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Roman History, 65–50 B.C.: Five Problems

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 September 2012


Under the late Republic (after Sulla) a province was normally administered by a proconsul (an ex-consul or an ex-praetor) and, in subordination to him, a quaestor. If a quaestor died in the province or left it before the arrival of a replacement, the proconsul might appoint one of his legati or perhaps even one of his cohors praetoria to be acting-quaestor—‘pro quaestore’, ‘ἀντιταμίας’; and this was strictly the title also of a quaestor who remained at his duty in the province after the year of his magistracy had come to an end (either because his tenure had been extended by the government at Rome, or because he was awaiting the arrival of a successor).

Research Article
Copyright © J. P. V. D. Balsdon 1962. Exclusive Licence to Publish: The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies

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1 No references to sources will be given in this article whenever they can easily be discovered in MRR.

2 There is no record in the period between Sulla and 52 B.C. of a man governing a province in the year after his praetorship and styling himself ‘propraetore’. See Th. Mommsen, Röm. Staatsrecht II3, 648; Marquardt, J., Röm. Staatsverwaltung (Leipzig, 1873) 379 f.Google Scholar and p. 135, n. 10 below.

3 Mommsen, Staatsr. I3, 686 f.; II3, 531; C. Verres as ‘legatus pro quaestore’ in Cilicia in 80 B.C. to Cn. Dolabella, after the death of the quaestor, C. Malleolus, In Verr. I, II; II, I, 41; cf. ‘Suura leg. proq.’ on Macedonian coins, Mommsen, Staatsr. I3, 686, n. 1.

4 See below, p. 135, n. 14.

5 See Mommsen, Staatsr. I3, 682 f. Selection of an acting-governor by Cicero in Cilicia in 50, Ad fam. II, 15, 4; Ad Att. VI, 3, 1 f.; VI, 4, 1; by Thermus in Asia in 50, Ad fam. II, 18, 2; a problem considered by Appius Claudius in Cilicia in 51, Ad fam. III, 5, 5 (Q. Mucius Scaevola, whom MRR should therefore list as a certain legate in 52 and 51 as well as in 53).

6 ILS 8775.

7 See MRR; he is addressed in the prescript of Ad fam. XV, 14, simply as ‘proq.’

8 ‘Ταμίας καὶ ἀντιστράτηγος,’ IGR IV, 401 (see Hepding, H., Athen. Mittheil. XXXII (1907), 317 f.Google Scholar, no. 45), and perhaps Robert, L., Hellenica I (1940), 55.Google Scholar ἀντιταμίας καὶ ἀντιστράτηγος, OGIS 448 (Fraenkel, M., Inschr. von Pergamon (Berlin, 1895) no. 410)Google Scholar, reproduced most inaccurately in IGR IV, 400; also an official document quoted by Josephus, AJ XIV, 235.

9 See Ad fam. VIII, 10, 2, for this use of ‘privatus’.

10 Ad fam. II, 18; XIII, 53–7 (Thermus); XIII, 61–5 (Silius). It is difficult to know how often in the century before Sulla ‘pro praetore’ (and not ‘pro consule’) was the title of a man who, having governed a province as praetor, had his command prorogued for a further period (see Mommsen, Staatsr. II3, 648 f.). Inscriptional evidence, which alone can be trusted, is conflicting. There are two cases of men who went out to provinces as praetors and who triumphed ‘pro consule’ (App. Claudius Cento, pr. 175, tr. 174; L. Corn. Dolabella, pr. 100, tr. 98; see A. Degrassi, II XIII, 1, 339, 556, 562); and there are four cases of such men who triumphed ‘pro praetore’ (C. Cicereius, pr. 173, tr. 172; Cn. Octavius and L. Anicius Gallus, pr. 168, tr. 167, and P. Servilius, pr. ?90, tr. 88; see Degrassi, 556, 563). C. Iulius Caesar, father of the Dictator, pr. ?92, was described in his elogium as ‘procos. Asiae’ (in 91; see MRR for references). There is no certain evidence of the use of the title ‘pro praetore’ for a normal provincial governor between the legislation of Sulla and the lex Pompeia of 52. Praetorian governors in this period went out at the end of their praetorship and, without doubt, were styled ‘proconsule’—like C. Octavius, pr. 61, ‘procos. Macedoniae’ 60 (ILS 47).

11 Cic, Ad fam. VIII, 8, 8.

12 Vell. Pat. 11, 45, 4; Vir ill. 80, 2.

13 ILS 8778, ἀ[ντιταμίαν καὶ ἀ]ντιστράτηγον.

14 Mommsen, Staatsr. I3, 385 f.

15 Hist. II, 43 M.

16 Sall., Cat. 19, 1; ILS 875, ‘Quaestor pro pr. ex s.c. provinciam Hispaniam citeriorem obtinuit.’

16a For other arguments against the reality of a conspiracy in 65, see Frisch, H., Classica et Mediaevalia IX (1947), 1036Google Scholar, and Brunt, P. A., CR n.s. VII (1957), 193–5.Google Scholar

17 On the system, Polyb. VI, 17; Festus, s.v. ‘manceps’; Cic, In Verr. II, 2, 169–175; II, 3, 167. ‘Socii’ was used in a very broad sense, just as the servants of a great commercial or industrial organization to-day speak of ‘the Company’.

18 In Verr. II, 2, 169–75; Ad Att. XI, 10, 1; Val. Max. VI, 9, 8.

18a Livy XXXIX, 44, 7–9, the ‘auction’ by Cato and his colleague in 184 B.C. both of vectigalia (income to the State) and of ultro tributa (expenditure by the State), to which Mr. P. A. Brunt has drawn my attention, favours the notion of ‘tenders’ and, in the case of vectigalia, gives a precedent for a revision of the original award.

19 Ad Att. I, 17, 9; I, 18, 7; II, 1, 8. We do not know who were the censors of 61; see MRR II, p. 179.

20 Cic., Ad Att. II, 16, 2; Dio Cass. XXXVIII, 7, 4; App., BC II, 47 f.; Suet., Div. Jul. 20, 3. It is to be noticed that Polybius VI, 17, 5 f., spoke of applications by companies to the Senate for readjustments and revisions of contracts as normal happenings in his time; cf. Livy XXXIX, 44, 8.

21 Laurent-Vibert, M. R., ‘Les publicains d'Asie en 51 avant J.-C. d'après la correspondance de Cicéron en Cilicie,’ Mélanges d' archéologie et d'histoire XXVIII (1908), 171184, esp. 175–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

22 ‘Constat enim ex ceteris societatibus,’ Cicero's remark in Ad fam. XIII, 9, 2, of the ‘Bithynica societas’, is the only ‘evidence’ which can be produced for this hypothetical post-61 combine, with a monopoly of the tax-collecting in Bithynia, Asia and Cilicia. Against this there is evidence, in the fifties, of a variety of ‘societates’ concerned with the provinces of Asia Minor (ESAR IV, 538 ff.) and in Ad fam. XIII, 9, 2, Cicero appears to be speaking of Bithynia alone.

23 M. Rostovtzeff, SEHHW chap. VII, n. 53, rejects it, with a reference to ‘Ivanov, De soc. vect. pub. 19 ff., 24 ff., 26, n. 137’ (a book which is not to be found in Oxford libraries). Magie, D., Roman Rule in Asia Minor (Princeton, 1950), 252 and 1128Google Scholar, n. 49, is content to echo Rostovtzeff. In ESAR 1, 345; IV, 538, the over-bid is mentioned, but not explained.

24 According to whether the third by which Caesar reduced the total sum of Asiatic taxation, when he substituted direct collection for tax-farming in 48, was the same as the third by which the Publicani's bid had been reduced in 59 or, alternatively, a third of the revised 59 figure. On the 48 change, Plut., Caesar 48, 1; Dio Cass. XLII, 6, 3; Appian, BC v, 19; D. Magie, Roman Rule in Asia Minor 406 f., 1260, n. 8.

25 Pro Planc. 31–5 (with Schol Bob. 157, 159 Stangl); Ad Att. I, 17, 9; II, 1, 8.

26 Ad Q.f. II, 4, 5 (II, 5, 3); Ad fam. I, 7, 10.

27 Caesar, BG I, 7, 2; 1, 10, 3; II, 2, 1. The ‘stipendium’ is likely also to have included an extra allowance on account of ‘legati’, if the number of ‘legati’ for which allowance was made at the time of his ornatio in 59 was smaller than the number whom he had been employing already and was likely to employ in the remainder of his quinquennium.

28 See Mommsen, Staatsr. II, 692 f. (esp. 692, notes 6–8), for a full list of these commissions; he includes under this heading the ‘decem legati’ of 56.

29 Ad Att. XIII, 6a.

30 XXXIX, 25, I. Mommsen (note 28 above) accepted this view; Holmes, T. Rice, The Roman Republic (Oxford, 1923) II, 294Google Scholar, n. 2, argued sensibly against it.

31 The earliest known instance is C. Salluvius Naso, probably left in command of Asia by L. Lucullus in 73, ILS 37.

32 App., Mith. 94; Dio Cass. XXXVI, 23, 4; 37, 1; SIG 3 750 (‘πρεσβευτὰν ἀντιστράταγον,’ of Cn. Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus); Mommsen, Staatsr. II3, 656 f.; add now pp. 97 ff., above. On the number, Mommsen, Staatsr. II3, 680, n. 1.

33 Ad Att. IV, 1, 7.

34 BG I, 21, 2; on the strength of which Mommsen (Staatsrecht II3, 657, n. 1) boldly stated that the lex Vatinia of 59 must have granted the title ‘propraetore’ to all Caesar's ‘legati’, just as the lex Gabinia had granted it to all Pompey's. Though BG I may well have been written in winter 58–7, we cannot be sure that it was published before 51 (see my remarks in Greece and Rome IV (1957), 23); so that we cannot tell when Caesar gave Labienus the title in this passage.

35 De prov. cons. 28; Pro Balbo, 61.

36 By the time of the De provinciis consularibus Cicero was at ease in his new part, and his speech seemed to him good enough to publish. The ‘palinode’, on the other hand, was ‘subturpicula’; the new Cicero had not yet found his feet. I do not know why, in his appendix on the ‘Palinode’(Rom. Rep. II, 292–9) Rice Holmes only considered, as a possible candidate among Cicero's speeches, the De provinciis consularibus.

37 See my remarks in JRS XXIX (1939), 65–8.

38 e.g. Cic, In Verr. I, 21.

39 This had been done in pre-Sullan days, for instance by the consuls of 109 (Sall., BJ 43, 1). When the provinces of the consuls of 57 were ‘ornatae’ before the consuls entered office, the act is represented by Cicero (Ad Att. III, 24, 2) as a solecism.

40 De prov. cons., 37, 1. I cannot believe that this could possibly mean ‘On 1st January, the day after his consulship ends’.

41 On the word, see my remarks in CR LI (1937), 9; LII (1938), 59, and note 39 above.

42 See my article referred to in note 37 above.

43 Ad Att. I, 16, 8.

44 De prov. cons., 36.

45 See Cuff, P. J., ‘The terminal date of Caesar's Gallic command,’ Historia VII (1958), 455–71Google Scholar, esp. 454–62, which supersedes what I wrote on the subject in JRS XXIX (1939). Cuff explained, as I had failed to explain, the proposal not to replace Caesar in Cisalpine Gaul before 1st March, 54. What I suggest in the text here is a slight variation on Cuff's suggestion but one which, without the guidance of Cuff's article, would not have occurred to me.

46 De prov. cons. 37, ‘Sortietur an non?’

47 Vell. Pat. II, 3, 1; MRR I, 478 f.; Cic, Ad Brut. 13 (1, 5); cf. Ad Att. II, 5, 2.

48 Plut., Lucull. I, 9; Cic., Acad. Prior. 1.

49 Plut., Mar. 12, 1; 14, 9; Livy, Per. 67, 68.

50 P-W XXI, 2087 f., on Pompey, whose other disqualifications were so numerous that his ‘absence’ (with his army outside the walls) is not stressed at all in our sources.

51 Plut., Cato mi. 48, 1; Livy, Per. 107.

52 Caesar, BC I, 32, 3. For other sources, see MRR II, 236.

53 Plut., Caesar 13, 1 f.; Appian, BC II, 29.

54 Dio Cass. XL, 56, 3.

55 De leg. agr. II, 24.

56 Staatsr. I3, 503 f., n. 2; this view is shared by Gelzer, M., Caesar (Wiesbaden, 1960) 57Google Scholar, n. 147.

57 Mr. P. A. Brunt was good enough to read these notes in typescript. Whether or not we are in agreement, I have in every case been greatly helped by his criticism and the paper in its present form is much the better for it.

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