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Policing the Roman EmpireSoldiers, Administration, and Public Order$
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Christopher Fuhrmann

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199737840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199737840.001.0001

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“Let there be no violence contrary to my wish”: Emperors and Provincial Order

“Let there be no violence contrary to my wish”: Emperors and Provincial Order

(p.146) (p.147) 6 “Let there be no violence contrary to my wish”: Emperors and Provincial Order
Policing the Roman Empire

Christopher J. Fuhrmann

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the emperors’ oversight of public order in the Roman provinces, with special attention to the correspondence between Trajan and Pliny the Younger, when Pliny was governor of Bithynia. Emperors typically did not seek out problems to fix in the provinces. Instead, they reacted to conflicts brought to their attention, often via petitions‐‐thus the term “petition‐and‐response” for the model of governance which largely started with Augustus (Chapter 4). The scattered evidence for emperors’ instructions (mandata) to provincial governors reveal that law and order were prime concerns. Among soldiers performing police tasks for the emperors, the frumentarii were an important specialized unit. During the third century, imperial anti‐Christian persecutions, which were partly enforced by police, show the state’s increasing willingness to assert control over citizens‐ lives.

Keywords:   Roman provinces, Roman emperors, petition-and-response, Trajan, Pliny the Younger, mandata, frumentarii, persecution of Christians

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