelled to pay. Tortures and scourgings forced the poorest to devise some means of raising the money and parents sold their children or prostituted their daughters for this purpose. I quote below two extracts, one from Zosimus and one from Libanius, which show clearly that no independent artisan however poor was exempt.
"On the return of every 4th year when the tax was to be paid, nothing could be heard through the whole city but lamentations and complaints. When the time arrived nothing but whips and tortures, provided for those who on account of their extreme poverty could not pay the money. Mothers were even forced to part with their children and fathers to prostitute their daughters for money to satisfy the collectors of this exaction".(2) "Let us now speak of a vexation which surpasses all others: the tax of gold and silver, an unbearable tax which makes the whole world tremble when the 5th year approaches. It is adorned by a special name which conveys the idea of a commercial tax. But whereas the merchants can indemnify themselves by large speculation, those to whom the work of their hands hardly provides the means of subsistence, are crushed under the burden. The meanest of artisans does not escape it. I have seen some who, holding up their hands to heaven
FNs: (1) XII. 1.10. See above. (2) Zosimus Bk.II.and holding their means of livelihood (..... = (knife or chisel) swore that they possessed nothing else in the world. But their protests did nothing to stop the greed of the cruel men who chased them with menacing cries and who seemed ready to devour them. It is the time when slavery increases, when fathers alienate the liberty of their children, not to enrich themselves by the price of that sale but to hand it over to their persecutors." (1)
These quotations show conclusively that the tax fell most heavily on the poor artisan, that is on the real producer of wealth. The merchants who bought and sold the produce of others, doing business on a great scale with large resources of capital did not find it so difficult to pay. Furthermore, they could like other rich men bribe or intimidate the collectors to tax them lightly or to exempt them. The frequent decrees against the patronage of the great who seem to have 'protected' merchants against the demands of the treasury(2) show what the rich and powerful could do if they wanted exemption on their own account. One law refers distinctly
FNs: (1) Libanius contra Florent: p;. 427 ed.Morelli cited by Naudet Vol.II Part 3. Article I. (2) XIII.1.15 and 21.to the attempts of the great to get exemption for themselves or their dependants. "potiorum quoque homines vel potiores ip sos". (XIII.1.5.) Likewise whereas the decrees when referring to poor people, like the coloni and peasants, are concerned with their exemption, the many references to the mercatores and negotiatores all reiterate that the latter must be made to pay. According to Evagrius(1) even the beggars were not spared and Cedrenus(2) and Zonarus(3) confirm his statement. Although the inclusion of beggars so shocked the pious fathers it does not seem so bad as the taxing of poor artisans who worked for their living - economically at any rate it was much sounder. There is however no reference to such taxation in the laws and it is difficult to see how beggars could be treated under the heading of merchants or artisans. Evagrius speaks of the chrysargyrum as being imposed on all who procured their livelihood by an accumulation of petty gains and such a description could include beggars as well as traders; the language of the laws is less ambiguous and shows positively that in intention at any rate the chrysargyrum was a tax on trade and industry as distinct from the land taxes.
FNs: (1) Evagrius Hist.Eccles.III.39. (2) Cedrenus Chronicle p.357 cited by Naudet Pt.III.Ch.6. (3) Zon.Ann.XIV p.54 - cited by Naudet Pt.III. Ch.6.Moneylenders "who see their money increase every day by interest"(1) were also taxed. The term moneylender should not I think only be taken in its modern sense, but should also be taken to apply to those who invested their money in a trading or other business concern and lived on the interest derived from it, i.e. shareholders in the modern sense but shareholders without any say in the business in which they invested. That this type of "money lending" existed is, I think, attested by John Chrysostom. The latter observes that rich people borrowed money as capital for business undertakings and did not pay high interest on it. He speaks of such interest as implying an honourable gain and says that rich people liked to leave such bonds to their children. "If thou hadst money lent out and bearing interest and thou hadst a grateful debtor, thou wouldst ten thousand times rather choose instead of the gold to leave the bond to thy child so that he should have the large income from it and not be constrained to go about and seek for others to borrow it".(2)
Chrysostom takes such lending as normal and honest but inveighs against the lending of small sums at high interest to poor people in their distress; this was usury and was forbidden by law to senators.(3)
Both classes of money lenders must have been made to pay the chrysargyrum. The existence of the sort of "respectable" money lending referred to by John Chrosostom throws some light on the methods of trade and industry at the time. It would be extremely interesting to know if there were in the 4th and 5th centuries many wealthy people who had inherited capital which they lent to business men at reasonable rates of interest, and similarly, whether it was a frequent custom to lend money to poor, but free, artisans at interest in order to enable them to set up in workshops of their own. This method of financing free men and living on the interest they paid on the capital borrowed would then be the system which had suplanted the old custom of setting up freedmen and slaves in business and taking a percentage of their earnings.
FNs: (1) “qui studentes fenori crescentis in dies singulos pecuniae accessione laetantur”. XIII.1.18. (2) In Math 66.t.VII.660B. (3) In Math.56.t.VIII think that this is a suggestion which merits further investigation and as to the truth of which it might be possible to obtain evidence from the sermons of John Chrysostom and from other Christian writers.
The only exemption amongst the petty dealers are ecclesiastics who engaged in petty commerce to gain their livelihood(1) gravediggers.(2) Veterans for a sum of 100 folles(3) and some soldiers by special concession(4). The navicularli were specially exempted (see Ch.IV.
FNs: (1) XVI.2.15. (2) ?XIII.1.1.3. (3) XIII.1.7 (4) XIII.1.2.See also Goth: ad XIII.1.As regards the method of collection the burden of this was evidently placed on the curiales in some places for in 399 the governor of Numidia is told that as the apportioning of the tax is usually laid on those who have to pay it, the curiales are not to bear the responsibility. Since it is the 'negotiatores' who have to pay they must choose contractors (mancipes) from their own body who shall be held responsible with their property for any deficit in the amount collected.((1) XIII.1.17.)
Elsewhere reference is made to all the corporati paying((2) XIII.1.16.) and it would seem therefore that the various collegia were collectively liable for the tax. They had to meet in a sort of trades council, the corollary of the curia for landowners, and elect members who would collect the tax and bear the responsibility of the deficits. As practically all the people who paid would be members of collegia it may be presumed that one of the principal people in each collegium was chosen to collect from the members in his collegium. We know nothing as to the amount of the tax but it may be concluded, from the loud complaints, that it was very heavy, and also that the proportion paid by the ordinary artisan was a much heavier burden than that paid by the rich. The Roman legislators forgot as so many legislators seem to forget that to demand 1/5th of the income, or capital, of a poor man is a much more oppressive exaction than the 1/5th demanded from a wealthy person. Whereas the rich man merely has to curtail his luxuries the poor man starves or sells his children. The chrysargyrum must have been especially oppressive since it was levied only every five years; it would have been far easier for the small artisan to pay his contribution monthly or even yearly. This seems to have been eventually recognised by the imperial legislation, for in 410, it is decreed that the tax shall in future be paid by fractions.(1)
One very probable effect of the "lustralis collatio" which has not, I think, been noted is that it must have drastically reduced the numbers of free craftsmen who made and sold their own products independently as the tax did not fall on hired laborers, who, neither owned their tools nor themselves bought the raw materials which they used the poor independent artisan who could not satisfy the tax collectors must frequently either have mortgaged his tools to raise the necessary amount, or have sold them and in future hired himself out at a day wage to a richer man who was in a position to pay the tax. Thus the number of artisans working for a wage must have increased and the number of independent "small" producers must have diminished.
This process would correspond to the gradual elimination of the small free cultivator of the soil and would be one more instance of the gradual depression of the people "of a middle sort" the existence of whom is regarded by Plato as so vital to a healthy state.
CHAPTER III - The Annona
The primary meaning of the word annona is the product of the annual harvest: the sum of the means of subsistence stored, particularly cereals. It comes secondly to mean especially the corn stored for the provisioning of Rome and is frequently used in this sense. By transference it came to mean all the direct taxes in kind levied (a) for the suport of the army and the officials in the provinces (annona militaria), (b) for the support of Rome and later Constantinople (annona civica). Since therefore the word “annona” may mean the “indictio” taxes it will occasionally be used in this sense in the following pages.
By a further transference of meaning it was applied to the actual distributions of corn, and then bread, to state employees and soldiers (annona militaria) and to the people of Rome and Constantinople (annona civica). It was also occasionally applied to the price of corn in the public market.
The “annona militaris”, i.e. the taxes in kind levied by the indiction for the supply of the army and the civil service locally has been dealt with in the last chapter.
We have here to consider the Annona Civica. This annona civica was the part of the taxes in kind set aside for the provisioning of Rome and Constantinople, in Egypt and Africa mainly, but also in Spain, Sardinia, possibly Sicily, and in South Italy.
Egypt and Africa which for long had supplied Rome with nearly all her grain, had always been taxed under a special system. They were subjected to the canon frumentarius.
Each farmer had to give up one fifth of his yearly produce calculated on the whole produce without deducting seed corn.(1) We know that, in the time of Augustus, Egypt transported to Rome twenty million modii a year - supplies sufficient to last Rome four months. Africa contributed most of what was needed for the rest of the year; a certain amount was supplied again by Spain and by Sardinia.(2) There are, however, only two laws in the Theodosian Code concerning
FNs: (1) Seeck. Book. II Ch.6. (2) Dariet Saglio etc.the navicularii of Spain, and both here and in Sardinia the annona was left to the administration of the provincial governors (justices)(1) whereas in Africa there was a special "praefectus annonae africao" and in Egypt a special administration.
Prudentius speaks of a Sardinian grain fleet and the 35th Novella of Valentinian III deals with the levying of pigs flesh from Sardinia,(2) so it seems pretty certain that some supplies were obtained from there, although none of the laws dealing with the navicularii mention the island. Presumably this is because the transport was easy. The supplies must anyhow have been very small in amount.
In our period Africa was the main source of supply for Rome; Egypt for Constantinople. Africa may occasionally have sent supplies to Constantinople since the difference in the length of the voyage from Africa to Rome, and Africa to Constantinople, is taken into account in the Theodosian Code.((3) XIII p.21)
At any rate, Africa was the important source for Rome, since the latter no longer received any annona from Egypt. The blockading of Africa meant famine for Rome,((4) Sosimus 6.11.) and the shipwreck laws all concern transport from Africa.
FNs: (1) Krahauer: Das Verpflegungawesen der stadt Rom in Spateren Kaiserreit p.4. (2) ibid p.5.The supplies from Africa were corn and oil. Spain also supplied oil and some grain. Wine and meat were obtained from Southern Italy, Northern Italy contributing to the upkeep of the armies.
The laws in the Theodosian Code about the "auorii" and the "susceptores vini" show us that Campania Samnium Lucania and Bruttium supplied pork or pigs as part of their "indictio".((1) See Ch.VII) Lucania and Bruttium, and also others of the "regiones suburbiaas" of Rome, delivered wine.
No grain was obtained in Italy; she had long been unable to feed even herself.
Wood for the Baths at Rome was obtained partly from Africa, and partly from Southern Italy(2)
In a subsequent chapter the transport of the annona from Rome and Constantinople and the "collegia" involved will be considered in detail. It now remains to consider the actual distribution made to the people of the Capitals by sale and gratis.
Empire, even the best of Emperors were not indifferent to the applause and approval of the populace, whilst the worst were often, like Nero, beloved of the mob on account of their largesses. One must not forget that the very fact that the imperial dignity was elective and not hereditary made the holder of it far more dependent on popular favour than an hereditary king would have been,((1) c.f. Tacitus Histories. Book I. Ch.16.1) and although the power of the Emperor was based on control of the armies, and the choice of an Emperor was in actual fact often determined by the soldiers, no Emperor could afford to offend or alienate the city populace. Also the Emperor was usually resident in the Capital and it would have been exceedingly unpleasant, if not dangerous, to be disliked by the people.
It is hard to see what else the Emperors could have done. Rome was a city practically without industries. Her people, except those engaged in luxury trades, had no work. She was a great city because she had conquered the world, not because she had natural resources or an industrious population. The error had been made long before in Republican times when the rich had been allowed to acquire all the land of Italy, whilst the small peasant farmers who were ruined fighting in the Punic and other wars, flocked to Rome to live on charity, private or public. Perhaps in the time of Julius Caesar it was already too late to get these people "back to the land" and anyhow the greed and selfishness of the aristocracy had made all attempted agrarian laws ineffective.
Whether Augustus could have done anything is doubtful - if he could, it was unlikely that he would have gone against the interests of the great landed proprietors by confiscating part of their estates. It was simpler to feed the city populace from the produce of the provinces, and those who were not already too degenerate to be reestablished on the land soon became so. When after centurica, Italy lost her preeminent position, and was reduced by Diocletian to the level of the other provinces, Rome retained her material privileges. Even Diocletian was not radical enough to reduce "eternal Rome" to a small provincial city with deserted streets and empty houses, as he would have done if he had deprived her of her "canon frumontarins".(1) Rome was no longer even the seat of government of the whole Empire, but her people still subsisted almost without labour on the produce of the labour of the provinces.
FNs: (1) Anon: Marcellinus Pg.1.17 - Goth ad.C.Th.XIII 5.7.The Emperors before Diocletian, far from diminishing the free distributions, had added to them. In 270 under Aurelian,(1) a daily allowance of bread was substituted for the monthly allowance of corn.
The same Emperor instituted free distributions of pork(2) but it is impossible to ascertain whether they were made daily. It seems most improbable, as this would have entailed an unreasonable amount of trouble.
Septimus Severus had distributed oil gratuitously and daily.(3) Helegabalus had diminished the amount given, but Alexander Severus reestablished the distributions in their entirety.(4) Vopicus speaks of such distributions under Aurelian(5) and in the Theodosian Code XIV, 24, we have details given about the oil rations (mensa olearia)(6). They still took place daily in the 4th century.(7)
FNs: (1) Or shortly before between the reigns of Alex.Severus & Aurelian. See Vopiscus Aurel 35, cited by Valtzing II p.20 & by Dar: et Saglio etc. (2) Vopisc.Aur.35.48 "Aurelianus et porcinaro carnem Populo Romano distribuit quao bodio quoque dividitur." (3) Spart. Sev.18. (4) Laupoid Alex.Sev.22. (5) Vita Aurel.48 cited by Waltzing. (6) C.Th.XIV. 17.16. (7) Ibid. also Vopiscum lived under Constantine & says: "quae bodie quoque dividitur" (see above).As regards wine it is well known that Augustus pointed to his new aqueducts when the populace complained of scarcity. Later Emperors did not expect the people to be so temperate. They did not indeed distribute wine free, but Aurelian instituted the practice of selling wine as one of the functions of the fiscus. It was not apparantly at first sold below the market price, and the government only undertook the sale in order to ensure an adequate supply, but in 365 Valentisino began the practice of selling it below the market price at the demand of the people. This wine was, of course, part of the product of the "indictio" or "annona."
Free distribution of bread, oil and pork were instituted by Constantine for the people of his new city of Constantinople.
Such then were the regular free distributions made to the people of both capitals: bread, oil and pork. Before considering the method adopted for the distribution, and what we know as to the amount, an attempt must be made to estimate who were the actual recipients.
As regards numbers, it is impossible to say for our period.
We know that Augustus fixed the number of recipients of the free corn at 200,000, and that twelve million modii were needed for this. The recipients had to be citizens "pleno jure" and to be resident in Rome. Dirksen, Rein and Walter think that the poor alone could be written down on the lists as participants. Mommsen, Marquardt and Mirschfeld disagree, but agree that in fact only such claimed it. The middle classes bought cereals in the market provisioned partly by the taxes in kind from the provinces.
The number of poor recipients of the free bread diminished later, but as the numbers of the Imperial Household and the vigiles and praetorians began to receive their free rations too, and similarly the "pueri alimentarii" of Trajan, the amount required must have increased rather than diminished.
In the 4th and 5th centuries free bread was given to various classes of civil servants as part of their pay, and to the soldiers, such as the special palace guards, who were resident in the capitals. In Constantinople we can see from the laws in the Code that bread was given free to three classes of people:
(a) A fixed number of poor citizens, the "annona popularis."
(b) The "palatinii" i.e. the members of the Imperial Household.
(c) The "scholares" who formed the imperial guard "annone militaris'.
Furthermore there was the "panis aedium" the free bread given to those who built new houses. This institution, which already existed in Rome, was transplanted to Constantinople where Constantine hoped to encourage people to increase the size of his new city. It was attached to the houses and went with them when sold or left by will. It was strictly forbidden for those who sold houses "to which the privilege of receiving bread was attached" to go on receiving the said free bread. If there were no heir to the breads, they were to be withdrawn.
To each class of recipient of the free bread it is forbidden to receive that of any other class. The official of the palace (palatinus) is to demand the "palatine" bread, the soldier the military bread, the people of the civic bread. Thus no one by seeking the bread of another class is to be able to mix the privileges of different classes i.e. receive twice over.
Again, it is specially forbidden that anyone should try to claim both the ordinary "annona civica" and the special "panis aedificiorum". This enactment was made when Valentinian restored the free distribution of bread of best quality after a few years lapse during which, apparently, bread of an inferior quality had instead been sold at a low price.
Indeed anyone who is already in receipt of some special allowance of bread like an official or a receiver of a panis aedificiorum, and succeeds in drawing the ordinary annona civica, is to cease to receive his own allowance and be suitably punished according to his condition. The annona civica is to be given only to those citizens who receive no other benefit (quibus non est aliunde solacium) and to their successors. Those entitled to it are to have their names written down on tables of bronze, no one afterwards under threat of punishment is to try and get his name inserted as a participant either he himself or through his slaves.
Senators evidently tried to get a share of the free bread by means of their slaves; it is specially decreed that if any such slave shall have obtained the bread, he is to be condemned to work in chains in the bakery which he defrauded if he himself "acted illegally by his own boldness". If the senator himself ordered the slave so to act the senator is to have his house confiscated. Poor citizens who take part illegally in the free distributions are also condemned to work in a pistrinum but not in chains. Men of substance who have thus tried to defraud the government find themselves hereafter "tied" with their possessions to the bakehouse in question and forced to bear a share of the expenses of its upkeep. The official writer (scribe) who allowed such frauds knowingly is to be tortured.
The recipients of the free bread were given a "tossera" or metal ticket to prove their title to it. This was passed on from father to son. Sometimes a holder of such a tossera sold it to another person when he left the city. This was forbidden by Valena in 372. Henceforth if anyone left the City, the bread and other articles he received free were stored in the graneries and could only be given to a man of the same class (ordo) as that of the one who had left. If he came back he received them again. This must mean that if a member of a collegium ran away or left, he might be recalled and have his ticket given back to him; if he did not come back, his place in the collegium would be taken by another who would receive his ticket. No collegiatus can have had the absolute right to the ticket, it was hereditarily bound to his collegium or ---- like the rest of his possessions.
In the same way the soldiers, i.e. those belonging to a "corpus" of the army, could only transmit their right to the military bread to their successors in that corpus; the right could not be transferred to another corpus.
Another law tells us that Constantine gave the right to the "annona civica" to the "military men" to encourage them to build, and so increase the size of Constantinople. This law may be calling the "panis modificiorum", the "annona civica" carelessly, or it may mean that the fact that Constantine allowed the scholae at Constantinople free bread would encourage them to reside there, and they would then have to build houses to live in. Yet it is difficult to see where else they could have resided seeing that they were on duty at the palace. Perhaps they had quarters at the imperial palace and had to be encouraged to build houses in Constantinople for their wives.
The whole question of the "panis aedificiorum" and of the actual title to the "annona civica" is obscure. Valena having decreed that the latter was inalienable, Theodosius in 392 said that it was given by Constantine to the merits of particular men, and he allows members of the scholae at any rate to alienate their right even to strangers by sale or will.
It seems fairly clear that all or most members of Collegia would be participants unless they were newcomers. Late comers could acquire a free ration by building a house; at Rome many members of the collegia would be descendants of old inhabitants, and so would receive the free bread. It is impossible to say whether the richer "collegiati", who had lands of their own, received the free rations. It seems extremely probable that they received the panis aedificiorum if not the ordinary free distributions. The conclusion seems to be that all citizens at both capitals, with the exception of senators, received bread free, newcomers could obtain it by building houses, officials received it by a separate distribution, and so likewise did the palace guards.
With the increasing size of Constantinople, an extra amount of bread was provided for by Theodosius the Great, but it was evidently only to be given to those who put up, or had put up new houses, or to those to whom the Emperor awarded it specially as an extra allowance. If members of the richer collegia received the free distributions, the members of collegia connected with the annona must have been very much better off than ordinary collegiati in the province.
On no account whatsoever can anything of grain or oil due as tribute to Rome to be favoured by a remission, any privileges granted i.e. to the tax payers, "contrary to the public good (the good of Rome or Constantinople) are to be cancelled." No one is to dare to tamper with supplies of grain destined for Rome, which have been forced to tarry on the shores of Africa, or to send them elsewhere.
No taxpayer is to be allowed to commute his taxes in kind for a money payment "to the hurt of the venerable city". Those who ask for permission are to be made to pay double and a punishment.
Punishments are threatened to those who try to claim anything as a private possession from the granaries and storehouses of the bakers at Rome. If the vicar or governor is found to have taken anything from the city's tribute (union) it is to be repayed fourfold: twice by them and twice by their bureau. If they repeat their offense they are to be deported, and the "primatae" are to undergo capital punishment.
In the case of Constantinople, Constantine endowed the city with a "tribute" of grain from Egypt. Socrates says that 80,000 of wheat brought from Alexandria were bestowed on the citizens by Constantinople. He speaks of the distribution as a daily one which makes it an impossibly high amount, and it has therefore been suggested that Socrates meant 80,000 loaves. Socrates is narrating how Constantine punished the inhabitants of Constantinople by withdrawing from them more than 40,000 of the daily allowance of 80,000 granted by his father for free distribution amongst them. He does not mention what the 80,000 allowance consisted of.
Gothefredus shows that annona often means bread itself, but does not solve the question of the amount distributed. Vosimin gives Constantine as the author of the free distribution at Constantinople but says nothing about the amount.
If 80,000 loaves is meant by Socrates, he is probably only referring to the annona popularia, the free distribution to the plebs of the city. Yet since 200,000 people received free corn at Rome under Augustus, the 80,000 people at Constantinople cannot include the officials and soldiers and special owners of houses who also received free bread. Of course a man with several children may have received more than one loaf, but of this we are not informed. In one law a reference is made which implies a variation in the amount received "in quem et panis modus et percipientis nomen debebit incidi". Yet Valentinian, in reestablishing the free distributions in 369, decrees that each citizen was to receive daily by hereditary title one panis silignous (fine bread) of 3 lbs. weight. In the interval before of cheap sales in lieu of free distribution, each had received 4-1/6 lbs. This does not warrant the assumption that citizens received varying amounts.
Theodosius II speaks of his grandfather Theodosius the First increasing the amount of the tribute prescribed for Constantinople by Constantine. As he is speaking of the officials in this decree, and refers at the same time to the necessity of handing over all the grain received as annona to the bakers, "since want will increase if the grain, which is paid as annona, having been cut off for other uses, they, (the bakers) be compelled to buy from the public what they (the public) would otherwise have been able to sell to others." This must surely refer to the buying of grain by the bakers to make the panis fiscalis, not to the free distributions for which the bakers could not be expected to buy grain.
If this is admitted, then the 80,000 measures or loaves of Socrates could include not only the bread given to officials and soldiers, but also the grain the bakers made into panis fiscalis and sold to the people cheaply. The 80,000 loaves of Socrates would then hardly be sufficient, and he might mean 80,000 modii a day including all the supplies of grain, whether for free distribution or sale; but as Socrates says free distribution, it is hardly possible. The question of the amount of the supplies cannot be resolved on the evidence available.
Thus, for our purpose, it is only possible to guess at the exact amount of work required of the shipowners and bakers in connection with the annona.
In the case of the bread made for the officials of the imperial household, and for those in receipt of the "panis aedifliciorum", the bread had evidently to be delivered at the recipients' houses. In the case of the ordinary "annona civica" the distribution by the bakers was made on the flights of steps which mounted the slopes in various parts of the town and were called "gradiles". Hence the expression "panis gradilis". Each participant was enrolled on the list of a particular bakehouse and had to be in possession of his "------- -------". Each had his apportioned step to stand on to receive his loaf or loaves. The prefect of the annona is threatened with a severe punishment by Honorius if he allows anyone to move his position from one step to another. No one is to get his bread inside the bakehouse; whatever is supplied daily to the people by the bakers is to be weighed out on the steps and not given to anyone inside the bakeries either as a special privilege or to anyone's hurt; no one on any account is to be served secretly inside the bakehouse. These measures are taken to prevent frauds. The bread was weighed out and handed to the recipients by the bakers. But a "scribe", of the urban praefecture at Constantinople, of the prefect of the annona at Rome, was present to read out the names and the amount of bread due and generally to supervise the distribution.
The implication is that such oil rations could be bought and sold, but it is not clear whether the actual right to receive it every day could be so disposed of. Twenty folles seems to be too little to have paid for the perpetual right to a daily allowance of oil. It seems much more likely that the daily allowance is referred to, but then 20 folles seems too much.
CHAPTER 3 - The Annona
Of the supplies received by the government and not distributed free, some were stores, and some sold cheap in the market. It is obvious that by a system of taxation of a percentage of produce there would in years of bad harvest be an insufficient amount of grain sent to Rome. Trejan and his successors tried to ensure the provisioning of Rome for five years in advance by stores in reserve, and by giving privileges or immunities to private grain merchants and shipowners.
In our period all the grain brought must have been government supplies, Africa and Egypt would presumably export any surplus supplies they might still have to other countries where the price was higher, witness the attempts of havicularii to regail government cargoes in the countries on their route to Italy. (see Chap. 4). Africa and Egypt were anyhow exhausted, as can be seen from the numerous complaints and remissions of taxation. Part of the government supplies of grain at Rome were now sold to the bakers at a low price to make into second quality bread to be sold at a cheap price. This bread was called "panis fiscalis" or "panis ostiensia".
Evidently the population of Ostia, although it received no free doles of corn, had bread sold to it below the market price by a similar arrangement with the bakers. It is stated that the bread at Ostia and the "fiscal" bread to be retailed at the same price.
Ordinary middle class people at Rome who were not in receipt of the free doles of bread, and all the people of Ostia, would therefore buy this cheap bread from the bakers. If they desired something better they would buy the more expensive bread sold by the bakers on their own account. Rich people probably still had their own slave bakers and made their own bread.
We have seen that for some period between 306 and 369 no free bread was distributed, and all citizens had to buy the cheap bread.
When the sale of grain was made in state shops, either at the current price or below it, it was necessary to have a tessera frumcutaria to be able to purchase it, and one could only obtain a stated amount. Probably the same was true when bread was sold cheaply instead of grain. In Constantinople Theodosius was forced in 409 to buy grain and make it into cheap bread for sale to the people. He consecrated 50 lbs. of gold "for the prevention of famine" and made provision for these cheap sales to continue at the expense of the special fund set up for the purpose. In 434 he decrees 611 lbs. of gold to be dedicated in perpetuity for the buying of grain. This grain is to be sold to the bakers who can apparently be given credit for a time.
The position in Constantinople seems to have been that before 409 there were free distributions, but no cheap sales; after that date the government undertook to supply the bakers with grain, but it was probably only sold below the market price in times of exceptional scarcity. The government was merely seeing to it that there should always be enough grain in Constantinople to feed the people.
The navicularii were responsible for the sea transport of the taxes, but their large ships could not sail up the Tiber, although they could of course deliver their cargo direct in the harbour of Constantinople. In the case of Rome, therefore, the collegia of oeudicarii and lehimoularii transported the goods from Ostis to Rome on their barges and in their light shiffs.
The mensopes,---------- and procurers, received and checked the cargo delivered and the saccarii, porters, carried it to the great storehouses by the harbour, and from there to the rafts of the caudicarii when provisions were required in Rome.
The pistores (bakers) turned the raw material into bread in the bakeries of the city of which there were 254 at Rome.
The suerii and pecularii i.e. the pork and beef butchers, were responsible for the collection, transport and preparation of the meat required for free distribution and sale. These supplies of meat were, however, collected in Italy, and therefore require to be considered separately.
It will be seen that although the work of supervision was in part performed by officials of the cura annonae, all the labour, even to the checking of the supplies received, was performed by the members of the collegum mentioned above: The members of these collegia had once been entirely free agents, but their organisations had not been taken over by the state, and incorporated as an essential cog in the machinery of administration. In return for their services, they all received varying degrees of compensation, mainly in the form of immunity from taxation. The Codex Theodosianus gives useful and fairly extensive information as to the services demanded and the compensation allowed, while it throws a sidelight on the social and economic position of the members of the various collegia affected. As the position of the members of the different collegia varies, it will be well to deal with each in turn, but certain general privileges of all the corporations of Rome and Constantinople can first be cited:
(b) exemption from munera aordida et extraordinaria "Nulli sit liberum, utili permisom et ---- aliquid urbis insolae in urbo sustinount".
(c) collatio equorum.
(d) Could not be judged in civil cases or fined or tortured except by the praefuctus urbe, even when resident abroad.
CHAPTER IV - THE NAVICULARII
There are 38 laws in the Codex Theodosianus dealing with the navicularii and 10 dealing with their possessions, besides those dealing with shipwrecks - a far larger number than those dealing with the members of any other collegium.
Obviously in this, as in all ages, the owners of sea-going ships were men of some substance, and therefore regarded by the government as worthy of more consideration than others.
An additional reason for many laws concerning them is the fact that they were resident all over the Empire and so subject to the burdens of the provincials, whereas the other collegiati resident at Rome and Constantinople, did not require to be exempted from payments, burdens and vexations to which the residents in municipalities were subject.
Before returning to the recruitment of "navicularii" dealt with in some detail in this and other laws, the previous history of this collegium will be considered.
Ever since Rome ceased to be fed by Italy, and received her food supplies first from Sicily and Sardinia and subsequently from Egypt and Africa, she had to arrange for the transportation of the grain she required. In Republican days the "publicani" who collected the tithes in the provinces also saw to their transport overseas to Rome either in their own ships, or in the ships hired for the purpose. Under the Empire the wasteful and oppressive system of tax collection by publicani was done away with, first in the imperial provinces, and subsequently also in the senatorial. Still the State, whose officials, susceptores, now collected the taxes had to provide for their transport to Rome, and furthermore, had to make sure that a sufficient quantity of food supplies, other than taxes, was brought to Rome to supply the general market. Augustus instituted a praefectus annonae at Rome who, although chosen from members of the equestrian order, became one of the highest dignitaries in the Empire. This official looked after the provisionment of Rome. The State did not, however, itself build a fleet of ships for the transport of the taxes in kind and of purchased supplies. It contracted with shipowners, either individually or in companies, and seems to have paid them for their transport service by indemnities, presumably freedom from custom duties. But it was also necessary to encourage the building of ships in every possible way, in order that the Roman market might be supplied, and we find Claudius allowing privileges, such as exemption from the Lax Pappia Poppaea for citizens, and Roman citizenship to Latins, to all shipowners and further giving bonuses and subsidies to those who transported the State cargoes.
Into the vexed question of exactly what changes were made by Trajan it is not necessary to enter, but he appears to have made contracts with private individuals or companies, whose aid he secured by the grant of special privileges to all who should undertake the transport service, be they citizens or provincials. In these circumstances, regular Collegia of navicularii, or Shipping Companies, as we should say today, soon formed. These negotiated with the State, and information about them is found in the reigns of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. At this time the members of such collegia of navicularii were not always those who did work for which they were awarded privileges. "They sold corn and oil in the Roman market, but did not sail ships, and did not consacrate the greater part of their fortune to navigation and commerce. This is, of course, the golden age of the collegia, the time when the law favoured their formation and granted them privileges without in any way interfering with their freedom of action. By Septimus Severus the first signs of ominous change are apparent, for now, although immunity for taxation is the privilege of each member of a collegium of navicularii, yet the transport of the annona is referred to as a munus publicum. Thus inperceptibly the transport service, once a voluntary undertaking, by the time of Diocletian becomes an obligation incumbent on all the members of the collegia of navicularii. From the time of Constantine we can trace out pretty clearly the exact position of the collegia of navicularii as reflected in the long series of laws in Book XIII of the Theodosian Code.
It will be well to bear in mind that many of the navicularii must even at this stage have been rich men with large properties, and it is probable that many senators invested their money in shipping companies without ever setting foot on a boat, or having anything to do with the actual transport and commerce. As some of the laws obviously refer to people of this type, and others to the actual captains of ships, there is some confusion in view of the fact that both types are called navicularii, and evidently were counted equally as members of the collegia of navicularii. Occasionally a magister navalis is referred to who may be the captain of a ship, or fleet of ships, hired by the owner or owners, and himself ranking as a nauta rather than a navicularius. I will return to this question after the laws relating to navicularii have been examined in detail. In the reign of Constantine we have arrived at the time when the collegia of navicularii have become collectively charged with a munus publicum and when the members have become, together with their property, hereditarily liable to this munus. The navicularii appear, however, to have been the most favoured of all the collegia. Gothfredus has pointed out (Vol. V. P.65) that of the 38 constitutions relating to the navicularii, 13 speak of their privileges. This number is partly explained by their peculiar position see p. 53. Firstly Constantine in 329 a.d. exempted all navicularii from the special taxes in the following words: "We ordain that all shippers in the realm shall for all time be exempt and secure and immune from all burdens and duties (onera et numera) wheresoever they may dwell and to whatever rank they may belong; whether they are decurions or plebeians or people of any higher rank, in order that free from "collectiones" and all "oblationes" they may perform their duties as "navicularii" with undiminished possessions. This law in its wide exemption from all oblationes and collationes meant for senators exemption from the collatio globalis, the aurum oblatitium and the oblatio votorum i.e. from all taxation of any importance except the indicto on their lands. For the decuriones it meant escape from all the heavy duties and burdens, such as responsibility for the taxes of the municipality and the provision of the autum coronarium, duties and burdens which, as is well known, were gradually exterminating the middleclass landowners who composed the municipal curiae. Honorius in 395 a.d. amended Constantine's Law of 329 by decreeing that decuriones who acquired praedia navicularis were to remain members of the curia and should only be held liable to the functio navicularia as regards that particular part of their estate. The law of Constantine quoted above also secured to all navicularii exemption from the lustralis collatio or chrysargyrum to which they would otherwise have been liable as merchants; this exemption would be the principal privilege acceded by this law to navicularii who were only plebeians i.e. who were neither senators nor members of the local curiae.
In 334 Constantine organised the navicularii of the Kaat when providing for the food supply of Constantinople. He granted to these navicularii some of the same privileges as to their brethren in Africa and Egypt. In C. Th. XIII 5.7. addressed to the navicularii of the East he says: "For the good of the city to which we have given its eternal name by command of God, we have thought to give you these privileges, that all navicularii are to be held immune from civil duties and burdens and services (nuneribus et oneribus et obsequiis) and are not to be compelled to accept civic honours by which they may be incommoded in any way . . . . . ."
The exemption from all munera and onera, collationes and oblationes for all shippers, for all time, wherever resident, is repeated in Valentinian's law of 386, and would seem to imply that the navicularii of the East were treated in exactly the same way as the other navicularii, although the collationes and oblationes are not mentioned in C. Th. XIII 5.7 quoted above.
The exemptions granted in C. Th. XIII 5.5 and 17 imply exemption from all munera sordida et extraordinaria, that is, from all and sundry "corvees" special labour imposed arbitrarily by municipality or governors. It seems, however, to have been found necessary to provide specially for the immunity of navicularii from sudden requisitions or forced service. The same law of 329 forbids the ships of navicularii being retained for any duty against their will to whatever coast they may have come. In 324 A.D. Constantine addressed Helpidius prefect of the city of Rome and commands that "from whatever coast of Spain a ship of a navicularius shall enter the harbour of Rome and whatever fiscal cargo it may have transported thither, it is to depart without hindrance and without being constrained to any extraordinary burden". (extraordinario oneri). The reason given for this care for the convenience of the navicularius is naturally "that it may the more easily fulfil the obligations laid upon it."
In 336 A.D. Constantine finds it necessary to tell the Comes Hispaniarum that the navicularii of Spain are not to be made to perform any extraordinaria munera or to be delayed or worried en route.
The language of the law of Valentinian of 370 makes it seem that worse things than a little delay or worry might befall the navicularii, for he tells the praefectus urbi at Rome that the navicularii told off to carry the annona ought to sustain no violence, nor suffer extortion or any kind of inconvenience. He further commands that they are to enjoy complete security coming with the annona and returning, and he threatens with a fine of 10 lbs. of gold anyone who attempts to molest them.
It would obviously be the simple plebeian navicularii who sailed in their ships who would benefit most by these provisions, together with such members of decurion rank who captained their own ships.
Taking together all four constitutions forbidding the imposition of munera extraordinaris (C. Th. XIII. 5.4, 5, 8, 9) it would seem that the privilege is awarded irrespective of whether the ships were actually engaged at the time in transporting the annona or not. As practically all ships at this period were liable to the functio navicularis at some time or other, the question hardly arises as to whether ships not so employed were exempted.
The question which necessarily arises now is whether the navicularii were exempt themselves from the indictio or annona i.e. did they who served to transport the taxes in kind, which were the principal source of revenue for the Empire, themselves have to pay such taxes from the produce of their lands? The three main things which had to be supplied by all landowners (possessores) in proportion to the size of their estates and the number of capita on them, were the food supplies for the annona, the equorum collatio and the vestis militaris.
It has already been shown that all the corporati urbis Romae were exempt from the provision of horses and clothes for the army, though Gothofredus shows that these privileges were not always observed. We do not know the position of the navicularii in the provinces generally, but we do know that Valens expressly states that those of the Kast are not to refuse the vestis and horses.
It may be, however, that the navicularii of the East were not so favorably treated as those of Africa, Egypt and Spain, as they had not got so much work to do for the State.
We are slightly better informed on the question of the "prestatio annona". The possessions of the navicularii were partially exempt in proportion to the share taken by each navicularius in the public transport service. Valens in 371 expressly states that for each 10,000 modii which they handle, the navicularii are to be exempt from the payment of annona on the produce of 500 jugera of land. It is true that this law of Valena refers only to the navicularii of the East, but as he has previously stated that the body of navicularii is to be filled throughout the provinces of the East, so that the numbers "shall be shown as great in the East as in Egypt to fulfil the present indictio", it would appear legitimate to conclude that he is applying the same conditions to the navicularii of the East as to those of Egypt, and presumably also Africa. Further on he expressly grants the African privileges to these navicularii of the East. It should be remarked that Valens also expects the navicularii to provide for the expenses of repairs on their ships from --- the exemption granted them. New ships, however, are to be built from materials supplied by the provincials for the occasion.
The collegia of navicularii were exempted from the payment of custom duties (portoria) when carrying on their own business, but special precautions were taken to ensure that merchants should not put their merchandise on the ships of the navicularii in order to escape the payment of custom duties. Navicularii are only exempt when proved to be carrying on their own business (cum sibi rem gerere probebuntur).
We have already seen that the navicularii were exempt from all the onerous municipal duties and payments, and could not be forced to become members of the local senates. This meant in effect that the navicularii, wherever resident, became servants of the central government, and ceased to perform any duties of local government, or to be of any assistance to their native towns.
This completes the list of their privileges, in so far as purely fiscal burdens are concerned. To summarise they were exempt from the following taxes and services: munera civilia, aurum coronarium, lustralis collatia (chrysargyrum), collatio, glebalis, surum oblatitium, oblatio votorum, vestis militaris and equorum collatio (this latter exemption not given to all navicularii - see above), from part of the anona payments and from all custom dues.
Besides these, there are certain legal privileges guaranteed to the navicularii which were well worth having.
In 334 Constantine provided that the navicularii of the East were not to be summoned to special judgment, even by imperial rescript, in cases of litigation about property or heredity or any other civil suits, but were to be allowed to answer the charges in their own forum. This was a not inconsiderable privilege; it saved them costly journeys and long delays, since not only the Emperor, but governors and other magistrates having jurisdiction could appoint a judge anywhere to try a case. It was in many ways of great advantage to be judged by the tribunal of one's native town, rather than by a specially appointed judge.
Although Constantine, moved no doubt by his sympathy with the Christians and their ascetic ideals, had in 320 A.D. abolished most of the disabilities imposed by the Lex Julia et Pappia Poppaea on celibates and childless people, it was still forbidden for them to receive by will more than one tenth of the patrimony of a deceased person. In 334 A.D. in the law about the navicularii of the East cited above Constantine abolishes even this restriction in the case of the navicularii. At the same time he exempts them from the tutels, either legitimate (i.e. tutela of a relative) or that imposed arbitrarily by a magistrate, or by the judges (rectores) of the province. However, in 400 A.D. this privilege was restricted by Honorius, who decread that they must undertake the guardianship of the minors of their corpus.
In addition to these fiscal and legal privileges the navicularii were granted the dignity of equestrian rank. Some idea of the advantages to be derived therefrom is given by this law of Gratian which says that this privilege having been given, anyone who dares to do injury to them shall pay for his daring by being put to death, and having his property confiscated. This provision will, it says, by a timely suggestion, hinder from illegality the judges who perchance have been incensed by a false indignation, i.e. being members of the equestrian order, the navicularii cannot be submitted to torture when the judge gets into a passion. This privilege, of course only applies to higher ranks of seafarers, the ordinary sailors were not navicularii, and in cases of shipwreck they were tortured at the subsequent inquiry, although the Captain (magister navis) was exempt from this efficacious means of discovering the true cause of the shipwreck.
It remains to consider exactly what duties had to be performed by the navicularii, under what conditions and threatened by what penalties. Secondly, what payment and protection was allowed to them. Thirdly, how they were recruited, how far they were personally hereditarily bound to their condition and how far their possessions were bound to the functio navicularia. Lastly, what do we know of their status and prosperity.
A. The duties. It has been stated above that the main function of the navicularii, from the point of view of the Government, was the transportation of the annona to Rome and Constantinople, and of the military supplies to different parts of the Empire. The objects transportable were:-
i) Grain, principally from Egypt and Africa, but also from the Black Sea region. ii) Oil, especially from Spain. iii) The supplies of vestes militares levied from the provincials all over the Empire as part of the indictio or annona. iv) The wood required for the baths of the capital cities.
The grain, oil and other products of the indictio were brought by the possessores (landowners) to the storehouses in the cities: From here they were transported as far as possible along the rivers to the ports of embarkation. Then they were taken aboard the ships of the navicularii and transported by them to Rome and Constantinople and to the "portus expeditionales" i.e. to the harbours whence military expeditions were sent out and where, therefore, the stores for the armies were brought.
Thus the function of the navicularii was twofold. First the transport of the annona to Rome and Constantinople, secondly, the transport of the military supplies to whatever port they were required.
The state cargoes had to be taken direct to Rome and Constantinople, and severe punishments were inflicted on those who lingered on route. In 409 Theodonius II decreed capital punishment on any navicularius who, having collected up the taxes due to the fix in order to transport them, should retail them, turning aside from his course to coast along devious shores. The following year Honorius at Ravonna tells the praetorian prefect that judges who have allowed laden ships to linger in the harbours of their diocese under pretext of winter, when a favourable wind made navigation possible, are to be punished by the loss of their fortunes, and the same penalty is threatened on both the curiales and the corporati of the harbour. The navicularii are threatened with exile, -- if they are found to have committed any fraud.
The latter decree was issued in a year of famine after the sack of Rome by Alaric, and both it and that of 409 (which Waltzing takes as issued in 410 also) relate perhaps only to exceptional times. But in more normal times also it seems that the navicularii would sometimes take advantage of a scarcity, either widespread or local, to trade with the cargoes of the State. They would sell the products they were carrying at the high prices current in a particular locality which they passed on their voyage, and wait until the following season to buy food stuffs sufficient to make up the cargo again; as they would count on being able to buy cheaper in the ensuing year in or in another part of the Empire, they were almost sure of a substantial profit. In such circumstances, the tendency to -- cheat the State must have been very strong. In 395 Honorius tried to stop such "conversion of the taxes in kind into the assets of business" by ensuring the delivery of the taxes in the same year as they were collected. The captains of vessels were evidently provided with some sort of voucher for the goods they collected. In 356 Constantine had told the Comes Hispaniarum that the navicularii of Spain were never to be delayed en route, but were to be provided within ten days by the collectors of taxes with "relatoriae" of the goods they had transported and when they arrived at any islands, harbours, shores or stations, were not to be molested once they had shown their relateriae. Gothofredus takes relatoriae to mean quittance sheets, and would therefore relate this law to the voyage home or on private business after the transport of the state cargoes had been affected. Waltzing, however, thinks that relatoriae signify "lettres de voiture," and would therefore relate to the voyage to Rome on state business. In view of the reference to susceptores in this law as the providers of the relatoriae, and in view of the fact that the government was concerned far more with the delivery of the annona at Rome than with the convenience of the shippers, Waltzing's interpretation seems by far the most probable. Thus the shipper charged with the transportation of so much grain or oil from one or more Spanish ports to Ostia would be given vouchers of the amount he had collected by the susceptores (collectore of taxes) at those ports. In 392 Theodosius states that every shipper knows that his " securitas" for the burden he has conveyed must be shown in the course of two years, or the amount will be made good out of his property. This law is addressed to the praetorian prefect of Illyricum and Africa, and Waltzing takes it to mean that the quittances had to be handed to the governor of the province to which the shipper belonged. The law of Honorius of December 395 designed to prevent the private trafficking in the taxes makes the position clearer: the decrees that, although the law of Constantine (unknown) which allows navicularii to report their receipts (securitates) at the end of two years from the date on which they embarked the taxes, is to remain in force, the navicularii are henceforth to deliver the taxes in the same year in which they embark them, and in order to prove that they have done so they are to hand in the quittances (securitates) of the same consular year as the year _____ when they embarked the cargo, thus proving that the delivery was made in the same year. The concluding words of the decree make this abundantly clear. "However we do not forbid 2 years (lapse) in the reporting of the receipts, (a lapse) due to inclement weather or chance misfortune so long as it is proved that they have faithfully performed their duty during the time specified above. This we wish to come to the notice of all, that they may know that the transmission or delivery must be completed in the same year as the collection.
These regulations prove incidentally that the navicularii were not occupied in the service of the state every year. At the most they can only have been employed on the state transport service every other year. The law issued in 334 by Constantine to Felix the praetorian prefect, shows indeed that the navicularii performed their voyages by "duly observed rotation and not promiscuously". The Emperor piously hopes that thus "by means of alternate light assistance the fortunes of all, poor and rich, shall be preserved, nor shall it be necessary for any, always to be traversing the sea and be liable to many dangers --- the work is to be laid equally and justly on all and help is to be given by an equal rule, nor are the poor to be involved in complaints of fruitless appeals.
This law shows incidentally that there was a tendency on the part of the richer navicularii to force their poorer brethen to take an unduly large share in the public transport service and it will be referred to later in the Chapter. Thus the navicularii were left with a fair proportion of the next one, unless exceptionally delayed on state duty by contrary winds. The navigation season was from April 1st to October 16th and 1/5 of the cargo of the city of Rome had to be transported at the beginning of the season. Waltzing states that at Alexandria the cargo had to be loaded by the end of August but he does not state his grounds for believing this. In any case the navicularii of Africa were better off than those of Egypt as the voyage to Rome from Africa was shorter than that from Egypt to Constantinople.
Some of the African shipowners transported wood for the use of the baths at Rome in lieu of food supplies. Their privileges were confirmed in 364 by Valantinian and Valeus. Perhaps it was they who put up an inscription at Ostis in the name of the Navicularii liguarii.
The navicularii were compelled to build new ships whenever necessary and to see to the repairing of the old ones. Occasionally the government helped them with supplies of wood for the building of new ships as for example in the case of the new body of Eastern shipowners. But normally the navicularii had themselves to build the ships necessary and they were strictly supervised to see that they built such as were of the decreed kind and capacity.
Damages and repairs due to age and neglect had to be made good from their private means though evidently here again the officials of the state took care to see that they did their duty.
The money they saved as the result of the immunity from taxation granted to their lands was regarded as the fund from which the expenses of repairs could be made good.
The most severe laws related to cases of shipwreck. From them it would appear that it was a common means of defrauding the government to dispose of the state cargo by illegal sales and then to hide or destroy the ship and report a shipwreck. Drastic measures were therefore necessary to stop such frauds and whilst the wretched navicularii are threatened on the one hand with penalties for delaying in port under the excuse of inclement weather in cases of shipwreck they are subjected to a terrible enquiry and forced to make good the losses -----, unless they are proved innocent.
Six laws of the Codex Theodosianus relate to shipwrecks (naufragiis) i.e. the whole of Section VIII of Book XIII.
The captain of a ship was bound to deliver his state cargo; if for any reason he did not do so an enquiry had to be instituted; if he did not report his shipwreck and get himself proved innocent by an enquiry the loss had to be made good to the Treasury. When a shipwreck occurred the navicularius had to hasten to the judge of the province in which the matter occurred and to prove his statement by means of witnessess. The latter if satisfied of the truth and must send a report to the praetorian prefect who alone had the right to remit a debt due to the fiscus. This law of 372 A.D. states that if the appeal to the prov. governor is not made within a year it will not be heard.
The next law at the end of that year tells the prefect of the African annona that in the cases of misfortunes occurring to a ship which sailed direct to Rome the case must be brought before the judges within the space of a year. But in the case of ships sailing with provisions for the army to harbours at a greater distance, or sailing to Constantinople, two years are allowed in which to make an examination of the prescribed number of sailers and so to ascertain the truth. The same law states that in such cases of shipwreck or damage from the elements, a certain number of the sailors on the ship are to be submitted to the torture, remarking pleasantly "quoeorum torrentis plenior veritas possit inquiri." The number of sailors who are thus to be persuaded to reveal the truth will depend on the size of the ship.
The next law in 380 lays down further particulars as to the procedure of the enquiry and provides for cases in which the whole crew has been lost in a storm. "In order that truth may not be hidden" enquiry is to be made of the relations of the navicularii. The law also shows that in cases of need the navicularii had to sail during the bad season i.e. after 15th October and before 1st April. They had evidently asked for compensation for damage occurring on these dangerous voyages in the form of a coimetrom of 3% (semis per 200) but this is refused to them.
Theodosius law of 391 shows that sometimes part of the cargo was thrown overboard in rough weather in order to save the ship, and it is recognised that such casting away is well done and avoids greater loss. But the Treasury is not to share the loss with the possessores whether they be senators or private persons. It is not clear whether the law means that the state refuses to bear any of the loss incurred. It goes on to say that when there is no witness of the danger the losses of the storm are to be restored and the expenses paid for by the "prosecutor". Who this "prosecutor" is, is very obscure. Gebhardt says a prosecutor was charged with the duty of accompanying the cargo and overseeing the delivery to the competent authority. His name does not however occur elsewhere in the laws relating to ships and shipowners. The law ends up as follows "ut ad acrum injurism retorquoantur, qui minus idoneos nominsrunt, non ad eos redeant, quos cenpl constitorit uisse devotos." It is probable that those who have already paid are the tax paying landowners and these are not to produce the supplies over again. Whoever nominated the prosecutor has evidently got to make good the losses; was he nominated by the collegium of Navicularii?
Another law of 327 says that the prefect of the annona (at Rome) and the vicar of the city are to compel the shippers to prove the good faith of their actions by a legal trial in cases of shipwreck when they have drowned their cargo or lost it or whenever they have incurred losses. Delay and neglect to do so are to be punished. In 412 Honorius in addressing the African navicularii is more explicit.
Cases about sunken ships are to be tried in open court (levato velo). If anyone is found to have accepted a bribe in connection with the proceedings, the judge who tries the case shall, when those who are being robbed complain, have power to fine or remove or prescribe according to the rank of the culprit. If the cognitor (before whom the report of the occurence was first made) of such cases affected by a petition, or by being spoken to before he mounts the Tribunal, shall neglect to hear such cases within the prescribed time limit - that is within 2 years for the cases dealt with in the old law - he shall suffer as follows for his premature judgment: the navicularios being released on account of the venality of the judge, the judge himself shall be compelled to bear half of the cost of the goods about the loss of which recognition was sought within the prescribed time, the judge's office is to pay the other half.
All this shows that only in cases where the shipwreck is quickly reported and clearly proved with the Treasury bear the loss of the cargo. In all doubtful cases either the naviculari or the magistrates are held responsible and are forced to make good the losses to the Treasury from their own pockets.
The captains of the ships being of equestrian rank were not subjected to torture, but the ordinary sailors who were not navicularii and are referred to simply as nantae, were like all the plebs, liable to be tortured. One cannot help conjuring up a sad picture of these wretched seamen saved from the violence of the elements only to be subjected to the violence of mankind, in order that by being tortured "truth might be revealed". St Augustine saw the cruelty of the laws in their regard when he refused to accept a legacy of 'navicularean' property left to the church.
It seems that the authorities are often lax in the execution of the decrees relating to the navicularii for this law says at the commencement that it contemplates well considered remedies for the dissimulation and corruption of the offices of the urban prospecture and the prefect of the annona. This slackness was obviously due to bribery as we can gather from the strict regulations against any money transactions between navicularii and officials. C.Th.XIII. threatens with a fine of ten pounds of gold the navicularii and judges, the proconsul and the vicar and the men of 'spectobile' rank, --- the prefect of the annona and the bureaus of all those officials of the navicularii pay over their percentage to any of these officials or give any of them a tip (sportula) from their own private property either voluntarily breaking the law or being compelled thereto. All these people are to know they are liable to be fined. The next law decrees that any apparitio with the duty of looking after the grain supply is to be punished if he is proved in court to have received anything from a navicularius or from the captain of a ship. Obviously it often paid a shipowner or ships captain to bribe the officials who were supposed to supervise him and his cargo and this is only one example of the prevalent corruption in the civil service at the time. From the reference to bribes being compulsorily paid we can also see that the navicularius who neglected to tip the officials might find himself worried and even prosecuted by those officials, although innocent of any offence. The efforts of the Emperors to stop intimidation and corruption were perpetual attempts to solve the problem of "quis oustodiet custodes ipeos". We can conjecture from the many decrees, which are aimed at enforcing observance of the provileges conceded to the navicularii that the latter must often have found it necessary to tip the officials merely to obtain their legal rights and hence these regulations can be taken as measure mainly designed to protect the navicularius.
Others beside officials might rob the shippers. Honorius in 400 decreed that where frauds were discovered the "solidi" which the praefectus urbi has been efficient enough to take from those who stole the gains of the shippers, were to be used for the needs of the shipper, i.e. handed over to the navicularii not taken by the fine. A severe (quadruple) punishment is to be inflicted on the thief.
On the other hand other laws lay down that all whose descent shows them to be liable to the duties of a navicularius are to perform the duties of one. Such persons and their heirs and lands are to be mindful of their duties so that the corn tribute of the sacred city (Rome) and the needs of the harbours whence military expeditions are sent out, may be met. All who are made shippers 'pro merita', i.e. on account of their property qualifications are to be shippers for all time. Any man belonging to the corporation of shippers who has fled from his accustomed duties and come to undeserved honour (officium) is to be returned to the corporation of navicularii to which he belonged i.e. shippers are not to enter the civil service.
It will be seen that there is some confusion in the laws but it seems fairly obvious that the general intention is that no one who holds "navicularian" property is to avoid the duties of a nvaiculariae. The confusion tends to disappear when one remembers that the "functio navicularia" did not necessarily mean going to sea, as already observed many wealthy people invested money in shipping companies in the prosperous days of the Roman Empire without having anything to do with the sailing of the ships. A navicularium therefore might be merely a man whose property, having once been invested in shipping, was now in the 4th century for ever bound to the function navicularia. This latter duty meant (a) being responsible for the transport of a certain quantity of Government supplies, (b) being responsible for the building and upkeep of a ship or ships. Others could be hired to do the work but payment must be made from the produce of the lands held by the navicularii. If they cared to give up their property or could induce someone else to buy it they became free personally. The state did not suffer since the purchaser took over the responsibility and burden from the buyer. The laws referred to below in the section on the "praedia navicularia" make this quite clear. But immunity from the functio navicularii was never to be given if he who desired it retained his hereditary property. Not even the highest officials can escape or be excused no privileges of office are to relieve them from performing their duty of navicularii if they possess a patrimony liable to the functio navicularia. They must be held liable for the whole or for a portion. "For", states Constantine, "it is not fair that anyone's patrimony should be excused, all must bear the common burden according to their capability. Naturally anyone excused cast a heavier burden on those still liable. No one is to escape his duties by obtaining an imperial rescript by any means whatsoever.
First Constantine in 326 tells the navicularii that they must not themselves pass judgment in cases of possessions alienated by navicularii who wish to escape their duties. However the purchasers of such possessions are to be compelled by the prefect of the annona to perform the service to which they have thus rendered themselves liable.
The next law seems to make it clear that the hereditary estates of the navicularii are under the control and ownership of this corporation and are to be returned to such control and ownership in whatever way they have passed into the ownership of outsiders. This cannot refer to the properties of the whole collegium, i.e. lands, etc., which have been left to the collegium in part or have been acquired by the collegium itself in other ways for the words patrimonia used implies that the possessions referred to are those of individual navicularii. Thus the private property of the individual navicuarii is held to be under the control of the whole collegium and it is inalienably under that control. Such a property can be sold to others, but the purchaser then becomes burdened with the performances of the functio navicularia and the property thus remains under the control of the whole corporation. If the purchasers do not wish to performs the duties due by law from the share of the property they have bought, the said property has to be given back to the corporation. Presumably the latter then found another purchaser or the original navicularlaria who had wished to sell out had to take back his property and go on performing his duties. But it is quite possible the property was simply taken over by the whole corporation of navicularii.
The same rules applied to gifts or transfers to sons, or neighbours or outsiders. It is expressly stated by Valentinian in 372 that unless the receiver is ready to shoulder the burdens originally performed by the seller, the property is to be handed back to the seller i.e. the original owner, by an "actio in rem". Honorius ' law of 399 repeats the same regulations.
It is -------- abundantly clear from the whole series of laws that the buyer or inheritor, or receiver of any sort, of property originally belonging to a navicularius, is only liable to the functio navicularia in proportion to the amount of property received. His whole patrimony is not to be concerned with these burdans, the part which did not originally belong to a navicularius "is free from the chain, idle and free from serving."
It is also specially arranged that the houses, the care of which rather adds to the beauty of the city than brings in profit, are alienated by navicularii, the recipients are only to be made to pay ---- in so far as such houses bring in a profit i.e. when they are let. If not let the price of purchase was taken as the amount involved, improvements since ---- are not to be considered.
Even members of the imperial household are not to escape the services due from any possessions they have which are liable to the functio naviculari.
Special arrangements are made to preclude the lapsing owing to time or claims by navicularii to their property. Two laws state briefly, one in 370 and one in 365 that lapse of ------ not to preclude law suits in cases of navicularii claiming ---- property. Then in 317 Honorius decreed that possessions sold by navicularii and ----- from the functio navicularis on account of a public contract were to be held liable to that functio if it were proved within 20 years that they were at -----. It is expressly stated that the object of the law in the preservation of the transport service.
In 403 Honorius extends the limit for reclaiming property belonging to navicularii to 30 years, provided that no lawsuits had been instituted for this purpose in the meantime. This must mean that if such law suits had been ------ before the end of the 30 years claims can still be heard after the 50 years.
It would appear that when Constantine founded his new imperial city he had to arrange for additional ships to carry its annona from Egypt; evidently the navicularii who had formerly performed the state transport service from Egypt to Rome were not sufficient in numbers.
There is no law of Constantine's extant on this subject but Valens addressed a decree to Modestus the praetarian prefect in 371 in which he refers to the intention of the divine Constantine subsequently confirmed by practice, in accordance with which he commands the body of shippers to be fitted throughout the provinces of the East so that the number of naviculari should be shown as great in the East as in Egypt. This "in order that the present indictio might be dealt with", it seems therefore that a new body of navicularii had been created by Constantine, partly to carry supplies from Egypt in conjunction with the navicularii from Alexandria, and partly to bring supplies from the Black Sea regions. They would presumably also be employed on any necessary transfers of supplies from one province of the Eastern profecture to another.
There were henceforth four groups of navicularii the Spanish, the African, the Egyptian and the Eastern. There were probably collegia of navicularii in many towns but they were told, for service on one of the four routes i.e. Spain to Rome, Africa to Rome, Alexandria to Constantinople, the Black Sea to Constantinople, any of them might be employed instead to transport military supplies to the ports near the armies. There was an old established body of the navicularii at Rome who took part in the transport of supplies from Africa. It is to be noted that the corporation of the Eastern navicularii being a more artificial foundation than the old established ones of Spain, Africa, Egypt, appears to have been difficult to keep going. In 409 Theodosim says that the bodies of navicularii in the Eastern provinces are tottering owing to the dearth of ships and strictly forbids the owners of ships to hide them in the islands until the navigation season passed.
The C. Th. distinguishes the navicularii of Spain, Africa, Egypt an the Orient and likewise those of Rome who evidently helped to transport the supplies from Africa. Separate lists of th emembers of all four bodies seem to have been drdawn up. In the case of those of the East Valens decrees that the homes, place of reisdence and property of these navicularii are to be reported written in a duplicate list. In the list information is to be given as to how many there are of long standing and what sort of persons have been recently associated with them by choice. To these privileges are assigned but they themselves and their property are to be liable to the functio navicularia together with their descentants who inherit after them.
There are corporations of navicularii whose members are to be recruited in the following manner; from 'Administratores' and other men in office, except those who are employed in the sacred palace, from the assembly of curiales and from retired shippers, from the order principilares, and from the senatorial rank those who wish it and who think themselves rich enough. The intention of the law is not quite clear but it seems fairly obvious that apart from the senators, members of the classes mentioned are to be compulsorily enrolled.
Clearly there was difficulty in getting new members seeing that time expired navicularii who had held every office in the collegium and had retired duly discharged are to be called up again. It is remarkable that voluntary enrollment should be provided for in the case of senators but this only seems to prove that the latter class was so much richer then any other that it would not feel the burdens of the function navicularii to be too heavy and would consider the compensations worthwhile. All the same those enrolled by force in the corporation of navicularii were always men of substance. For example Theodosius in 390 expressly states that the corporation of Jews and Samaritans is not called by law to the functio navicularia; for whatever seems to be decreed for a whole corporation can compel no one person specially.
On the one hand those who are needy and those who are engaged in petty commerce, are not compelled to undertake the duty of coasting transport but those who have sufficient means are to be chosen from that body to perform the said duty. The words "Naviculariae translation is ------" used in this decree may mean the duty of conveying passengers for the government and cargoes whort distances along the coast ----. The term is not found in the other decrees where the general transport service is usually referred to as the functio naviculaira.
However as it is not known where this corporation of Jews and Samaritans was resident, it is impossible to say whether the general transport service is referred to or not. The main point is that this decree shows us that the navicularii were not to be chosen among poor men who might own little boats which they used in petty commerce at no great distance along the coast. Obviously there must have been plenty of little boatmen and owners of very small craft who were of no use to the annona but would, like all other persons of lower rank be liable to be called out on various "corvees" for the government.
Nevertheless some of these boatmen were members of the collegium of navicularii. Such were the levementarii referred to in the first of the decree about the navicularii. A levementarius was the owner of a small boat attached to a large one for the object of discharging goods from the latter. The decree of Constantine referred to says that a navicularius who is by origin a levementarius is to remain attached to those to whom his parents were attached.
It is probable that the owners of other small craft such as the lenuncularii and scapharii were included under the title of levementarii.
It seems surprising that the curiales were allowed to become navicularii thus ceasing to be ---- responsible for the duties and payments incumbent on the members of the municipal senates. It was indeed the only collegium into which the curiales could enter and even this right was finally taken away from them. In 371 in the decree of Valene already dealt with this Emperor gives the curiales as one of the classes from which he suggests the new navicularii of the East are to be chosen. Cratien in 380 goes still further when he tells the navicularii that in accordance with ancient constitutions there is the custom which allows the navicularii to co-opt decurions into their corportion (et plerumque et ordinarios curiales naviculariorim sibi secessitas bindioaret).
Theodosius modified the former decrees in 390 when he decided that one of the sons of a navicularius must remain in the curia when the praetorian prefect enrolled curiales amongst the navicularia. This is the sense in which Waltzing takes the decree but it does not seem clear that this is necessarily the meaning. The wording is as follows "Quae de naviculariis et curialibus ordinasti, maneant inlibite adque perpetua sint perpetua navicularii, quia, qui merito esse debeant, providisti". Could not this mean equally well that the praetorian prefect had been enrolling men in the corpus of navicularii and laying down regulations for the curiales at the same time.
It seems extraordinary that curiales should not only have been allowed but sometimes compelled, to become navicularii and cease to be curiales. It would prove that the position of the navicularii was not so favourable as one might have imagined otherwise, this question is however discussed in the section on the economic and social position of the navicularii.
Towards the end of the 4th century at any rate Honorius saw what evil the previous regulations might do to the municipal senates for it forbade curiales to become navicularii even if they had become owners of res naviculariae. In such cases they were to remain curiales but were also to perform the duties of a navicularius "ut et ordines curiam nostrarum reddantur indemnaes et patrimonia naviculariorum non pereant sed functionis uteanue et atus habeatur incolumis". They became in fact, like the other possessors of res naviculari dealt with in the section on "de praedie navicularis," sleeping partners in shipping companies, or rather shareholders who had no say in the business of the navicularii but who provided most of their funds. For generally speaking a man could not follow two callings at the same time though he could hold properties which paid towards the expenses of various collegia at the same time.
There is one exception in the case of the navicularii but this may be due to the fact that it occurs in an early law of Constantine. Navicularii who are held by the law of heredity to belong to the body of millers, are to give up the property by which they are so bound, to relatives of the deceased on to the corporation of bakers, or, if they keep their inheritance, they must take upon themselves the munera of the pistores and at the same time defray the onera of shippers from their own resources; i.e. they are to be liable to the duties both of navicularii and pistores.
An interesting sidelight on methods of recruitment is provided by the case of the navicularii who supplied wood for the heating of the baths. Apparently the navicularii of Africa conveyed wood for this and other purposes but in 369 Valentinian told the prefect of the City of Rome that sixty of the navicularii and of the linen weavers were to be held for the service of the baths. It is laid down that these sixty individuals are to be suitable and to have sufficient means. If a fatal accident or sudden poverty, or any misfortune, shall effect one of them, a suitable man is to be chosen to take his place from among the trades liable. Not more is to be demanded from these individuals than the needs of the baths warrant or than is customary.
Symmachus shows clearly that these 60 navicularii become mancipes thermarum and were not merely shipowners who transported wood.
The actual enrollment of new members and the apportioning of the burdens was in the hands of the corporation, but under government supervision. We have already seen this in the case of the curiales compelled to become navicularii by Gratian, that the navicularii themselves could do the choosing.
The choice is however always subject to the approval of the prefect as -- people with sufficient property must be chosen, the navicularii can choose anyone who is free of all state charges, such individuals are vacui and can be compelled to join a collegium only the navicularii are to take care not to choose an individual who is serving the municipality. "et quia ordinum vestrum supliari et iamnominum adjectione audemus quoscumoue vacuos publica invenerit officio, in complexum vestri ordinis adplicate, dummode is, qui in municipalibus manet causis, nominatiuone ordinis son teneatur". This nomination of the ordo was sufficient so long as it did not try to enroll members of collegia of importance in the local government (see Part III).
The position at the end of the 4th century seems to have been that if anyone possessed a boat or a large ship he could be roped into the corporation of navicularii and either employed on the transport service or have to pay a stated sum toward the expenses of that service. There is one decree of 364 which states the case quite plainly for the boats on the Tiber. "Whosoever shall be found to possess a Tiber boat shall know the necessary burdens, in such a manner that no one's privilege or dignity shall exempt him from this duty".
By this time there were probably no owners of ships who if they did not already defray the expenses of, or take part in, the imperial transport service were not liable at any moment to be called upon to do so. Their ships once forced to take part in the transport service their owners probably became navicularii and so liable with all their property to the functio navicularii. This is in effect what Valden supposes when he says "on ne devrait pas etre surpris qu'en plus d'un cas, non pas seulement un barque ou le navire, mais tous les biens des proprietaires se fusent trouves graves des charges de cette corporation."
The first warns all in Egypt that a fine of 20 lbs. of gold will be imposed on those who try to excuse their ships from the public transport duties in their own name or in the name of a defensio, further the public losses are to be borne by the masters who shall have tried to be excused by the patronage of powerful men. "Qui. . . potiorum voluerant patroiniis excusari." Thus the "powerful" tried to excuse their own ships, and th ose of their dependants, from their duties and responsibilities.
the next law is more drastic. If anyone tries to avoid performing his public duty by putting forward the title of a powerful person the Treasury will confiscate his ship. Honorius here goes on to say that as he does not forbid private individuals to have ships, there is to be no fraud, since it behoves all in common, if necessary to attend to the public weal and attend to the transport without privilege of rank. This decree confirms the supposition that anyone could be forced to join the navicularii if he had a boat. It ends with a threat of confiscation within 30 days of all ships which have absconded as exceptions.
However, in spite of all decrees it must have been extremely difficult for local officials to force great landowners or important dignitaries to perform their duties and even harder for the corporations of navicularii to force such great men to perform their share of the duties. There must have been a good deal of unfairness between the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor.
The Corporations themselves assigned the cargoes and routes and the Government tried to assure that the richer members should not oppress the poorer and that they should perform the voyages in rotation.
The latter were navicularii; they not only paid for the expenses of the government transport and for building and repairs, out of the produce on their lands but they also shared in the profits of the navicularii gained in commerce. Thus although they might not actually own a whole ship or ships they had a share in the profits made in commerce by those ships. They are to be distinguished from the individuals who owned lands subject to the munera of navicularii but who were not navicularii; these latter had no share in the profits of the navicularii.
Many navicularii owned a ship or ships of their own; perhaps companies who shared profit and loss were rare, although it would appear that they must have been fairly frequent in view of the type of men enrolled as navicularii; senators and retired officials who probably knew nothing of seafaring could not easily have carried on the business of a shipper unaided; obviously they must have preferred to leave all the management, the building of ships and the business to skilled shippers with experience.
The actual business of sailing the boats was performed by the magister navalis who might himself be a navicularius who owned his own boat, or a navicularius with shares in a shipping company, or merely an employee of a shipping company. On the whole however it would appear from the laws that most of the Captains of ships were themselves navicularii seeing that these laws are constantly forbidding molestation of the navicularii en route and decreeing that they are not to be hindered or inconvenienced by the officials in their ports of call and at their journeys end.
As regards the commercial side probably here again some concerns were purely individual the owner of the ship himself doing his buying and selling en route. Often however, at any rate in the larger cities, they must have received orders for a definite quantity of goods to be sent and companies of shippers would undertake to convey them, sharing the expenses and the profits. One must bear in mind the fact that in the ancient world shipowners were always merchants and the business of buying and selling was carried on by the same people who transported the merchandise overseas.
Naturally much of all the above is mere conjecture, but it appears to be borne out by the evidence at our disposal.
Comparatively few inscriptions relating to the navicularii have been found. This is possibly due to the fact that they rarely formed collegia of the old intimate kind which had grown up among artisans, before the law favoured their formation. The corporation of navicularii were business concerns, companies rather than collegia and since their active members spent most of their time on the sea or in foreign parts there was little opportunity for social life and little regard was paid to the death of members.
The senators and officials and wealthy people generally who provided much of the capital for these corporations of merchant shipowners, found their social amenities elsewhere then amongst the mixed crowd of their associated shipowners and sea captains.
That there were great inequalities of wealth among the navicularii is shown in the laws. There must also have been a wide social gulf between the wealthy senator or knight, owner of many ships or with many shares in shipping companies, and the humble owner of one ship who sailed it himself and spent his life trafficking on the high seas.
As regards the ordinary sailors, (nautae) who sailed the boats captained by the Magistrie navales or the shipowners himself, we know practically nothing. It has been seen that they were subjected to torture in cases of shipwreck but we hear nothing of their hereditary liability. Some no doubt were slaves; possibly they could rise to be part owners or owners of ships, and become navicularii, witness certain inscriptions of navicularii who were freedmen.
The nautee of the great rivers who took such an important part in the commerce of the empire formed numerous associations and have left many inscriptions (Their case is more fitly a subject for Part III although they transported the annona to the ports of embarkation their service was only part of the ordinary duty of a provincial and carried no special privileges). Possibly some of the collegia of Nautae which do not expressly call themselves Nautae Marina were collegia of sea going Nautae.
It seems also possible that several men together may have owned a ship and have sailed it together with little or no hired or slave help. Such owners would all be classed as navicularii and would account for the large numbers of shipowners at places like Arles "Communal" ownership of this sort can be found today among the fishermen of Devonshire and Cornwall.
It should be noted that women were also members of the corporations of navicularii. There is actual mention of the wives of navicularii who are to meet their obligations as navicularii in the district where they are "adscripti" but when involved in private lawsuits they are to appear in the Count district of their husbands. Thus women become members of the municipality where their husbands reside for litigation and private suits, but they remain members of their birth place in so far as their duties as navicularii are concerned. However this law must refer to women who are daughters of navicularii and have inherited property from them. It is unlikely that they often, if ever, took part in commerce overseas on their own.
The seeming inconsistency of the laws relating to curiales not being allowed to become navicularii and being forced to become navicularii is perhaps explained by differences in the relative prosperity of the two classes in different cities and in different times under successive Emperors. Generally speaking the navicularii were personally freer and economically better off than the members of any other collegium dealt with in this study.
CHAPTER V - Lesser collegia connected with the annona
The provisions were taken up the Tiber from there to Rome on rafts made of planks of roughly hewn wood. (naves caudicarii) drawn by oxen following the via Ostiensis. Such rafts could easily mount the river in spite of the tide and the men who owned them were naturally called caudicarii (sometimes written codicarii) with or without the word navicularii adjoined. An inscription from Tibur shows that some at any rate, were merchants as well as boatmen as might be expected on the analogy of other ancient shipowners.
The capacity of their boats was prescribed by law in 439 i.e. 2000 modii.
The corn was measured at Ostis when it was delivered by the navicularii and either sent up to Rome at once or deposited in the store houses at that port. In the latter case it was again weighed when it was taken out of the store houses and sent up the Tiber to Rome. It was also measured on its arrival at Rome, and lastly when taken out of the barns at Rome and delivered to the bakers.
The measuring was done at Ostis by the mensores frumentarii under the eyes of the tabularii of the prefect of the unions who gave out quittances and discharges. Inscriptions mention a corpus mensorum frumentariorum ostansium but they all date from the 2nd Century A.D. Later in the period dealt with in this study, i.e. in 389, the measurers of the harbour are called mensores portuenses. This inscription is very interesting for it deals with a dispute between the mensores and the caudicarii. This dispute, whatever it was about, was finally settled in that year by Hagonius Vincentius Cela, who, "whilst holding the appointment of prefect of the annona of the Eternal city behaved so well that all those who went to him to have their cases judged found him to be more like a parent than a judge". He seems to have settled the dispute so fairly that both sides felt themselves to be victorious and went away perfectly satisfied.
The close connection between the service performed by the mensores at Ostis and the caudicarii is not only shown by their disputes but by the law which deals with their mutual defrauding of the Government. This law was issued by Honorius in 417 A.D. and addressed to the praetorian prefect. It is decreed that "in order to stop the frauds of the patrons of the caudicarii and the thefts of the mensores at the port" one out of all the patrons is to be chosen by agreement of all the corpus to be in charge of the stores at Ostia. He is to be in charge for five years and is to send a specimen (of the grain stored) secretly to his colleagues in order that bad quality grain cannot be put into the store houses in place of the good quality originally put in.
Thus evidently the mensores and candicarii had sometimes schemed together and replaced good grain by bad in the store houses at Ostia. The law goes on to say that if the man put in charge fulfils his trust he shall have the title of Gomes of the 3rd order bestowed upon him automatically after his release, i.e. after five years in this position of responsibility. If on the other hand he is found defrauding the government he is to lose his patrimony and be put to the lowest kind of work in a bakehouse.
The prefect of the annona is not to have the right of inflicting corporal punishment on the three senior patrons of each corpus.
This law might give one to understand that the caudicarii and mensores belonged to one and the same collegium but the inscriptions show this was not so. The mensores indeed formed more than one corpora themselves. The mensores at Rome itself formed a distinct collegium of their own. They are sometimes called mensores machinarii. This name seems to be explained by a figure on a IV or Vth century cup. This shows an official of the annona presiding at the weighing of the grain; in front of him is a large scale mounted on a prop (machine). It is the same cup on which some caudicarii are shown bringing the grain in wagons.
Waltzing quotes the Digest to show that the immunities given to the mensores of Ostis and of Rome by M. Aurelius and Commodus were not given to those of the provinces.
Although the candicarii are the only boatmen who are mentioned in the C.Th as forming a collegium definitely organised for state service the inscriptions show that there were other collegia of Tiber boatmen such as the Lenuncularii, scapharii, lintrarii.
Lenunculi were little boats propelled by a large number of oars and very pointed at the stern. The scaphae were another type of small boat and the lintrae some sort of canoe. Probably all these little boats did duty in discouraging the oarsmen of seagoing ships to enable them to enter the harbour or mount the Tiber to Rome. Their owners were therefore in all probability included under the title of levamentarii. They may also have helped to transport the "annona' from Ostia to Rome.
It will be more convenient to deal with these river boatmen together with the fishermen and divers (pisoatores minatores) under the section in Part III dealing with the "Nautae".
In 364 A.D. these saccarii of the "Port of Rome" were given a monopoly of the work of disembarking the cargoes of all boats arriving at Ostis. All goods of any description which have been brought to Ostis by private persons are to be carried by the saccarii themselves or by those who join their collegium. Fixed payments proportionate to the amount of time needed for the work are to be paid to them. If any private individual has the goods which have arrived for him carried by means of his slaves 1/5th of such goods is to be claimed for the benefit of the Treasury.
Gothofredus shows that this monopoly was given to the saccarii in order to afford them subsistence and enable to be available for their duties in connection with the annona.
It is a particularly interesting decree as it deals with the only case extant of a monopoly held by a trade guild. It is probably quite exceptional and was necessary for the sake of the annona.
It is also interesting to find a scale of payment fixed.
The saccarii must, however, naturally have been very poor people, who had to work extremely hard for the state, and whose only reward seems to have been this kind privilege of being allowed to do all the rest of the heavy dockers' work at Ostis in order to earn enough to keep themselves fit for their government service. We hear nothing about their receiving any actual payment from the government. Desseu thinks the "susceptores of Ostis or Portus recreated for the use of the city of Rome in the 4th are the same as the saccarii.
Another collegium which it will be convenient to mention here is that of the Subarrerii. These were stevedores who carried balast into the ships; an illuminating illustration of the state of industry in Italy when products could not be bought at Rome or Ostis to fill the ships on the return voyage to Africa or Spain.
There suburrerii are only found on two inscriptions.
The cataboleuses - wagoners and muleteers who transported the corn at Rome itself, are dealt with in the section under pistores.
There are also porters at Rome called frugis et olei bajuli mentioned by Symmachus and these must have carried the corn as well as the oil discharged at the quays at Rome.
Perhaps they carried them from the naves caudicarii to the wagons of the cataboleuses.
The division of labour in the ancient world had gone far enough for us to believe this, and would also suggest that it may well be that one cataboleunses looked after several wagons drawn by horses or mules and could not himself load these all up unaided.
The bajuli are shown by Symmachus to have transported the oil from the store houses to the place of distribution.
Chapter 6 - Pistores - bakers and millers
It does not appear that any actual payments were made to the pistores for baking the public bread. They were however compensated to some extent in other ways. They were provided by the state with the "pistrina" where they worked and they could buy cheap corn to make bread for sale apart from the bread which they made for the free distributions. The pistrina were not only bakehouses where the bread was kneaded and baked; they were also establishments where the grain itself was turned into flour i.e. they were both mills and bakehouses. The question as to when watermills were introduced into Rome and how far they came into general use is one of some difficulty. They were used in Pontus in the days of ---- dates and were subsequently well known in Italy. The centre of the breadmaking trqade is said to have been in the ------ region by Daremberg et Saglio although the forum pistelium was on the other side of the river. Palladius, in the 4th century according to the same authority, recommends their use to economics ----- and animal effort.
On the monument of Eurysoces in the first century B.C. pictures are shown of grain being milled by human labour and the inscription of the pictures to ----, already mentioned, has a picture of ----- full of corn on the side and of a hand or arm mill on the other.
In the Theodosian Code no mention of the millers as distinct from the pistores in --------- till the year 398 A.D. when Honorius indignantly refuses the positions of certain people who have dared to ask for conduit pipes of the waters of the Mills which supply important provisions to the venerable city.
The only inscription relating to the millers (molendinarii) dates from the year 405 and to an edict of the prefect of the City prohibiting the use of false weights and measures by the millers and fixing their salary at 3 numes per modium.
Mills are still referred to as part of the normal equipment of a bakehouse in 364 or 367 A.D. and the fact that the patrons are told to hand the bakehouses over intact to their successors with the mills and other equipment proves that they were not water mills; water mills could not well have been moved and no special injunction would have been necessary. Furthermore the bakehouses were not all in one part of the city.
All the evidence seems to point to the fact that, however long before water mills may have been known and used elsewhere, they were not in general use at Rome till well on in the 4th century. Waltzing quotes Marquandt to show that they were not introduced till the 4th century and that when introduced they were set up at Rome at the food of the Mons Jeniculum, and worked by the aquaduct which passed over that hill. He does not consider the question of how long water mills had been known and used elsewhere. As however he is fairly certain that the molendarii did not exist as Rome before the late 4th century and as the only evidence available is of a date beyond the period of this study they may be dismissed. The pistores dealt with in this chapter are both millers and bakers though it is possible that a few of the bakehouses had watermills attached in place of mills worked by slaves and animals.
The work done in the pistrina was therefore mainly the milling and sifting of the grain, the kneading and the baking of the bread. Two sorts of bread were made: the panis graddis for free distribution and the panis fiscalis or Ostiensis for sale to the people at cheap prices.
The bakers were responsible for the distribution of the one as for the sale of the other; the whole question of the procedure and regulations for the free distributions of bread etc. has been dealt with in Chapter III.
---- are only concerned with it from the point of view of the bakers themselves. They received the grain for the free bread --- from the keepers of the state granaries where the "canon frumentarius" was stored and it is expressly stated that the canon frumentarius is to be delivered entire to the bakers. Indeed the bakers were responsible for any thefts made from these storehouses "on them the whole blame of the crime was laid"; if it could not be paid back in kind the falue of the theft had to be made good in any ---- in bronze or lead or any other payment.
For the manis fiscalis or Ostiensis the bakers received their grain at a cheap price from the patrons of the caudicarii and the mansores. It is decreed that the grain supplied is to be good and unspoilt and for Rome at any rate the amount is specified in 364 i.e. 200,000 modii "in accordance with the ancient custom". It is however true that the last words quoted may only refer to the supply not to the quantity. Presumably the bakers made a decent profit on this latter bread else it is difficult to see how they can have lived at all. But it must also be noted that the pistina provided by the government for the use of the bakers were not mere workshops with mills ovens and --- instruments for breadmaking, they were also equipped with animals and slaves and even endowed lands . In fact the pistrimma was in reality a fully equipped ------ with funds of its own and animal and human ----- to perform the hard labor. The words sometimes used for a baker and for the bakehouse i.e. ------ and ----- seem to imply that originally the bakers and the --------- state in these pistrina. The word ----- may mean baker simply or may mean a patron of the bakers, but in any case it seems to imply the original renting of pistrina by bakers or their patrons. Mancipes of the ----- and salt depots are also met with.
The important point is that the bakehouses being provided with "instrumenti" in the shape of machines, animals and slaves, and further being endowed with lands or other properties, must not only have provided for their own expenses but also have enjoyed a revenue from endowments which might in part compensate with pistores for their labours. That the government did regard the income from these endowed lands as some sort of compensation for the bakers we can see from Th. XIV.8.19. in which they are referred to as lands"ques comum componi solacis cert a preabebant". The government also took care that the supply of labour in the pistrina was kept up.
Although 15 decrees relate to the privileges of the navicularii there are none relating to those of the bakers. One law, it is true, condemns to service in the bakeries any man or official who shall injure a baker by secret fraud but all the others relate to the regulations for keeping bakers and their heirs at their work, to their property and to the recruiting of new bakers. Thus althoughj next in importance to the navicularii the pistores were in a far less enviable position and many of them tried to escapt from their ----- calling. The only privileges they received were ------ those "which on account of reverence for the eternal city humanity has favoured various corporations of men by the authority either of ancient laws or of previous princes . . . ." i.e. they enjoyed the same privileges as various other corporations of the city of Rome. It must of course be remembered that the inhabitants of Rome paid little in the shape of taxation and that, since the central government administers local affairs, there were no local expenses to pay for as in the Municipalities. What were the privileges of the corporations of Rome mentioned above is not precisely known, but a summary has been given at the beginning of Part I.
The taxes and duties from which the navicularii are exempted are mainly those which would fall on them as men whose property made them liable to curial service in the Municipalities and these of course would not touch the pistores at Rome. From munera sordida et extra ordinaris the pistores like the other corpora at Rome, were exempt. Nor would the pistores be concerned with custom duties. Lastly it must be emphasised that the navicularii, situated all over the Empire as they were, would have been subject to vexations and exactions from all sorts of officials, vexations and exactions which would never befall the pistores who were resident at Rome; therefore little special legislation was needed to safeguard the latter. There is however one decree of late date which deals specially with the safeguarding of the bakers' interests. Any public servant (apparitor) belonging to the suite of the illustrious prefect of the city or of the prefect of the annona, who shall injure a baker by secret fraud, when accused and convicted is to become a hereditary baker.
The bakers were bound to their work by much stricter regulations than the navicularii, or indeed, than the members of any other collegia.
Their hereditary liability to the "bread making function" was a strictly personal one. One might have imagined that they were only compelled to provide for the expenses of the service without themselves exercising the trade. But instead of this the laws refer constantly to the baker's person being "pistrini consortio obnoxius" or "obnoxius functioni". A baker did not excape from his connection with a bakehouse if he lost his property. If anyone transferred his possessions to others, "in order that after he had collected his property into a hiding place, he might show himself unfit and should think another would have to be enrolled in his place, he is to get no profit from his disimulation". He is to remain obliged to perform the duty of a baker without any excuse nor is he to recover his lost possessions. Presumably, having lost his property such a pistor would be complelled to serve in the bakehouse in some menial capacity and would bitterly regret his attempt to escape from his duties.
If a man married the daughter of a baker and tried to break her connection with the collegium of bakers by dissipating her fortune he himself became a member of the collegium and had to work as a baker just as if he were one by his origin.
With one exception a baker could never become free of his obligations. The exception is the case of those wealthy pistores who became senators. These have to choose between their property and the dignity offered them. If they choose to become senators they must first enrol relatives fitted to be pistores by the possession of property equal in amount to that which they themselves possessed when they were bakers. Thus the prospective Senator lost his property to the corporation of bakers and a new member with the same amount of property, took his place; the corporation therefore increased its resources. It would howeverr seem impossible for the ex-baker to have lived as a Senator without his property; it would only be possible for those appointed to high positions in the civil service who would be able to accept; offices such as Aedile carrying no pay but involving heavy expenditure would be impossible of acceptance.
Apart from this one case it was impossible for a baker ever to get free of his bakehouse. Valentinian decreed that he might not even enter the Church. If he has done so he is to be recalled to the company of bakers "the privilege of Christianity being taken from him."
Even the patrons of the bakers are never to be called away to perform other functions "so that free from all necessities they may perform their own duty with the energies of a free mind." However the first of the patrons are to be free from their obligations after five years service as such.
No one is to leave the corporation under any pretext even if all the bakers want him to be released and he seems to deserve it. The prefect of the city is advised to be on the lookout that none may escape in this manner.
Not only are the relatives of bakers who succeed to this property forced to serve in the bakehouses. After 403 anyone who marries the daughter of a baker is to become a member of their corporation and is to submit to their 'onera'. In 372 Valentinian had already decreed that if a man married to a baker's daughter who dissipated his wife's property he was to become a baker. Thus the government provided that the "public necessity" should be served even if a baker had no son to take his place after death; a son-in-law would do just as well.
In 403 Honorius even forbade the bakers to marry whom they pleased. Neither they nor their children might marry private persons or actresses or those connected with charioteering, even though all the bakers agreed to the marriage and the imperial rescript had been procured by underhand means. If anyone did so he was to be scourged and deported and his possessions attached to a bakery. If the Prefect of the annona did not discover the marriage before it took place a fine of 10 lbs. was to be imposed on each family in such a way that "eae quoque personae cum patrimonio ad debitum officium revocentur quae per hujusmodi nuptias in simili consortio fuerunt." The decree concludes by saying that all who have chosen the daughters of bakers in marriage, either belonging themselves to the actors or charioteers or to any private station are to be attached to the corporation of bakers.
If this law means that bakers were to marry no one but bakers why does it specially mention Actresses and charioteers after private persons? Yet if not, why are private persons forbidden, seeing that marriage with such would obviously be less harmful to the public interest than marriage to the daughters of members of other collegia and would increase the number of bakers by making such private persons into bakers? Surely it was preferable that the daughters of bakers whould marry private persons rather than members of other collegia or corporations. This point is very obscure and needs further investigation. The law is usually taken to mean that bakers could not marry outside their collegium at all.
Before dealing with the general question of the recruitment of the pistores it will be well to consider the hereditary and inalienable character of their possessions. First it is important to distinguish between the individual properties of individual bakers and those endowed properties (fundis dotalibus) which were part of the equipment of a pistrina.
The endowed lands were obviously not the property of the bakers themselves and were absolutely inalienable and indivisible. Not only this, but the government even saw to it that the rents from such endowed lands and farms were not lost to the corporation of bakers by fraud. In 396 Honorius to prevent individual piatores from takeing the profits of these lands themselves to the hurt of the corporation, commands that in future a trustworthy man is to be sent out to survey such lands "as are under obligation to the corporation of bakers" and to see that the rents are paid and that such profits from the property given them long ago are handed over to the bakers as of old.
Elsewhere these lands are spoken of as having been given to the corporations' inoriginum'. Perhaps they were given by Frajan when he reorganised their collegium, but as corn, not bread, was still distributed in his time it seems more likely that they were given by the Emperor who first began the bread distributions.
The endowments were, according to Causiodorus, all over the world: "dignitati quoque tues pistorum jura famulats sunt, quae par diversas mundi partas possessione letissima tendebuntur."
They were apparently administered by the patroni of the pistores but the prefect of the annona had to guard them against hurt. We have seen that in 396 A.D. Honorius told them to appoint a suitable agent to look after the properties. The patrons being occupied with the direction of the pistrina themselves could not be travelling about and looking after the endowments. If they did not appoint a trustworthy man the corporation would be robbed. The intention of Honorius' law may have been to let the praetorian prefect supervise the appointment of the agent or bailiff.
There were some eventualities in which the baker's own land was confiscated to become the common property of his corporation and so was added to the endowed lands.
If a baker died and left his property to a shipowner the latter, as we have seen, could accept the legacy and become liable to bear the burdens both of a navicularius and of a shipowner or they could give up such "fortuitous heredity" to relatives of the deceased or to the corporation of bakers, in which latter eventuality, the said corporation would become the direct owner of such land. The same rule probably held good in the case of legacies to members of other collegia than those of the navicularii.
In the case of those bakers who tried to marry private persons or actresses or circus riders against the law, their property was confiscated and attached to a bakehouse, they themselves having been scourged and deported.
It would also seem that if anyone "by prayers to our Majesty" had obtained release from his trade of baking, his property was confiscated to the corporation of bakers, but the law does not make it clear whether this was the case or whether it was confiscated to the Treasury. It mearly states that such a man shall be punished by loss of his goods.
Thus as a result of the confiscations the common property of the corporation of bakers was likely to increase rather than to diminish.
But this common property was appartnely attached rather to the pistrinum than to the collegium. It is referred to as part of the equipment of a pistrinum as we have seen. It is questionable whether the collegium owned it or merely enjoyed possession of it, the property remaining in the ownership of the state. In theory at any rate it may have vaguely resembled later feudal tenure of lands on condition of service.
The above cases relate to direct confiscations the former owner or heir losing all rights to, and profit in, such lands. But the distinction between the corporate endowed lands and the individual properties of the pistores is sometimes hard to perceive, the latter lands being so tightly and inalienable bound to the use of the corporation that they are sometimes also referred to as belonging to it.
In 369 Valendinian I decrees as follows: "there belong to the bakery not only those properties which were assigned originally to the corporation and which now still retain the name and appearance of an endowment, but also those which are known to have passed to their heirs or to others by the Wills of bakers. In such cases it can obviously be seen that they cannot be alienated." He goes on to say that the members of this corporation cannot freely dispose of the property they have obtained by the will or generosity of a stranger, or by marriage, on in any other way, and even this property can only be transmitted to one of their associates i.e. to a baker! The law ends by saying that if these properties are left in their estate they will be treated like the rest of what they possess as endowments (dotis nomine ot titulo), because the piatrinus must have the benefit of that which belonged to a baker during his lifetime.
In fact whatever a baker touched became tinged with the atmosphere of the bakehouse. In other words any property acquired by a baker beyond his patrimony became ipso facto "obnoxius paneficium functio".
More remarkable still is the fact that Valentinian here regards both sorts of property - endowments proper and the properties which were divisible and were handed on to the children or other legitimate heirs of the deceased baker - as equally the property of the corpora of bakers. There was little distinction between the two sorts: both were inalienable but one, that given long ago as endowment, was indivisible and was administered by the corporation, whilst the other, the property, albeit in a limited sense of the word, of the individual bakers, was divisible and was held as his personal property by the baker although he could not alienate it or will it away.
The government had not always been so strict. Before 319 it seems that the bakers had been allowed to dispose of their property as they pleased, for in that year, Constantine rerfers to frauds of bakers who transferred their property to others in order to enjoy it, free of burdens, in the name of another. The fraud seems to have been something like that of a modern bankrupt who has transferred his property earlier to his wife or relatives in order that he may live on it after his bankruptcy. The fact that bakers could so defraud the government shows that before this time (319 A.D.) bakers could legally and freely dispose of their property.
Subsequently it was found that it was not enough for the law to prevent pretended alienations of property; even real alienations by bakers were prejudicial to the "public necessity" and apparently some bakers preferred to lose their goods rather than perform the hated work at the bakehouse. So in 364 Valentinian began to place restrictions on the alienation of bakers' property. Property is not to be sold, or given, or left by will, by bakers, to senators and officials under any circumstances, or to strangers unless the latter will willingly undertake the duty of a baker. Senators and officials could not obviously become bakers themselves and must therefore under no circumstances obtain property "obnoxina functio pistoria".
Finally in 369 comes the decree referred to above which amounts to a complete prohibition of sales, gifts or legacies by a baker to anyone but a baker.
The hereditary character of the property of bakers is more marked then that of any other collegium of which we have information. After Valentinian there is little distinction between the endowed lands and the private property of the bakers, both alike are inalienable, the latter being only transferable from one baker to another, i.e. within the corporation, and there being no provision for the holding of bakers lands without being or becoming a baker as there is in the case of the navicularii. The seeming exceptions of navicularii and senators are probably explained by the fact that the law about the former did not hold good after Valentinian's decrees had been issued and that as already suggested, the Senators referred to in 370 as holding property tied to bakehouses were Senators made before 364.
As no one would obviously become a baker voluntarily there was a special method of recruitment in their case. There is a law of Valentinian of 370 A.D. and one of Gratian of 380 A.D. which give us details of this recruitment.
The former speaks of an "officium" in Africa attached to the corporation of bakers by which bakers are consigned to Rome every five years. As h owever nothing is known of this officium and it is not clear exactly that it was or by whom administered it will be well to quote the law in full before commenting on it.
"Secundum parentis nostri Constantini divale praeceptum omnibus lustris pistores in officio, quod ei corpori constat addictum, ad urbem sacratissimam destinentur. In quo "illud convenit praecaveri, ne quis baue, quae personalis est 1 functionem pretio putet ease taxandam". Veniant suo tempore, quos causa constringit et its Veniant, ut sos officium, quod tibinaret, pistorum patronis adque annonae prefecto aput publica monumenta consignet. Quod si quis judicum statuto tempore personam, quae est destinanda, non miscrit, ipse profecto remanebit obnoxius functioni, qui subtraxisse probatur obnoxium. In officium quoque poena competeus exeretur, quod aut dissimulatione neglexerit aut fraude subtraxerit judicem suum super vi legis et consuetudinis admonere."
Gothofredus in his commentary shows that there is here a distinction between the officium which obeys the proconsul of Africa and the officium which is "addictum" top the corpus of pistores. Therefore perhaps the latter was the officium of the lesser African judges who were only clarissimi not spectabili and who were under the authority of the Proconsul or Vicar of Africa.
It is impossible to say whether there was a special bureau in Africa to deal with the recruitment of bakers or not but it seems much more likely that the bureau of the governors of Africa (judicis Africae) is meant. These latter were at any rate compelled to send the persons due every fiveyears. Waltzing says the persons enrolled had to be sent by the bu reaus of the African Governors to the prefect of the Annona and the patrons of the pistrina but the law seems to state that the recruits are to be consigned by the bureau of the proconsul of Africa (ut eos officium, quod tibi paret - - - consignet). The procedure seems clearly to have been for the local Governors to enrol the recruits every five years, to send them up to the proconsul of Africa and for the latter to send them on to Rome to the praefectus annonae and the patrons of the bakehouses.
Who were the victims of this forced recruitment is more obscure and more important. We know from C.Th.VIII 40 3. that Constantine consigned to the bakehouses at Rome those convicted of light offences (quicumque cohercitionem mereri ex causis non gravibus videbuntur, in urbis Romae pistrina dedantur) and we find Valentinian confirming this sentence. These laws are addressed to the prefect of the city at Rome to the governor of and or in case of Constantine's and to the Praeses of Sardinia. There is no evidence to show that this sentence was applied elsewhere. The law of Valentinian which I have quoted with its use of the words: "quos causa corestringit" does not lead one to infer that these recruits for the corpus of pistores were criminals. They were obviously not very poor people since the law forbids them to avoid their liability by a money payment. When the judges are threatened with being condemned to serve as bakers themselves if they do not send up the destined person within the prescribed time the use of the word destinanda implies persons picked upon to serve rather than criminals. Presumably the word condemned would have been used if criminals had been referred to.
It is however impossible to say how these bakers were recruited every five years. There is a law of 389 ordering the Prefect of the City of Rome to add to the "functia mancipatus," anyone found suitable among the members of the small corpora. It may be presumed that these governors had to levy a sufficient number at the appointed time from amongst any persons who were free of a particular obligation to the state (vacui, orotiosi) and the choice was purely arbitrary and a matter of luck; this would explain the words "quos causa constringit". In any case there would be few unburdened individuals with sufficient property to make themselves useful to the bakehouses, and there would be little choice for the governor to make. His difficulty in finding the recruits is obvious from the penalties imposed on him and his office when he failed to do so.
The other law dealing with these African recruits to the corpus of pistores i.e. that of Gratian in 380 merely tells the Vicar of Africa to terrify the African judges by telling them that if the bakers due for the use of Rome are not forthcoming at the appointed time, the said governors and their office are to be fined 50 lbs silver each. This may be a merciful amending of Valentinian's law consigning such judges to be bakers but it may be that the latter sentence had never been carried out.
Whether all these forced recruits from Africa were men with property or whether some of them were poor men who would have to perform the hardest physical labour in the pistrina it is impossible to say.
Another law which shows how arbitrary and regardless of liberty the government could be, is that of Valentinian in 364 which decrees that when the sons of bakers are too young to be made bakers at their fathers' death, others are to be enrolled in their place. When such children grow up they are to take up their fathers duty in the bakehouse at the age of 21, but their substitutes during the period of their minority are to remain bakers.
The case of the man who married a bakers daughter and became henceforth a baker himself has already been dealt with. Another law decrees that a freedman who received anything by will or gift from his master which was "obnoxius pistrinum" was to become a baker himself. If such freedmen thought themselves members of other corporations, they were to be taken out and attached to the bakers. If the legacy or gift they received belonged to a senator they were non the less to become bakers but they were to pay the glebalis tax from the lands subject to it although these same lands were now to benefit the corpus of pistores. There can have been little left for the poor freedmen to enjoy. It is also worth noting that it is this same year that Valentinian enrols in the corpus of Cotabolenaes all freedmen whose total fortune is assessed at 30 lbs of silver. It will be noted that both these decrees were issued in 370 a few months before the one concerning the recruitment of pistores in Africa, and may give us the explanation of the method used to obtain the recruits there. There is of course no proof that these two decrees, addressed to the praefectus urbi at Rome, also applied in Africa but it does at any rate throw some light on the sort of means by which new pistores were enrolled.
It is also interesting to find that it is Valentinian who issued nearly all the laws relating to bakers and their property. Of the 21 laws which relate to the pistores (No. 9 of the 22 in Book XIV. Section 3 relates to catabolenses only) 8 are of Valentinian alone, 4 of Valentinian and Valens and they all concern the pistores of Rome. Valentinian and Valens also issued all the laws but one consigning criminals to the pistrina. There is one other decree referring to those forcibly enrolled as bakers. The explanation lies perhaps in the fact that it was Valentinian who had re-established distribution of free bread in the preceding year i.e. 369. In 398 at the time of the subjection of Africa to Gildo Honorius refers to those "edscripti aemel per sententiam judicis ordini pistorio" and forbids them appealing or obtaining release by stolen imperial rescripts.
Those who do so are to pay a fine of 5 lbs of gold to the fisce and if the release was obtained by bribing the judge who gave sentence, the latter, and his office also if cognisant of the misdemeanour is to pay 50 lbs to the aererium.
Obviously from the terms of this law people could be made hereditary bakers by the judges but whether it was done on account of some petty crime committed, or arbitrarily to quite innocent people, is not shown.
It is probable that the latter is the case as the wrongdoers convicted of slight offences were unlikely to be in a position to bribe the judges and their cases are dealt with separately in another part of the Code.
The above were not the only means by which the numbers of the bakers were increased. The slaves of Senators who illegally took part in the free distribution of bread were condemned to work in chains in the bakehouses. Poor citizens who committed the same crime were also condemned to work in the bakehouses, whilst men of substance found themselves and their possessions tied to the service of the bakehouse they had defrauded.
An appariter of the praetorian prefect or of the offices of the palace who allowed himself to be confided with a fiscal mission in his native province or in the province where he lived was also punished by being made a pistor.
The case of the employee of the praefectus annonae or of the praefectus urbi who was condemned to the functio pistorio if he caused vexations to the bakers has been mentioned elsewhere.
Generally speaking the pistrina were the receptacles for all the evildoers or light offenders who would conveniently be sent there. Yet in spite of all the measures of the government the bakehouses were insufficiently supplied with labour and the bakers tried to obtain men to do the hardest work by secret devices. There is a very interesting passage in -- Socrates which tells us something of these ssecret devices and which is worth quoting in full as it is useful evidence on other points than this and will be subsequently referred to.
". . . . there were buildings of immense magnitude, erected in ancient Rome in former times, in which bread was made for distribution among the people. Those who had charge of these edifices who were called Nencipes in the Latin language, in process of time converted them into receptacles for thieves. Now as the bakehouses in these structures were placed underneath, they built taverns at the side of each where they kept prostitutes; by which means they entrapped many of those who went thither either for the sake of refreshment, or to gratify their lusts, for by a certain mechanical contrivance they precipitated them from the tavern into the bakehouse below. This was practised chiefly upon strangers; and such as were in this way kidnapped were compelled to work in the bakehouses where many of them were immured till old age, not being allowed to go out and giving the impression to their friends that they were dead. It happened that one of the soldiers of the Emperor Theodosius fell into this snare; who being shut up in the bakehouse, and hindered from going out, drew a dagger which he wore and killed those who stood in his way; the rest being terrified, suffered him to escape. When the Emperor was made acquainted with the circumstance he punished the Nencipes, and ordered these haunts of lawless and abandoned characters to be pulled down. This was one of the disgraceful nuisances of which the Emperor purged the imperial city.
We have seen that the bakehouses were furnished with slaves as part of their equipment (officinam cum animalibus servis, moliss, fundis dotalibus pistrinorum, postremo omnem euthecam.) There were furthermore the criminals condemned to the bakehouses and these and the slaves were obviously forced to perform the hard manual labour such as turning the mill stones to grind the corn. They must also have been in part employed in kneading the dough and baking the bread. What work was therefore done by the owners of land who were bakers by heredity and where personal service was always insisted upon. They were not all patroni who managed the bakehouses and who were released after five years service as senior patron of a bakehouse. Still many bakers must have been needed to oversee the work in the bakehouse and to arrange the free distributions of bread on the steps of the bakehouses.
The overseeing of the work done by the slaves, the criminals and the lower class bakers would not be wither an easy or a pleasant task. Many must have hated the brutality which they were bound to employ in order to keep these miserable creatures at their work. Of the terrible conditions in a mill or bakehouse we have some idea from ancient authors such as Apuloins, and the cnditions of work must have been much the same in the 4th Century as in the 2nd. But in the 4th Century slaves were very much harder to obtain, and we have seen in the preceding section that the bakers kidnapped strangers and immured them for life in the bakehouses. Here presumably they worked like slaves in chains under the lash turning the millstones or lifting the loaves in and out of the hot ovens. Possibly the kneading of the dough was performed by actual pistores since it needed some slight skill. The criminals would obviously be treated like the slaves. It cannot be thought that the richer pistores were not allowed to hire others to do their work or to employ slaves, and yet if so, why was the personal obligation of service made such a point of?
It must be that such a one could use slaves to perform all the manual work but he had to supervise them and was responsible for the production of a sufficient number of loaves for distribution and sale. The patron of the cavdicarii or mensores who was in charge of the stores at Ostia and who lost his property through fraudulent dealings was called back to the lowest service in a bakery, although he might haave had the title of Comes bestowed on him if he had not betrayed his trust. This shows that a moderately wealthy man who had served in a responsible capacity could be put to the most menial labour once he had lost his patrimony. Presumably therefore the work in the pistrina was portioned out according to the income of the pistores in it. The richest would supervise the work and hold the positions of responsibility, the poor ones without property would do some of the manual labour and would be only a degree removed from the slaves and those condemned to the pistrina on account of petty crimes. Perhaps the personal lien was insisted upon so strictly just because of the increasing difficulty of obtaining slave labour. If the pistores could not obtain slaves to do all the hardest work they would have to do it themselves.
Again even if not doing the hardest work it must have been extremely unpleasant to supervise the work of others in a hot bakehouse in the summer nights nor would people like having to be up all night at all. Further the cruelty exercised on the helpless slaves must have revolted many a man compelled to exercise such cruelty. These seem sufficient reasons for the desire of the pistores to escape from their obligations even in the case of those wealthy enought not to have to perform the actual hard labour; even these may well have wished to alienate their property and be free of the bakehouse.
If the reasons stated above seem insufficient it must also be recognised that there may have been many pistores with just enough property to live on who, forced to 'bear the burdens' of pistores, were not rich enough to hire or buy others to work for them and did actually labour in the istrina making and baking bread, being just able to live and keep their families on their patrimony.
If there were many such, the imperial laws are much easier to understand for such men one can see would very readily try to escape their burdens and abandoning their property take on some other work where they could see some prospect of an improvement in their condition. Whereas in a bakehouse however hard a man worked he evidently got little profit from it. He lived on his property and worked all the year round for practically nothing. Like many others they would try to escape and enter the Civil Service e.g. those who had escaped into the decuria of aparitors were recalled by Valentinian. The endowments of the bakeries may only have provided for their upkeep, for the feeding of the slaves and animals and so forth. What little extra profit came from them together with that derived from the sale of the panis fiscalis or ostiensis was presumably divided up in proportion to the status of the pistores and the poorer ones would have received very little. In any case the profits from sales must have been very small.
That even the more affluent pistores found their position unenviable is evinced by the prohibition against their patrons or contractors (mancipes) "going over to the decuriae in order to avoid the functio pistoris ("mancipatus" taken by Gothofredus to mean the functio pistoris). In the case of the navicularii as we saw curiales had finally to be forbidden to become navicularii; in the case of the pistores the prohibition is the other way round. However this law might be taken to refer to all contractors and seems to be a general prohibition against their giving up their administration of state workshops of any sort although it is placed among the laws about the pistores. These 'Mancipes' were apparently the patrons of the pistores and were responsible for the running of the various bakeries. They may have risen to that position by successive tenures of the various positions in the collegium or they may have been appointed merely on account of their wealth. At any rate they were released after five years as a senior patron but patrons would also have their property confiscated and be relegated to menial bail in the bakery if they abused their position of trust just as other pistores who defrauded the state of their property were kept to menial duty in a pistrinum.
The pistores were also liable to have losses incurred at the granaries made good from their properties. Presumably these loaves were made good by the patrons who would be the responsible people in charge.
That people of substance were required as pistores is shown not only by the laws against those who pretended to alienate their possessions or, who dissipated th em to avoid doing duty as a baker but also by a law of Gratian in 377 forbidding the filling up of the ranks of the bakers by those thrown over. The latter are obviously bankrupts since at the end reference is made to provision against the vice of being a spendthrift or bankrupt (decoctor) and for the needs of the annone publica. It seems strange that those who went bankrupt should not have been forced to work in the bakehouses, like those whose property was confiscated for misbehaviour or like those who pretended to alienate it. Gothofreedus thinks that this law refers only to the patrons of bakehouses and this seems the most likely explanation.
It is noticeable that all the decrees about the bakers refer to Rome. Were those at Constantinople in a more enviable position? Perhaps there, plenty of the inhabitants were wealthy merchants who bought good bread in the bakehouses and enabled the bakers to make substantial profits. At Rome those who did not live on the free distribution were mainly aristocrats whose slaves made their bread at home.
Before concluding the section on the pistores I should like to make another suggestion as to the possible explanation of the desire of so many bakers to leave their work. It is not at all certain whether all the bakers were sharers in the profits as well as the duties of the bakehouse. Some, although possessing some little personal property, may have worked for a wage in a bakehouse. The Tariff of Diocletian lays down 50 deniers as the wage of a baker and although this may only refer to the East it may possibly be a normal wage elsewhere. At any rate it is one of the lowest in the Tariff. What if the pistores were paid a wage in the bakehouse and had no part in the endowments and profits of the bakehouse, those benefitting only the patrons. If merely an employee the baker could find himself in much the same hopeless position as the colonus: bound to his work by law and therefore compelled to accept any wage the patron might give him, just as the colonus was boud to his farm by law but forced to pay rent at whatever rate his landlord pleased.
The fact that the baker was forbidden to transfer from one workshop to another seems to support this theory: his only likely reason for desiring to transfer can have been the hope of better wages.
That poor people had hired themselves out in previous centuries to grind corn in bakehouses or in provate fmailies we know from Aulus Cellus account of Plantus, who is supposed to have written his early comedies in his intervals of rest whilst earning his living turning a mill.
If many of the pistores were thus hired at a wage in the 4th century it is easy to understand how intolerable their position must have been and how eagerly they must have sought to escape. The fact that they possessed a little private property such as a house, does not seem to me to disprove this theory. If on further investigation of the evidence it were found to be true for the pistores it would go far to explaining the increasing desire of the members of many other collegia to escapt from their performances of their "functio originaria".
To recruit new catabolenses Valentianian decreed that freedmen whose total fortune was assessed at 30 lbs of silver were to be made members of the corpus of Catabolences whether they possessed that sum in cash or any other species or in buildings or fields. Gothefreedus takes it that freedmen were to be made members of this corpus if their possessions exceeded 30 lbs of silver and if they had received anything from their masters by donation or testament. For the other law referring to them shows that freedmen who received from th eir masters legacies free of all ties to a 'corpus' were "to serve the needs of the Catabolenses". Even if they already belonged to another Collegium they were to be taken out and made into catabolenses.
Thus even the muleteers or wagoners had to be men of some substances whose property would provide them with sustenance while they worked for the state. Of course they would have some free time in which to act as carriers on their own account.
Chapter 7 - Collegia connected with the meat and wine supplies
The Digest shows that under the Empire the prefect of the city had to ensure the supply of cheap meat and the purveyors of meat were thus naturally included amongst the privileged merchants useful to the annona. They formed 3 separate collegia:
Boarii - beef dealers
Pecuarii (pequarii) - mutton dealers
Suarii - pork dealers
Since pork was the more usual diet of the Romans and the most east to obtain the suarii were naturally the most important of the three - Waltzing quotes a fragment of Ulpian to show that Severus and Caracalla accorded exemption from the "tutella" to all those who did business in the pig market, an immunity stated to be already enjoyed by all those who served the annona. They had however to devote two thirds of their fortune to this commerce. The authorities had a list of the people who fulfilled the necessary conditions and who had accordingly been given a certificate by the praefectus urbi. "sed et quii in foro saurio negotiantur, si duabus partibus bonorum annonam juvent, habent excusiationem litteris allatis (a praefecto) urbis testimonialibus negotiationis; ut imperator noster et divus Severus Manilio Cereali rescripserunt; quo rescripto declaratur, ante eos non habisse immunitatem, sed nunc cis dari eam, quae date est his, qui annonam populi Romani juvant."
Symmachus counts the three collegia which supplied meat amongst those regular corporations of the capital which served the public needs of Rome.
It was naturally the Suarii who became indispensable after the institution by Aurelian of free distributions of lard.
Since pork was distributed free by the government to the people of Rome one is not surprised to find that it was supplied gratis by someone. It was supplied by the Landowners of Campania, Lucania, and Bruttium, Samnium and even occasionally Sardinia. In fact it was supplied by most of the Italian possessers south of Rome as part of their taxes to the state; these were the lands which grew little in the way of grain and were chiefly used for vine growing and for rearing of cattle, pigs and other livestock.
The suarii had at first the duty of actually collecting the pigs due from the landowners to the government. Naturally this involved a great deal of labour and trouble. Furthermore losses occurred in transit owing to the diminishing value of the pigs, which lost weight as they walked to Rome or even on the shorter journey from their homes to the market towns where they were collected and killed. For this reaon the suarii seem before the time of Constantine to have demanded money from the landowners in place of actual pigs and to have been allowed to do so. For in 324 Constantine tells the prefect of the City that the possessor shall have the option of not paying money to the suarius, as allowed heretofore, lest in estimating the weight of the pigs license is allowed to the suarii, i.e. to guard against the suarius putting too high a price on the pigs. The suarius for example, in the case of a man whose contribution was a pig weighing 114 lbs. could estimate the money due from him at the rate of 2 denarii per lb. when the price current in the district was in reality only 1 denarius per lb.
The law goes on to say that when the suarius estimates correctly the value of the meat due the "possessor" can have the choice of paying his tax either in kind or in money. In collecting the money the suarius and the possessor are to estimate the value of the pork at the current market price of the district. Further since the "forma pretiorum" are not the same at all times and in all places, prices are to be given in the current specie unless pork itself is produced.
To precluce all confusion or unfairness Constantine also decrrrs that the governors of the regions are to report each year to the prefect of the City what are the current prices of pork in the different localities; the prefect is to examine the reports and to inform the suarii. The latter are then to set out and collect the moneys in the different districts, the prefect will know from the reports he has received and from the number of pounds due from the various landowners (presumably written down in the Census) just what amount the suarii are to collect. In this way it will be no concern of the suarii to "compare dear and cheap", the amount they are to collect from each "possessor" being fixed. They will thus have no cause to grumble. The "possessores" will under this scheme be moderate in the prices they demand when they retail their pork locally, knowing that if they put up the prices in their district, they will have to pay more in taxation when the suarii come round to collect.
It would seem at first sight that the government was using a needlessly complicated System in the collection of its taxes. Why not have assessed each landowner at so much cash per head and collected it direct? Although so much simpler this method would actually have been less fair seeing that it would have taken no account of fluctuations in the price of pigs from year to year. A regular amount might have meant great hardship one year when the price of pork was low and loss to the government another year when the price was high.
It might have been thought that such elaborate regulations would have achieved the desired result, i.e. that the government should always receive a sufficient amount, that the suarii should not oppress the landowners nor grumble at their losses in collecting; that the landowners should not be too heavily assessed when paying money in place of taxes in kind, and that the price of pork should be kept low in the local markets.
However the system established by Constantine does not seem to have worked perfectly or at any rate Julian thought he could improve upon it in the case of Campania. In 362 or 363 the latter Emperor took from the possessores of Campania the choice of paying in kind or in money. Henceforth "adaeratio" is compulsory and it is to be made, as before, at the cu rrent price in Campania, the possessores are to pay money for each lb. of pork due valued at the price current in the public markets in Campania. The collection is to be taken away from the suarii and is not to be made by the officials of the urban prefecture but by the officials of the Governor of Campani. The curiales and the ordinqary "judices" are to do the collecting "because the officials of the more powerful are wont to oppress the provincials".
The governor of Campania has been told that the officials of the urban prefecture and the suarii have had the duty of collection taken from them and that he himself shall henceforth bear all the responsibility of the collection. He is threatened with grave penalties if any fraud is practised in transmitting the moneys. The moneys transmitted are to be handed over to the suarii at Rome who although they no longer collect the sums due, are held responsible for the supply of sufficient quantities of pork to the people of Rome.
It should be noted that this decree of Julian makes it seem likely that the system previously had been for the suarii to be helped or supervised in their annual collection of pigs and money by the officials of the Urban prefecture of Rome.
Although Campania alone is dealt with it may be that the collection was taken away from the suarii in Southern Italy also by other decrees. The one extant is addressed to the pr. urbi and Campania being joined to his administration may have been the only district where his officials had taken part in the collections.
Further changes in the method of collection were made by Valentinian in 367. He gave back to the landowners the right to choose whether they would supply meat or compound by a money payment for the amount due. But if they choose to make a money payment it would seem the 'adaeratio' was made at the price current in the Roman Market, since that was the rate considered as "legitimate" when the suarii received the money from the collectors. If so this would be unfavourable to the landowners as compared with the previous arrangement seeing that the price at Rome would obviously be higher than the local price. It would however be an advantage to the suarii since they would receive more money with which to buy the pigs or pork with which they had to supply the people of Rome.
If the landowners chose to pay in kind a stricter method of estimating the weight of a pig is instituted by this decree. It is to be ascertained by test of a weighing balance and not by guessing from the look of the animals even when the owner agrees to the estimate thus arrived at. Furthermore the owner is to give the pig in question nothing to eat from the night before its delivery so that it shall not be weighed at the favourable moment just after it has eaten and be estimated at a greater weight than it will sink to after some hours in transit!
The collection is now done by an "ordo suarius". This cannot be the suarii themselves for the "ordo" hands over to the suarii the moneys and meat collected and yet the saurii are spoken of as estimating the weight of the pigs. But it is the "ordo" which is to decide the price in cases of adseratio.
Waltzing thinks this ordo saurius must be the employees of the governor who collected the pigs and the money and who may have formed themselves into a special ordo in the office of the governors.
This "ordo" is also mentioned in the edict of Apronianus who was prefect of the City at the time of Julian's edict about the saurii and whose edict is referred to with approval by Valentinian.
A decessore tuo salubriter institutun ast "au jus modum non prives ponderatione certa deciderit saurius". Why then are the saurii still referred to in 367 as taking part in the estimation of the weight of pigs? I have found no explanation attempted. Were they perhaps still sent round, but now under the superintendence and control of the local governor, to judge the weight and quality of the pigs delivered by the possesores? Perhaps experts were needed for this whereas in the case of adaeratio no expert knowledge of pig flesh was necessary and the collection could easily be done by the employees of the governor, i.e. the "ordo saurius". For in the latter case it was known how many lbs a possessor had to deliver and it was simple arithmetic merely to calculate what so many lbs cost at the Roman Market price and to collect that sum from the landowner.
In the case of pigs the saurii himself was perhaps less likely to be cheated as regards quality and weight since he had expert knowledge of pig flesh. Of course it may be that the word saurius in Latin quoted means a member of the ordo saurius.
Beyond our period, i.e. in the time of Valentinian II in 452 A.D. yet another means of collection was instituted. The patrons of the saurii were given the choice between two methods of collection. Either it was to be done by the office of the praetorian prefecture helped by 5 saurii, or by the saurii themselves under the supervision of the govenror of the province who was himself responsible. This arrangement however does not concern us here except to prove how often the government or the saurii must have found the method adopted for procuring the necessary pork to have been unsatisfactory and so to have sought to establish a better system.
The saurii were therefore responsible for the supply of pork at Rome and were under the authority of the primiscrinii of the prefect of the City and of those of his vicar. The latter was under the prefect of the City; the governors of the provinces concerned, e.g., Campania and the S. of Italy generally, were under the vicar. The primiscrinii referred to were held responsible with their property if the saurii did not do their duty, "ut es propriis facultatibus debits sauriae functionis praebeatur". It must be noted that this may only have been after 419 when there was still so much confusion after the invasion of -------.
The saurii had also to prepare the pigs flesh collected and we find them called corpus sauriorum et confectuariorum in the year 337 A.D.
This inscription shows that the said collegium set up a statue some time after Diveletian to their worthy patron B. Aroadius Valeria Proculus and it gives a list of the offices held by the said Proculus ending with "praefecto urbi vice saors iterum judicanti; consuli ordinario".
The collegium of "swinedealers and pork butchers" was probably in the habit of choosing the praefectus urbi as their patron seeing that he controlled their activities for the government and would be useful to them; he would be pleased with the honour of having a statue put up to him. Such honours were accorded to high officials by the collegia either to propitiate them or in grateful recognition of consideration received.
They do not appear to have received exemption from the munera sordida at extraordinarie" until the time of Gratian for when Valentinian II in 369 confirmed them in the enmoyment of this privilege "cum parvigilem laborem populi Romani commodis exhibeant", he refers to it as granted by Gratian "id se divae memoriae Cratiani beneficio mermiore proponunt, ne sordidis umquan munaribus subjacerent". The prefect of the City is to impress upon his office i.e. his subordinate that they must respect the Concession. This privilege h ad been awarded to the navicularii as early as 329 but perhaps it was more necessary in their case as such munere extraordinarie et sordide would be more frequent and more onerous in the provincial cities than at Rome where most public needs were provided for by the central government. In the case of the other collecia of Rome, apart from general references to their privileges there is no mention of this specific privilege till 391. In the case of the pistores it is not mentioned at all though presumably they must have been exempt before 391.
Although only the three senior patrons of other collegia were immune from corporal punishment at the hands of the prefect of the annona and cold receive it by order of the prefect of the City. Suarii were all declared immune from such punishment by Honorius in 419; "nulle tamen cos corponis injurise formide percelat".
This concession, it is true, was granted at the time when Honorius was re-establishing the collegia after the sack of Rome by Alario; he was on the one hand re-calling the members of the Collegia to their duties and on the other hand coaxing them back by concessions.
Valentinian III in 452 forbids the apoaritoes to inflict injury or exactions on the saurii.
Another concession of a peculiar sort which we find mentioned in the laws as granted to the saurii is being allowed to use horses when engaged on their own business (qui propreis officis occupantur). The use of horses had been forbidden in 364. Picenum, Flaminia, Apulia, Calobris, Lucanis and Samnium except in the case of certain provileged persons. The object was to prevent robberies, violence and so forth in those districts; presumably evildoers could not escape if they were on foot. Waltzing speaks of the saurii as being allowed to use horses "dans les courses qu'ils devaient faire pour parcevoir les 4 especes porcines. The words used in the Code are "qui proprius officis occupantur" so that it does not refer to collection from the inhabitants as might be supposed by the phrase used by Waltzing. The saurii were at this date, as we have seen, only allowed to receive the money or pigs flesh from the officials who levied the tax. Their work, for which they needed to ride, was that of going round to the depots in the various districts and collecting the money. With this money, they would, it may be supposed, buy pigs or pork in the South and take them to Rome. The pork which they had to supply to the people of Rome could obviously be bought more cheaply in the South than near Rome.
They were in addition given some payment for this service in much the same way as the navicularii.
Firstly they were allowed 5% on the goods collected to cover their expenses. Whether they received this payment of 5% when they received the collections in money is doubtful. The law lays down that the 8% extra is not to be paid by the possessores who pay their tax in cash. This may refer to an extra 5% levied for the benefit of the ordo saurius and may not affect the saurii. Apart from this they were compensated for the loss which "necessarily occurs between the collection and the delivery" by an allowance of wine. This last concession was confirmed by Valentinian in 367 but it had originally been granted a few years before by that Apronianus who had been prefect of the City at the time of Julian's law of 362 and to whose edict reference has already been made. In this edict he had decided to take out of the public stores 25,000 amphorae of the wine supplied as taxes by the same landowners of S. Italy who supplied the pork, and to give two thirds of it to the saurii (i.e. 16,666) amphorae and the remaining 1/3rd to the "ordines qui saurium faciant or recognuscunt".
Valentinian is confirming the edict lays down the amount of wine to be collected for the saurii as 17,000 amphora making a round sum of Apronian's 16,666 amphora. The Ordo saurius is later referred to as receiving the payment of wine in common with the saurii.
As regards the value of the wine it is difficult to decide although necessary, if we are to guage in any way the amount realised by the sauri from the sale of the wine for we cannot supplse that the saurii sat down to drink the 17,000 amphora of wine.
Waddington referring to Valentinian III's law of 445 says that 70 lbs of meat were then recokoned as the price of an amphora of good wine so that soldiers could buy 1 lb. of meat for 1/270 solidus (on the authority of XIV. 4 . 3 which shows 1 lb. of pig taxed at 6 folles = 1/48 solidus). He recognises however that this price is impossibly low and thinks there must be some error in the text.
It should be noted that Valentinian's law of 367 although it allows a sort of adaeratio of 70 lbs. of meat in place of wine, in the case of the landowners of Luccania and Bruttium who were affected by the loss of the long transit, does not say how many amphora 70 lbs. of meat took the place of. If Waddington is really referring to this law it seems that he has no warrant for taking 70 lbs as equal to one amphora of wine only. Waltzing takes it in this sense, though he does not give h is reasons.
Already in 334 Constantine states that the corpus of Saurii has become very small and he orders an enquiry to be instituted. The saurii are to state in open court 9edetante populo Romano) to whom they have granted exemption from their duties and by whom these duties ought to be performed, they are to be treated in the same way as the navicularii.
therefore they are to realise that their possessions are bound to the duty of the saurii (obnoxias muneri sauriorum) and of two alternatives they may choose one; either they shall keep the possessions "quae sauriae functioni destricts sunt" and themselves do duty as saurii or they are to appoint substitutes who will perform the necessary duty. Prresumably substitutes would not be obtainable unless the original saurii gave up their possessions to them; at any rate the implication of the whole clause is that in the second alternative the saurii lost their hereditary possessions.
Constantine further makes it clear that no one is to escape his cuty as a saurius by obtaining office i.e. by entering the civil service, nor can he escape by cunning. Such men who attempt to evade their duties in these ways are to be recalled and put back into the collegium a judicial enquiry being held before the Roman people and the Emperor being consulted above them in order that he may be cognisant of those who make use of this subterfuge. In a word no one is to have exemption and whoever manages to slide out shall be liable to punishment.
The most important thing to note h ere is that under Constantine a saurius could escape if he gave up his possessions and could provide a substitute. Although harsh the law did not force a man to remain a saurius after the loss or sale or gift of his inheritance.
In spite of the restrictions of the above law Valentinian found in 389 that the means of the saurii had decayed because their lands and farms had been made over to strangers 'by many sorts of donation". He adopts stronger measures than Constantine who was content to bind the descendants of Saurii and decrees that it is "full of equity and lawful" for the prefect of the city to force them to take up the name and duty of their ancestry. "Consanguineos quoque eorum vel originalos ut memoratorium nomini functionique juboas adjungi, plonum et açquitatis et juris est".
In 397 Honorius speaks of those "quem successio generis adstringit" as distinct from him "quem possessio tenet" implying that descent compells a man to be a saurius whether he holds property "obnoxius functio suariorum" or not. The saurii are not to lose those "adtributos" to their ordo nor are they to seek foreign and distant possessions free from these burdens in place of their own possessions and customary rents.
A few years later Honorius makes it clear exactly what manner of persons are hereditarily bound to serve as suarii. He begins in this decree by recalling to their original obligation (pristinas munus) whosoever from the corpus of suarii are known to have refused the service to which they are bound by their origin; whether they have done so by means of a petition or by anyone's help or through holding office or by "adnotatios" or rescripts from the Emperor. All are to be recalled whether they are bound by the maternal or the paternal relationship (tam qui paterno quam qui materno genere inveniuntur obnoxii).
No suarius may enter the civil or the military service even if he has obtained special permission by begging from the Emperor and obtaining a rescript; howsoever permission has been obtained it is invalid).
In one respect only does Honorius treat the Suarii more leniently than the pistores: those who have entered the ranks of the clergy can remain there is they hand back their patromony to the collegium of suarii. It will be remembered that the pistores were not allowed to enter the Church under any condition.
Shortly after the sack of Rome by Alaric Honorius joined the pecuarii to the suarii and at the same time had an enquiry instituted to recall the members who had abandoned their duties. or whatever other work they might be performing.
Again in 408 Honorius repeats that those who hold lands tied to the collegium, having claimed them either by purchase or donation, or by any other title, are to acknowledge their obligation or give up their possessions "for the public good".
In the law of 419 when Horius in reconstituting the collegium of suarii after the sack of Rome he speaks of the restitution of the persons of suarii together with their possessions.
To conclude it seems clear (a) that by the time of Valentinian at any rate all suarii are hereditarily bound to do personal service as suarii, (b) that all possessions of suarii remain for ever bound to bear the burdens of the suarii.
But whether or not suarii were allowed to sell their lands to strangers or leave them by will is not certain, strangers evidently did get possession of such lands occasionally whether they ought to have done or not. If they did they became suarii themselves unless they give up the said lands.
Whether alienation was permisable or not there are no such definite laws against it as in the case of the pistores, who were eventually forbidden to transfer lands to any but bakers.
However in the circumstances given above it is unlikely that a suarius would be able to find anyone to buy his burdened lands, nor would he want to if he still had to serve as a suarius for presumably a suarius without land was given the most objectionable work to do, such as the cutting up and preparing of the pork and bacon so in actual fact the position of the suarii cannot have been much more favorable than that of the pistores.
We do not know if the sales were made at cheap rates and subsidized by the government but it is improbable as there is no record of such subsidies. The only information we have comes from a second edict of the Apronian whose edict about the suarii has already been referred to. It is dated 353 and concerns the pecuarii only.
It relates to the procedure to be adopted in the weighing of the animals: the parts to be weighed and charged to the buyer and the payment of the butcher who does the killing; he is to be given the head and feet of the animal.
The members of the collegia probably hired low class persons to do the unpleasant work of preparing the meat and they must also have had slaves for this purpose. There is an inscription from Rome of a pork and mutton dealer called Marcus Antonius Claudia Teranius by origin from the city of Misonum who performed all the duties and held all the offices of his native town. This shows that in a provincial town a meat dealer might easily make an equal with the middle class landowners who sat in the curia. In Rome there is of course no question of service in the curia (the senate being the curia of Rome) but on the analogy of the position in the provinces and in view of the evidence of the code as to their properties the meat dealers must have been men of middle class but are unlikely to have included men of such high rank and wealth as the Navicularii.
It would be interesting to know if the suarii pecuarii or boarii were in any sense a limited corporation and formed any sort of meat trust. There is naturally no evidence on this point and for all we know anyone may have been able to buy and sell meat in the Roman Market. The state at any rate would have prevented the meat dealers raising the price of meat too high.
Seemingly from the edict of Apronian the pecuarii and presumably also the boarii, bought their meat at Rome and did not go South like the suarii to obtain it. They were probably retailers as well as wholesale buyers; seeing that the suarii seem to have been responsible for the distribution of pork to the people they must have been accustomed to prepare small pieces for sale and thus have been retailers. The suarii must have had a monopoly of seling in the Roman market and have thereby derived some benefit from their state service. Furthermore, nothing was to stop them buying pigs in the South of Italy on their own account whilst collecting the money and pigs flesh due to the government. This they could sell at a profit to those who received no free allowance and to those who could pay for more than they received gratis.
There was a special area vinaris at Rome in ch arge of a rationales vinorum. The wine itself was obtained from the landowners of southern Italy who had to bring their quote to the Campus Martius at Rome. Here it was received by the susceptores vini who formed a special collegium. There is a very interesting inscription extant which throws some light on the methods of collecting and checking of the supplies and which, incidentally, furnishes an example of the waste of effort and the unnecessary expense involved by the large number of people concerned in the transaction.
It is on the fragment of a marble tablet and provides for the following payments to be made to various people:
"To the haustores (those who fill the casks of wine) 30 nummi.
To the Tabularii: 20 nummi for each receipt they give out.
To the Exasciator (he who opens and shuts the barrels): 10 nummi per cupa.
To the Palancarii (who are wont to carry the casks from the place called "Ciconias nixas" to the temple (of the sun) --- nummi.
To the guardians of the casks (custodes cuparum) --- nummi.
The inscription further states that after the degustatio the ampullao, (i.e. the vessels for carrying the wine) are to be given back to the possessores and the latter are to receive 120 scaterces per cask in payment.
Hence, apart from the growers of the wine, that is the possessores, 5 classes of people received payment: the hanstores, the tabularii, the Reasciator, and the Palancarii and the costodes cuparum.
In 400 Honorius endeavoured to stop the frauds which were occurring. He found th at the "possessores" were guiltless and he forced the susceptores to make good the deficits.
Part of the wine in the area finaris was sold cheap to the people of Rome, part was used for the payments made to officials and to members of certain collegia: the suarii dealt with in the last chapter and the lime burners dealt with in the next.
Since the law is the Theodosian Code dealing with the susceptores vini is recalled in the Justinian Code it may be inferred that wine was also sold to the inhabitants of Constantinople below the market price.
Chapter 8 - Collegia connected with the other public needs
It is obvious that since the cost of entry was nominal, some class of persons would have the duty of providing for their upkeep. The people who thus "served the Roman people" were called Mancipes thermarum or mancipes salinarum.
Symmachus speaks of them in the following terms: "Invendi sunt mancipes sulinarum, qui splendori atque usui patrias sommanis inservlunt" and "mancipes salinarum, qui exercent lavacra lignorum praebitions", and in the Theodosian code the Salinae (salt depots) are spoken of as serving the baths of the Roman people "salinie stiam omnibus praeter mancipum quae populi Romani lavaoris inserviunt"j.
The explanation is almost certainly to be found in the fact that three "mancipes" had formerly rented the salinae at Rome from the State, and were subsequently allowed to exploit them free of charge to compensate them for their services in supplying the baths.
These salinas were store houses or depots where the merchants were compelled by law to deposit all the salt sold at Rome. The Justinian Code shows that salt sold without passing through the storehouses leased out to the mancipes, had to be sold for the latter's profit, i.e. the mancipes had the right to levy a sort of toll on all salt sold at Rome: "si quis sine persona mancipum, id est salinarum conductorum, sales emarit venderave tentaverit, sive propria audacia sive nostro munitus craculo, sales ipsi una cum eorum pretio mancipibus addicantur".
Thus in origin the mancipes salinarum were just farmers of part of the "Vectigalia"; when the proceeds of the "salt duty" were assigned to the upkeep of the baths they became mancipes thermarum as well as mancipes salinarum. In other words the mancipes thermarum supplied the baths with necessaries (chiefly wood), being compensated for this service by their exploitation of the salinae.
Waltzing states that Gebhardt explains otherwise the connection between the mancipes thermarum and the salinae but I have not been able to obtain Gebhardt to ascertain what is his theory. The language of the one law in the Theodosian Code "De Mancipibus thermaum urbis et subvectione lignorum" seems to leave little doubt as to the truth of the usual explanation. It was addressed to the praefectus Urbi in 368 or 370 and runs as follows: "Quidquid erga mancipes qui thermarum exhibitioni Romaao curant, in exercitio conpendiisque salinarum scitis priorum principum cautum est, aeterna sanctione firmamus".
The reference to profits (compendiis) from the salinae at the same time as to the care of the baths seems to make no other explantion possible.
The words "qui thermarum exhibitionem Romao curant" imply that the mancipes thermarum were alone responsible for the heating of the baths and their general upkeep.
For part of the supply of the necessary wood for this purpose the navicularii were called in to convey from Africa "lignea idonoa publicis necessitatibus". These latter are probably the "navicularii lignarii" met with on an inscription from Ostia and, I have already mentioned them in the Chapter on the Navicularii. This is however not the only way in which the collegia of navicularii helped. There is a somewhat obscure decree of the year 369 which says that 60 of the whole body of navicularii (presumably the navicularii of Rome as the decree is addressed to the Prefect of the City) are to be held liable to the present need. The decree further provides that nothing more is to be demanded from anyone of them, "than the needs of the baths demand or than the long prescribed form lays down."
This decree is explained by a letter of Symmachus of the year 384. In it he speaks at some length of the means taken to fill up the ranks of the mancipes salinarum when their numbers were so reduced that they could not perform their public services. He is recalling to their collegium such mancipes salinarum as had left it on the intervention of a certain Macedonius, and he suggests that the said collegium (vacantes). He goes on to mention the "navicularii seque lignorum obnoxius functioni", who, rather than cooperate entirely with the mancipes thermarum, had given up a certain number of their members to the latter.
He can only be referring to the 60 navicularii "held liable to the present need" in 369 and his letter shows that these 60 navicularii ceased to be navicularii and became "mancipes thermarum" themselves.
Symmachus' proposal to the Emperor to fill up the ranks of the corpus of mancipes salinarum from the "vacantibus" and from other corpora seems to have been agreed to a few years later, for in 389 Valentinian enrolled members of the little collegia (miniscula corpora) and men with no definite duties (otiosi) among the mancipes. This decree may refer to the bakers as well as to the mancipes salinarum but there is little doubt that it does refer to the latter.
For the conveyance of these supplies of wood or "wood duty" (functio lignaria) the mancipes thermarum and the navicularii were responsible. Gothfredus thinks that the African navicularii conveyed such supplies as came from Africa to Portus; from thence the 'litrones' and other navicularii conveyed it to Rome. The mancipes also undertook the general management of the baths.
The upkeep of the public buildings of Rome was all part of the "necessary service" rendered by certain collegia to Rome; it was in the same category as the supplying of food and of wood for the baths. Indeed the consideration of the mancipes thermarum leads on directly to the study of certain other collegia which helped to keep up the public buildings of all sorts. The series of laws following the solitary one about the mancipes thermarum urbis et subvectionis lignorum concerns the Calcis coctores: Limeburners of Rome and Constantinople.
The lime was of course required for the upkeep of the public buildings in both cities and the burning of it was performed by the collegium of Calcis coctores sometimes called "Calesrienses" who were held specially to this service.
Associated with them in the same series of law are the vectuarii or vectores, the waggoners who carried the lime to Rome in their carts. Both collegia were under the authority of the urban prefect of Rome to whom or to the vicar, his subordinate, all the laws concerning them are addressed. According to Cessiodorus both the limeburners and the waggoners who transported the lime were under a prepositus calois who was himself under the urban prefecture. Although their ---- were obviously similar, collegia at Constantinople, witness the title of the series of laws, they are not referred to except in the last decree of the series dealt with at the end of this section.
The lime for burning was furnished in the case of Rome by certain regions in the vicinity long specially held to the duty of supplying in "praediis, quae jam-dudum praestationi calcis coeperunt obnoxio adtineri". These lands were in Etruria and Campania. Not more than 3000 smaller cartloads (minores vehes) are to be demanded annually says Valentinian in 365, but since we have no information about the number of limeburners the information does not help in ascertaining how much work was required of either the limeburners or waggoners. The law further lays down "that the distribution principle of the transport is to be the following: 1500 cartloads to be delivered annually for the aqueducts (formis) and the other 1500 for the repairing of the public buildings.
The collection of the lime was evidently performed by the curiales of the municipalities; Valentinian's law of 365 speaks of the curiales of Tuscany being excused the 900 cartloads which they had formerly been required to furnish yearly, provided that when necessity arose, that is when new works or repairs were needed, they themselves reported the fact to the authorities (presumably the prefect of Rome) with suggestions as to how much was required.
It cannot be seen whether the 900 cartloads from Tuscany are part of the 3000 total mentioned previously. Presumably they were, as the decree goes on to say that from the above mentioned number of cartloads, half is to be used for repair of public buildings and the other half to be written down separately in order that the prefect of the City shall realise that the responsibility of the repairs rests with him.
The important point to notice is that the limeburners did not themselves collect the lime from the landowners who had to supply it; they were supplied by the curiales who did the collecting. the limeburners burnt it and handed it over to the Vectuarii to transport it to the Capital.
The only duty of the limeburners was therefore to burn the lime supplied to them.
In 364 Valentinian confirmed the privileges "of those who are held to the duty of cooking lime" and of the vectores, but does not mention what they were. They were presumably the same as those of the other collegia who served the needs of Rome.
About the payments made to both collegia there is definite information. Those were as usual in kind.
First under Constantius the limeburners were paid one amphora of wine per 3 cartloads of lime and vecturarii one amphora per each 2,900 lbs. of lime carried to Rome. The vectuarii, were furthermore given three hundred oxen but this was naturally only special measure to help them, and would not be repeated each year. It is to be noted that these supplies of wine and oxen, from which the limeburners and carriers were paid, were furnished by the same lands which supplied the limestone. The government itself did not pay them from its ordinary resources.
In 365 Valentinian "desiring to restore the 'status' of the eternal city and to provide for the dignity of the public walls" raised the "wages" of the limeburners and carriers. Both are henceforth to receive one solidus for each cartload in place of the wone formerly given to them. Three-fourths of the sum necessary for this is to be supplied by the possessores and one quarter is to be assumed as the price of the wine which it has been customary to give out of the "area vineria". This must mean that the "possessores" are still to go on supplying the wine as before and in addition are to pay twice 3/4 of a solidus, i.e. 1-1/2 solidi for every cartload transported. For presumably the decree means that the limeburners and carriers are each to receive a solidus; this, however, is not certain, for the terms micht mean this, or, might mean one solidus between them. The words used are "ut calcis coctoribus vectoribusque per singulas vehes singuli solidi praebeantur".
The lime supplied was to be strictly applied to the purpose for which it was furnished, that is for "the needs of all the public buildings and structures of Rome. No individual is to demand any of it even if armed with an order from the Emperor, unless it should be found that the amount supplied is in excess of the needs of the public buildings.
I have referred to the fact that one decree in the series refers to the limeburners at Constantinople though only indirectly. In 419 Theodosius II ordered all the furneses "in all the space which extends along the seashore, between the amphitheatre and the gate of the divine Julius, to be removed on account of the health of the broad city (i.e., Constantinople)" and the neighbourhood of the Emperor's palace. Permission is to be given to no one to burn lime in these places.
This decree shows that at Constantinople the limestone was burnt in the city and so there was probably no collegium of vectuarii in the new Capital. The limeburners may be supposed to have moved just outside the city after this decree. The smoke of their furnaces then no longer dirtied the city buildings or offended the delicate nostrils of the Emperor and his household.
This law shows that the work of a limeburner was far from pleasant; but there are no special laws dealing with his hereditary status and his obligation to burn lime. Perhaps being paid in wine he remained more contented than the workers in other trades.
Part 2 - Workers in state mines, workshops, mints, dyes
can't read this---
stuffs brought from the weaving establishments, is threatened with death". This at least, is the case when he himself has influenced the vote by which he was appointed to the coveted office; "suffragiis per quae memoratas administrationes adipiscuntur, abatineant vol ai contra hoe focerint, numero civium Romanorum exempti, gladio feriantur". How these procurators were appointed is unknown, and in spite of the implication of the above decree, it seems impossible to suppose that there were elected. This point needs further investigation; possibly the procurators were at this date (333) "elected" by the curiales of the city where the state factory was situated. In the case of the mines and quarries, we know that the "procurator metallorum" who supervised the working of all the mines and quarries in a district, was chosen from amongst the curiales. In 377 the higher officials of the resprivata were warned that losses must be made good by them unless they appoint administrators whose property is sufficient to make good any losses occurring through their deceit or covetousness. A full account had to be rendered up within 30 days of termination of duty as a procurator if the funds of his concern were small; 50 days if they were large. He is to give documents to the receivers showing what he received, what he demanded, and what funds are at the moment in the treasury of the concern.
These procurators cannot have been apponted from amongst the personnel of the factories, who, even when they had some little property, cannot ever have possessed enough to make good big losses occasioned by bad workmanship or accidents.
The procurators are seen to have often misused their office, both to cheat and oppress the provincials and to cheat the State. There were froo from all onera, which points to their having been members of the local curiae appointed to their poses for a prescribed length of time. As regards the workmen, their status and economic conditions varied in the different industries. The armourers for instance, were in the best position and the weavers probably in about the worst, since the Tariff of Diocletian shows their wages to have been the lowest.
Furthermore, there were distinct classes of workmen in the factories and mines: free employees, slaves and freedmen, criminals.
The free workers were only free in the limited sense of the word which applies in the 4th and 5th centuries; they were bound to their trade by heredity and such possessions as they had were bound with them. In the case of all except the miners and possibly the armourers, they could leave their posts as state employees if they produced others as fit to take their places: "non quosoumque nee facile in locum proprium ----- substituant, sed cos, quoa omnibus idoneos modis sub ipais quodammodo amplissimae tuse sedis obtutibus adprobarint"; Such substitutes became in turn bound with their children and goods to hereditary service in the state workshops. The permission to procure a substitute must usually have been an illusory concession; for only the most miserable and poor would desire to be thus employed and bound, and they would not be considered "idonei". A substitute who was not too poor, or who was not already bound to some other hereditary trade must have been well nigh impossible to find.
Each factory received a certain quantity of raw material, and the workmen were bound to produce a definite quantity of manufactures, (in the mines and quarries a definite quantity of metal or stone had to be produced). The amount demanded of each factory was in accordance with the number of workmen in it, and in accordance with the amount of raw material supplied. In the case of the armourers, the amount of work to be done by each workman was prescribed.
This also seems to have been the case for the workers in the minds and the weavers. Sozomon, telling of a religious riot at Gizicus, speaks of the many people "who were engaged in woollen manufactures for the state and were coiners of money. They were numerous, and were divided into two populous classes, (he must mean collegia) they had received permission from preceding Emperors to dwell with their wives and possessions in Ozzious, provided that they annually handed over to the public treasury a supply of clothes for the soldiery and of newly coined money".
These people must have been working for the State alone though in their own houses, for the coiners of money at anyrate, cannot have sold their product to anyone but the State.
Here then are State employees working in their own homes for a piece wage, but with the necessity of never producing less than a certain quantity of goods. Whether the "free" state employees all worked at home it is impossible to say. Persson thinks everything points to the weavers working in their own homes.
The dyers obviously worked in factories since the imperial procurator was responsible for stuffs damaged in the process of dyeing. As regards the armourers they must have worked in the arsenals which are known to have existed in various parts of the Empire.
The slaves and freedmen who in previous centuries had formed the bulk of the workers in the mines and such other state concerns as existed, are still found in the 4th and 5th centuries, but in this, as in all other industries, it was the dwindling supply of slave labour which made the labour problem acute and compelled the government to force free men to work at the trade prescribed for them, whether they would or no.
Whether the free men and the slaves were members of the same collegium or whether the slaves formed familiae which had no connection with the collegia is an obscure and, as yet, undecided question. It is probably that, since the slaves had in previous centuries formed colledia of their own they still belonged to the collegia in this period. Some could no doubt become freedmen as a result of good service and rise to be foremen or to do less onerous work than that performed by the slaves.
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the Emperor and his household, or whether some were sold to the public as was the case in the Byzantine Empire later on. We know that the number of the state factories increased in the East through the 4th and 5th centuries.
It remains to consider in more detail the status and conditions of labour of the workers in the various industries.
Chapter 2.2 - THE MINERS AND QUARRYMEN
From the Code definite information can be obtained about the system of running the mines and quarries directly under state control, about the workers in them, and about the mines and quarries still in private hands.
The state mines were under the control of a department of the Sacrae Largitiones. The Comites metallorum were thus under the orders of the Comes Sacrarum Largitionum or of his superiors: the Praetorian Prefect or the Vicars of dioceses or the "Rationalis". To those officials the various imperial decrees are addressed.
Although the "Comes metallorum" supervised all the mines in his district and saw to it that the requisite amount of metal, stone, sic. was produced, the actual work of management was performed by a "procurator metallorum" chosen, as might be supposed, from among the curiales of the municipality in whose territory the mine or quarry was situated.
The workers ain mine or quarry were partly freemen bound to their condition like the members of other collegia, partly slaves, and partly criminals.
Like all other industries, mining was in a depressed condition in the 4th century, and efforts were made to encourage outsiders to work in them.
The 'free' miners were bound absolutely to their calling with no loophole of escape; if they migrated from their place of origin they were recaled without any possibility of reprieve.
Stringent measures were taken to prevent their flight. In 362 the Emperor speaks of metallarii is hiding all over the Roman world. They are to be produced wherever they may have hidden themselves, even from the secret places of the imperial household. The governors are to aid the investigators with force when the latter are arresting metallarii who have hidden themselves.
In 370 or 373 the order goes out again, this time to the Practorian prefect. An edict of Valens is referred to which had warned landowners throughout the East not to give refuge to minors who had left their work and fled. The praetorian prefect is to issue an edict to the provincials in Illyricum and the diocese of Macedonia forbidding them to hide any Thracian (i.e. any escaped miner from Thrace) and ordering them to compel such miners to return to their birthplace, that is to say, to their place of work. Anyone henceforth who harbours an escaped miner is to be severely punished. To help the process of identification, the miners were branded with the redhot iron on their arm as early as 316 A.D.
Bound to dig in mine or quarry all his life, the miner was not even allowed to go to another district or county where the conditions of work were easier. Evidently Sardinia was a favoured spot where the ore or metal was more accessible, and so miners tried to migrate there. In 378 the miners of the Gaule and of Italy are warned that they are not "to conceive the unlawful hope of going over to Sardinia". Nine years previously, the master of any ship0 coming to Sardinia with miners aboard had been warned that he would have to pay 5 solidi per man, presumably as a fine.
In 378 the precautions are increased. "Judices" are to be appointed in the provinces "nourished by the sea" to prevent miners embarking in ships in order to cross the channel to Sardinia. If they attempt to do so they are to be severely punished. The guards who allow them to escape over the sea are to be punished. If the rectores of the provinces neglect to punish the guards, they are to be punished themselves. The miners who sought thus to escape to Sardinia were gold miners (auriloguli).
The workers referred to in these laws are not slaves, since they are owners of lands "metallica loca" are since no special laws, such as these, would have been required for the recapture of slaves.
One would otherwise have thought that, their service being so strictly personal, they would have been too porr to possess anything. Their property was like their persons inalienably bound to service the mining industry. Whoever acquired such land by sale had to become a miner himself if he kept it. Although this law is of the year 424, the sale of such lands is not forbidden, as, for instance, it had long been in the case of that other colelgium so ruthlessly held to personal service: the pistores. However, it may be conjectured that it was extremely unlikely that anyone would buy such land, if it meant becoming a miner for life. Indeed not only for life, for their children would have to become miners also; the miner's calling was strictly hereditary; "ad propriao obsequies stirpen earumque revocentur", "quicumque ex ipsis ot ex quocumque fuerint latere procreati". If he had married someone outside the collegium of miners half his children had to become miners, the other half remained to the stronger parent and presumably had to follow his or her condition. If there were only one son, he had to become a miner. But after 424 the offspring of such mixed marriages had all to become miners (literally to belong to the fiscus).
This devree shows us that women as well as men might be miners by heredity (corum autew earumque progenies). One is not astonished to find that women worked in the mines; it is not long ago since they dragged trucks in the mines of this country.
The same decree is slightly more lenient than one might expect towards the miners who had managed to escape and had become coloni. If they have left the mine five years before, they are allowed to go free, i.e. to remain cultivators of the soil, and not be dragged back to the mine. The Treasury, however, is not going to suffer loss in consequence for long: half the children of such escaped miners are to become miners. From 424 no one is to be allowed to escape being a miner; even if after 40 years away a miner is found, he is to be recalled to his mine.
A definite quantity of ore was demanded from them by the Treasury the "canon metallicus". It was collected by the "susceptores canonis metallic" and was very heavy. We are not informed as to the amount except in the case of the gold miners in Pontica and Asia. These had to produce seven sorupuli a year. The conditions must obviously have varied, but if a uniform rate was demanded in the case of gold miners, it can easily be understood why some miners tried to get to Sardinia; if the mines were not so exhausted there, it would be easier to get the work done to procure the requisite amount. We know that in the case of gold, the mines in Italy and Gaul were exhausted, and it is particularly from those countries that the gold miners were seeking to escape.
That the amount demanded by the Treasury was very great, and that the conditions in the mines were very miserable can be seen from the incident told of by Anndenus Marcellinue. He relates that when the Goths were in Thrace, prior to the battle of Adrianople, they were joined by many goldminers who were unable to endure the heavy burden of their taxes. Here, as so often, the barbarism seemed less oppressive than the Emperor's tax collectors.
The question of the amount of the canon metallicus is complicated by the fact that the decrees dealing with it and with the tax on private individuals working in mines and quarries are not clearly differentiated; both payments came under the heading of "canon metallicus" and it is difficult to decide precisely to which they refer. It is to be noted that it is the Thoracian miners whose recall is commanded by the decree of 570 already referred to. The metallarii being grouped in collegia the private property of numbers no doubt saved to make up deficits in the canon metallicus like the proeprty of the armourers. Their private property may also have helped to nourish them when they did not produce enough metal or stone for sale beyond their tax.
Slaves had formed the majority of the workers in the mines and quarries in the first and second centuries; possibly the hereditary metallarii of the 4th century were the decendants of these imperial slaves and freedmen. Or else they may have been men whose forefather had voluntarily worked as miners before the state tribute became too high. As Vipasca in Spain it is known that part of the mines were "farmed out" to private persons by the state in the 1st century A.D. It is possible that free men had worked in these mines, either co-operating to pay the rent and expenses, or being paid a wage by the companies who had leased them. That others besides metallarii proper worked in the mines and quarries even in the 4th century can be seen from the Theodosian code, for every means was taken to encourage such free agents to cut and hew. These measures and the position of mines in private hands need separate consideration and are dealt with in Section 8 of this chapter.
The criminals condemned to the mines helped to keep up the numbers of miners now that slaves were less easy to obtain. We find Christian referred to by Solomon as released from the mines and stone quarries by Constantine. The children of criminals condemned for life would also be made to work in the mines, and would recruit the ranks of the miners. There were still slaves in the mines and they presumably worked in chains like the criminals. It is impossible to say what were their relations with the free metallarii but both probably belonged to the collegia. The free metallarii must have been constrained to work almost as hard as the slaves by the spur of economic necessity and by fear of punishment if their canon metallious were not paid. Indeed, when it is remembered that ordinary people cold be tortured by the tax collectors if they did not pay it can be seen that the condition of the "free" members of such collegia as those of the miners was not very different from that of slaves. They did not work in chains under the lash, as these and the criminals probably did, but if they did not work very hard, they not only starved, but were flogged and tortured by the tax collectors.
Whether they could ever obtain release by substituting others in their place is unknown. The law which refers to substitutions by other state employees does not mention them.
Forty-three years later, Julian found that the demand for marble still exceeded the supply. He speaks of the desire for marble having made the price rise excessively, and in order to bring down the prices of the various qualities of the "shining stone" he decrees that all who wish may cut marble in the Eastern province, and so increase the supply. In 376 Valentinian seems to have tried to arrange that private individuals should also be able to cut marble from private quarries in Illyricum and Macedonia free of charge, taxation or custom duties. He only proposes to do so if the Senate be willing -" . . . sed vobis patres conscripti volontibus liberalius deferetur duo ut quisque susptu susque emolumonto, vectigalis operas et portarli damna metueus, parlat oam copiam." Evidently the private owners or the senate objected, for a law dated four years later (363) decrees that all those who obtain marble by laborious digging in the territory of private persons are to pay one tenth of the product of such labour to the Treasury and one tenth to the owner of the quarry. They are allowed to keep the remaining eight tenths for their own use.
The same arrangement is again sanctioned two years later with the --- command to the --------- that such private stone cutters are to have complete power of disposal over eight tenths of what they produce. ". . . . videndi domandi et quo voluntas suarorit transtorandi."
It is not clear whether this latter arrangement of one tenth to the --- concerns private quarries only, and whether the original arrangements made by Constantine and Julian, granting rights of cutting to anyone, refer to private as well as state quarries. It may be inferred that then the State began in 362 to take one tenth of the product of private quarries, it did the same for public ones. It may, it seems to me, also be inferred that the earlier laws do not refer to private mines, since Valendinian speaks of a possible arrangement for free excavation of private mines in 376. This difficulty does not seem to have been considered. For instance W. A. Brown merely states that laws are found encouraging the opening of new quarries by private persons; that Constantine removed the earlier taxes and Julian confirmed to privatge individuals the free right of quarrying. Soon, however, he says, the necessities of the royal treasury proved too much for this enlightened policy, for in 382 we find a tax of one tenth imposed on the product of all quarries worked by individuals. He seems to think that the reference to "private" quarries merely means the companies of private persons to whom the state quarries were farmed out.
It does not seem quite so simple as this; for the difficulty remains that the earlier laws do not mention the word private, and that although in 376 Constantine and Julian's laws had not been cancelled, Valentinian refers to the old conditions of cutting in private quarries in Illyricum and Macedonia. Likewise I cannot see why the Emperors should refer to state quarries as "privatis lapidioipis."
However, in 396 the government prohibited the working of any marble quarries by the employees of private persons. Again it is doubtful whether this law established a state monopoly of all marble quarrying, or whether it referred to state owned quarries as distinct from privately owned ones. Anyone who secretly disobeys the decree has the product of his labour confiscated by the Treasury, and there is no mention of any private owner ---- any of this therefore, the prohibition must refer to -------. Brown's view is accepted and all quarries were in the hands of the state, the decree must mean that thenceforth, all of them are going to be exploited direct by the State by means of its own work-people: collegiati, criminals and slaves.
The innocence of the laws means ------- there were in the 4th century both state and private quarries, but the question as to whether this was so, or whether the state owned all the quarries seems worthy of investigation.
As regards ---- the position seems clearer. Practically all, if not quite all the mines were owned by the State. Gothefredus thinks some were public, some private, but there is no reference to private ones, and all gold mines at any rate were in the hands of the State. Private individuals were encouraged to mine. In 365 Valentinian tells the Comes metallorum that, having carefully considered the matter, he has come to the conclusion that a man who wishes to take part in the excavation for metals serves both his own and the State's interest. These miners who come of their own free will are to pay eight ounces of gold dust to the government, and can then sell the rest of what they produce to the Treasury at a suitable price. Obviously, there was no question of their selling to anyone else, and they would have to be humbly grateful for whatever price they received from the government.
Two years later another decree speaks of the tax on metals and of 14 ounces of gold dust being paid for each pound. This does not seem to refer to voluntary gold diggers but it seems possible that it refers to companies of exploiters of mines. It may, of course, refer to the amount taken from the metallarii proper, but there is the difficulty that a definite quantity of gold dust was demanded from them, not a percentage of their takings. If a percentage of their takings was demanded, and the cover scrupuli each year was merely a minimum, the percentage demanded (seven-eights) is so high that there would be little left over for them to live on, and their discontent would be explained. In the case of the miners in Thrace referred to by Ammianus Narcellinus, the "canon metallicum" must have been a fixed amount which had got to be produced each year. Perhaps the decree demanding seven scrupuli concerned Acia and Fontica only and elsewhere a percentage of takings was demanded, sufficient incentive being given to the miners by allowing them to --- nine ounces per pound. The whole question of the working of the mines and quarries in the 4th and 5th centuries requires much fuller consideration than it has been possible to give it here.
Chapter 2.3 - Workers in the Mint
The work done in the mints consisted of the whole process of coining: the engraving of the moulds the melting of the metal, the shaping and stamping of the coins.
Of the large numbers of workers in the Mints some idea can be formed from the circumstances of their revolt under Aurelian when 7000 soldiers were needed to suppress them.
In that revolt they were led by a slave called Felicissimus who had become the administrator of the Treasury and this tends to show that in the 3rd century many of the workers were still slaves. But in the 4th century there are certain proofs which show that they were free men though of course free men hereditarily bound to their work.
In the first decree relating to them in the Theodosian code t hey are found to be organised in collegia and Constantine says they are not to be given the titles of perfectissimi and egregrii, cemtema or duccna. There could have been no question of giving such titles to slaves. Furthermore their possessions were tied to their service; slaves had no possessions in the eyes of the law.
Not only were they free, some few must have been moderately rich since they were forbidden the grant of the above titles and there is further evidence for this in the fact that Julian enrolled monetarii amongst the curiales at Antioch.
Constantine's law referred to above ties the monetarii down to work in the mints all their lives, they are always to remain in their present employment.
Their children had to become monetarii after them (nexu sanguinis pertinentium) and I have already mentioned that their possessions were similarly bound to the service of the mints.
Some slaves must still have worked in the mints but they cannot have been much worse off than the "free" workers. The low status of the latter is clearly shown in a law of 380 relating to the Marriage of a woman of superior rank to a monetarius. It decrees that if such a woman should so far forget herself as to marry a worker in the mint she is to lose the glory of her native liberty (decus nativae libertatis amittat) and become herself a member of the corpus of monetarii. Her children are also to become workers in the mint.
The only way she can escape is to renounce her marriage immediately.
There can have been but little distinction between the status of a slave and of a "free" hereditary state employee for such a decree to have been issued. The terms used imply that a monetarius was regarded as almost, if not quite, of servile condition, and a Christian Emperor could propose an easy divorce for a woman who had demeaned herself by marrying one.
The monetarius was restricted in his choice of a wife even amongst people of his own social status. He was not to marry a "colona": if a serfwoman belonging to someone else married him she could be recalled by her master. If she were not recalled she herself became a hereditary mint worker.
The daughter of a monetarius could not marry anyone but a monetarius.
It seems that these regulations would in practise make it impossible for a mint worker ever to marry outside his collegium.
It is specially clear in the case of the monetarii that state employees in this period were but little better treated than slaves, tied to their employment for ever, with their children and their possessions, and practically forbidden to marry anyone but the daughters of their fellow workers in the mint.
I have already referred to the passage in Sozomen regarding the two collegis at Cyzicus, one of weavers and one of coiners of money, which shows that they had to hand over a certain amount of newly coined money each year. They were probably paid by the piece but may have been paid so much per day being kept to their work by the necessity of providing a stated number of coins each year.
Chapter 2.4 - ARVOURERS (MABRICENSES)
They worked in the state arsenals which in the 4th century formed part of the civil administration. These arsenals were situated in various parts of the Empire and were under the praetorian praefect. There were 15 arsenals in the East; in Thrace, Pontas, and Asia; and 20 in the West; in Ilyria, Italy and Gaul. Different weapons were made in the different arsenals; for example shields and defensive armour at Damasdus, spears at Irenopolis and so on. Each arsenal was directed by a "praepositus fabricae', under him a head foreman (primicerius fabricae) directed the work of manufacture. This foreman is called a tribunus fabricae by Ammianus Marcellienus. There was also an intendant (biarcus).
The metals needed for the manufacture of the armour and weapons -- were furnished from the revenues of the state mines and by the tax on private mines. It is specially decreed that the actual metal is to be delivered at the workshops; money is not to be payed in place of metal. The Emperor hopes thus to ensure that the best quality metal, such as meets easily, will be supplied for the "public use" and that there will be no fraud. The subsidiary services necessary to the carrying on of the work: e.g. the preparing and furnishing of charcoal), were exacted from the neighbouring townspeople, and formed part of the "sordida munera".
The workmen themselves, the fabricenses, were bound to make a certain quantity of armour or weapons. The particular type of work and the amount to be done was prescribed. For example at Constantinople each workman in the arsenals had each 30 days to decorate with silver and gold six helmets, together with their mouth and cheek pieces. At Antioch the amount of work demanded was greater.
We find no decrees intimating that punishment was inflicted on those who failed to deliver their quota of work. But since they were held collectively liable with their property for a defaulting member it may be presumed that any deficit in the amount of work done was punished by a fine. This was the punishment in the case of other offences which they might commit.
In each factory workmen formed a hereditary collegium, --- their children after them being bound to their calling. Arcadius decreed that they were to be branded on the arm in order that they might be recognised if they attempted to hide. This however was not a mark of servitude, it was done in imitation of young soldiers (ad initationem tironum) and Persson has pointed out that it was due to the danger to the state of the loss of these armourers rather than to the especial irksomeness of their task. Severe penalties are therefore threatened against those who receive absconding fabricenses or their children. Ordinary people who hide them are to be claimed by the factory, i.e. are to be made to come and work in it. Even those who do not give their help in recapturing esca[ed fabricenses are to be roped in for this "military service" i.e. are also to be made armourers. Landowners who engage an armourer, as their intendant or bailiff (procurator or conductor) or as a simple labourer or tenant (cultor) on their farms, are to have the land they confided to them confiscated to the treasury (rei, quam contra Vetitum fabricensi crediterit in jungendam proprietate privetur, ea videlicet fiscalibus calculissocianda). The armourer himself is to be fined 2 lbs of gold.
That the trade of a fabricensis was not comparatively a bad trade is proved, in spite of the above measures, by a decree of 412 A.D. concerning those who wish to become armourers. Anyone who wishes to be elected to the "consortium" of armourers must prove to the moderator of the province or to the defensor of the municipality where he was born and where he lives, that he is not a curialis by heredity and that he belongs to no "ordo" of the city and is subject to no civil burden. In fact he can only become an armourer if he is entirely free from all hereditary liens to any other collegium or to the cu ria. Whatever his rank or however long he has been an absentee, a man who has managed to join the collegium of armourers by stealth is to be recolleged to the collegium or 'ordo' to which he belongs.
Thus members of other collegia and even curiales were often anxious to exchange their trades or civil duties for the trade of making armour and weapons.
The contrast between the conditions of the armourers as compared with that of the gold miners is shown indirectly by Ammianus Marcellinus. For whereas he relates that the miners in Thrace joined the Gothic invaders, he tells how these same Goths were a short time before forced to leave Adrianople by the mob of the city and by "a body of armourers of whom there were a great number in the place."
The special privilege of not having to provide quarters for soldiers (metatus) was conceded to then all the armourers in 400.
The forman of a factory (primicerius) was discharged at the end of two years service and was honoured by being placed among the "protectores". We do not know whether the prfimicerius was elected by the other armourers or appointed by the "praeposities fabricas".
Gothifredus refers to a tribunicus fabricae spoken of by Ammianus Marcellinus in Bk. XIV, and VX. but I have been unable to trace the reference. The man spoken of in Bk. 20, Ch. III.4. as being put to death by the Emperor is called the praepositus fabricae i.e. the government official who was responsible for the direction of the arsenal, not the primicerius who was a sort of foreman. Ammianus relates how this praepositus had brought the Emperor an exquisitely polished breastplate in expectation of a reward. Instead he was put to death by the Emperor because the steel was of less weight than the latter considered requisite. The praepositus was therefore responsible for the right use being made of the metals supplied to the arsenal.
Still it need not be imagined that the toil of the fabricenses was light; the desire of members of other collegia to become armourers is only explained by the greated wretchedness of all the other workers.
In the 5th Century the law shows that the fabricenses had to be strictly kept to their work and their children forced to follow their father's trade. "It is provided by law that the fabricenses shall be so closely bound to their appropriate duties that worn out at last by their toil, they shall die in the profession to which they were born, both they and their children after them".
Chapter 2.5 - GYNAECIA, DAPHIA, BARBARICARIA
Raw material was furnished by the imperial officers: comites commerciorum, who, one in each of the great divisions of the Empire, bought or collected the necessary milk, wool, purple, skins, etc. and forwarded them to the several factories. The imperial factories were situated with regard to (a) the suply of raw material, (b) the needs of the army. This is also true of the other state workshops and arsenals.
In the case of weaving and dyeing the supply of skilled weavers, dyers and so forth had also to be considered, and so it is not surprising to find that the imperial linen factories were all in the East. At Taraos not only fine stuff was made but also a coarse weaving for coarse clothes and for tents. It was called "cilicium" and it was used by the apostle Paul as a tentmarker. These facts speak for the correctness of the supposition that the towns of Skythopolis, Tarsus and Alexandria and probably Byblos and Laodikeia already possessed imperial linen factories at the time of Diocletian.
As regards the woollen industry the following cities were the centres of manufacture: Damascus and Laodikeia in Syria, Milebue and Kagnesia in Asia Minor; Mutina, Canusium, Venusia, Trier and Postovia (Fettan in Steirmark) in the West. Of these five towns in the West, three are known from the Not. Dign. to have been centres of imperial manufacturers. These three are Carusium, Vemusia and Rrier.
Over each manufacture was an imperial "procurator" as we have seen. He was responsible for the work done and for any loss or spoiling of the materials. It has already been mentioned that in certain circumstances (i.e. when he had himself procured his own appointment) the procurator of a dyehouse might be punished by death if he had allowed material to be spoilt in the dyeing by a wrong admixture of dye.v It may be imagined with what severity the procurator held responsible for the slightest fault in the factory which he managed, treated the work people under him. The weavers and dyers indeed belonged to the least respected and worst paid of all the workers and the laws show that they all tried to get free of their trade.
To judge from the number of decrees relating to them more slaves were employed in the weaving establishments than in the other state manufacturies. Constantine in March 338 threatened with a fine of 5 lbs. of gold anyone who should not have produced before Sep.1. a slave of the gynaecium whom he might be hiding. The decree is repeated in 372. In 380 3 lbs. of gold only is the fine imposed for hiding a slave of the Gynaecium.
The “free” weavers and dyers being strictly bound to their calling and being of very low condition do not seem to have been of much more account than the slaves. For instance those who have detained linen weavers are fined 5 lbs. of gold, exactly the same amount as the fine for hiding a slave belonging to a weaving establishment.
Similarly marriage to a gynaecarius, that is to a non servile but hereditarily bound weaver, by a free woman is treated like the marriage of a free woman and a slave. That is to say that in such case the woman is made to adopt her husband’s condition unless she repudiates the “vile alliance”; it has already been seen that the same application of the law for slaves was being made to the workers in the Mints. It is only one of many instances of the gradual application and semi servile status to all the workers agricultural and industrial (coloni and corporati). In 372 and again in 371 severe penalties are threatened against those who solicit the hereditary linen weavers to go and work for them secretly. Such linen weavers are to be claimed at once for the making of such linen garments where they belong (“quin etiam opifices ipaos tasrinis lintsas vestis vindicari convenict”). In future the fine of 5 lbs. of gold shall always be imposed on those who try to take away those bound to a linen weaving establishment for the benefit of the public revenue (obnoxious linyfos publico canoue).
The members of the corpora of gynaecarii, lintaerii or linyfarii together with the monetarii and Hurlieguli were allowed to leave their work if they could produce substitutes as “idonsi” as themselves who would in turn become hereditary state employees. As already noted in Chap.1. this concession must have been an illusory one for the very reasons which made the weavers and dyers anxious to abandon their work would make others unwilling to take their places.
It does not seem that these hereditary “free” weavers worked in factories. They appear to have lived and worked in their own homes and to have been paid by the piece. The passage of Sozomen already referred to indicates that this was the case at Cyzicus. Although living at home the putting together of weavers and coiners in one category leads to the assumption that the weavers worked only for the state as coiners obviously must have done. Still it is impossible to say whether the workers were concentrated in factories or worked in their own homes to produce the due measure of clith. Person thinks everything points to their working in their homes. I would suggest that most must have worked at home, as in Western Europe before the introduction of machinery, but that those who were too poor to possess a loom may have worked like the slaves and criminals in the State workrooms.
It should be noted that, whereas Sozomen is referring to woollen weavers, the laws dealt with above all seem to refer to linen weavers. Possibly therefore woollen weaving was done in the worker’s home, and linen weaving in state workshops, but there seems insufficient reason for the distinction, except that the weaving of linen was harder and needed more skill and stricter supervision.
Both men and women were employed by the State, presumably the women spun and the men wove, as was generally the case before the late 18th century.
That the weavers and spinners were poor people and their work very arduous is not only shown by the laws, and by the fact that criminals were condemned to the Gynaecia, but John Chrysostom refers to the manufacture of robes as normally the work of the poor and of slaves: “Let us clothe ourselves with a robe not the manufacture of poor men or slaves but wrought by our Lord.” Yet the Th. Code implies that they sometimes had property (cum omnibus ejue qui ebsolvitur rebus obnoxism largitionibus asoris futuram easo non dubitet). This “property can have been little more then the worker’s petty savings; something like the peculiu of a slave. In deed it seems to me that in the case of the weavers their “res” may merely mean their tools, i.e. their looms. I have not been able to do more than deal very shortly with the workers in the weaving establishments. It seems to me that the whole question of weaving in the later Empire needs investigation and that it is difficult to treat the state manufacturies entirely separately. It would be interesting to discover how far the state factories were a result of the decline in home manufacture of cloth and linen and how far they were the cause of that decline. It is to be noted that “adaeratio” of the tax of militaris vestia was allowed long before “adaeratio” of the “indictio” food supplies. It is known that in the Byzantine Empire the state manufacturies came to supply the public demand and merchants are found who sell the state manufacturers and are exempt from taxation.
There is material in the inscriptions and in John Chrysostom relating to cloth and linen merchants and to home weaving and spinning which space has not allowed me to make use of in this study.
Part 3 - The Collegia in the Municipalities in Rome and Constantinople
The epigraphic evidence for these collegia is abundant for the 1st and 2nd centuries and there seems no doubt in their case about the appropriate use of the word "collegium". They are the associations of natural growth which had long existed, either officially or unofficially, before they were finally transferred into strict hereditary associations in the 4th Century. The word "corpus" is rarely applied to them in place of collegium in the provinces though at Rome the names collegia and corpera seem to be used indiscriminately to designate all associations of merchants and artisans. This is explained by the fact that no sharp distinction is made between those who served the "annona" and those who performed the duties necessary to Rome considered as a simple municipality. Symmachus, in his opt quoted letter begging the Emperor not to impose the ‘collatio equorum’ on them, refers to the corporati negotiatores and under this designation refers to the pecuarii, suarii, pistores and other associations connected with the "annona" together with those who put out the fires, those who attend to the public baths, and the rest of those collegia who serve their "patria": - - "hie lanati pecoris invector est, ille ad victum pupuli cogit armentum, hos suillae carnis tenet functio, pars ureutia lavacris ligna conportat - - - per aleos fortuita arcentur incendia, Iam caupones et obsequia pistoria, frugis et clei bejulos multosque id genus patriae servientes enumerare fastidium est".
We know from inscription that most artisans had liked to group themselves into collegia from the earliest times and Lampridius says that all artisans and merchants at Rome were gathered together in official corporations under Alexander Severns. Whether this is so or not there can have been fre people by the 4th Century left outside a collegium or some similar association though opinions differ as to the existence of any number of artisans who never formed collegia at all.
I reproduce below a list of the industrial collegia which existed in the municipalities before the 4th Century according to the inscriptions collected by Waltzing. I have, however, added a few names not found in his list which does not include those at Rome even when they are not ‘Official’ ones. Where I have done so I have given reference to the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. I have not added any of those dealt with in Part I.
The large majority of these associations are found in the Western provinces; it was here where Roman civilisation prevailed that they formed naturally.
Presumably most of these collegia continued to exist in the 4th Century but there are very few in inscriptions of the late Empire, this dearth of epigraphic evidence is no doubt due to the increasing poverty of the collegia in that period.
Below is a list of the collegia which are specially mentioned as still existing in the 4th Century.
Honorius recalls the "collegiates, ut vitutiaris, nemesiacos, signiferos, cantaorarios, et singularium urbium corporates.
It is of course impossible to say whether all artisans and traders belonged to collegia but it would seem that by the 4th Century the government grouped all men of one trade or calling together for purposes of taxation and service, whether they had previously been members of collegia or not.
As regards the reason for the formatin of the Collegia before the 4th Century I have, in the Introduction, attempted a survey of their early history and have stated the generally recognised reasons for their formation.
To ensure burial to the members, to perform religious rites, and to gorm within the vast imensity of the Empire some small association of men of a similar kind where the individual might satisfy his social and even his political instincts.
The religious objects need not detain us; they have been fully studies elsewhere and do not concern this thesis. A few more words are necessary on the subject of the convivial or social aspect of the collegia of which the inscriptions give abundant evidence.
Frequently the members met for banquets, the cost of which was defrayed by the generosity of some individual benefactor or patron or even occasionally from the common treasury (arca) whose funds came from the subscriptions of the individual members. There were other meetings of a business nature for the election of the collegium’s officials and for transacting general business. The law only allowed one business meeting a month - this was no doubt a precaution against the collegia becoming political or treasonable bodies.
A very large number of inscriptions relate to legacies given for annual feasts to collegia by patrons and by strangers outside the collegia. The former would also give moneys during their lifetime and the grateful collegiati would th en put up a statue to their benefactor commemorating the gift. In the case of legacies from strangers or from wealthy members the gift would be on condition that roses and libations be scattered over the donor’s grave or that an annual feast of the members should be held there. If the members neglect to tend the grave the legacy is to be transferred elsewhere. The object of the gifts of richmen to the collegia was obviously to ensure that their tombs should be looked after. Such legacies were nearly always made to industrial collegia and very rarely to simple funerary collegia, the latter were presumably too poor to be trusted. The most legacies were left to the fabri and centonarii the most abundant and prosperous of the municipal collegia (see Chapter 2).
The inscriptions dealing with such legacies date mostly from the 1st and 2nd century - the collegia were too strictly under state control and too oppressed and there were too few rich townsmen for many such legacies to be possible in the 4th Century. There is however one very interesting 4th Century inscription in which it is recorded how P. Aelius Apellinaris Arlenius, a young man of good character and liberal education at his death beggedhis father, a virperfectissimus, to give a certain farm to the collegia of Praeneste on condition that from its revenues they should feast twice a year on the date of his birth and death. He also asked his father to buy up certain gardens to be given to the collegia. The grateful collegia put up a statue to him dressed in a toga.
Of courst there are other undated inscriptions which may belong to the 4th Century.
Until the funds of the collegia were confiscated by the state as being used for pagan purposes, the former legacies were presumably still applied to their original purpose of giving free banquets to members, but as the collegia became collectively responsible for these members to the State it is possibly that such legacies were used to defray their Corporate fines. Much property must also have been ruined in the 3rd Century, and so heavily taxed in the 4th Century, that it became almost valueless. Furthermore legacies of other kinds much have become almost valueless owing to the depreciation of the currency.
The collegia met in a special place of reunion, a ‘schola’ or temple, they sometimes had permission from the curia to assemble in a public place or temple, but the richer ones built their own.
When a banquet washeld, or money and food (aportules) distributed to the members, there were rules laid down as to how much each member was to receive and what was to happen to the unclaimed shares, in the case of the ebonarii and citriarii such unclaimed shares were divided between all the members at the end of the year
Some wax tablets found in the gold mines at Verespatak seem to contain a record of the cost of a banquet. The various foods bought show that on these special occasions even the miners, who were mainly if not only slaves and freedmen, thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Here are the items still legible:
Although it concerns a funeral collegium it is worth quoting in full as it is evidence as regards the social function and internal regulations of all the collegia.
"It is unanimously voted that whoever wishes to enter this society shall pay an initiation fee of one hundred Sesterces and an amphora of wine and shall pay a monthly due of five ances.
"If a member in full standing dies there shall be drawn for his account three hundred Sesterces, one-sixth of which shall be divided among the attendants of the funeral. The funeral procession shall go on foot. Any member who commits suicide shall not be buried by the Society.
If any member who is a slave shall become free he shall provide the Society with an amphora of good wine. If an officer elected in due order does not give a dinner to the members, he shall be fined 30 Sesterces. The officers are each to furnish an amphora of good wine, 2 asses worth of bread for each member, four sardines, and provide for the service.
If any member causes a disturbance by changing his seat he shall be fined 4 Sesterces; if anyone insults another member the fine shall be 12 Sesterces; if he abuses the presiding officer the fine shall be 20 Sesterces.
The inaugural banquet was sometimes attended not only the the members of the collegium but also by the decurions, the Augustales and the plebs of the municipality. In such cases the collegiati received more victuals or money than the plebs. In one case they even are known to have received more - than the decurions; this was at Antinum where the dendrophori had put a statue to their patron, and on the day of the dedication he distributed 8 Sesterces to the decurions, 6 to the Augustales and 12 to the members of the collegium in question. The plebs of the city received 4 Sestorces only.
There are also many cases of yearly anniversaries from the interest on capital given by patrons during their lifetime on the sole conditin of looking after their statue.
But the services of th e patrons were not only pecuniary, they sometimes helped the collegia to defend or to obtain privileges. This aspect of the patronatus concerns us particularly as it was very important in the 4th Century. In this century for instance the fabri tignarii of Rome set up a statue to their patron because his patronage had often been useful to them "multis in se patrociniis do. The patron in question L. Aelius Helvius Dionysius v. had been jucax of the sacred cognitiones of the whole Orient, praeses of Coclo Syria and so on down to curator of the public places and public works, and became praefectus urbi in 301. The fishermen and divers of Rome speak of their patron as having procured for them the right to navigate the river in their boats. The fabri tiguarii of Vienne give him the name of praesidium suum.
The patrons were municipal magistrates or high imperial functionaries who could support their clients in their relations with authority.
More closely in touch with the members of the collegia and nearer to those in social status were the "mothers" and "fathers" (patres, matres) found in some collegia. The dendrophori of Troemisus have the wife of a veteran for "mater" the fullersof Falerie the wife of their register.
The title conferred honour, but honour in recogniation of feelings of friendliness and gratitude to friends and old associates as contrasted to that shown to the powerful or wealthy strangers who were patrons. In some collegia, however, pater and mater is occasionally used to designate the people who were in the positin of patrons or patronesses.
The collegia could inherit wealth in other ways than from patrons or wealthy strangers. They could inherit from their freedmen when these died intertate, and without heirs. The navicularii since 354 and the fabricenser from 438 could inherit from their colleagues who died without heirs. This was of course the result of the hereditary lien on their property (Chapter IV, Part I). Rich members, magistrates, citizens all might give largesses in the form of houses, gardens, farms or temples and halls of meeting (secular) or paticoes and tombs. Besides the patrons and patronesses who were honorary officials, the collegia had active officials to deal with their internal administration. There was great variety in organisation. In the earlier ones the general assembly of all members (conventus) elected the officials and settled matters of importance. In the larger, such as those of the fuhri, the members were sometimes divided into decurine with a decuris at the head of each. The decuriones then decided matters in place of the assembly of members or at any rate took a more prominent part in settling decrees.
At the head of the whole collegium were 2 magistri or cuinquennales elected for five years, as their name implies. They presided at meetings, at the banquets and at the distributions of sportulae. Their function sometimes even included the duty of putting oil in the public baths for the use of members before a banquet. The following officials are also found in most collegia - Curatores, quaester, or arcarius - the Treasurer; Scriba, or tabularius - keeper of records, Secretary. Occasionally there was a Viator who took round the president’s messages to the members when he wished to convoke a meeting. It is obvious that the organisation of the collegia was modelled on that of a municipal government and indeed the collegia did form little states and satisfied the desire of the individuals for association with his follows, for honour and office and so forth. In fact the collegium did for the poor artisan or slave all that the Roman State failed to do.
The interesting and controversial question now arises as to whether those collegia did in any sense resemble medieval guilds or modern trade unions. Was th3ere any idea of regulating methods of production, arranging apprenticeship, securing monopolies, undertaking enterprises in common, rendering help to sick members and so forth? Were those associations formed with a view to raising wages and obtaining better working conditions generally?
Although the answers to the above questions seem to be generally in the negative it would be unwise to conclude that no ideas of this sort were present.
The collegia are found mainly in the Western provinces; it was here where Roman civilisation had spread that they formed naturally. In the eastern provinces Greek civilisaiton prevailed and the ‘polis’ seems still to have satisfied man’s need for a group life. But may there not also have been an economic cause for the difference between the Eastern and Western provinces. The explanation may be found in the fact that the craftsmen in the Eastern provinces had never had to compete against large numbers of slaves exploited by individuals or companies. In the west and especially in Italy the collegia may have originally been formed to meet the competition of the servile companies exploited by rich contractors.
This is the opinion of Wallen, but Waltzing argues that if this were the case the union could only have been efficacious if the workmen had set up establishments like the servile workshops and undertaken enterprises in common. This they do not appear to have done and furthermore associations were formed in all professions whether there was servile competition or not.
I do not think that Waltzing’s arguments are conclusive. The case of the builder’s “union” and Sardis dealt with so fully by H.H. Buckler in his “Labour Disputes in the Province of Asia” seems to show that in this trade at any rate the members undertook work in common under a definite agreement between the Union and the employers. Similar communal enterprises may well have been undertaken by other collegia, for instance by the fullers.
The mutilated inscription of an unknown collegium found at Rome may possibly refer to some such communal enterprises, but this Collegium and its lex seem too vague to draw conclusions from.
Although the collegia were not associations of workmen formed to procure better conditions, there seems no doubt that they used the strength which association gives to defend their common interests. They generally approached the authorities through their patron and it is obvious that thus they would receive far more consideration than as individuals. At Brixia, for example, the dehdropheri thank their patron for that through him their immunities had been confirmed: “quod ejus industria immunites collegii sit confirmata”.
There is a very interesting inscription about a long case of law concerning the right of the collegium of fullers at Rome in the 3rd Century to use a public well, or the water of a fountain, supplied by an aqueduct. The said fullers claimed that they were exempted from payment to the Treasury for the use of the fountain. The collegium says it can prove that it has had immunity since the time of Augustus, (“ex, eo tempore, inquit, ex quo Augustus, rem publican obtinere cospit usque in hodiornum numquam hasc loon pensiones pensitesse”). The praefectus vigilum, Florianus having found that the place was sacred (to the gods of the fullers) granted them their case as evidently a locus sacer was always exempt from payments. Subsequent efforts to reverse his decision were defeated.
Such associations as the fullers must obviously have worked together sharing data, stretching apparatus buildings and so forth, as they shared the use of the fountain. It does not seem unwarrantable to conclude that the collegium of fullers must sometimes have contracted to sell so much cloth in a body.
As regards regulation of methods of production Waltzing quotes Choisy who thinks that they had such rules in the art of building and Gerard who extends Choisy’s conclusions to other collegia.
Waltzing himself says that nothing has been found to confirm this in the logos and secrets preserved and after considering the inscriptions it must be admitted that he is right. It is true the Pliny the Elder cites a “Lex metalls fulionious dieta” but this law, which is of Republican date only legislated against frauds by individual fullers and lays down the technical processes to be employed by them. It has nothing to do with the control of its members by the collegium or of the collegium as a whole by the state. It would however seem very probable that in the 4th Century such collegia as were held collectively responsible for the work of their members such as the fabricenses and the pistores, must have laid down rules about methods of production.
As regards apprentices, most authorities think the collegium did not supervise them. Krause indeed thinks that the scaols were schools for the apprentices but Maue, Boissier and Waltzing are convinced it was only the place of reunion of a collegium. The evidence to the contrary concerns the Eastern provinces where the conditions were peculiar and the collegium as we know them not indigenous.
In Eurapolis there is an ------- attached to the collegium of purple dyers. It has been thought that this was a corps of young workers, an apprenticeship workshop for poor children. If this is so, little can be argued from it as the dyers were mostly slaves and later hereditarily bound to their conditions in the state -----. The training of young workers in a sort of school is therefore extremely probable.
The other information I have found about apprenticeship also concerns the East and does not mention the collegi. John Chrysostom in one of his sermons spoke as follows: “For tell us if thou hadst commanded one of thy sons to learn some art and then he had continually stayed at home, or even missed his time somewhere else, would not the touched reject him? Would he not say to thee: Thou hast made an agreement with me and appointed a time if now thy son will not spend this time with me but in other places, how shall I produce him to thee as a ‘scholar’? (i.e. an artist)”
At Beneventure there were studies synonymous with collegia and in them were discentes. The meaning is very obscure and Waltzing thinks that these Collegia were not artisan collegia at all.
It seems fairly certain that apprenticeship was a matter for individual arrangement and that a father either taught his son himself or sent him to another man to be trained. A workman who had special skill or knowledge might give lessons or impart it to others. There is the poem ar Arles written by his daughter and wife to “he who had the greatest skill in making things, the greatest zeal, knowledge and modesty, he whom great artisans (artifices) always called their master; no one was more skilled (doetier) than he, no one could surpass him, who knew how to make all hydraulic works (organis – organs, mills, clepsydras, etc.) or to direct the course of the waters , he was a sweet companion and knew to cherish his friends, who taught others easily because of his zeal and who was kindly in spirit.”
His man must indeed have been an expert who gave instruction not only to young people but to experienced artisans. I have quoted the inscription in full as it is one example showing pride in good and expert workmanship.
In the 4th Century, when almost every man had to follow his father’s trade, it would naturally be a boy’s father who taught him. Even before the 4th Century most sons would follow their father’s calling and be taught by their fathers.
Whether or not the collegia undertook enterprises in common there is no trace of monopolies of a certain trade. The only exception is the porters at Rome and their case is quite peculiar – a necessary measure to ensure that a body of workers is essential so the “annona” should survive. Still, in other trades it is unlikely that any workman tried to stand alone. His desire for companionship, and for the security which combination with one’s fellows affords, would lend every worker to join a collegium. Trades were furthermore grouped together, such in their own quarter of the city, and a man’s neighbours would therefore generally be those engaged in the same trade. But it is well to bear in mind that most work before the introduction of machinery in modern times was individual, there were few trades which demanded the cooperation of large bodies of men. Hence even when the individuals occupied in one trade formed one collegium they continued to work as individuals, buying their own materials, selling their own goods, and making their own contracts for the performance of work. Of course a workman often had slaves working under him and he must also have had apprentices. Again a rich merchant might employ many slaves and freedmen in manufacturing the goods he sold, or might even contract with free men for the performance of so much labour. This must have been the case in the woollen and linen trades; the sellers of woollen and linen goods (lanarii and lintiari) must have made arrangements with individual workers, slave or free, to weave the cloth they sold, or have had factories where only slaves and freedmen were employed.
We know that a few individuals did sometimes combine by working together in one workshop and sharing profits: “and in the same manner as persons inhabiting the same shop carry on a separate traffic, yet put all afterwards into a common fund, as also let us act”.
It is also clear that free artisans did not all work on their own account. Many were employed at a wage and this wage varied according to whether the artisan lived with his employer or had to feed himself. In the former case the board was counted as part of a man’s wages, in the latter case the whole wage was paid in money.
There is not only the evidence of John Chrysoatom. The Tariff of Dioletian lays down wages for the various kinds of workmen and incidentally shows that the normal method was for the workman to live with his employer.
The following are a few of the rates laid down. They are all for workmen who are nourished by their employers:
It would be very interesting to compare the status of the various kinds of workmen as reflected in their rates of pay. Obviously any artisan whose work was well connected with building was comparatively well paid.
The farm labourer, as always, was the worst paid of all.
What was the relation between employers and employed from the social point of view? Were they both members of the collegia? Unfortunately the information available about wages all concerns the Easten half of the Empire where collegia were few. It is possible that here the few collegia, which existed had only independent workers as their members and that in the case of men working for an employer there was no question of a collegium. How then was a man held to his hereditary status in the 4th Century? Artificial groupings, ‘corpora’ as opposed to collegia - may have been applied by the Government. The whole question needs far more consideration than can be given to it here. One thing it however specially to be noted; the producer is generaly also the seller. In other words there are vew middlemen except in so far as trade at a distance or overseas is concerned. The master workman of course sold the products of his employees but he was not a middleman in the strict sense of the word. J. Chrysoatom speaks of “the handicraftman, the sandal maker or the leather cutter or the brassfounder, or any other artificer when he sells any articles of his trade.” Of course merchants sold the products of the country in the town and vice versa and in the case of some articles, such as woven goods, they were also middlemen as regards home products.
From the evidence as to large scale production of pottery in the first centuries of the Empire one might have concluded that there would have been wholesale production of pottery in our period and merchants to sell it. No evidence however is extant. There are very few inscriptions of potters (figuli) and none that I have found of pottery sellers. From the Theodosian Code it seems that most pots were made locally; had the great factories of Gaul been destroyed in the3rd Century? I understand that no imported sumian ware is fond in Britain in the 4th century and that pots were of very inferior workmanship in this period.
The question as to the trades in which the workman who made the article also sold it is very obscure. There are many funerary inscriptions of individuals whose profession is formed by the name of an article with arius added, e.g. sericarius, coactiliarius Pomarius, etc. Sometimes the individual is obviously a seller of the article, e.g. the pomarius (apple seller) but sometimes he is the maker or workman, e.g. the coactilarius – felt maker, and the coriarius – tanner. Of course the makers may also have sold direct to the public and this would perhaps explain the double meaning of the termination arius.
It is time now to return to the other questions asked at the beginning of this chapter though it has not been possible here to consider all the evidence for and against the existence of rules about production, the undertaking of enterprises in common by the collegium, the question of monopolies and of the relation of employers and employed, the existence of middlemen in the smaller trades, the relatively well paid and badly paid trades and so forth.
Did the collegia ever act as charitable institutions or associations for mutual help? Waltzing says emphatically ‘No’ as there is no trace anywhere of gifts for this purpose and the “Sportulae” even where distributed on the principle of the most to the wealthiest (the parri and matres, the presidents and other officials) and the least to the ordinary members, i.e. presumably the most needy. I do not iknow whether the ordinary members need necessarily have been the most needy. The officials in most collegia were freely elected by all and need not have been the richest men. Their right to large amounts of “sportulae”
Can very well be considered as payment for their services. Still his other objection seems valid. People never seem to have left legacies to the collegia for the care of their poorer members as they left legacies to the municipalities for the care of the poor.
The epyos at Amisus referred to by Pliny seems to have been a religious association which also lent money free of interest to the poor. This is special and was forbidden in the cities under Roman law.
It seems to me that it is this latter case lies the explanation why the collegia never developed a charitable side like the Medieval guilds. Before the 3rd Century the government would have objected, and it would have objected because of the dangerous influence and power such charity would have given to the collegia.
In the 4th Century, when the collegia were entirely in the hands of the state, and there was nothing more to be feared from them, they were too poor and too heavily taxed to have funds for the purpose. (Part of their taxes were indeed distributed in free alms to the idle by generous emperors like Constantine; Waltzing remarks on the fact that thinfluence of Christianity does not seem to have influenced the collegia to become charitable, and concludes that probably many Christians left the collegia because of their religious character (common worship of a patron god, burial rites and so forth). This does not of course apply to the 4th Century, but as already stated the collegia more now too poor and too busy carrying out their public duties.
That to outsiders at any rate the collegia seemed mainly to exist to hold banquets and for the Members to meet together for riotous living is attested by the following passage of Tortullian:
I had hoped to deal in detail with the evidence relating to stricken, the inscriptions relating to which in Asia Minor have been connected by W.R. Buckler in his “Labour disputes in the Province of Asia”, but consideration of this question must be postponed till Part III of this subject has been completed.
Chapter 3.2 - Role of the collegia in the local government
The best example is perhaps the collegium of pistores. Some of the municipia did not leave breadmaking to public enterprise and in such cities the governing body supervised the pistores and sometimes subsidised the bread supply. Even in Republican days some Italian cities seem to have undertaken to supply cheap bread to their inhabitants and in the 4th Century we find in many cases a certain number of “possessores” were entrusted with the ‘cura conficiendi pollini’ or the ‘panis coctio’; these were not bound to do actual service, they had to contribute to the expenses; the collegium of pistores under the direction of the curie had to do the actual baking of the bread.
There is an inscription from Sitifin in Mauretania which dates from the time of Valentinian, Theodosius and Arfadius and which shows that there were bake ovens for breadmaking set up in the interest of the public annona. It refers to the restoration of the ovens or mills “instituted long before for the annona publica by the governor” and to his clearing away the ‘aqualor’ with which they had been littered and almost destroyed. The said governor had handed them over equiped to the pistores for the annona publica for them to cook in and had thus fed the people.
There is an interesting reference in Socrates to an allowance of corn made by Constantine to the Church of the Alexandrians for the relief of the indigent. It was indeed no uncommon thing for great men to give largesses of this sort to their native cities, and with the introduction of Christianity such “poor relief” became more common.
In all such cases it may be concluded that the pistores were given the task of turning the corn into flour and making the flour into bread.
Generally speaking the curiales were responsible for the performance of public duties in their cities but the actual work involved was performed by the collegiati under their direction.
Just as the possessores used their coloni to transport their annona taxes, so the curiales used the collegiati to do the actual labour necessary in carrying out the demands of the central government and in the local administration.
It was merely an extension of the right of the givernment ti impose ‘corvees’ on all its subjects; it was more convenient to impose a special task on a body of workmen skilled to perform it, than to demand the same unpaid labour from all.
Hence their service is called ‘opera’ publica officia, obsequium, propriao urbis, and they are designated as “corpora publicis necessitatibus obligata”.
Still their ‘opera’ were intermittant and did not occupy nearly as much time as the public services of the collegia dealt with in Part I. Both curiales and collegia could have their members made up from amongst the ranks of the ‘vacantem’; the curialis was naturally more important than the collegiatus, hence the receiver of an escaped curial paid a fine of 5 lbs. of gold, whereas the receiver of an escaped corporatus paid only 1 lb.
The upkeep of the collegia was regarded as necessary by the central government, not only on account of their services in the local administration, but also to ensure the existence of essential crafts and trades. Hence the Emperors might even exempt from all burdens special trades whose existence was regarded as vital and to whom the government therefore wished to give encouragement.
In 337 Constantine ordained “that those who practise any of the arts enumerated below shall be free from all burdens whilst remaining in the separate cities, if indeed leisure must be employed in learning these arts, let them desire all the more both to become skilled themselves and to instruct their sons”. Below I reproduce the list.
Whether this exemption included the non-payment of the chrysargyrum is doubtful, so many trades are included that it seems a little unlikely.
Another law of Constantine’s gives immunity to “mechanicos geometriis and architectos qi divisiones partium omuium incisioaesque servant mensurisque et institutis operem fabricatione stringunt et cos qui aquarum inventos ductus et modos docili libratione ostendunt” so long as they both learn and teach their art.
It is beyond the scope of this work to deal with similar exemptions from taxation granted to professors of painting, philosophers and doctors. The Emperors did not always take such gentle means as these to enforce the teaching of a trade by a man to his son. The collegiati in the municipalities were hereditarily bound to their work like those employed by the central government. The artisan had to follow his father’s calling whether he wished to or not and was finally as closely tied to his tools as the colonus to his land. Still, it is to be noted, that it is not till the late 4th Century that laws are found specifically dealing with the hereditary status of masters of municipal collegia. However, in these laws it is implied that the hereditary lien had long been enforced.
Honorius recalls the members of the collegia who have fled in the following terms:-
Similarly in 412 after the sack of Rome by Alaric he again recalled the members of the Collegia and corpora. “We order that the members of the collegia, and the vitutarii and the nemesiaci (fortunetellers), and the standard bearers for festive occasions, the numbers of corpora of all the cities, be recalled on a similar principle. To whom also we decree t hat the opportunity of making a supplication must be denied, so that no one’s hereditary status should seem to be changed by any command (which is not allowed) and if perchance anyone is known to have been set free by the sacred authority (i.e. that of the princeps) his favour shall cease and he shall revert to his hereditary status.” A law of 400 deals with the regulation to be followed in the case of people who had “left their condition” and had not been discovered till long afterwards: “This precept of our clemency being observed that he who is shown to have performed his duties for 30 years, and not to have been hindered by any interruption, is to fear no action of calumnitas about his status by the agents of a private person or of the State, in so far as this province is concerned. If anyone within the limits of the definite period is shown to have been summoned before a tribunal he is to accused by the ordinary law in the usual seat of justice, in order that there sentence may be pronounced upon his status. Indeed we constrain the primates of the ‘ordos’ and the ‘defensores civitatum’ by the threat of punishment, not to suffer there to be public loss by the flight of a member of the curia or the collegia, who wangers hither and thither, but if, through favour, they are found to have kept silence they shall suffer the punishment of degradation.”
Some “collegiati” evidently found their burdens so heavy that they preferred to become coloni. They were recalled by Honorius without any exception and he at the same time lays down further regulations regarding the succession of children whose mother and father do not belong to the same condition:
Chapter 3.3 - FABRI, CENTONARII AND DENDROPHORI.
The ubiquity of the faber is not remarkable when we remember how many kinds of artisan come under the designation of faber; all land workers in stone, metal, wood or any other hard substance. The ubiquity of the centonarii is far more remarkable if the generally accepted meaning of this work is accepted; patchwork makers. It is difficult to believe that so many people could be employed all over the Empire making up old rags into cheap patchwork garments.
The dendrophori are not found so often and their trade, probably that of woodcutters and wood dealers, would naturally be a common and necessary one.
Before considering some of the theories to explain the ubiquity and close association of these three collegia a few remarks are necessary on the fabri.
The word faber is often found in inscriptions of the imperial period without an epithet and the people thus shown are mostly slaves and freedmen. It is therefore concluded that such a faber is either a technical member of a great household and a slae, or, where a freeborn man is designed, an independent workman and a builder; i.e. faber in the second case is a shortening for ‘faber tignarius’; a freedman might belong to either category. Otherwise an epithet is usually added showing in what mater the faber worked.
There are accordingly many different kinds of faber and a very great division of labour is shown to have existed. The following are the main classes as specified in Pauly Fissona.
Faber intestinarius – the workman who dealt with the finishings inside the houses, e.g. the doors, windows, etc. There are also lagrearii and lacunarii.
The ‘Fabri subsediarii’ seem to have been much the same type of workmen as the intestinarii.
Faber lectarius, a specialised joiner who made beds and similar articles – the highest branch of ancient furniture making.
Faber pecturarius – a combmaker.
Faber tignarius was extended to mean a stone mason when houses began to be built of stone instead of wood, and so faber alone also comes to mean a stonemason or boulder.
The special builder is called structor or structor parietarius. Amongst the fabri who worked in metals are found the following varieties:
Serarii and fabri serarii: the former are possibly workers in the copper mines but since serarius statuarius and vascularius are also found, this does not seem likely. The sigillarius or serarius signifies a maker of little images and in the edict of Diocletian, distinction is made between the serarius in vasculis diversi gereris and the serarius in sigillis vel statius.
Faber pestinarius – maker of metal combs
Faber eborarius – a trader in ivory but also a maker of ivory objects
Fabri navales – ship builders
Fabri balueator – worker in connection with building of baths.
The extraordinary specialisation of labour is obvious from the above list which is not exhaustive and does not constitute all the subdivisions of labor. Probably all the fabri in a small town would form one collegium, but in large towns the fabri serarii and the fabri tignarii and so forth would form separate organisations. The eborarii and citriarii formed one collegium alone at Rome.
It is quite easy to see why the fabri are found everywhere, since so many and such important trades are comprised under that name and especially in view of the amount of public and private building which helped to exhaust the public finances. But as already stated the question of the Centonarii is much harder and various explanations have been attempted.
A cento was a patchwork quilt and the centorarius obviously implies a maker or seller of such patchworks. Old bits of cloth were made into patchwork garments not only for slaves and poor people but also for military purposes (protection from missiles, etc.) and for extinguishing fires. From this latter fact Hirschfeld has evolved an apparently convincing theory as to the role of centonarii, fabri and dendrophori. Briefly it is this: the fabri are known to have been employed by the State as firemen. The products and tools of the centonarii and dendrophori were used to put out fires. The presumption is that the joining together of the collegia of these three trades had to follow in consequence of their common interpretation of centonarius as a patchwork maker in the following argument: The ordinary view, that the collegia whose names are derived from the names of products of industry are to be regarded as associations of makers of such products, is false. A glance through the inscriptions and a comparison of the collegia with the artifices not shown in collegia, shows unequivocally that the makers of goods on a little or a great scale form a very small number among the collegia, that the preponderant portion of workers in the widest sense is made up by the inclusion of the artists and traders. In the case of those names such as cisarii and lecticarii which can mean either makers of carriages and litters or coachmen and litter bearers, unlike those collegia such as the fabri, fullones, tibices about the character of whose numbers there is no doubt. The interpretation “coachmen and litterbearers” is obviously the right one in so far as the members of the collegium are concerned; for as the navicularii are ship owners and not shipbuilders and are characterised as sea or river shipmen, so the cisarii would be given the name of their “standplatz”. It would appear that the right to form a collegium was usually only given to those who fulfilled an obviously useful public function, accordingly.
The centonarii must not be explained as patchwork makers or “patchwork tailors” but rather as a group of men who bear their name from the centones with which they perform their duty demanded by the needs of the community, i.e. the extinguishing of fires. In proof of this interpretation comes the inscription from near Como of the “centuria centonariorum, scalariorum” which no one could explain as an association of pillow, axe and ladder manufacturers. The interpretation that the names are derived from the objects used to put out the fires seem much more convincing. At Aquileia when the fabri, centonarii and dendrophori are closely connected, a stone has been found on which a colabrarius is shown in charge of the collegium of fabri and is depicted holding an exe in one hand and a cento in the other; at Cenustum a collegium veterenorum centonariorum has been found; obviously here the fire brigade was composed of veterans. By these arguments and examples Hirschfeld therefore proves the close connection of the three collegia to be due to their common duties as members of the local fire brigade.
Although his ingenious explanation may be the correct one it is hard to accept the whole of Hirschfeld’s theory about the collegia. Certainly the interpretation of the termination arius as a user of an article rather than the seller, will not always do, e.g. formarius figmentarius. This is, however, a theory which it is impossible to refute in the short space available here. Other explanations of the word centonarius have been manufacturers or sellers of coarse weavings of wool, tilers or thatchers. It seems also possible that they made pillows or cushions of old bits of material but I would tentatively and provisionally make the following suggestion. It is extremely remarkable that so few weavers or cloth sellers are met with the inscriptions since clothing is man’s second most universal want. There were, of course, the slate factories but they did not supply the public in general in the 4th Century. Much weaving was done at home for home use but the workers in factories and in the various trades and also the middle classes in the towns who had not slaves to weave for them must have wanted to buy cloth.
Is it not possible that the centonarii were the clothiers in the towns who bought up from individual weavers all the odd bits of cloth they made? Such coarse homespons as some labourer or artisan’s wife made from any wool she could procure might well be called rags and the centonarii would make up coarse tunics or cloaks from such odd pieces.
This suggestion may seem far fetched and it needs further research to come to any conclusion, but it is put forward in view of the following reasons:
a) Hirschfeld’s explanation does not seem convincing; why should such large numbers of individuals be required for local fire brigades? b) The ubiquity of the centonarii implies that they satisfied a universal Requirement. c) Garments to wear are a universal requirement. d) There are few inscriptions relating to makers or sellers of cloth. e) Not all cloth for consumption in the towns can have been homespun and woven. f) Cento implies the use of cloth of some description by the centonarii. g) The centonarii cannot have been able to collect enough old rags to keep them occupied, and why, if they could buy old rags, could they not buy new material?
In so far as the collegia or corpora dealt with in Part I were concerned, the practice had been adopted of confiding a definite function of the Administration to one group of citizens. In return for their special services these were exempted from most of the general taxation. The navicularii, pistores, etc. were lifted out of the ordinary framework of the Empire to form a class apart, directly under the central administration. They ceased to bear their share of the burdens placed on their fellow citizens because they were employed by the central government as part-time civil servants, if I may so describe them. From one point of view there was nothing inherently unjust or vicious in this practice. All taxation being in a sense a commitation, for money or goods, of the services owed by the individual to the community, it might be argued that it was quite legitimate to demand services instead of money from some groups of citizens, and so to exempt from taxation all those who rendered actual services to the community. The trouble was that in the Roman Empire these “state collegia"”did not render their services to the whole community, but only to a small privileged portion thereof. The naviculari who transported the grain, and the bakers who made it into bread, the suarii who collected and prepared the pork, and all the rent, worked for the benefit and enjoyment of the Emperor and his court and of the various officials in the capitals and in the provinces, for the army, and for the idle populace of Rome and Constantinople. Chiefly, indeed, they worked for the benefit of the latter who did nothing in return for what they received from the State. Again, the officials of the vast bureaucracy which was crushing the life out of the Empire would have had more justification in receiving their rations and their payments if they had done all the work of collecting taxes and supervising transport, which was in large part performed by other corpora (suarii, mensores and, of course, the curiales). Just said that about 1/10th of the population of Antioch is rich, 1/10th poor and 8/10ths of the middle sort, and he proceeds as follows: “nevertheless although there are so many that are able to feed the hungry, many go to sleep in their hunger, not because those that have are not able with care to succor them, but because of their great barbarity and inhumanity. (Shortly before Chrysostom had been pleading for an increase in alms giving). For if both the wealthy and those next to them were to distribute amongst themselves those who are in need of bread and raiment, scarcely would one poor person fall to the share of 60 men or even 100. Yet nevertheless though with such great abundance of persons to assist them they are wailing every day. And that thou mayest learn the inhumanity of the others, when the church is possessed of a revenue of one of the lowest among the wealthy, and not of the very rich, consider how many widows it succors every day, how many virgins; for indeed the list of them had already reached unto the number of 3000. Together with those she succors them that dwell in prison, the sick in the caravansora, the healthy, that are absent from their home, those that are maimed in their bodies, those that wait upon the altar; and with respect to food and raiment, from that casually come every day; and her substance is in no respect diminished. So that if ten men were thus willing to spend, there would be no poor. And what, it will be said, are our children to inherit? The principal remains, and the income again is become more abundant, the goods being stored up for them in Heaven.
But are ye not willing to do this? At l east do it by the half, at least by the third person, at least by the 4th, by the 10th. For owing to God’s favour it were possible for our city to nourish the poor of 10 cities….. . It is enough for thee to have the money of thine income pouring in on thee as from a fountain; make the poor share with thee, and become a good steward of the things given thee of God”.
The interesting point is that although alms-giving on a large scale is preached there is no word as to where the alms come from, no question of giving up the principal, i.e. no question of ceasing to demand labour from others that one may live in idleness onself. John Chrysostom is merely urging that each rich man should live simply and give away part of what he receives from the labour of others. Many of these addressed had their income from lands and J. Chrysostom has himself drawn a piteous picture of the wretched coloni who cultivated them: “For if anyone were to examine how they treat their wretched and toil worn labourers he will see them to be more cruel than savages. For upon them that are pining with hunger and toiling throughout all their life they impose constant and intolerable payments. . . . “he speaks of the torments inflicted by the overseers, the services demanded, the wicked usury of the lanowners who lend money to the wretched labourers at 50% interest, “and this when he of whom it is expected has a wife and is bringing up children, is a human being and is filling their threshing floor and their wine press with his toil”. In spite of their appreciation of the misery of the people who worked, the priests never seem to have said that men ought to own the product of their labour; they were usually far more concerned with the giving of alms to the idle poor than freeing the working poor from their burdens of rent and interest. The giving of alms was beneficial to the soul of the rich man, and the slave or poor labourer might console himself for his live of toil and hunger by the thought of his easy access into heaven as contrasted with the difficulties in the way of entrance to the rich.
Similarily the Church although it urged masters to treat their slaves well never insisted on the abolition of slavery. John Chrysostom was a sincere and fearless Christian who was not afraid to incur the imperial displeasure by his condemnation of the extravagance and vices of the Empress and the Court. He was one of the truly great and humane people whom the Church produced in this period; he was tireless in his efforts on behalf of the poor and oppressed, but he never appears to have seen that a total reorganisation of society was necessary if the teachings of Christ were to be carried out in fact as well as in theory. It may be objected that the Church could do no more than champion the poor, and impress upon the rich the duty of almsgiving of kindliness towards their slaves. If she had tried to do more she would not have been listened to and Christianity would never have been accepted; she would have effected nothing whereas she did in fact to some extent ameliorate social conditions.
This raises the eternal question as to whether it is ever right to compromise on essential principles in order to effect some slight reforms. Christianity in the 4th century compromised with the powers that were in order to gain influence; having done so it gradually and imperceptibly “lost its savour” and ceased its conflict with the forces of oppression.
Nay more, by its efforts to improve the condition of the poor and the slaves without in any way altering the organisation of society which produced them, it helped to increase the burdens of the masses all over the empire and finally to bring about the complete disorganisation of society.
For the latter result they cannot indeed be reproached, for, after a consideration of the general condition of the people in the 4th and 5th centuries A.D. one cannot wonder that in many places they welcomed the barbarian invaders, or regret that Roman society was finally dissolved in the West.
However our concern here is with the economic consequences of the prevailing attitude of mind. Always to give without enquiring where the gifts came from, possibly a sort of theory that the Lord would provide, meant laying heavier and heavier burdens on the producers of wealth and, even more serious in its final consequences, meant discouraging labour and encouraging pauperism.
The imperial laws seem to reflect the same to pay survey economics as the Church writers. In 314 A.D., Constantine, who has been so ruthlessly legislating for the performance of his hereditary labour by every colomus and artisan, merchant and curial, tells Ablavius the practarian prefect that any parent in any Italian city who brings along a new born infant which he says he is too poor to bring up is to be immediately supplied with food and clothing. Who wherewithal for this clarity is to be supplied by the fiscus and the private.
In 322 he remarks that provincials suffering from lack of the necessaries of life and from want of nourishment sell their children or pledge them and decrees that throughout Africa the proconsuls and praesides and finance officers, are “to bestow a necessary sum upon those whom they find in miserable want and immediately give them a sufficient quantity of food.” The recipients of this charity are to be “those who are supported by no substance of property and who support their children in misery and difficulty.”
One has only to contract the evidence of Liberius as to the miserable artisan forced to pay taxes although he possesses only his tools, or the unhappy coloni who, “being consumed with frost and rain and watchings go away with their hands empty and in debt” brought their hard won produce to the imperial granaries and saw it distributed to beggars.
Wallon has pointed out the analogy with the late 18th and early 19th century in England when small proprietors and artisans paid a heavy poor rate to support the paupers. He has not remarked however on the similarity of the causes of the pauperism; the lack of incentive to work when one is no better off working than when one is a pauper. Constantine is only reflecting the spirit of Christianity in the 4th Century when he says that “it is an outrage to the spirit of our times that anyone should be destroyed by hunger or burnt out in an unworthy crime (i.e. either sell or expose their children) and he fails to see who it is that pays for his humanity and generosity. It is indeed Constantine especially, on the evidence of the Christian and pagan writers, who seems to have held the typically Christian attitude towards economics.
Julian said sneeringly of aim that when asked what, in his opinion, constituted virtue, he replied: “For a man who hath much to give much away”.
The most illuminating remarks of all are in the pages of Evagrius and they illustrate the shortsightedness and illogicality of the prevalent attitude of mind so clearly and, if I may so remark, so humorously, that it has seemed worthwhile quoting them in full. He has shortly before told how Auastasius abolished the Chrysargynum and related what a vile and wicked tax it was. He then proceeds to refute “the wicked Zoeimus” who had stated in his history that Constantine first imposed the Chrysargynum. This is how he does it; “He in such fashion encircled the place with walls, so far extended the former city and embellished it with buildings so splendid, as hardly to be surrpassed by Rome itself, which had received gradual increases through so long a course of years. Thou sayest also that he made a distribution of provisions at the public cost so the people of Byzantium and bestowed a very large sum of gold upon those who had accompanied his thither for the erection of private houses”. He then relates other generous deeds of Constantine not relating to money and finally sums up his argument “How canst thou then maintain that the same person would be so liberal, so munificient, and at the same time so paltry and sordid as to impose so accursed a tax I am utterly unable to comprehend.
It really is incomprehensible to Evagrius that a man who gave much away had to procure his gifts from somewhere.
The contemporary writer who seems alone to have a clear conception of the economic mistakes committed by an administration like that of Constantine is Zosimus. He speaks of Constantine as follows:
“Constantine not only continued to waste the revenue of the Empire in useless expenses, and in presents to mean and worthless persons, but oppressed those who paid the tributes, and enriched those who were useless to the State. For he mistook prodigality for magnificence”.
It seems to me that Zosimus has exactly expressed as regards Constantine what was happening all through the period covered by the Theodosian Code.
Elsewhere, in speaking of the monks, he again shows his appreciation of the wickedness of giving what is not really yours to give and of living without rendering any service to the Community: “The Christian church was then filled (at the time of J. Chrysostom) with those men whom they call monks. These are persons who abstain from lawful marriage and who fill large colleges in many cities and villages with unmarried men, incapable of way, or of any other service to the commonwealth. These men by their arts have from that to the present time acquired possession of extensive lands and under the pretext of charity to the poor have produced, I might almost say, all other men to beggary.” Indeed one must not disregard the additional burden placed upon the community in the 4th Century by the support of the priests and monks who, although their labours as the prayers of the community were doubtless invaluable, economically were entirely unproductive and constituted another class of consumers who did not produce. This aspect of the help which Christianity gave to the barbarians in destroying the Empire seems as important as their work in undermining the subject’s senses of civic duty.
Presumably the duty of a good Christian to trust in the Lord made it, if not a sin to labour, yet a sin to feel bound to rely on oneself to produce the necessaries of existence. Many Christians at any rate preferred the pleasant existence of the lilies of the field.
One monk is related to have annually burnt all the produce of his labour.
The frequent church synods placed another burden on the taxpayers, for the bishops were allowed to use the Public Post. Only occasionally did the Emperor remember how much expense was entailed by the convening of all the bishops in one place.
Lastly it may be remarked that in reading the pages of the Church historians one is struck by nothing so much as by the frequency of the religious meetings in the many cities of the Empire and the constant presence of masses of people who listen, applaud, hiss, make riots, and otherwise waste their time in religious controversy. Here again the Church must have helped to decrease the productivity of labor; the people now had much more constant entertainment than previously when they had only bad circuses, gladiatorial shows or theatrical performances. The people most affected must have been the artisans, not the agricultural workers who could not leave their fields.
But most important of all the affects of the teachings of the Church seems to be the point first mentioned: to insist on the giving of alms by the rich to the poor, rather than on the occasion of rents and interest paid by the working poor to the rich, to encourage the largesse’s of the government rather than to insist on the lowering of taxation.
It might be morally better that the rich should give some of their wealth to the poor than keep it all themselves, but economically it made things no better for the producers of the wealth; they were not usually those who received it. No questions were asked by the good Christian as to the circumstances of the recipient of his charity nor did he stop to enquire whether he was giving away to an idle beggar that which had been produced by a hard worked artisan. Even when the artisan or farm laborer received back in charity what he had paid in rent or interest or taxation he received it in common with idlers and he must have asked himself what was the use of working if he was no better off than a man who did no work. I referred earlier to the early days of the Industrial Revolution in England, before the Reform of the Poor Law in 1834; when the Laborer’s ’insufficient wages were supplemented from the rates to make them up to the same amount as the poor relief given to a pauper. The laborer obviously preferred to live half starved without work than half starved with work, and the number of paupers increased.
The parallel with the 4th Century A.D. is unmistakable.
It is true that there is one law in the Code “do medications n on invalidis” which commands the prefect of the city of Rome to examine separately all those who have been driven by want to beg in public and find out if they are well and strong. Those who were not suffering from some bodily infirmity are to be given back to their masters, if slaves, and to become hereditary coloni, if free.
This law was not issued till 382 and it is unique. The idea of compelling all who lived on charity to work would have eliminated the beggars so necessary to the rich as the recipients of the alms they paid to ensure their passage to heaven. If the law was carried out, even partially, at Rome no doubt many of the beggars mutilated themselves suitably and escaped.
It is of course possible that the Empire might have survived with the burden of idle poor which it sustained if that had been its only burden of parasites. But it also supported a class of idle rich, a much larger class of semi-idle, or at any rate unproductive, civil servants, and a growing number of priests and monks. In addition to this it no longer sustained the burden by ruthlessly exploiting its slave labour as it had sustained a similar, but smaller burden in centuries past. There were fewer slaves to exploit and less inclination to be ruthless; for a time the top-heavy edifice survived by making the free producers half slaves and forcing them to bear the burden.
In the West the end came when the barbarians toppled over the whole insecure creation, being in many cases greeted by the inhabitants as delivers from the tax collectors.
Perhaps again the Empire might have survived if improved methods of production had been adopted which would have made it possible to produce the same amount of foods and goods as before with less labour. Apart from the invention of watermills, no discoveries were made to render this possible.
So although so many were trying, successfully or unsuccessfully, to live without doing productive labour, the same amount of human energy was required as before, and hence less was produced.
This brings me to my final contention. I do not believe that all the various types of people who tried to escape from their trade or their public services did so merely because their labour was more arduous than before or because taxation was so heavy.
The wealthy navicularius cannot have felt himself a severely oppressed individual whose life was an intolerable burden. The demands of the State were vicious and onerous, he had less to spend on luxuries than he would have liked, but one cannot imagine from the evidence of the laws that he was really in a miserable plight. The same can be said of members of other wealthy corpora.
It seems that the desire of such men to escape from their position was the result of the prevailing wish to avoid all services and duties to the community, and to live as far as possible by making others work rather than by working onself. It would be possible to maintain the argument that all civilisations decay when a large proportion of the inhabitants of a country or Empire begin to realise that the way to become wealthy is to avoid work and make others work for you. For a long time this secret remains hidden to all but the few who profit; when the many begin to realise it, the foundations of society are destroyed. I think that in the 4th Century large numbers of people realised that the way to amass wealth was not to work hard at one trade or profession, but to bet into some government post, or, if not substantial riches, but an easy comfortable existence were the goal, to enter the Church. The many laws in which people are recalled to their duties even when they had obtained a government post by an imperial rescript, all show the prevalent desire, to become a member of the bureaucracy.
Furthermore, there were some professions left which were comparatively free and remunerative, and this seems to be specially true of the luxury trades and the profession of middlemen generally. It is to be noted that the majority of the craftsmen exempted by in 3—by Constantine from taxation in the municipalities, were men engaged in luxury trades. The luxury of the age is remarked upon by all the writers and no doubt those who could supply silk garments, incense, ornaments, beautiful furniture and so forth to the court, to the high officials, and to the wealthy prospered exceedingly and hardly felt the burden of the chrysargorum.
Similarly we have evidence of much profiteering and of cornering of supplies.
The Edict of Diocletian throws a clear light on the evils of the time; high prices not due to scarcity but to unscrupulous cornering of supplies; profiteering on an enormous scale: "But because the madness of gain knows no “rein but necessity, and that those whom extreme misery has made obvious their unhappy condition can do nought to free themselves from it, it behooved us, who are the fathers of the human race, to put an end by law to such an intolerable condition of affairs. We bring the remedy demanded for so long. Without taking notice of the complaints which our intervention will excite amongst bad citizens, who, while feeling that our long silence should persuade them to be moderate, would not take head. Everyone knows by his own experience that the objects of trade and the goods which are daily sold in the markets of the towns, have reached exorbitant prices; that the unbridled passion for profit is no longer moderated by the quantity of imports or the abundance of harvests, and that it considers the blessings of heaven as an evil.”
The Edict also refers to the monopolising of commodities along the routes where the armies passed in order to force up the price more than eightfold. He finally announces his maxium tarif, the object of which is to keep down prices in time of scarcity. He also hopes to circumvent the merchants who ensured a monopoly of commodities in one place in order to retail them elsewhere where there was scarcity at a higher price. In future they will find the same maximum everywhere.
Of course the Edict failed; it has been seen in recent times in this country that the only way to enforce maximum prices in times of scarcity, is by rationing the population. To do this would have been impossible for Diocletian; it would have led to endless corruption, and furthermore his whole scheme if enforced would have involved a total revision of the economic structure of the State. It seems clear that no other Emperor ever risked even to think of this. Did Diocletian perhaps once hope to effect an economic revolution in the Ancient World?
He was radical enough to reduce all the provinces of the Empire to equality; may he at one period have conceived the possibility of making all the citizens equal?
Whether or not this is a faint possibility, the current of the times was towards a stereotyping and sterilizing of the old structure and the old classes. In the past it had usually been the sons of administrators who became administrators; senatorial and equestrian families had supplied the bulk of the civil servants for over two hundred years and the hereditary system of the 4th and 5th centuries did not greatly effect the position.
Similarly the son of a member of the local senates had usually become a member himself. Even in the lowest grades of society a man must usually taught his trade to his children.
Inequality of economic opportunity had meant that there was little chance for a man to rise out of the lower divisions of society into the higher. But still some had been able to rise and until it was expressly forbidden for any man to leave the trade or profession imposed upon him by his “origo” the grievance did not become so apparent. Distinction of class and of material possessions and comforts are never felt to be so oppressive and unfair then they exist in fact though not in theory: once they are recognised and given the stamp of government approval they become conscious grievances.
The son of a miner or a textile operative today cannot become the Chairman of a big business concern or a Secretary of State because his father’s wages are insufficient to keep him while he studies, but there is no law to prevent him. If there were he would feel it far more of a hardship to become a miner or a textile operative than he actually does.
Similarly the very fact that a man had to be a baker would often make him hate the bakehouse and desire to be an armourer or an agricultural labourer or something else.
The baker or weaver forbad to marry a baker or a weaver’s daughter would naturally begin to violently desire to wed someone else’s daughter and would find all the children of bakers and weavers ugly folk.
There were always the psychological factors to be considered and amongst them the fact that is human to desire what is forbidden, and to hate that which is compulsorily enforced.
Therefore it is not surprising to find that as the laws which bound men to their hereditary calling became stricter they became less effective. The more determined the State Government became to hold each man to the duties imposed on him by his origin the more anxious each man became to escape from house duties. Hence although the collegiate seem at first only to have been bound to their calling if they retained property “obnoxious” to that calling, the tie of blood was finally the only one strong enough and general enough to content the State. In the words of Wellon: “La fatalite de la naissance, telle devient la loi supreme de l”empire.” The laws recalling collegiate to their labours are all of late date, and this seems to prove that the hereditary --- system achieved the very opposite result to what had been intended; instead of binding the Empire together and restoring its tottering ---- it caused greater disorganisation and disaster that which it had been instituted to remedy.
Whatever was the most important factor in the changing of the average man’s outlook in the 4th last period of the Eastern Empire, that attitude became one of refusing any longer to submit to old disabilities, old inequalities, old hardships which, however, aggravated by wars, plagues, and imperial taxation and legislation, were not created by them but had always existed. Nor was it only in the 4th and 5th centuries that those who produced the necessities of life: food, clothes, metals and stone houses and so forth were the worst paid and hardest worked part of the community. It was not only in the 4th century that the distribution of wealthy such as the navicularii, had a more ---- and less comfortable existence than those who lived in idleness and peace on inherited wealth.
Yet it is not till the period we are dealing with that all producers and distributors tried to escape from their labours.
I have touched on some possible causes for the economic decline of the Roman Empire which have been suggested by the subject of this thesis. Whatever was the real cause of that decline, there seems much to be said for the French writer’s contention that “Rome voulait avant tout consumer sans produire.” He might have added that the Roman Empire collapsed when all the inhabitants wished to consume without producing.
Life and Labor conditions in Rome,
brutal taxation, birth of trade unionism,
and was available in four separate files:
File 1 containing Chapters 1-3;
File 2 containings Chapter 4-5;
File 3 containing Chapter 6-7-8 and File 4 containing the remnant of the thesis.
A notation showed that the transcription of the thesis
was ... (finished 4/5/01)
Consequently, readers should be aware that the text of this thesis is necessarily incomplete. Moreover, the footnotes have not been preserved in the original text, and for this reason I have not gone to any extraordinary lengths in this web publication to preserve the piecemeal footnotes which do exist. However, I have attempted to preserve what might be preserved.
It should be mentioned that I decided to split the final part three up into three separate chapters, even though this was probably not originally intended.
Finally, it should be noted that the reason that I have decided to make a web publication of this thesis prepared by Freda Utley, in 1925, is twofold:
(2) because of the fact that English translations of any parts of the Codex Theodosianus are rare. It has been of course available in the Latin, but of course, only available to those who are conversant in Latin. French and German translations abound in the last few hundred years.
Scholars from Edward Gibbon onwards have used the source of the Theodosian Codex to enrich the political assessment of the fourth and fifth centuries of the Roman empire. Yet the substantial ancient history quite evidently encompassed in these codes, is still not generally appreciated. It is hoped that this publication will assist in the general understanding in this environment.
Student of Ancient History