The Rise of Nemausus from Augustus to Antoninus Pius: A Prosopographical Study of Nemausian Senators and Equestrians

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Whitfield, Hugo
Nemausus , Nimes , Gallia Narbonensis , Roman History
Prosopography seeks to learn about social patterns and establish relationships within a well-defined group of individuals, which is accomplished by studying their biographies and analyzing the data within defined parametres. The adlection of provincials into the equestrian and senatorial orders started during the late Republic and continued into the early Principate. It integrated provincials into Rome’s social and political systems and provides the opportunity to closely examine how their roles evolved as time passed during the early Roman Empire. This thesis will show that Nemausus, a provincial tribal settlement in Gallia Narbonensis, was one of the most important towns of the Roman Empire during the early Principate and achieved its prominence through sustained production of senators from Augustus to Marcus Aurelius and, in particular, through its prominent role during the dynasty of the Five Good Emperors. The role of its equestrians and their inability to attain the highest offices of their order will be discussed. Chapter Three will focus on Nemausus’ physical transformation as it was converted from a Celtic settlement into a Roman colony, and will lay the groundwork for its rise in the established social structures. Chapter Four will provide a detailed examination of Nemausian equestrians, evaluate their careers individually and illustrate how indispensable they were to Nemausus’ growth even if they did not attain the highest offices within their order. Chapter Five will focus on Nemausian senators much in the same manner as the previous chapter. Unlike their equestrian counterparts, Nemausian senators attained great heights in Rome, becoming generals, consuls, and advisors to the emperor. Eventually they became the Imperial family itself, placing the provincial town at the forefront of the Western Roman Empire. Chapter Five will also propose to narrow the scope of Syme’s Hispano-Narbonensian nexus to include only the towns of Italica and Nemausus due to their influence during the dynasty of the Five Good Emperors. A variety of evidence will be used throughout the discussion, in particular epigraphical and literary sources. By examining the careers of Nemausian elites, their impact on the Roman Empire and their native town’s increased status, will be discovered.
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