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Durham e-Theses
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The impact of the populace on government of the city of Rome in the fourth century A.D

May, M. R. (1986) The impact of the populace on government of the city of Rome in the fourth century A.D. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The purpose of this study is to show how popular rioting and fear of popular rioting and unrest came to be such a major concern of the Prefect of the City and his subordinates during the fourth century, a period when Emperors no longer lived at Rome (and so did net have to fear for their personal safety, when Plebeians were rioting in Rome), and in the early years of which the Praetorian Guard, the only force in Rome capable of crushing popular riots by brute force, was disbanded. The first chapter deals with the status of Rome in the fourth century. It was no longer the political centre of the Empire, but it seems to have been the centre of patriotic feeling more than ever before, which is perhaps why Emperors were less harsh to the plebeians when they rioted than to provincials, and is why they took pains to help the Prefect of the City in dealing with plebeian grievances. Chapter 2 deals with the discomforts of living in Rome, and subsisting there on the one hand, and the compensations, the bread and circuses, on the other. The third chapter deals with the causes of disturbances at Rome, and how typical of the metropolises of the Empire (Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Carthage and Constantinople) were the causes of riots, and their level of violence. Fourth century Rome is also compared to Rome in the Severan period to see how much or little it had changed. Chapter 4 concerns the short term solutions to disturbances that is the immediate options available to and adopted by the authorities once the disturbance had started. Chapter 5 deals with the laws passed by Emperors to ensure that the people got their bread and circuses, and with other areas in which Emperors concerned themselves, such as the provision of a rudimentary health service.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1986
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Feb 2013 13:50

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