Imre Áron IllésDepartment of Ancient History, University of Szeged, Hungary

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The present article offers some reflections on Werner Eck's translation and interpretation of chapter 11 of the lex Troesmensium regulating the municipal embassies: (1) not the future, but the former magistrates were forbidden to be ambassadors; (2) not the ordo decurionum, but the duumvir sent the ambassadors – according to the decision of the decurions, of course; and (3) the future ambassador had to be informed not five days after the decision, but five days before the departure.


The present article offers some reflections on Werner Eck's translation and interpretation of chapter 11 of the lex Troesmensium regulating the municipal embassies: (1) not the future, but the former magistrates were forbidden to be ambassadors; (2) not the ordo decurionum, but the duumvir sent the ambassadors – according to the decision of the decurions, of course; and (3) the future ambassador had to be informed not five days after the decision, but five days before the departure.

Many fragments of municipal charters are known from the Roman Empire; however, they are very unevenly distributed in time and space. The major fragments come from South-Italy and especially Spain, and date from the 1st century BC and 1st century AD – except the fragmenta Lauriacensia of the Severan age.1 Due to this uneven distribution and the fragmentary condition of the charters, it is hard to estimate the grade of the unification and standardization of such charters throughout the Empire; however, the extant charters show strong similarities and even literal overlaps. It cannot be determined whether these similarities are caused by the proximity of the extant charters in time and space, or the uniformization was the rule for the charters for the other parts of the Empire as well. For this reason, any municipal fragments that originate outside these spatial and/or temporal boundaries are of particular importance, as e.g. fragmentum Segusinum2 from North-Italy, a fragment of which shows similarities with caput 87 of the lex Irnitana, or the much smaller fragments from Colonia Ulpia Traiana Ratiaria, which are clearly identifiable as municipal law.3 However, since the discovery of the lex Irnitana in 1981 and its publication in 1986, the fragments from Troesmis have perhaps been of the greatest importance.

The two bronze tablets were found in Romania at the site of ancient Troesmis in 2002 and stolen immediately,4 and returned to Romania in 2015 after a short ‘visit’ to the United States. In the meantime, some information has come to light through eBay and the FBI's National Stolen Art File database, and since 2013 scholarly publications have appeared, most notably Eck 2016, which publishes the text in both a full transcription and a corrected version of the text, with an introduction, commentary, and summary of the previous literature.5

The finding contains two bronze tablets: tablet A measures 66.5 × 54.5 × 0.6 cm and weighs 26.41 kg, while tablet B measures 59.5 × 50 × 0.6 cm and weighs 23.6 kg.6 The tablets are in very good condition, except for a crack in the lower left corner of tablet B, and for the fact that the last few lines of the same tablet are barely legible due to surface damage. Judging by the marks, the two tablets were bordered by a frame, according to the common practice for similar bronze tablets. However, there are no holes for fixing the tablets,7 thus the tablets may have been fixed with mortar rather than nails or hooks8 – such tablets had to be hung in a busy place of the town in question, probably on the wall of a public building.9 The tablets have 28 and 30 lines of text. Tablet A contains chapter 11, which deals with the sending of ambassadors in municipal affairs and can be compared with chapter G of the lex Irnitana. The end of the caput is unfortunately missing. On Plate B the end of a caput is preserved which regulated who could stand for election (cf. Mal. 54) and the beginning of caput 28, which prescribed the voting procedure (cf. Mal. 55). Caput 11 is much more detailed than its Flavian counterpart. Considering that the two extant tablets together read less than one caput each (the beginning of a caput on A, the end of a caput on B, and the beginning of another), the law in its complete form could have consisted of quite a number of tablets: Eck estimated a minimum of 50 tablets, 25 m long, but later amended it to the much more likely minimum of 100 tablets, 50 m long, which of course came at a huge financial cost.10

In the case of stolen and subsequently recovered findings, one of the primary problems is the identification of the site of origin,11 but fortunately this is not an issue here, as the full name of the city is given in the text of the fragments as municipium Marcum Aurelium Antoninum et Lucium Aurelium Commodum Augustum Troesmensium, i.e. the bronze tablets contain the charter of the city of Troesmis. The name also allows for dating, as cities regularly took the names of the emperors who (re)founded them or changed their legal status – in this case the former canabae and vicus became a municipium. Based on the name, Troesmis became a municipium when Commodus was already co-ruler and ‘Augustus’, but Marcus Aurelius was still reigning. Commodus became Augustus in the middle of 177, and Marcus died on 17 March 180, so the legal change to municipium happened and the law was passed between the middle of 177 and March 180. Hypothetically, we can narrow this down further, since Marcus and Commodus set out on their second Germanic campaign in early August 178, and may have been engaged in wider town-organising activities along the Danube at that time,12 or, if these activities were only limited, they were at least nearby.13 The Romanisation process of the settlement was facilitated by the fact that the legio V Macedonica was stationed here until 162, and in 165, after the Parthian campaign, they returned to the area, which they finally left in 168. The canabae near the legio camp, where the veterans settled and where the soldiers' ‘family members’ lived, was clearly a Romanised settlement, but this was probably also true for the nearby village (vicus), for the inscriptions show that the leading members of the cannabae and the legio camp were partly identical. After the legio had left, the citizens/inhabitants of these settlements could no longer turn to the legio officers with their legal/administrative affairs, and therefore they probably asked the emperor(s) for municipium status, so that they could manage their own affairs (e.g. local magistracy) with sufficient autonomy.14

Werner Eck has published an exemplary edition of the extant parts of the lex Troesmensium, which contains not only the text and a German translation,15 but a summary of the extraordinary ‘Fundgeschichte’ and commentaries on the text, as well. His excellent edition is a fundamental one to the study of the fragments from Troesmis. In the present paper I would like to contribute to this topic with some small suggestions for a better understanding of the text.16

1. A19–23 …dum ne quem mittat legatum, qui ˹t˺um aut /20proximo annoin eo municipio IIvir, q(uin)q(uennalis), aedilis, quaestor/21ve sitfuerit, neque duoviratus act˹i˺, aedilitatis, quaestu/22r<a>eve actae rationem exposuerit, reddi<de>ritve et adproba/23verit dec(uronibus) conscriptisve …

“…vorausgesetzt dass er nicht jemanden als Gesandten absendet, der jetzt oder im nächsten Jahr in diesem Municipium Duumvir, Quinquennalis, Ädil oder Quästor ist oder sein wird und nicht für das abgelaufene Amt als Duumvir, als Ädil oder als Quästor Rechnung gelegt oder Rechenschaft abgelegt und den Mitgliedern des Dekurionenrats (die Rechenschaft) zustimmungswürdig gemacht hat…”

Both Eck17 and Cîrjan18 translate proximo anno and fuerit as future (“im nächsten Jahr”, “next year”; “sein wird”, “shall be”). Their translations of these independent expressions could be theoretically correct, but a closer examination of the grammar and the context proves that they must be wrong. The cause of the misunderstanding is that fuerit (and the following predicates: exposuerit, reddiderit and adprobaverit) can be future perfect indicative and present perfect subjunctive as well, and that proximus can mean ‘next’ and ‘last’ too.19 Eck and Cîrjan translate fuerit as future indicative, while the other predicates – exposuerit, reddiderit and adprobaverit – as present perfect. We have to determine whether fuerit is future or not, and what the exact connection is between the clauses qui… sit fuerit and neque … adprobaverit.

Before a detailed examination of chapter 11 of lex Troesmensium, it is worth summarizing the interpretations of the parallel text of chapter G (45)20 of the lex Irnitana, for it has the same phrasing, except some minor orthographical and/or epigraphical anomalies. According to the translations, commentaries, and some other literature, there are three different interpretations: The duumvir cannot send and depute (1) the present magistrates, the future ones,21 and – as a separate group – any anterior magistrate who has not yet presented his accounts etc.;22 or (2) the present magistrates, the former ones and – as a separate group – any anterior magistrate who has not yet presented his accounts etc. yet;23 or (3) the present magistrates and the former ones, if they have not yet presented their accounts24 etc.25 The context alone suggests that it is about the former magistrates, and the grammar decides the question.

Let us examine the context first. It seems logical that a person who is going to be a magistrate in the following year is not to be sent as an ambassador,26 because a long-lasting embassy (several weeks or months if the embassy is sent to the provincial governor or to the emperor)27 can prevent the future magistrate from entering office in time in their own town. Therefore, it is possible that there are three different groups: the present magistrates (sit), the future magistrates (fuerit as future), and those former ones (acti, actae)28 who have not yet presented their accounts (neque … exposuerit etc.).29 All the members of these three groups are not to be sent as ambassadors. However, the consequent usage of the conjunctive particles precludes this interpretation. The different groups are coherently connected by quiue – ‘or who’ – here30 and in chapter G of the lex Irnitana,31 too. For the hypothetical ‘three groups’ interpretation above the neque should be quive … non…, because neque means ‘and not’, ‘and yet … not’ etc., but it cannot mean ‘or who not’.32 For the ‘three groups’ interpretation the text should be “provided he (the duumvir) is not to send anyone as ambassador, who (qui) then or in the next year shall33 be duumvir … in that municipiumor anyone who (quive non!) has not presented the accounts, etc.”,34 but we have neque: “provided he (the duumvir) is not to send anyone as ambassador, who (qui) then or in the next year shall be duumvir … in that municipiumand (neque!) has not presented the accounts, etc.” Thus, the clause neque duoviratus … adprobaverit must be a condition for the previous group, and not a new, different group with an implicit reference to any anterior magistrates. We have a double requirement to the prohibition of being sent as an ambassador in the lines in question: being present/future/former35 magistrates and having not presented the accounts of these magistracies,36 so it is not being present/future/former magistrates or having not presented the accounts of these magistracies. Being a future or former magistrate is not enough to prevent one from being sent as an ambassador.

It is worth noting that the scholars who regard the neque clause as an independent group for the magistrates above have the correct ‘and has not’ interpretation for a parallel place, where the grammatical structure (the usage of conjunctive particles) is the same:37

A23–2838…quive pecuniam …/24… /25pen⸢e⸣s se habueri{n}t <quive> ration⸢e⸣s negotiave … /26… gesserit, tractaverit, confeceritnequedum /27eam pecuniam in commune … re/28<t>ulerit, rationes reddiderit {aut} probaveritque …39

Here, too, neque does not introduce a new group, but an additional condition for the persons of the previous groups: no one who has handled or managed the finances etc. can be sent as ambassadors, unless they have already restored these funds and have already presented their accounts…40

It results from the considerations above that there must be two groups (the present and the former/future magistrates) and an additional condition (‘and they will not have presented/they have not yet presented their accounts…’ etc.). If this latter condition was future,41 it would be superfluous and meaningless: in the case of the present and future magistrates the accounts of the already held magistracies do not matter, because their present or future magistracy has already prevented them from being sent as ambassadors: there is no need to emphasize the presentation of their future accounts of their present or future magistracies.42

Thus, the latter condition must be present perfect,43 but the present and future magistrates have not yet fulfilled (acti/actae) their actual or future magistracies.44 It means that if the text was talking about the present and future magistrates, none of them could be sent as ambassadors, because none of them had presented their accounts of their magistracies as they had not yet finished their magistracies. Therefore, the neque clause is totally meaningless, and it would be enough to write: “none of the present or future magistrates can be sent as ambassadors”.45 Therefore, the neque clause must affect the former magistrates, who had finished their magistracies, and in their case it does matter to emphasize that they cannot be sent unless they have presented their accounts to the decurions about their fulfilled magistracies etc. But as we have seen above, these former magistrates cannot be any previous ones in addition to the present and future ones, because the neque clause is a condition for the previous groups (duumvir etc. sit fuerit), and not a different, new group, which means that either sit or fuerit must refer to the former magistrates, sit refers to the present magistrates, thus fuerit must be present perfect.

The grammatical considerations clearly decide the question once and for all. According to Latin grammar qui … sit fuerit is not a simple relative clause, but a result clause using the subjunctive mood (not a simple ‘do not send a man who’, but ‘do not send such a man who’).46 Even without this syntactical consideration the first verb itself – sit47 – shows that fuerit must be subjunctive: due to their parallel usage both of them must be either indicative or subjunctive. (If fuerit was indicative, sit should be indicative as well, that is est.48) Therefore, fuerit must be subjunctive, and if it is subjunctive, it must be present perfect (‘has been’), so proximo anno must be ‘last year’, and thus the text is talking about the present and former magistrates. In summary, the proper interpretation is the following: the present magistrates in general cannot be sent as ambassadors, while the former ones can, if they have already presented their accounts etc. And the future magistrates do not appear in our text at all.

One can wonder whether we can rightly expect the correct usage of the Latin grammatical rules concerning the sequence of tenses in a provincial town or not. (Even today, the correct usage of the sequence of the tenses and the subjunctives after regular relative pronouns is hard for the students of the Latin language.) The answer must be yes: (1) this inscription is not a humble tombstone of a poor peasant, but an official document in a city that had experience of the Latin language and Roman culture via the army,49 (2) the grammar of the extant tables seems good, and most importantly (3) the parallel text of the lex Irnitana uses the same structure and the same wording (e.g. sit and not est), therefore they used an official common model (or this new fragment used the Flavian charter – or their later adaptations – as a model),50 and this model was drawn up by a Roman official in Rome or in the governor's staff. Thus, the overall grammatical structure was not affected by the Latin skills of the locals.51

2. A14–17 …tot legatos in eam rem primo quoque temporemittitoleg/15atosq(ue) eos, qui ˹t˺um munere legationis vice sua fungi debebunt /16i(i)sq(ue) aut procuratoribus eorum aut at domumdenuntiato/17aut in contionepronuntiato

“… So viele Gesandte soll er (der Dekurionenrat) zu diesem Zweck zum erstmöglichen Zeitpunkt absenden und diejenigen Gesandten, die dann die Aufgabe der Gesandtschaft an deren Stelle werden erledigen müssen, und er soll ihnen oder ihren Geschäftsführen entweder an ihrem (städtischen) Wohnsitz ankündigen oder in der Volksversammlung verkünden …

According to Eck's translation, the subject of the singular verbs mittito, denuntiato, and pronuntiato is the municipal council (der Dekurionenrat). The grammatical problem is that the German Dekurionenrat is singular as mittito, denuntiato, and pronuntiato are, but in the text of the lex Troesmensium – and of the municipal charters in general – it is expressed by a plural phrase, decuriones conscripti;52 therefore, the Latin verbs should be plural, too. Theoretically it could be possible that the missing subject is the ordodecurionum, or an abstract singular for the body of the decuriones conscriptive,53 but in the close context it is always plural,54 and in other municipal charters the plural occurs in similar places. For comparison, let us see the text of the longest extant municipal charter, the lex Irnitana. The phrases ordo or ordo decurionum never appear in the extant text,55 while the phrase decuriones conscriptive appears many times as the subject, always with plural predicates.56 Accordingly, if the supposed Dekurionenrat was the subject, the Latin predicate would have to be plural in accordance with the plural decuriones conscripti.

However, the subject from the previous clause can belong here, too: duumvir˹orum˺ … ambo alterve … referto (A4–5), and as the verb referto proves, ambo alterve can be used with a singular predicate, too.57 Besides these grammatical considerations, it must also be pointed out that implementing the decisions of the council (ordo decurionum, decuriones conscripti) was the regular duty of the (chief) magistrates, and not of the council itself.58 Therefore, the missing subject must be the duumvir (one or both of them), and not der Dekurionenrat. Of course, the decision was taken by the council – as chapter G of the lex Irnitana clearly shows – but it was the duumvir who actually implemented the decision, that is, sent the ambassadors etc.59

3. A14–19 …tot legatos in eam rem primo quoque tempore mittito leg/15atosq(ue) eos, qui ˹t˺um munere legationis vice sua fungi debebunt /16i(i)sq(ue) aut procuratoribus eorum aut at domum denuntiato /17aut in contione pronuntiato,ne minus quam ante diem /18quintum, quo die eos ex{s}ire oportere dec(uriones) conscriptive /19censuerint

“… So viele Gesandte soll er (der Dekurionenrat)60 zu diesem Zweck zum erstmöglichen Zeitpunkt absenden und diejenigen Gesandten, die dann die Aufgabe der Gesandtschaft an deren Stelle werden erledigen müssen, und er soll ihnen oder ihren Geschäftsführen entweder an ihrem (städtischen) Wohnsitz ankündigen oder in der Volksversammlung verkünden, und zwar nicht früher als am fünften Tage, nachdem die Mitglieder des Dekurionenrats beschlossen haben, dass sie (die Gesandte) abreisen müssten…”

And Eck's paraphrase on page 586: „Zunächst wird der Termin festgelegt, an dem die als Gesandte bestimmten Bürger der Stadt abreisen müssen: dies dürfe frühestens der fünfte Tag nach der Beschlussfassung des Rates sein.”

According to Eck's interpretation and translation the five days of delay61 had to be counted from the day when the decuriones made their decision. Thus he seems to connect quo die to censuerint. However, quo die does unambiguously belong to exire in lines 5–6 (quoque die eos exire oporteat) and line 7 (quoque die exire oportere). In these cases quo die cannot be connected with anything else than exire oportere,62 so why should we change this connection here in lines 17–19? Therefore, we have to connect quo die to exire oportere, and thus to count backwards, which is the regular method in the Roman dating system:63 “not less than five days before the day when the ambassadors are to depart”.64 However, Eck's interpretation concerning the aim of this prescription is right: it safeguards the future ambassadors, that is, they have to be informed in advance. According to Eck, the departure must not be earlier than the fifth day after the decision, and this rule provides the ambassadors with enough time to prepare themselves for the task. In my opinion, they have the same five-day interval, but counting backwards from the day of the departure.

4. A5–6…quot legatos et quo mitti quoque /6die eos exire oporteat…

A6–7 …quot leg˹at˺os /7{in} quam in rem <mitti>quoque die exire oport˹e˺re

A14–15 …tot legatos in eam rem primo quoque tempore mittito leg/15atosq(ue)…

In my opinion, the word mitti should be supplemented in line 7 between the words rem and quoque. Although the grammar and the meaning of the clause can be perfect without this emendation, the parallel places show that mitti regularly occurs with exire (A5–6), and mittere is the standard term relating to ‘sending an embassy’ (A14–15, cf. Irn. G). Although this addition cannot be proven, without this supplementation it would be strange that elsewhere it is mentioned separately that the ambassadors are sent (mitti) and that the ambassadors depart (exire), but here (lines 6–7) only the departure is mentioned.


Cf. Crawford, M. H. (ed.): Roman Statutes I-II. London 1996, 301–312 (lex Tarentina), 355–391 (Tabula Heracleensis), 393–460 (lex Ursonensis). González, J.: The Lex Irnitana: A New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law. JRS 76 (1986) 147–243 (Appendix 2 contains the fragmenta Lauriacensia).


Letta, C.: Fragmentum Segusinum. Due frammenti a lungo ignorati della lex municipalis di Segusio. In Paci, G. (ed.): Contributi all'epigrafia d'età augustea. Actes de la XIIIerecontre franco-italienne sur l’épigraphie du monde romain. Macerata, 9–11 settembre 2005. Tivoli 2007, 145–169.


Eck, W.: Fragmente eines neuen Stadtgesetzes – der lex coloniae Ulpiae Traianae Ratiariae. Athenaeum 104 (2016) 538–544.


The illegal excavation and theft are not unique. The largest municipal charter so far, the lex Irnitana, was also found by illegal treasure hunters, and professional archaeologists only learned about it from a tavern rumour, after which they finally managed to collect the fragments and even identified the site, see Fernández Gómez, F. – del Amo y de la Hera, M.:La lex Irnitana y su contexto arqueológico. Sevilla 1990, 9sqq. In the case of smaller fragments that have been deposited in museums, where the name of the town cannot be identified, the identification of the place of origin is particularly problematic, cf. Caballos Rufino, A. – Fernández Gómez, F.: Nuevos testimonios andaluces de la legislación municipal flavia. ZPE 141 (2002) 261–280; Caballos Rufino, A. – Fernández Gómez, F.: Una ley municipal sobre una tabula aenea corregida y otros bronces epigráficos. ZPE 152 (2005) 269–273. But sometimes even in the case of longer fragments, the origin is disputed, e.g. the so-called lex Italicensis may not have belonged to the town of Italica, cf. Canto, A. M.: A propos de la loi municipale de Corticata (Cortegana, Huelva, Espagne). ZPE 63 (1986) 217–220; González, J.: More on the Italica Fragment of Lex Municipalis. ZPE 70 (1987) 217–221.


Eck, W.: Die lex Troesmensium: ein Stadtgesetz für ein municipium civium Romanorum. ZPE 200 (2016) 565–606; Cîrjan, R.: The Municipal Law of Troesmis: Preliminary Remarks. In Panaite, A. – Cîrjan, R. – Căpiţă, C. (eds): Moesica et Christiana. Studies in honour of Professor Alexandru Barnea. Braila 2016, 289.


A distinctive feature of the tablets is that they consist of three 0.2 cm layers.


E.g. in the case of the lex Irnitana 3 holes were used on the upper and lower margins for fixing the tablet, cf. Fernández – del Amo (n. 4) passim.


Eck (n. 5) 570–575.


Irn. 95.


Eck, W.: Das Leben römisch Gestalten. Ein Stadtgesetz für das Municipium Troesmis aus den Jahren 177–180 N. Chr. In Kleijn, G. de – Benoist, S. (eds): Integration in Rome and in the Roman World. Proceedings of the Tenth Workshop of the International Network Impact of Empire (Lille, June 23–25, 2011). Leiden–Boston 2014, 88; Eck (n. 5) 601. For comparison: the lex Irnitana consisted of a total of 97 capita on ten tablets, while the text of the lex Ursonensis is interrupted at caput 134.


Cf. note 4.


Cîrjan (n. 5) 295–296.


Eck (n. 5) 582–584, for the exact dates see Kienast, D.:Römische Kaisertabelle. Grundzüge einer römischen Kaiserchronologie. Darmstadt 20043.


Eck (n. 5) 582–584.


To the best of my knowledge, besides Eck's German translation, Eck (n. 5) there is a complete English one by Cîrjan (n. 5), and some partial ones: Platschek, J.: Zur Lesung von Kap. 27 der lex Troesmensium. Tyche 32 (2017) 164–165 (following his own emendations of the Latin text) in German, and Eckhardt, B.: Law, Empire, and Identity between West and East. In Czajkowski, K. – Eckhardt, K. (eds): Law in the Roman Provinces. Oxford 2020, 429–430 in English. Both of them contain translations of texts from tablet B. Cîrjan's complete translation is unreliable and confused, often neglecting the context and the grammar, as well. Sometimes even his own English translation does not fit his own Latin text. E.g. on page 292 he rightly excludes the omni (table A, line 1; hereafter, I will give letter A for the first, letter B for the second tablet, and the lines), but on page 294 he translates it as (all) – perhaps it is due to the reckless usage of the Leiden System. Concerning the embassies, he is talking about the length of the embassy (“for how many days they should be sent away … how many days their trips should last”), while the Latin text gives the day when the ambassadors must depart (quo die exire oportere, A5-6, 7). Relatum erit (A6) is not ‘decided’, but ‘reported, referred’. About the procurators he translates “those who are ready to go as ambassadors, must announce their procurators at home or proclaim them in a public speech”, while the Latin text means that the future ambassadors or their procurators must be informed (iis … procuratoribusve eorum … denuntiari, A10-11, cf. A16; in addition on the tablet denuntiare is written, cf. Eck [n. 5] 577). According to Cîrjan the phrase Qui falsam rationem rettulerit (B24) means “falsely raise an issue before the comitia under this law”, but the falsa ratio is the intentionally misreported number of the votes, cf. iure{n}t se rationem suffragiorum fide bona habiturum relaturumque (lex Malacitana 55, ll. 14–15), here the ratio suffragiorum means the ‘number/count of the votes’ (cf. the previous verb diribere). Because of these and similar mistakes a complete and reliable English translation is still missing. (The manuscript is finished in May 2021.) In the following I will focus on Eck's much more reliable translation and interpretation.


For the municipal ambassadors and embassies the best recent summary is Rodríguez Neila, J. F.: Las legationes de las ciudades y su regulación en los estatutos municipales de Hispania. Gerión 28 (2010) 223–273. See also Torrent, A.: Legati municipales: lex Irnitana Caps. 44–47. Hispania Antigua 35 (2011) 83–111; Castro-Camero, R. de: Ordo decurionum y legaciones municipales estudio palingenésico de D. 50, 7 De legationibus. In Melchor Gil, E. – Pérez Zurita, A. D. – Rodríguez Neila, J. F. (eds): Senados municipales y decuriones en el Occidente romano. Sevilla 2013, 69–96; Torregaray Pagola, E.: Legationes cívicas y provinciales: la comunicación política entre Hispania y Roma en época imperiale. In Ortiz de Urbina, E. (ed.): Magistrados locales de Hispania. Aspectos históricos, jurídicos, lingüísticos. Vitoria-Gasteiz 2013, 309–331. Mentxaka, R.: Divagaciones sobre legislación municipal romana a la luz de la lex Troesmensium. In Piro, I. (ed.): Scritti per Alessandro Corbino 5, Rome 2016, 16–22.


Eck (n. 5) 581.


Cîrjan (n. 5) 294.


Cf. e.g. OLD 1508–1509, s.v. proximus.


The exact number of this chapter is not known, the 45 is just a guess, therefore I use the original ‘G’. The whole of chapter G of the lex Irnitana is not the same as chapter 11 of the lex Troesmensium, but these lines in question are the same.


By the “future” and “former” magistrates I here mean the magistrates of the very previous or the very next year, not all the former and all the future ones.


Le Roux, P. (transl.): AE 1986, nr. 333, p. 120; d’Ors, A. – d’Ors, J.: Lex irnitana. (Texto bilingüe). Santiago de Compostela 1988, 32; Rodríguez Neila (n. 16) 242–243. Torrent (n. 16) 103–104. Eck seems to follow this interpretation.


D'Ors, A.: La ley Flavia municipal. Anuario de Historia de Derecho Español 54 (1984) 546–547 (it seems that a ‘no’ is missing in the last phrase); d’Ors, A.: La lex Flavia municipal (Texto y comentario). Romae 1986, 124; Mentxaka, R.: El senado municipal en la Bética hispana a la luz de la lex Irnitana. Vitoria Gasteiz 1993, 125. In its legal effect, this group is practically the same as the next one, because it is very improbable that there could be magistrates who had been magistrates more than one year before, and had not yet presented their accounts etc. Cf. e.g. the 30-day deadline concerning the accounts of handling public funds in Irn. 67.


This part concerns the former magistrates only, as the present ones could not present their account during their magistracy.


González (n. 1) 186 (transl. M. H. Crawford); Lamberti, F.:Tabulae Irnitanae municipalità e ius Romanorum. Napoli 1993, 297; González, J.: Epigrafía Jurídica de la Bética. Rome 2008, 67; Wolf, J. G.: Die Lex Irnitana. Ein römisches Stadtrecth aus Spanien. Darmstadt 2011, 69–71.


This opinion is supported by Suet. Tib. 31. 1: Negante eo destinatos magistratus abesse oportere, ut praesentes honori adquiescerent, praetor designatus liberam legationem impetravit.


For the duration of the different kinds of journeys, see Kolb, A.:Transport und Nachrichtentransfer im Römischen Reich. Berlin 2000, 310–332.


They are not named explicitly in our text, but they can be educed from the expressions acti, actae.


Eck seems to follow this interpretation with the present perfect: “… gelegt… abgelegt… gemacht hat…”


ne quem mittat legatum,qui… IIvir … sit fuerit …,quivepecuniam … pen⸢e⸣s se habueri{n}t<quive>ration⸢e⸣s negotiave … gesserit, tractaverit, confecerit


… dum ne quem mittat legat{um}uequi… IIvir… sit fuerit …quivepecuniam … penes se habuerit,quiverationes … gesserit tractaverit …qui<ve> quibusve… negotium datum erit… (G VB17–28).


Cf. OLD 1171.


For the argument's sake I follow the “future” interpretation here.


For the English translations I used M. H. Crawford's one of the lex Irnitana from González (n. 1).


We will examine this future/former question in the following.


We will see that this does not belong to sit, but fuerit only.


Cf. D’ors (n. 23, 1984) 546–547; Le Roux (n. 22) 120; D’ors – D’ors (n. 22) 32; Mentxaka (n. 23) 125; Rodríguez Neila (n. 16) 243; Torrent (n. 16) 104.


We have the same phrase in Irn. G.


Here Eck (n. 5) 581 translates the verbs as present perfect (“der Geld… bei sich hat… betrieben, besorgt, abgeschlossen hat… vorgelegt… gemacht hat…”), and not future perfect. Why is fuerit future perfect, but all the other similar forms are present perfect?


In a literal translation: “(provided he [the duumvir] is not to send anyone as ambassador) … or anyone who has in his possession funds… or who has handled, managed or administered finances or common funds … and has not yet restored those funds to the common account … presented his accounts…”


The verbs exposuerit, reddiderit and adprobaverit can be future perfect as well.


The future perfect would have sense if the text controlled the distant future: e.g. the duumvir will not have the right to send any magistrates (sometime in the future), unless they have presented their accounts etc. If the sentence in question had this previous meaning, the regulation regarding the present would be missing, and any reference to the former magistrates would be missing as well. And what is more important: to emphasize some future account of the present or future magistrates, who are already prohibited from being sent as ambassadors by their actual magistracy, or to emphasize the same for the former ones, who are not allowed to be sent as ambassadors unless they have already presented their accounts?


Eck – and everybody else – regards them present perfect as well: “… gelegt… abgelegt… gemacht hat…”.


Of course, they can have earlier magistracies e.g. a present or future duumvir could have had a quaestorship some years earlier, but the neque proves that the clause must concern the duumvir … sit fuerit, and not any previous magistracy, about which the accounts must have had been presented much earlier, see the 30-day deadline above.


Dum ne quem mittat legatum, qui tum aut proximo anno in eo municipio IIvir, quinquennalis, aedilis, quaestorve sit fuerit without the following clause.


Cf. e.g. Hofmann, J. B. – Szantyr, A.:Lateinische Syntax und Stilistik. München 1972, 554 §298 sqq. Here qui has the ‘ut is’ meaning.


Present subjunctive.


The parallel text of the Lex Irnitana (G VB17–18) shows that sit is not an error for est (e.g. due to the hypothetical mistake of a copyist or engraver) … dum ne quem mittat legat{um}ue qui tum aut proxi/mo anno in eo municipio IIvir, aedilis quaestorve sit fuerit…


Cf. e.g. Eck, W.: The leges municipales as a Means of Legal and Social Romanization of the Provinces of the Roman Empire. In Czajkowski, K. – Eckhardt, K. (eds): Law in the Roman Provinces. Oxford 2020, 320–323; however, the effects of “military” Romanization on “municipal” Romanization must not be overestimated, as Eck himself emphasizes it as well.


We do not actually know the exact method, and thus the above-mentioned process is just a hypothesis (the possibility has even been suggested that the later lex Troesmensium preserves an earlier state of the textual tradition than the Flavian charters, cf. Eckhardt [n. 49] 431), but it is an undeniable fact that the municipal charters contain many “tralatician” chapters (cf. Frederiksen, M. W.: The Republican Municipal Laws: Errors and Drafts. JRS 55 [1965] 183–198; Wolf, J. G.:Imitatio exempli in der römischen Stadtrechten Spaniens. IURA 56 [2006–2007] 1–54; Illés, I. Á.: Some remarks on the Common Model of the Flavian Municipal Charters. Chronica 17 [2017] 44–68), and thus the actual phrasing of the different charters is not the work of local provincials.


Of course, an official document could be cut by an engraver who was not deeply familiar with the Latin language, but the overall grammatical structure does not depend on the Latin knowledge of the engraver, because they used official copies. Albeit Lamberti (n. 25) 6 suggests that the engraver resolved the abbreviations during engraving the text, this assumption is highly improbable, for – as the errors and the wrong interpunctions demonstrate – the engravers did not know the complex legal Latin language well enough to be able to write out the abbreviations on their own. In addition, Lamberti's two assumptions that the engraver wrote out the abbreviations, and that he followed the arrangement of the text on the papyrus roll at the same time, do not agree with each other: if he had written out the abbreviations on his own, the lines would have been longer, therefore he could not follow the original arrangement and columns of the papyrus. Furthermore, the different tables of the Irnitana were engraved by different hands (probably at the same time, see Fernández– del Amo [n. 4] 32), and therefore it must be assumed that the text to be engraved on the single tablets was determined previously; thus the engravers could not be allowed to resolve the abbreviations on their own, because if they had resolved the abbreviations, the text would have been longer, and would not have fit the tablet. Of course, there are errors due to the engravers, and for these, see d’Ors, X.: Algunas consideraciones sobre „variantes” y errores en las distintas copias de la lex Flavia municipalis. In Linares, J. L. (ed.): Liber amicorum, Juan Miquel: estudios romanísticos con motivo de su emeritazgo. Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 749–804; Illés (n. 50).


A8 and A18–19: dec(uriones) conscriptive censuerint.


Although the word ordo does not occur in such a sense in the extant texts of the longest municipal charters (see below), Dig. 50.9 shows that the jurists (e.g. Ulpian, Scaevola) used it as a synonym for the later curia, i.e. not only as a social order of councillors, but also in the specific sense of a decision making body of the councillors.


See note 52.


See Lamberti (n. 25) 503: the word ordo occurs eight times, but it does not refer to the ordo decurionum as the decision-making body.


See e.g. decuriones conscriptive … censuerint (19, IIIA8–9); decuriones conscriptive … detulerint (24, IIIB9–11); decuriones conscriptive … habeantur (26, IIIB40); decuriones conscriptive … sunt … lecti, sublecti erunt … debedunt … sunto … sunt (30 passim) etc.; for the appearance of the word decurio, see Lamberti (n. 25) 426–427. The same is true in the text of the lex Ursonensis as well. For details, see Caballos Rufino, A.: LEX COLONIAE GENETIVAE IVLIAE SEV VRSONENSIS. Índice de palabras en su contexto. SHHA 15 (1997) 321sqq. (for the occurrence of the word decurio, here without the word conscripti), 366 (for the word ordo).


This is accepted by Eck himself ([n. 5] 577), and we can find parallel texts in the lex Irnitana as well: chapter 31, IIIC45–48: ambo alterve … velint (!) … referto; 58 ambo alterve … agito; F VB2–5: ambo alterve … distribuito … facito; K VC26–27: ambo alterve … referunto (!); 32–34: ambo alterve edicito; 82 IXA31: ambo alterve volet.


E.g. Irn. 29 (granting guardians), C (reading out and filing the decrees), H (giving viaticum to the ambassadors), K (postponement of business), L (establishing curiae), 76 (inspection of the sources of revenues), 77 (expenses for games), 78 (tasks of the public slaves), 82 (creating and altering roads etc.).


According to chapter G of the lex Irnitana, the council decided how many ambassadors should be sent, where and on what matters, but it seems that it was up to the duumvir to send the next in line (cf. Dig. and to consider any exemptions etc., thus it definitely matters who is the subject here.


Supplement by Eck.


Due to the inclusive counting method of the Romans, the five-day interval is rather four days, in order to avoid confusion among the different translations and interpretations, I use the “five-day”.


In these cases Eck himself connects quo die to exire oportere: “an welchem Tag sie abreisen sollen and an welchem Tag diejenige, die Gesandte sind, abreisen sollen”.


For close parallels, see the end of the lex Irnitana: Litterae datae IIII Idus Apriles (“four days before the 13th of April”) … recitatae V Idus Domitianas (“five days before the 15th of the month Domitianus/October”), XC39–40.


Mentxaka (n. 23) 17 has the same interpretation (“al menos cinco días antes de su salida”); however, on page 19 she seems to count the five days from the decision of the decurions (“facilita que en el plazo de cinso días llegue a la persona afectada”).

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