But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!
1These few stanzas from Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse”, written in 1785, were the inspiration for the title of John Steinbeck’s 1937 novella “Of Mice and Men”. In a way, they denote many of the elements I wish to draw attention to: seeking to associate with peers, acting based on anticipation, and strategies set out by candidate-*augustales that may or may not succeed. I was asked to discuss *augustales and their economic role in the large commercial hubs of the Roman Empire. However, a discussion of their professional interest would only sketch a partial picture. Therefore, I will elaborate on *augustales from Italy and Gaul involved in the local economies in the broadest sense.
- 1 Egger 1844, p. 1-59. Some inscriptions were already described in the 17th century by Noris 1681), (...)
- 2 Most important discussions of terminology are von Premerstein 1895, p. 828-848; Duthoy 1978, p. 12 (...)
- 3 Duthoy 1978, p. 1254.
2Although the first academic discussion of *augustales dates back to the mid-nineteenth century,1 after almost two centuries of excellent research, the difficulty of fully comprehending “the” *augustales remains. Most scholars agree on the basics: the title *augustalis (and all its 40 local variants found throughout the Roman Empire) refers to an honorary position in local society, and was mostly bestowed on wealthy freedmen who, because of their servile birth, could not partake in the official cursus honorum. The nomination itself and the allotment of any further privileges or honours connected to it were done by the city council. Difficulties reside in the unclear terminology (sevir augustalis – augustalis – magister augustalis – sevir etc.),2 the complicated organogram with local varieties (association – office – honorary title), and especially the lack of (literary) sources. The “*augustalis” (with asterisk) is a shorthand term invented by Duthoy to cover the wide variety of local titles and to amalgamate the different institutional realities.3
- 4 Bourdieu 1979, p. 128-144.
3One leitmotif here is the question of whether the wealth of *augustales aided them in enlarging their social network or in obtaining an honorific position, and therefore furthered their integration in local society. In other (Bourdieuian) words: did the economic, social, and symbolic capital of individual *augustales reinforce each other?4
4The first section of this paper concerns itself with the importance of occupational and geographical differentiation. How were occupational titles important for the expression of their social status? Are there any differences between the “regular” attestations of professions and those who recorded membership of a professional association? Which professions were common among *augustales? In which economic sectors do we encounter them? Are there indications of localised specialisation or geographical differentiation? Were *augustales involved in the imperial grain dole, the annona?
5The second section discusses which expenditures and benefactions express the wealth of *augustales, a proxy for their economic potential. How often do epigraphic attestations offer information on the role of *augustales as benefactors in their cities (and sometimes beyond)? What was the magnitude and typology of the gift? Besides benefactions, other ways were available to *augustales to stress the size of their economic capital. Did expenditures and benefactions overlap? How does this relate to other honours and/or privileges taken up by these *augustales?
- 5 This epigraphic dataset was intended to be as exhaustive as possible for the attestations of *augu (...)
6This research is based on a corpus of 1711 inscriptions recording Italian and Gallic *augustales – i.e. from the Italian peninsula, Gallia Narbonensis and Gallia Lugdunensis.5 In 242 of these inscriptions, *augustales occur in a plural form (augustales, augustalium, augustalibus, seviri etc.), recording actions performed by these men as a group instead of mentioning individuals. The remaining 1469 inscriptions attest 1629 individuals, of which 1484 record at least a part of their names, and 145 are anonymous. All discussions below are based on the corpus of 1469 inscriptions of individual *augustales. Of these inscriptions, 114 record the profession of *augustales (48 “direct” titles, 66 “indirect” titles, see below) and 633 mention expenditures and benefactions.
- 6 Cicero, De Officiis 1, 150.
- 7 Cicero, De Officiis 1, 151.
7In his famous passage in De Officiis, Cicero considered certain professions as “undesirable” for a respectable man (i.e. tax-gatherers and usurers), and other occupations as downright “vulgar” (sordidus). Among these sordidi he listed wage labourers, merchants and traders. Worst of all are “those trades which cater for sensual pleasures”: fishermen, fishmongers, butchers, cooks, poulterers, perfumers and dancers.6 On the other hand, some professions are “suitable for those whose social position they become”. Occupations that require a higher degree of intelligence or are to the advantage of society in general, are acceptable. He lists medicine, architecture and teaching. Trade on a large scale is acceptable; on a small scale it is a vulgar profession because it distributes many goods to many customers. Nothing is more becoming of a free man, however, than agriculture.7 Cicero’s discourse, although theoretical and of limited practical value for an analysis of professions, reflects a strong connection of the economic and the social sphere. Some professions are unbecoming for a high social status; others are even considered vulgar and (Cicero implies) should only be practiced by men of low esteem.
- 8 In ten inscriptions of the, a “regular” professional title and membership of a professional associ (...)
8Almost 8%, or 114 inscriptions of individual *augustales recovered from Italy and Roman Gaul (n=1469), record a profession. Attestations of professions are the exception, but manifestly show the importance of the occupation in the self-definition of the historical actor in question. Professional titles existed in two variants: (1) an actual profession, which specifies a certain trade (a “direct” title), and (2) membership of a professional collegium (an “indirect” title). Out of the 1469 inscriptions of individual *augustales under review here, forty-eight texts record a professional title stricto sensu, sixty-six of them mention membership of a professional collegium.8
- 9 Cristofori 2004, p. 102: “in questo caso l’accento è posto non tanto sull’esercizio di un mestiere (...)
- 10 Joshel 1992, p. 113.
- 11 Joshel 1992, p. 115.
9Cristofori argued that the discourse changed dramatically when dealing with a member of a professional collegium: the focus was no longer on the execution of an actual profession, but on the insertion of an individual into a socially more highly evaluated echelon of Roman society.9 Recording a professional title or boasting membership of a professional collegium seem to have been appreciated in a different way, as the latter speaks of roles in an officially recognised organisation and thus of the place of the members in society as a whole. Joshel argued that “the connection with a vulgar trade was not denied but transposed”.10 She goes on to state; “men with this form of occupational title” (i.e. members of a professional collegium) “would have been among the wealthier practitioners of their trades”.11
10Was there some kind of two-speed mechanism in force here, a consistent difference in appreciation of the two “types” of professional title as Cristofori and Joshel suggest? If this is correct, inscriptions of members of professional collegia (an “indirect” title) would show they were wealthier than *augustales who mentioned their actual profession (a “direct” title). I would like to add a second aspect to draw the discussion into the social sphere: is there a difference in the number of privileges and honours they obtained?
- 12 Actually five, but the fifth inscription is fragmentary and the size of the plot of land is uncert (...)
11First, are there more indications of wealth to be found among *augustales who boasted membership of a professional collegium than among those who mentioned their specific trade? In the sixty-six texts that record membership of professional collegia (an “indirect” title), twelve *augustales (18%) stress having paid for the monument or tombstone themselves (sibi). Four12 Ostian inscriptions mention the size of the plot of land on which the tomb or grave monument was built (6%). Seven inscriptions record benefactions (11%).
12The corpus of inscriptions of *augustales who mention an actual profession (a “direct” title) is smaller, namely forty-eight texts, but the differences between a “direct” and “indirect” title seem fairly limited. Eighteen *augustales (35%) stress having paid for the monument or tombstone themselves (sibi). Five inscriptions mention the size of the plot of land on which the tomb or grave monument was built (10%). Four inscriptions record benefactions (8%).
- 13 CIL 10, 5346.
- 14 CIL 14, 418. One Roman foot was 29,57 cm (Lassère 2005, p. 1100 and Lexikon der Alten Welt 1965, p (...)
- 15 AE 1987, 191: 9 x 35 = 315 sq feet = 27, 53 sqm; AE 1988, 204: 13 x 25 = 325 sq feet = 28,39 sqm; (...)
- 16 According to figures offered by the national institutes for statistics of France (INSÉÉ), Germany (...)
- 17 Estimations vary. Calza: 26 sqm. (Calza PR, p. 142-155.) See Meiggs 1960, p. 532-534. Best discuss (...)
13Also, it seems that the various sizes of the plots of land are not that different. The smallest plot (195 sq. Roman feet, or 15,7 m2)13 was attested in the corpus of texts that mention professions as such; the largest plot (1840 sq. Roman feet, or 161 m2)14 was the property of a member of the association of Ostian fabri. However, the sizes of plots of land mentioned in the rest of the inscriptions (four indirect, five direct professional titles) do not differ that much. The average size was 935 sq. feet (or 81.75m2) for the collegiati and 757 sq. feet (or 66.20 m2) for *augustales who mentioned their professions. The significance of these figures is limited, since they are based on a small number of inscriptions. Still, the general surface area was considerable, ranging from twenty to one hundred and sixty square metres in size.15 Half of the inscriptions, regardless of the type of professional title attested in the text, give sizes of plots of land that are over one hundred and ten square metres. To put this into context: this is sixty square metres more than the average living space per person in modern Western Europe,16 and perhaps four times the living space per person in imperial Ostia.17 To be clear, the size of the average living space per person was used as a parameter for comparison with the size of the plot of land, not to indicate the dimension of physical space available per person buried in the tomb. Remarkably, none of the eighty inscriptions that mention the size of the plot of land (of *augustales in general, not only of those who recorded a professional title) boast a connection with the city council. The phrase locus datus decreto decurionum is completely absent from this corpus of inscriptions. These men and women obtained a (sometimes sizeable) plot of land on their own.
14What was the size of benefactions made by *augustales who recorded a professional title? Is there a marked difference between *augustales who were collegiati of a professional collegium and those who recorded an actual profession?
- 18 AE 2000, 632.
- 19 CIL 9, 4977.
- 20 CIL 11, 5400.
15Three inscriptions attest to *augustales as benefactors and mention a profession (i.e. a direct title) as well. Lucius Lupercius Exessus was a sevir augustalis and cloth dealer who entrusted ten thousand sesterces with the municipium of Novaria.18 A sevir augustalis from Cures Sabini, Publius Publilius Anthus, gave ten thousand sesterces, but the inscription breaks off here and we do not know on what this money was supposed to be spent.19 The third text is rather exceptional. Publius Decimius Eros Merula was a freedman and sevir who took up three related professions: he was a doctor, an eye doctor and a surgeon.20 This medical all-rounder from Assisi listed his expenses and inheritance with exceptional care. First, he named the price of his social promotion; he paid fifty thousand sesterces for his freedom, and two thousand for his sevirate. Next, he listed his benefactions; he spent thirty thousand sesterces on two statues and invested thirty seven thousand sesterces in road works. Finally, his patrimonium was worth eight hundred thousand sesterces. In total, he claims to be worth nine hundred and nineteen thousand sesterces. Eros’ wealth seems to have approximated the magical barrier of one million sesterces, which was the minimum census for entering the ordo senatorius. He transcended the minimum census of the ordo equester by at least five hundred thousand sesterces.
- 21 AE 1974, 123a.
- 22 CIL 11, 6379.
16Seven texts speak of *augustales who were benefactors and collegiati of a professional association (i.e. indirect professional titles). An anonymous sevir augustalis from Ostia was a member of the associations of both the fabri and the negotiatores, and was quinquennalis in both collegia and of the seviri augustales. He gave ten thousand sesterces to the city of Ostia. The text is fragmentary, but possibly the sum of money was to be used for the care and, if necessary, the punishment of the slaves the city watched over in his name: ex nomine [meo ser]vorum fidem pro[---] / observabunt et ne HS X m(ilia) n(ummum) rei public(ae) [Ost(iensium) pro] / poena inferant curae habe[bunt].21 Another anonymous sevir augustalis from Pisaurum gifted two hundred thousand sesterces, but his intentions as well as the recipient of this money are unclear.22
- 23 CIL 5, 4294.
- 24 CIL 5, 4416.
17Two other seviri augustales from Brixia gave money for the upkeep and maintenance of something – in tutelam. P. Antonius Callistius and two other benefactors gave sportulae of unknown size and four hundred sesterces in tutelam to the association of cattle drivers (collegium iumentariorum).23 Callistius’ gift of four hundred sesterces would generate yearly revenue of twenty-four sesterces. Dependent on how this money was supposed to be spent, this could be an endowment, but it is equally possible it was a one-time gift. L. Cornelius Prosodicus was a sevir augustalis in both Brixia and Verona and established the first association of the young (collegium iuvenum) at Brixia. For his merit, he probably was offered a statue. Here, the mechanism of reciprocity is clear: he was given a statue, but paid for it himself since he was content with the honour (honore contentus inpendium remisit). He also gave fifty sesterces in tutelam, perhaps for the upkeep the presumed statue.24 This was hardly sufficient for the maintenance of a statue for multiple years: the revenue would only be three sesterces (at a rate of 6% interest).
- 25 CIL 11, 1027.
- 26 CIL 11, 6358.
- 27 CIL 11, 5716.
18Three *augustales financed a meal or sportulae. T. Iegius Iucundus, another sevir augustalis from Brixellum, gave a meal for the association of the centonarii.25 L. Apuleius Brasida from Pisaurum financed a distribution of bread, wine and fifty sesterces per person, but the recipients are unclear. This sevir augustalis had obtained the right to boast the outer distinctions of the city council (so-called ornamenta decurionalia) and was patron and quinquennalis of the association of the carpenters.26 Consequently, one could make a conjecture that he included at least the city council, the seviri augustales and the fabri as beneficiaries of his gift. At fifty sesterces a head, plus bread and wine, this was a sizeable benefaction. Finally, L. Tifanius Felix from Tuficum had also obtained the ornamenta decurionalia and was a patron of the association of the fabri. He gave gladiatorial games for the health of Emperor Commodus, financed a meal for all those present and offered sportulae of eight sesterces for the city councillors and four sesterces for the rest.27 Although no total of the expenses is mentioned, the games, meal and distributions were very sizeable benefactions that would have made his name well known throughout the city.
- 28 CIL 11, 5400 = D 7812 = ERAssisi 41.
19So, as the aforementioned evidence shows, there does not seem to be a marked difference between *augustales who were collegiati of a professional collegium (an “indirect” title) and those who recorded an actual profession (a “direct” title) – at least not when it comes to the size of the plot of land or benefactions. The higher social standing and “transposing” of a potentially stigmatising profession into membership of a collegium, does not reveal itself in the size of gifts done by any of these *augustales. Moreover, the largest sums of money were named in an inscription of a doctor from Assisi who did not claim any membership of a professional association. In total, he was worth 919,000 sesterces.28
- 29 Bourdieu 1980, p. 200-207.
- 30 Bourdieu 1979, p. 119: “Il va de soi que les facteurs constitutifs de la classe construite ne dépe (...)
20Second, did the *augustales who were collegiati of professional associations obtain significantly more positions and honours? In other words, was their wealth (i.e. economic capital) more often transformed into “symbolic capital” and did they reinforce one another?29 The volume and structure of these different capital forms are important markers of inequality.30 So how often did these collegiati of professional associations become high-ranking office holders, or were granted other honours or privileges? Did this occur significantly more often to them than to their fellow-*augustales who simply recorded their profession?
- 31 Gordon 1931, p. 66.
- 32 AE 1974, 123a (Ostia); CIL 5, 4477 = InscrIt 10-5, 266 (Brixia); CIL 11, 5716 = EAOR 2, 17 (Tuficu (...)
21The highest decoration that could be awarded to *augustales was the ornamenta decurionalia – they received the honorary membership of the city council and were permitted to wear the status symbols of a decurio, without actually becoming one. The glory of admission to the splendidissimus ordo, referring to the curia as a municipal senate, was a coveted position. Ornamentis decurionatus honoratus was the crowning phrase of a successful freedman's epitaph.31 Remarkably, not one of the *augustales who recorded a “direct” professional title obtained the ornamenta. Conversely, the ornamenta decurionalia are attested to six times among the *augustales who were collegiati of a professional association.32
- 33 e.g. AE 2005, 1006; AE 1992, 1182; CIL 12, 358; CIL 12, 410; CIL 12, 1855; CIL 12, 1869; CIL 12, 1 (...)
- 34 AE 1946, 216 (Sestinum); CIL 11, 5716 = EAOR 2, 17 (Tuficum); CIL 11, 6358 = D 6654 = Pisaurum 69 ( (...)
22The expression l(ocus) d(atus) d(ecreto) d(ecurionum) found in countless inscriptions indicates the decuriones controlled where dedications, statues or other buildings were to be erected.33 This expressed proximity to the city council and was a high honour. Again, none of *augustales who mentioned a actual profession received a plot of land from their city council, whereas five office holders in professional associations did.34
- 35 Duplicarii: CIL 10, 540 = InscrIt 1-1, *26 (Salernum); AE 1996, 416 (Puteoli); CIL 10, 1873 = D 63 (...)
- 36 These collegial quinquennales differ from duumviri quinquennales who were not appointed for one ye (...)
- 37 CIL 14, 4562, 1-11. Elaborately discussed in chapter four.
- 38 De Ruggiero 1886, I, p. 850 and II, p. 2076-2077.
- 39 Abramenko 1993b, p. 25-33: “Von daher müßte est etwa statt ‘Augustalis iterum’ o.ä. natürlich ‘Aug (...)
- 40 Tran 2006, p. 156-159, esp. 157: “La condition de corporatus est une dignité, renforcée par les re (...)
23Finally, which positions connected with either the office or the associations of *augustales are attested to? Among those who recorded a regular profession, I counted three duplicarii, one corporatus, one augustalis iterum, one curator and quinquennalis, and three quinquennales.35 Of this list, the quinquennalitas ranks highest. Some associations counted per lustrum and had quinquennales in charge of the collegium for a period of five years.36 Ostia was an exceptional case for the quinquennalitas of *augustales. The homogeneity of the terminology used in the fasti augustalium37 recovered from Ostia is confusing. Not only the heads were quinquennales, as could be expected, but also a range of lower officers seem to have borne the same title. This indicates that in Ostia the quinquennalitas was in most cases little more than the expression of having obtained the *augustalitas, rather than indicating presidency. All three of these seviri augustales quinquennales were from Ostia, and may very well have been regular members. The other titles also express relatively modest positions. Duplicarii were entitled to a double share at distributions of sportulae or other gifts.38 Iterum indicated that this person had taken up the one-year office twice.39 The title of corporatus designated a progression in the hierarchy of the association, a modest but real promotion.40
- 41 See following note for references, minus CIL 11, 2643 (Igilium).
- 42 Quinquennales: AE 1974,123a; AE 1987, 191; AE 1987, 196; AE 1988, 178 = AE 1996, 284; AE 1988, 200 (...)
24*Augustales who were members of professional collegia did not occupy more prominent collegiate positions among *augustales. Sixteen inscriptions record the quinquennalitas, one sevir augustalis was quinquennalis perpetuus and curator. In fifteen instances, these *augustales were quinquennales in Ostia.41 Obviously the same remarks about the dubious nature of the Ostian quinquennalitas apply here. Three men were curatores, one was a bisellarius, one corporatus, and one was sevir bis.42 None of these titles are at the high end of the collegial spectrum, except perhaps for the three curatores named and the quinquennalis perpetuus who was a so-called eponymous officer.
25Despite it being less explicitly expressed in titles directly connected with *augustales, there does seem to be a distinct two-speed mechanism in vogue here. Those who could boast a stronger relation with the city council through ornamenta and the accordance of plots of public land were always men who recorded membership of a professional collegium as their “indirect” professional title.
- 43 Joshel 1992, p. 115.
- 44 CIL 14, 2112 = D 7212. See Patterson 1994.
26Let us go back to Joshel’s original statement: “men with this form of occupational title” (i.e. members of a professional collegium) “would have been among the wealthier practitioners of their trades”.43 Indeed, being a collegiatus was costly. As the famous inscription of the collegium of Diana and Antinous in Lanuvium (A.D. 136) shows, a member had to pay an entrance fee and monthly membership fees.44 In addition, collegiati were expected to participate in a number of costly activities and to act as benefactors within the local community.
- 45 I am grateful to prof. K. Verboven for this suggestion.
27However, Joshel fails to notice that simple membership is recorded relatively rarely (except for in alba). Most attestations of collegiati actually refer to officers (quinquennales and curatores), who had to bear part of the group’s expenses. This is the explanation for the two-speed mechanism in force here, a consistent difference in appreciation of the two “types” of professional title discussed above. Members of professional collegia (an “indirect” title) could count on a higher appreciation than those who recorded an actual profession (a “direct” title). This is not an appreciation of the profession; it is a validation of the individuals who took up responsibilities within an association vis-à-vis those who did not. It was not the profession that was the important factor that influenced the higher number of honours (the contact with the city council referred to above), but the leading collegiate positions that they took up.45
28In any case, it is clear that the *augustales who attested their actual profession did not belong to the top. None of these men obtained additional honours, titles or positions besides their *augustalitas. Still, epigraphical attestation of occupational title is the exception and this could mean it had an added value and had some kind of social positioning function.
29Here, I outline the diversity of the economic sectors in which *augustales were active. In which sectors do we encounter *augustales most often? Professional titles attested by *augustales substantially deviate from the general pattern. The following table shows the different sectors in which *augustales were represented, and how these relate to Joshel’s figures;
||*Augustales (Italy and Gaul)
||Rome, for male population (Joshel 1992, p. 69)
|Skilled Service |
30Joshel’s data are biased since they stem from Rome, but there are no alternative figures available. Zimmer’s older book on “Römische Berufsdarstellungen” (1982) uses epigraphic material from the Italian peninsula in general, but is thematically too limited; it only focuses on traders and craftsmen. A more recent study by Cristofori of professions in Picenum (2004) uses economic sectors similar to Joshel’s. His data present some difficulties; only 71 inscriptions mention a profession in Picenum. Moreover, the region is not strongly represented in the corpus of *augustales at all: only twenty-five inscriptions were recovered from Picenum, and four of them record a profession. Such a limited set of inscriptions cannot serve as a basis for extrapolation or comparison. So although Joshel’s work is limited to the city of Rome, her figures, based on a corpus of 1262 inscriptions, are the best available.
- 46 Hemelrijk 2008, p. 115.
31A number of things are remarkable about the figures tabulated above. In general, the number of female *augustales is extremely limited. Most of the women who seem to have been *augustales held an ambiguous position within the collegium, acting as patrons of the association. Patroni were, as a rule, outsiders of the collegium they patronised.46 Since the number of instances in which a woman was named as an *augustalis is limited, it is hardly surprising that no female *augustales with professional title are recorded at all.
*Augustales and e...
*Augustales and economic sectors?
32A general overview of the different sectors in which *augustales were active (direct and indirect indications of professions taken together), produces the presented pie chart.
33The strong engagement of *augustales in the construction sector is striking. In Joshel’s figures, this sector represented only 9% of professional titles attested in imperial Rome. Forty-eight *augustales who indicated a professional title (or 42 % of the corpus, n=114) worked in construction. Most of them (i.e. forty inscriptions) were members of an association of craftsmen, fabri tignarii (carpenters) and fabri navales (shipwrights) being the largest categories. Five others were marmorarii, marble masons, and one was a calcarius, a limeburner or a worker at a limekiln. Also the stronger presence of *augustales in the transportation sector is remarkable; one out of ten was active as a navicularius (shipper), nauta (river shipper), or lenuncularius (small vessel boatman, working for the annona). In Joshel’s figures the transportation sector was represented in only 4,4 % of the occupational inscriptions.
- 47 CIL 9, 3938 = D 7470 = Avezzano 27
- 48 Mouritsen 2011, p. 252, n.14.
- 49 Zevi 2000, p. 61.
34Equally remarkable is the underrepresentation of *augustales in administration. Only seven *augustales – or 6,3 % of the corpus – were listed as accountant, overseer, collector of money, treasurer, or grain measurer. The representation of *augustales in the manufacturing, commerce and banking trades, and also in educated service, is very similar to what Joshel established for Rome. Not a single *augustalis records working in skilled service, and only one was active in domestic service, calling himself “an excellent chef”, cocus optimus.47 Compared to Joshel’s general figures, this is remarkable, but not altogether surprising. An *augustalis held a highly esteemed position, standing before the door to the curia, which would be opened to his children.48 The *augustalitas not only conferred social distinction on its members, but also offered concrete paths of ascent for the freed *augustales, and especially their descendants who could gain admission to the city council, since they were born free and therefore without legal impediment.49 Perhaps men who were affluent enough to qualify for the *augustalitas had not often been domestic slaves who tended to the children of their master, emptied chamber pots, or performed as entertainers.
35These figures were subjected to the influence of local factors that benefited the development of certain sectors – especially the presence of ports and harbours. This geographical differentiation and specialisation is the subject of the following section.
- 50 See appendix for all figures.
36Can a differentiated geographical spread of both types of professional title be discerned? Was it more common in certain areas of Italy or Gaul to attest a certain occupation? A local perspective generally is extremely important to contextualise specific developments of “the” *augustalitas. Also, it is necessary to confront the presence and visibility of *augustales in general in these regions, with that of *augustales who professed their professional title. When doing so, it quickly becomes clear that a high or low amount of attestations of individual *augustales in certain regions or provinces is no guideline for predicting the number of professional titles recorded.
Frequency of atte...
Frequency of attestation *augustales
37There are two aspects of the geographical spread of attestations that deserve attention. First of all, *augustales were not represented as strongly in all of the Italian or Gallic regions. Latium and Campania (Regio I) produced the highest number of inscriptions of *augustales: three hundred and fifty-nine. Also the neighbouring Regio IV, Samnium, had a strong presence of *augustales, recorded in one hundred and ninety-one texts. Finally, also Venetia and Histria, Regio X in the north of Italy, produced a great number of inscriptions; two hundred and seven in total. These three regions are marked in dark red on the map. The bright red areas on the map are the parts of the Italian peninsula that also produced a high number of inscriptions, although none of them reached the exceptional levels of the dark red areas. Both in Umbria (Regio VI) and Apulia/Calabria (Regio II), one hundred and four texts were found.
38The pink areas are the regions that produced sixty or more inscriptions of *augustales. In Transpadana, Regio XI, sixty-nine texts were recovered, and in Etruria, Regio VII, sixty-four. In the white areas on the map, less than sixty inscriptions were found. This is the case in Regio III (Bruttium/Lucania), Regio V (Picenum), Regio VIII (Aemilia), and Regio IX (Liguria). In Bruttium/ Lucania, as well as in Picenum and Liguria, twenty-five texts record the presence of *augustales. Thirty-seven inscriptions were recovered from the region of Aemilia.
39In Narbonese Gaul, *augustales are strongly represented; they are recorded in two hundred and one texts. In Lugdunese Gaul, however, their presence is not as strong: sixty inscriptions were recovered.
Frequency of atte...
Frequency of attestation professional title *augustales
40A second important aspect is the differentiated frequency of attestation of professional title. Again, a map aids in visualising the geographical spread. On average, 7,7% of the inscriptions that attest individual *augustales in Italy or Roman Gaul mention a professional title – i.e. one hundred and fourteen out of one thousand four hundred and sixty-nine inscriptions. In most Italian regions, the percentages are more or less in line with this average. This was the case in Regio II, Apulia / Calabria (5.8%), in Regio VII, Etruria (6.3%), in Regio VIII, Aemilia (5.4%), in Regio IX, Liguria (8%), and in Regio X, Venetia / Histria (5.8%). These regiones are the bright green sections of the map.
41Some regiones produced little to no epigraphic attestations of professional titles among *augustales. Inscriptions from the southern Regio III, Bruttium / Lucania, do not give any information on the professions of *augustales at all. In Regio IV, Samnium, and Regio XI, Transpadana, the percentages of inscriptions that mention professional title among *augustales are well below average. Respectively 4.2% and 4.3% of the texts do so. These areas, where the percentages are well below the average of 7.7%, are marked in white on the map.
42Two regions are marked in dark green. These represent the parts of the Italian peninsula where the number of attestations of professional title is significantly higher than average. In Latium/Campania, Regio I, 11.7% of inscriptions (or one and a half times the average of 7.7%) recorded a professional title. The percentage is even more elevated in Regio V, Picenum, where no less than 16% of inscriptions (or more than twice the average) did so.
43Finally, the percentage of attestations of professional title is somewhat above average in Regio VI, Umbria (9.6%), marked in grey. Although this deviation from the average percentage may seem slight, it will soon become clear why this is significant.
44In Narbonese Gaul, the number of attestations of professional titles is well within the average range; 5% of the inscriptions mention a profession. In Lugdunese Gaul, a surprisingly high percentage of texts mention a professional title (16.7%, more than twice the average percentage of 7.7%).
45Remarkably, high percentages of professional titles occur more often when the number of inscriptions in general is low, whereas a large corpus of texts seems to produce significantly lower percentages of attestations of professional titles. This suggests that we are dealing with two epigraphic phenomena that were interdependent, but not causally linked with one another. As the size of the corpus hardly had an influence on the number of professional titles recorded, this fragmentation is a strong indication that the explanation lays in local developments and economic specialisation.
46How does the frequency of attestations of *augustales tie in with the total epigraphic corpus recovered from these regions or provinces? As the table below demonstrates, there seem to be (yet again) few causal connections.
||Number of *augustales
||Number of inscriptions in Manfred-Clauss database
|II. Apulia / Calabria
|X. Venetia / Histria
47The high number of inscriptions recovered from Latium/Campania is mirrored in the number of *augustales known from the region, and a similar phenomenon can be seen in Venetia/Histria and in Narbonese Gaul. Conversely, the number of *augustales recorded in Samnium is relatively high in comparison to the totality of inscriptions from Regio IV, producing the highest percentage of attestations of *augustales: 3.2%. Something similar is going on in Apulia/Calabria and Umbria. Again, the size of the general epigraphic corpus hardly influences the percentages that indicate the presence of *augustales in these regions.
48Epigraphically laying a claim on a profession was not a neutral deed, but was rather an expression of how one wanted to be remembered, e.g. as an artisan, a trader, or a builder. It meant that this individual experienced, for instance, his artisanship as an “integral part of his identity at death”.51 Can we discern, within this corpus of one hundred and fourteen inscriptions, some inclination toward certain economic sectors in parts of the Italian peninsula and Roman Gaul? In other words: did *augustales engage in those sectors that were economically important for their regions?
49In fact, this question cannot be answered without difficulty, or even at all. Most of the epigraphic material is extremely fragmented and Latium and Campania was the only region where perhaps a sufficient number of inscriptions were preserved. The number of attestations in other Italian regions or Gallic provinces ranges from a mere two to a maximum of twelve. Little can be said about the interplay of *augustales, their professions, and different regions. The epigraphic corpus of professional titles is simply too small and too fragmented to lend credibility to any far-reaching statement. Most cities are only named in one or two inscriptions; sixty cities are sites where occupational inscriptions of *augustales were recovered, and in fifty-five of them only one or two texts of this type were found. This renders a comprehensive analysis of their geographically determined importance difficult, at least on the level of isolated cities. Only two major economic hubs produced enough records of *augustales who mentioned their professional occupation to make a more elaborate discussion possible: Ostia and Lugdunum.
50Although the site is in much worse shape than the exceptional cities of Herculaneum or Pompeii, the archaeological remains of the magnificent portal city of Ostia still demonstrate its former splendour and importance. Here, twenty-seven of the Ostian *augustales recorded a profession.
- 52 CIL 14, 397 = CIL 2-14-2-1-E, 2 = EE 9, p. 336.
- 53 CIL 14, 4641 = AE 1910, 197 = AE 1986, 113; CIL 14, 405 = D 7512; CIL 14, 405 = D 7512.
- 54 AE 1987, 191; AE 1988, 178 = AE 1996, 284; CIL 14, 425 = CIL 10, 542 = D 6170 = AE 1994, 319; AE 1 (...)
- 55 AE 1974, 123bis a.
51We only know of one Ostian sevir augustalis active in commerce (or “sales”, as Joshel called it).52 Three men were active in banking,53 and seven inscriptions mention seviri augustales who worked in transportation.54 An anonymous sevir augustalis seems to have invested in several professions: he was a quinquennalis in the association of the fabri tignuarii, a quinquennalis and bisellarius in the association of the negotiatores fori vinari, a now retired (vetus negotias) navicularius lyntrarius, as well as a renowned nummularius.55 This man claims to have been a carpenter, a tradesman of wine, a small vessel shipper and a moneychanger to boot. In any case, all of these professions were compatible: a small vessel shipper who also knew something about woodworking could repair his own boat. He could use the small boats to transport wine from Ostia to the wine market in Rome, and be known as a negotiator there. Being a nummularius, he would have extensive knowledge of foreign and counterfeit money that would serve him well as a tradesman on the international market of the capital. If this conjecture is correct and if this was the way his different professions were interrelated, then one could suppose this man started out as a wine merchant and steadily expanded his expertise to several other, but always useful, professions.
- 56 CIL 14, 330.
- 57 CIL 6, 1060 = CIL 6, 33858 = D 7225.
- 58 Tran 2006, p. 161.
52Fourteen inscriptions mention seviri augustales who worked in the construction trade, clearly the predominant economic sector. Two men’s stories are worth telling. Tiberius Claudius Urbanus, who, considering his name, may be a descendant of a freedman of emperor Claudius, was a quinquennalis and decurio of the college of the fabri tignuarii.56 An album of this association was found in Rome and clearly shows that quinquennales ranked higher than decuriones.57 Nicolas Tran suggested that these decuriones headed the different decuria in which the enormous association was divided. The position was the stepping-stone needed to obtain the quinquennalitas at the next lustrum.58 This must have been what happened to Urbanus. Moreover, he named the chronologically later of the two positions, the quinquennalitas, first and his augustalitas even before that. thus making it clear which position he (and his surroundings) valued most.
- 59 CIL 14, 296 = D 1916.
- 60 Wierschowski 2001, p. 416, nr. 592.
- 61 Mommsen 1871, p. 279-280.
53Lucius Antonius Epitynchanus was a quinquennalis of the fabri tignuarii of Ostia, but a sevir augustalis in the Narbonese colony of Aqua Sextiae, the present-day Aix-en-Provence.59 He was also a servant of the decuria Curiatia and performed his service during public offerings.60 Mommsen saw this position as a religious lictorship and suggested that even the Flamen Dialis and the Vestal Virgins relied on this decuria.61 This particular sevir augustalis must have been very well connected and had pursued a career path that landed him in a very prestigious position: a sacerdotal lictor of an important decuria. Still, this did not prevent him from taking pride in his professional affiliation with the Ostian carpenters, and even naming this occupational aspect of his career before mentioning his Narbonese augustalitas.
54Logically, the occupational differentiation of Ostian *augustales seems biased towards the harbour activities of the city; the construction and transportation sectors had the upper hand.
- 62 Grenier 1937, p. 480-481.
- 63 Strabo 4, 6, 11.
- 64 Le Bohec 2008, p. 200.
55The provincial capital city Lugdunum is located on a hill and at the confluence of two major rivers, the Rhône and the Saône. Gallic rivers proved highly conducive to transport: the water is calm, regular, and abundant, despite the frost spells in wintertime. Corporations of nautae (river shippers) were responsible for transport all over the area. Because of its position at the confluence of the Rhône and the Saone, a number of these associations are attested at Lugdunum: nautae Rhodanici (of the Rhône), nautae Ararici (of the Saone), nautae Rhodanici et Ararici (of Rhône and Saone), and nautae Condeates (of Condate).62 Also, Lugdunum was the node of the Via Agrippa, the major road network built by Agrippa.63 This major route went from Arles to Lyon, Macôn, Chalon, Dijon, and Langres. It was “trans provincial”; crossing Lugdunese and Narbonese Gaul from north to south, and Lugdunum (Lyon) was at the very centre of it. From Lyon, it was also easy to reach northern Italy via the Alpine region, or to go west to Aquitania via Clermont-Ferrand and Saintes.64 Being at the crossroads of both rivers and roads contributed strongly to the commercial development of the city. Lugdunum was the beating heart of the Gallic economy. It is unsurprising that all of the provincial occupational inscriptions of *augustales (ten in total) are preserved here. Strikingly, half of the men recorded in these ten inscriptions were active in two or even three economic sectors and none of the sectors takes the upper hand.
- 65 Banker: CIL 13, 1963. Producer of perfumes: CIL 13, 2602. Carpenter: CIL 13, 1939 = AE 1893, 63. S (...)
- 66 CIL 13, 1939 = AE 1893, 63
- 67 CIL 13, 1967: faber and nauta. CIL 13, 1966 = D 7028 = Lyon 251: faber, nauta and negotiator.
- 68 CIL 13, 1962; [D(is) M(anibus)] / [et securi]tat(i) / [aeter]nae / [et mem]oriae(?) / [---]anae / (...)
- 69 Badian 1989, p. 59.
- 70 AE 1982, 702: dealer in unguents and perfumes (negotiator seplasiarius), nauta and centonarius. CI (...)
56Five seviri augustales took up five professions in five different sectors: one was a banker, one a producer of perfumes, one a carpenter, one a dealer and producer of silverware, and one an utriclarius (transporter of wine and oil in bags of animal skin).65 Contrary to the situation at Ostia, there is no clear predominance of the construction sector at Lugdunum. Only one sevir augustalis was a carpenter and a member of the association of the fabri tignuarii with residence in Lugdunum.66 Two other men were active in the construction sector as well, but they combined it with other occupations.67 One badly damaged inscription may record an anonymous sevir augustalis as a negotiator mercium Italicarum, a dealer in Italian goods.68 This would be the only attestation of an *augustalis active purely in the sales trade in Lugdunum. It is, admittedly, “history from square brackets”, based on elaborate reconstructions of very fragmentary inscriptions.69 Finally, two seviri augustales were involved in three different economic sectors: manufacture, transportation, and commerce.70
57At Lugdunum, no particular trade or profession stands out like it did at Ostia. Still, in this limited corpus of ten inscriptions, almost half of the men named were nautae of the Rhône or Saone. Situated at the confluence of rivers that lent themselves extraordinarily well for heavy-duty transport, it is hardly surprising that *augustales were also involved in this economic sector. Striking, however, is that the Lugdunese *augustales who recorded a professional activity, often did not limit themselves to one economic sector, although these accumulated professions were always compatible in some way. This is perfectly in accordance with the amalgam of trades and professions known at Lugdunum. Lugdunese Gaul is a difficult province, a huge crescent that covered over a thousand kilometres of land from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. One of the strongest characteristics of the province is an enormous geographical diversity. A sense of unity of these regions was non-existent. It was Caesar, however, who did not perceive any real differences between the different Gallic tribes inhabiting the region. and consequently the Romans made it into one and the same province. Although artificial in every way, this diversity was perhaps also the strength of Lugdunese Gaul. It was this exact diversity that found its maximal expression at Lugdunum, the second-largest city of the Empire (after Rome), a melting pot of cultures that attracted traders from all over the empire, who then took up residence at Lugdunum (consistentes).
- 71 Frank 1940, p. 246-251.
58Many farmers, merchants, and transporters were engaged in the development of “supply channels”, but also a small army of administrators and accountants were a part of this system. The mensores frumentarii measured the public grain, before it was stored in the public granaries or transported to Rome. These men had to be honest and trustworthy, which explains the strength and influence of the association: they dealt with the annona, the crucial grain supply.71 Two seviri augustales based at Ostia worked for the imperial annona, one as a grain weigher, and one as an assistant to a grain weigher. Ostian associations concerned with the grain dole of the capital city, did not operate on the municipal level, but on the provincial. Although locally based, they clearly transcended the normal reach of associations, and so did their socially prominent members.
- 72 Mrozek 1994, p. 96-97.
59The word annona does not necessarily refer to the grain dole of Rome. Strictly speaking, it implies a deficit of some kind (for instance a lack of grain), as well as the solution. Ninety per cent of all inscriptions that record this word actually refer to grain that was locally purchased and consumed in the cities of the Empire, and does not have anything to do with the grain dole of the capital city.72
- 73 Erdkamp 2005, p. 268-271. There is, however, very little consensus. For more information on this d (...)
- 74 CIL 14, 2972 = D 6253 = EAOR 4, 24 (Palestrina); CIL 14, 3014 = D 6252 = EAOR 4, 23 (Palestrina); (...)
60Private individuals could aid the local grain supply when necessary. Local producers could contribute in kind, by offering the city a part of their actual harvest. Others could gift a sum of money so the city could restock their granaries. Municipal grain funds (sitonia) under curatorship of sitonai are attested in Asia Minor. Sometimes, especially in the smaller cities, these sitoniai acted as agoranomoi, men who were more generally involved in the food supply market. In the western provinces, similar institutions are unknown. It was common practice to appoint wealthy and well-connected prominent citizens when a particular need in connection with the grain market arose.73 These men, who were appointed ad hoc, may have been given the title of curator annonae (frumentariae), as a number of inscriptions of Italian *augustales suggest.74
61The connection of *augustales with the grain market obviously leaves out a substantial part of the production process of grain in the Roman Empire. Either they worked as mensores frumentarii, grain weighers, and only saw the grain arrive at the port (especially at Ostia and Puteoli) where they were stationed, or they gifted a substantial sum of money to “support” the local annona. The farmers, peasants, and sailors, i.e. the production and transportation, are absent here. We only see parts of the administrative processing and distribution of the grain, or the monetary support offered to feed the local community.
62Purely statistically, the expression of wealth was a major theme in the epigraphic attestation of *augustales. Wealth rendered the institution relatively exclusive, and lent prestige to it (certainly in combination with members of “good” descent, e.g. part of the familia of the curial elite). Out of 1469 inscriptions attesting 1629 individual *augustales, donations or expenditures of some kind made by an *augustalis are recorded 510 times;
|De suo/in suo
|Size plot land
|Sibi+ size plot land
|Vivus fecit + sibi
|Vivus fecit + size plot of land
|Vivus fecit + benefactions
|Subtotal size plot of land
|Subtotal vivus fecit
|Subtotal vivus (fecit) and/or sibi
63Beyond doubt, benefactions were the most visible way to display wealth in local society. The potential for displaying wealth was determined by the resources a benefactor could muster, either from his own wealth or that of his family or friends. So, how often do epigraphical attestations offer information on the role of *augustales as benefactors in their cities (and sometimes beyond)?
64Not all *augustales could afford to act as a benefactor, and those that did displayed their wealth in many different ways. Caution is needed here: most of the benefactors did not limit themselves to one gift. This is why I opted for distinguishing different “types” of benefactors based on the most expensive benefaction mentioned. Gladiatorial games or road repairs for instance would rank “higher” than financing a single statue. In total, eighty-seven inscriptions – attesting one hundred and twenty-two individuals – record benefactors, but not all of the benefactions were of the same type or magnitude.
- 75 Lomas 2003, p. 28.
- 76 CIL 9, 808 = D 5381 = EAOR 3, 29; CIL 9, 968; CIL 9, 1048 = D 5879; CIL 9, 2476 = D 5353; CIL 9, 6 (...)
- 77 AE 1991, 389.
- 78 CIL 9, 1618 = D 6507; CIL 14, 404.
- 79 Euergetismo-Fal, 8 = AE 1922, 89. A ponderarium was an office of weights and measures.
- 80 CIL 11, 1162 = D 3870.
- 81 CIL 12, 4320 = D 3632.
65Some of the *augustales financed public building, which Lomas called “o]ne of the most high-profile, but possibly one of the most problematic, forms of benefactions”.75 Men who could financially afford to interfere with the monumental outlook of the city were certain of returns in the guise of increased visibility and repute (major public works would include refurbishment of existing buildings, road works, construction of walls). Nine texts recorded two types of road works: the pavement or re-pavement of regular roads, lanes, or avenues.76 Another six inscriptions speak of men who financed buildings or constructions of common interest that served a public goal: the construction of walls around a temple and basilica,77 the building of a portico,78 ponderarium,79 or fountain,80 and restoring the shrine of the tutelary gods of the roads.81
- 82 Laird 2006, p. 33.
- 83 AE 1974, 123a; AE 2000, 632; AE 2008, 416; CIL 5, 560; CIL 5, 1897 = CIL 5, 1898 = CIL 5, 1899 = C (...)
- 84 AE 1928, 129; AE 1971, 90; CIL 5, 4438 = InscrIt 10-5, 230; CIL 5, 5276; CIL 9, 2835; CIL 9, 4208 (...)
- 85 CIL 9, 2252; CIL 9, 4208 = EAOR 3, 13 = AE 1992, 360; CIL 11, 3782; CIL 14, 2794 = AE 1995, 28; Su (...)
- 86 Only sportulae or a meal mentioned: AE 1920, 97 = AE 1981, 342; CIL 11, 1027 = D 6671; CIL 11, 571 (...)
66We know of some endowments as well. A certain sum of money was given to the city or the *augustales by testament and it was stipulated in the will of the deceased what the interest generated by this money had to be used for (sometimes for all eternity). It was an important technique of remembrance82, an attempt to honour the memory of a leading figure by financing the adornment of a statue, an offer to his Manes, or a yearly distribution of wine or oil on his birthday.83 Others financed altars or statues,84 and some could afford to give games of some kind.85 Contrary to what one would expect, giving sportulae or offering a meal to the community or to particular groups in the city does not occur that often – at least not as the only benefaction named. It is more often combined with the inauguration of statues.86
67Finally, most of the benefactions known to us are hardly signalled in the inscriptions preserved. When a monument, tomb or any other type of construction was erected in any given Roman community, an inscription would clarify who built or financed it, or at least give some information as to who was responsible for it. Since the slab was physically attached to the construction, it was superfluous to specify the typology of the construction in the text. As such, a great number of epigraphic evidence from all over the Empire contain phrases that indicate that someone paid for something himself (de suo), or with his own money (sua pecunia). For the *augustales, almost one-third of the inscriptions that attest benefactors record this phrase.
68Other ways were available to *augustales to stress the size of their economic capital, except for benefactions. Funerary inscriptions often stipulate who paid for the stone or monument. This could be a member of the family, a patron or the *augustalis himself. In this last case, sibi (et suis) and/or vivus fecit were included on the tombstone. In total, four hundred and fourteen inscriptions mention *augustales who themselves financed their gravestone or monument. In one hundred and two inscriptions the *augustalis indicates he himself erected the monument or tomb prior to death.
69Drawing the attention to the sizeable plot of land, on which the tomb or grave monument was constructed for instance, is also a way of displaying wealth. In total, seventy-seven inscriptions record the formulae in fronte pedes and in agro pedes. Forty-nine of these texts explicitly announce that the *augustalis took care of his grave monument or tombstone himself prior to death; sibi (fecit). Remarkably, none of the *augustales whose epitaph mentioned the size of the plot of land were benefactors.
70Both referring to the size of the plot of land and the financing of an epitaph himself, were often the only way an *augustalis accentuated the economic capital that was the basis of his position. Through their wealth and social networks, they had succeeded in obtaining a fairly respectable position in society, since they were honoured with the *augustalitas. The vast majority of them did not obtain additional honours, privileges, or positions. As discussed above, the situation is different in Ostia. Here, the quinquennalitas was in most cases little more than the expression of membership of the seviri augustales, rather than indicating presidency. In fact, the situation in Ostia is perhaps not that far removed from that in other cities; in the absence of other honours, titles or positions to boast about, the *augustalis stressed his monetary strength.
71In this paper, five aspects of the economic position of *augustales in Italy and Gaul have been examined: (1) economic sectors, (2) geographical differentiation, (3) geographical specialisation, (4) the imperial and local annona, and (5) benefactions and expenditures. Did *augustales pursue particular occupations or display certain public conduct, and how did this reflect on them and their position? Accepting an office (like the *augustalitas) implies not only privileges, but also munera. Benefactions or other displays of economic capital that was the basis of their respectable position were expected of *augustales.
- 87 Expenditures and benefactions: 633 inscriptions out of 1469. Professional title: 114 inscriptions (...)
72Inscriptions offer us some insight in the structure, size, and usage of the economic capital gathered by *augustales. Did the wealth of the *augustales aid them in enlarging their social network or in obtaining honorific positions, and therefore furthered their integration into local society? The wealth and economic integration of *augustales is apparent in the epigraphic corpus. Roughly half of the inscriptions that record individual *augustales from Italy and Gaul drew attention to their economic capital or professions;87
73- An explicit link with professional activities is almost always absent in the corpus of *augustales who profiled themselves as benefactors.
74- I have distinguished two variants of professional titles. Remarkably, those who could boast a stronger relation with the city council through ornamenta and the accordance of plots of public land were always men who recorded membership of a professional collegium as the “type” of professional title. *Augustales who attested their actual profession did not belong to the top of the organisation of *augustales. None of these men obtained additional honours, titles or positions besides their augustalitas. Here, I have made a crucial note: simple membership is relatively rarely recorded (except for in alba). Most attestations of collegiati actually refer to officers (quinquennalesand curatores), who had to bear part of the group’s expenses. This is the explanation for the two-speed mechanism, a consistent difference in appreciation of the two “types” of professional title. It was not the profession that was the important factor that influenced the higher number of honours (especially the closer contact with the city council), but the leading collegiate positions they took up. Still, epigraphical attestation of occupational title always had some kind of social positioning function.
- 88 In other words, they followed the imposed procedures in the interaction with the ‘practical world’ (...)
75- *Augustales seem to have engaged in those sectors that were economically important for their regions. Or, rather, perhaps they were more likely to mention their profession when it was economically important for the region. This was one of the paths a candidate-*augustalis could follow to optimise his chances of obtaining the *augustalitas. He exhibits reasonable and common sense behaviour in order to “fit in”. In other words, he is adapted to the particular field and acts based on the anticipation of conversion of his economic capital into symbolic capital. It is understandable that he subsequently professes the origin of his economic capital in the inscription that centres on his acquired symbolic capital in the form of prise de position and honour.88
76- Remarkably, in Ostia for example, the expenditures stressed in their inscriptions were also an expression of the lack of higher honours and privileges. In the absence of other honours, titles or positions to boast about, the *augustalis stressed his economic worth by, for instance, recording the size of the plot of land on which the tomb or epitaph was erected. This was one of the few options of displaying “worthiness” still open to them. These *augustalesseem to have made a virtue of necessity – i.e. exhibiting behaviours that corresponded to expectations.89
77- Most of the Ostian and Lugdunese *augustalesprofessed an “indirect” title, i.e. membership of a professional collegium. It is difficult to reconstruct evolutions over time for their individual careers. Membership of a collegium was a major factor in civic integration, as Tran demonstrated.90 Obtaining the *augustalitas on top of that, would have been a second factor that influenced this individual’s integration. One could thus conjecture that the membership of the professional association preceded the accordance of the *augustalitas-honour: the civic integration effectuated by membership of a recognised collegium made this individual better known in local society. This way, the decuriones may have caught sight of these wealthy collegiati, who had already shown their skills as a magistrate in the office of an association, and offer them the *augustalitas as well. Becoming a member of a professional collegium may have been a form of active anticipatory socialisation on the part of the candidate-*augustalis.
78- Some *augustales based at Ostia were mensores frumentarii, grain measurers. They were involved in the imperial annona, the grain dole for the one million inhabitants of the capital city. Although locally based, they clearly transcended the normal reach of associations, and so did their socially prominent members. This is at the same time an expression of differentiation among *augustales(only a few of them were involved in the imperial annona) and of integration in local society (these *augustaleswere engaged in a sector that was economically important for the region). Other inscriptions in which the word annona is mentioned stem from cities all over Italy and Gaul. Some *augustales aided the local grain supply when necessary. It was common practice to appoint (ad hoc) wealthy and well-connected prominent citizens when a particular need in connection with the grain market arose. This demonstrates the diversity and differentiation among *augustales: some of them were curatores annonae, a position most often taken up by members of the official ordines. Such a position was not available to everyone.
79In conclusion, it is perfectly imaginable that men with a high economic status, who could not rise any more politically, would invest in their personal visibility in every possible way. The interplay of collegial membership, professions, and honours suggests that the wealth of *augustales indeed aided their integration into local society.
80Turning back to the introductory poem by Burns, *augustales were mice (not because they lacked affluence, but because they lacked the legal or social qualifications needed to participate in public political life). Men who, despite their inferior position, attempted to lay out schemes and try to make the most of their situation. However, this willingness to adapt and play the game – mice adapting to the expectations of the schemes laid out by men, the city councillors for example – may very well go awry. Instead of savouring the prestige of the *augustalitas, one could fail in its objective and never succeed in obtaining this honour, and therefore never appear in the epigraphic record.
Geographical spread professional titles *augustales in Italy and Gaul (n=114)