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The Cypriot Exemption from Evocatio and the Character of Cicero's Proconsulship

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2012

JONATHAN ZARECKI
Affiliation:
JONATHAN P. ZARECKI is an Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. jpzareck@uncg.edu

Extract

Q. Volusium, tui Tiberi generum, certum hominem et mirifice abstinentem, misi in Cyprum ut ibi pauculos dies esset, ne cives Romani pauci qui illic negotiantur ius sibi dictum negarent; nam evocari ex insula Cyprios non licet. (Cic. Att. 5.21.6)

I sent Quintus Volusius, the son-in-law of your friend Tiberius, a man both trustworthy and extraordinarily moderate, to Cyprus for only a couple of days, lest the few Roman citizens who do business there should claim that they had no legal recourse available to them, since it is not permitted for Cypriots to be summoned off the island.

Scholars have taken slight notice (if they mention it at all) of Cicero's interesting comment that Cypriots were exempt from evocatio, the summons of a defendant or witness to a legal proceeding by a Roman magistrate with imperium. While the legal ramifications of the ban on evocatio on Cyprus are clear, the origin of this exemption is not. The only explicit theory on its origin – Badian's argument that the prohibition was part of Lentulus' lex provinciae, a law for the formal organization of the province of Cyprus – has been influential, though it is based on tenuous evidence. Few ancient sources for Roman rule on Cyprus during the Late Republic have survived, and we must rely almost entirely on Cicero's letters. Cicero's correspondence, however, indicates (against Badian) that the ban on evocatio was a codicil of Cicero's provincial edict, and not a part of either Lentulus' lex provinciae or his provincial edict. Personal, political, and military considerations all played a role in Cicero's decision to make the citizens of Cyprus exempt from being called to the administrative gathering for the dispensation of justice and other legal and political matters known as a conventus.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Classical Association 2012

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