Theses Doctoral

‘Romanizing’ Asia: the impact of Roman imperium on the administrative and monetary systems of the Provincia Asia (133 BC – AD 96)

Carbone, Lucia Francesca

The impact of Roman power on the pre-existing administrative and economic systems of the conquered provinces has been a significant issue of scholarly debate for decades. In the last two decades attention has shifted from the idea of Romanization as a top-down phenomenon to a much more articulated process, in which the element of cultural interaction between the conquering power and the conquered populations was central and led to the creation of locally hybrid cultural forms.
This dissertation analyzes the ways in which local cultures and identities interacted with Roman ones in the years between Attalus III’s testament and the end of the Flavian age. I chose to focus my research on these centuries as they include four key moments for the Provincia Asia: 1) the moment of its institution in 129/6 BC with the related issues due to Aristonicus’ rebellion and the necessity of establishing effective provincial administrative and economic structures; 2) the years between the Mithridatic wars and Caesar, when the province spiraled into debt and the Asian monetary system had to adapt to the extra taxation requested by Sulla and then to the change in the role of the societates publicanorum, who were deprived of the farming of the decuma by Caesar; 3) the years of the Civil War between Antony and Octavian and its aftermath, which gave increasing importance to the conventus and to the introduction of Roman currency into the province, both in the circulating monetary pool and as an account unit; 4) the post-Augustan age, which saw an increasing standardization in the ‘local’ monetary systems of the province, with respect to both silver and bronze coinage, and the final ‘victory’ of the conventus over the pre-existing administrative structures, as shown by the fact that even municipal taxation and local cults were by then organized according to the conventus system.
The model of ‘middle-ground imperialism’ is useful for understanding the process of progressive standardization of Asian administrative structures and monetary system, not as a top-down process but rather as a bilateral interaction between Roman and local cultures, as I have shown in the case of the progressive standardization of Asian provincial administrative structures (Chapters 1 and 2) and monetary systems (Chapters 3, 4, 5, 6).
According to this research the transformative age for the Romanization of the Provincia Asia was not the Augustan Age, but the Second Triumviral Age.
The main heuristic tools for drafting the picture of the administrative and economic life of Provincia Asia are a database of Asian civic issues (both silver and bronze) between 133 BC and AD 96 that I have constructed out of the data in BMC, SNG Copenhagen and SNG Deutschlands – van Aulock (for pre-Antonian issues) and in RPC I-II (from Mark Antony up to the Flavians), and three epigraphic databases that include the epigraphic attestations of denarii, assaria and drachmae in the province of Asia between the 2nd century BC and the 2nd century AD, for a total of 372 inscriptions. All these databases are included here as Appendices (I – X).

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Harris, William V.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 14, 2016