22 June 2023
The talk revolves around a striking dossier of building inscriptions dating to the early 290’s CE that feature African governors serving under Diocletian and Maximan, interpreted against the wider practice of mediating construction in the region. The material provides a snapshot of the administration at work, at a time when some of its most impactful reforms were conceived and implemented. The analysis indicates a close understanding of the local social fabric on the part of the provincial administration, and the ability to adapt policies in accordance with it. It can inform our knowledge of both the area and the administration, at multiple levels: how provincial governors worked with emperors and laterally with each other, as well as a variety of local social strata; how both rhetoric and active measures framed the imperial government as the defender of independent civic life; how the most powerful elites became privileged, but also circumscribed.