Does the data about Apamea and the Ciete support the view that Rome carried out registrations in client kingdoms? [Part2: Apamea]
[Draft: Oct 9, 2016]
[Part two from tax4kings1.html]
When we look at the case of Apamea--and the census described on the funerary monument, we get a great view of the unevenness of Roman rule in those times.
I suspect that Dr. Carrier's statement that Apamea (whichever one was described by that monument) was already under provincial rule and that a census there was perfectly normal and expected is based on his understanding that Syria had been conquered by Pompey and turned into a province at that time (northern Syria--not southern Syria).
So, since I myself have used Apamea as evidence of a fully-Roman census in a client-kingdom (or client-state), it is time to trace backwards through my sources and references to see if something has been changed (about the interpretation of the data) or if it has been misunderstood.
Most of the citations I can find--in works like mine and similar ones--point back to Hoehner's Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, published in 1973. His statement (p16) goes like this:
"In fact, in Venice a gravestone of a Roman officer was found which state that he was ordered by P. Sulpicius Quirinius to conduct a census of Apamea, a city of 117,000 inhabitants, located on the Orontes in Syria (footnote 25), which was an autonomous city-state that minted its own copper coins (footnote 26)."
What are his sources?
· Footnote 25 gives "25. Cf. Stauffer, p. 32; Finegan, p.237."
· Footnote 26 gives "26. A. R. Bellinger, The Coins, Final Report VI of The Excavations at Dura-Europos, ed. By M. I. Rostovtzell, et al. (New Haven, 1949), p. 86, nos. 1832, 1833"
Stauffer refers to Jesus and His Story (trans. By Dorothea M. Barton (London, 1960).
Stauffer is responding to a criticism of the nativity story raised by Strauss:
Strauss's Point 2. Here Strauss was led astray by Josephus' bombastic description of Herod. To understand correctly the legal position of Herod the Great, we must understand the adroit fiscal devices of Augustan imperial policy. We must also know something about the historical evolution of interlocking sovereignties throughout Syria, concerning which we glean considerable information from a study of their coinages. I shall deal briefly with only three sample governments: the Nabataean kingdom of the Arab vassal kings in Petra, in the southeast of the Roman Empire; the Syrian city-state of Apamea on the Orontes; and the vassal kingdom of King Herod I.
The Nabataean kings in Petra had the right to mint their own silver coinage with Semitic inscriptions. They also assumed the right to settle questions of succession to the throne. Both these privileges were signs of a considerable measure of authority. But we find in Josephus several surprising items concerning their systems of taxation. Listing the leading men of Petra4 around 9-6 b.c, Josephus mentions the imperial "slave" Fabatus, and speaks of this Fabatus twice as the chief imperial financial officer (dioiketes).5 The man must therefore have been one of those numerous freed-men whom Augustus installed in high positions in the financial administrations of the provinces. From this one item it becomes apparent that Petra's entire system of taxation was under the control of Augustus. This principle was maintained during the subsequent period of the Empire. Thus we hear of a Roman tax commissioner in the days of Vespasian who held sway in the Nabataean kingdom with the support of a Roman military detachment. Naturally this does not exclude the co-operation of local rulers and authorities in all fiscal activities. The Egyptian taxation papyri offer many analogies to this practice.
The city-state of Apamea was allowed to mint only copper. Nevertheless, we find it styling itself on its coins with the proud word autonomos, stressing with good reason its right to self-government. In New Testament times Apamea was one of the four most powerful city-states of Syria. We need only read Strabo to form some conception of the independence of this city in fiscal policy and taxation. The sizable towns of Larissa, Kasiana, Megara, Apollonia, and others were subject to taxation by Apamea. The priest-sovereigns of Emesa and the Ituraean kings of Chalcis on the Lebanon were allied to Apamea [Strabo 16, 2, 10, 752f]. Yet, for all its power, this proud city could not evade Quirinius' census. We possess some interesting documentary proof of this. In the year 1674 the gravestone of an Augustan army officer turned up in Venice. The inscription on the stone mentioned certain taxation measures taken by Quirinius in Apamea. This inscription was copied at the time, and published in 1719. Meanwhile the original had disappeared, and for a long time the document was considered to be a forgery until in 1880 the lower half of the gravestone again came to light. Since then the authenticity of the marble slab has been universally recognized."
The crucial words read: "On command of Quirinius I have carried out the census in Apamea, a city-state of one hundred and seventeen thousand citizens. Likewise I was sent by Quirinius to march against the Ituraeans, and conquered their citadel on Lebanon mountain." 7 It is clear that Quirinius subjected the autonomous city-state of Apamea to the census, just as he did the vassal state of Nabataea. And it seems very probable that the campaign against the Ituraeans was connected with the work of the census. For we learn from Strabo that the Ituraean kings were allied to Apamea. These Semitic Ituraeans were a semi-nomadic, unruly, and marauding mountain folk, the kind of people who always offered the toughest resistance to the Roman census commissioners. Therefore Quirinius' census in Syria must have been accompanied in certain spots by as much bloodshed as the similar work in Gaul. In Apamea itself, and in other imperial cities, the work no doubt progressed more peacefully. But the foregoing quotation from Lactantius concerning the levies under Diocletian indicates how brutal the Romans could be when they met opposition." (26-28)
The footnotes given for the Nabataean coins and Apamea are these [note: "C.G.C" refers to "Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum"]:
* The Nabataean coins may be found in C.G.C., "Arabia, etc." (1922), p. 3 ff. The report on the tax collector under Vespasian was noted by Mommsen in Romische Geschichte (Berlin, 1885), Vol. 5, p. 479. Mommsen himself comments: "It was not unprecedented for a vassal state to be brought into the sphere of the imperial taxation. This occurred in, for example, the Alpine regions."
* See C.G.C., "Galatia, etc." (1899), p. 233 ff.; B. V. Head, Historia Nummorum (2nd ed., Oxford, 1911), p. 780; A. R. Bellinger, "The Coins," in Excavations at Dura-Europos, Final Report, Vol. 6 (New Haven, 1949), p. 86.
Finegan refers to the Handbook of Biblical Chronology, Jack Finegan (Princeton, 1964). I have the Revised edition dated 1998. In the revised edition, the point about Apamea occurs on page 305 (topic 524). Here Finegan points to the same coinage source:
"…Apamea, where the autonomy of the city-state is shown by the fact that it minted its own coins…"
And his footnote is to the same source by A. R. Bellinger.
I will have to come back to the issue about interpretation of coinage, but let's do a level set through scholarship about that Apamea, to see if the general consensus confirms interpretation of Apamea as a 'free city-state'. If it IS a 'free city-state' (to the extent any kingdom or city-state was under Roman 'oversight'), then holding a census in it is a perfect example of what might have occurred in Judea during the kingdom of Herod.
In historical context, Apamea of Syria was one of the four cities of the "Syrian Tetrapolis" (Not to be confused with the Attic cult Tetrapolis): Antioch, Laodicea, Seleucia, Apamea.
"Apamea was one of the four cities ... of the so-called Syrian Tetrapolis. It had been the former Seleucid military capital and is commonly regarded as being second only to Antioch in size and therefore one of the two or three largest in all of Syria" [David Kennedy, "Demography, the Population of Syria and the Census of Q. Aemilius Secudus", in LEVANT 38, 2006, p113]
We will have to look at a couple of different periods that impact this:
1. The pre-Roman period of the Seleucids
2. The period right after the conquest by Pompey
3. The period between Pompey and his death (transition to M. Antony)
4. The period between Antony and Augustus
5. The period during/following Augustus
The main specialist sources we will use for this are (in publication order):
· [HI:COERP] H. M. Jones, Cities of the Eastern Roman Provinces. OxfordUP:1971 (2nd Edition)
· [HI:COSS] John D. Grainger, The Cities of Seleukid Syria. OxfordUP:1990:
· [RNE] Fergus Millar, The Roman Near East 
· [HI:MEUR] Maurice Sartre, The Middle East Under Rome (Eng. Trans); HarvardUP:2001/2004.
· [HI:RSNE] Kevin Butcher, Roman Syria and the Near East (2003)
We will follow this outline:
1. General: Definitions/descriptions of civitas, city, city-state, etc
2. General: Roman policy and perspective toward cities generally
3. Regional: Outline of historical events and the impact on the cities of the region
4. Local: The specific data we have on Apamea
5. Was there some kind of punishment in civic status of Apamea prior to the census of Q
6. More analysis of the relationship of coinage and status
7. More analysis of the relationship of cities and finances (e.g. tax, tribute, civic duties)
One: Definitions/descriptions of civitas, city, city-state, polis, etc
The political language of the day was a mixture of Greek and Roman terms and concepts. Some of the terms were technical (in a legal sense) such as polis, civitas, libera, tetrarchy, and colonia. What we would call a 'city' or a 'town' would not imply legal or political status, but under Roman rule there were legal and political dimensions to the terms.
A town could have 'civic status' (civitas) which was a legal/political term. There were some basic criteria that had to be met for such status (although such status could be 'bought' by shrewd municipal rulers…!).
· "A city was a settlement that was recognized by the government as having civic status. It was an institutional concept, not a physical distinction, and therefore civic status did not necessarily have anything to do with settlement size or monumentality. Cities were both large and small. Some were wealthy, and others were comparatively poor. Some villages were as large, and therefore probably as rich, as some cities, and some villages had monuments of the sort one might expect to find in a city. So villages or towns might resemble cities, even if they did not have the same status. This means that a settlement could be city-like (for example, the late Roman 'town' of Androna in the north Syrian steppe, with its circuit walls, barracks, bath building, numerous churches and other monumental structures, and imported limestone and Proconnesian marble elements) without officially being one (Androna seems to have remained a kome - a 'village'). Villages might have elaborate systems of self-government and magistracies that resembled those of the cities (though admittedly the evidence for this is debated). Some small cities had village-sized territories, and some were nothing more than villages that had been raised to civic status. Smaller cities, although constitutionally independent, might depend economically on larger ones. This means that the resources on which a larger city could draw might include the territories of any smaller and economically weaker neighbours. Consequently a city might be easy to define in constitutional and legal terms, but more difficult to distinguish in other ways. A certain degree of monumentality, and a particular set of buildings might be expected, and these no doubt helped persuade inhabitants and visitors alike that a place deserved its civic status, but that status did not depend on them. Certain acts, such as the issue of civic coins, were confined to settlements that had the status of a polis. The right to celebrate Greek festivals was also restricted to cities. Documentary evidence (inscriptions, civic coins and so on) allows us to determine which settlements were cities, but generally these tell us little about what sort of places they were. As we shall see below, size clearly did matter: it helped determine a city's position within a hierarchy, and that position brought benefits. [HI:RSNE,98-99]
· "Civitas is the totality of the cives, just as societas is that of the socii. Its meaning is largely synonymous with populous, but it was rarely used by the Romans for their own state but instead was the official expression for all non-Roman communities, tribes and Greek poleis with republican constitutions. A people of the state is the characteristic of a civis, almost always a defined territory with a certain autonomy (suis legibus uti) and mostly an urban center… Classification was according to the legal basis of the relationship of the civitas with Rome as civitas foederata (community tied to Rome in a contract, usually in Italy, with foedus aequum or iniquum) or as a civitas sine foedere (community without contract, usually in the provinces), or according to financial obligations that resulted from a contract: stipendiaria (taxed), libera (with its own administration), immunis (tax-free). [Brill New Pauly, s.v. "Civitas"]
· "Civitates (civitas). All cives (citizens) of a larger or smaller territorial, political unit (state, city, colony, municipality) form a civitas. Hence the term is also applied to an autonomous unit itself and the Romans speak of their own state as a civitas ("nostra") as well as of other states (civitas Atheniensium) or a group of states (civitates Graecorum). The term is, however, especially used with regard to foreign civitates (civitates peregrinae) in the sense of a large group of free individuals living together and organized as a legal social unit (societas).
Civitates foederatae. Allied cities and communities in Italy and the provinces with which Rome concluded a treaty (foedus). They enjoyed certain privileges and exemption from taxation and lived according to their own laws (suis legibus uti), but they were seldom granted exemption from military service.
Civitates liberae et immunes. Free cities enjoying a high degree of self-government and exemption from taxes. The status of a civitas libera was granted by either a lex data (a charter decreed by the Roman people, the senate, or later, by the emperor) or by a treaty of alliance (foedus) with Rome (civitates liberae et foederatae), by which the autonomous position of the civitates liberae was guaranteed in a stronger way…" [Encyclopedic Dictionary of Roman Law, Adolf Berger.1952]
· "Even the broad criteria for what constituted a 'Greek city' are not entirely unambiguous: one of the central themes of this book is that the whole area was marked by large agglomerations of population which we do not always know whether to call 'cities' or not. But relevant criteria for defining a 'Greek city' would be, for instance, the exclusive use of Greek in public and communal life; the possession of a constitutional structure of local self-government, with an assembly, a council and annual magistrates; the capacity to mint coins bearing the name of the community; the possession of a territory in which there were villages (komai) which were in some sense dependent on the city; and no similar dependence on any other city. That was the point of the short-lived measure by which Septimius Severus is said to have punished Antioch for its support of Pescennius Niger in the civil war of 193/194: he is recorded by Herodian as having declared that Antioch would become a kome in the territory of Laodicea.1 [RNE,256]
The most explicit symbols of a city's
identity and status were its coins. But behind that statement lies a multitude of
problems. What is certain is that until
the second half of the third century the vast majority of the base-metal
coinage in circulation in the Greek East was produced in the name of cities.
The coins usually, though not always, showed the portrait and title of
the reigning Emperor; and they would typically list on the reverse the name of
the community and display some symbol or symbols (often temples or deities)
associated with it. … With that proviso, the list of communities
named (sometimes only for very brief periods) on coins can serve as a map of
'the Greek cities' of northern Syria: Zeugma on the Euphrates, Doliche and
Germanicia (all three at some point part of Commagene); Hierapolis, Beroea,
Cyrrhus, Chalcis, Antioch, Apamea, Seleucia
and Laodicea (which occasionally also produced silver coins); and the three
small places on the coast, Gabala, Paltos and Balaneae." [RNE,257]
· ROMAN. Civitas means the whole body of cives, or members, of any given state. Civitates are defined by Cicero (Somn. Scip. c. 3) to be “concilium coetusque hominum jure sociati.” A civitas is, therefore, properly a political community, sovereign and independent. [George Long and Benjamin Jowett, “CI′VITAS,” ed. William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1865), 291.]
From the above we see that a population center was a civitas if:
· It was actually called a civitas in the historical record, or
· Had a treaty with Rome or a decree from the emperor, or
· Issued civic coins, or
· Celebrated Greek festivals, or
· Had a territory in which there were villages (komai), and
· Was not itself dependent on another city.
One special form of alliance with Rome (and Rome-via-emperor) was the 'friend and ally". This was a form of 'foedus' (treaty) and was the basis for the term 'friendly king'. It was used of both kings and minor dynasts (i.e. tetrarchs), and was an important indicator of freedom/autonomy.
· "Besides these kingdoms and principalities that surrounded the provincia on all sides, there remained within the province itself indigenous principates, entrusted to tetrarchs who were "friends and allies of the Roman people" … The chiefs of these principates normally had the title tetrarch, a term found not only in Pliny's list, in the Gospels, and in Josephus, but also in a quite official inscription in Apamaea: L. Iulius Agrippa claims to descend from tetrarchs who were "friends and allies of the Roman people" on both his mother's and his father's side.137 The term tetrarch is the only title known for these leaders besides that of king. In stressing the fact that tet¬rarchies were viewed as kingdoms, Pliny no doubt sought to emphasize their standing as independent states even though they were friends and allies of Rome. We also know, however, that Rome reserved the royal title for its most loyal and most capable allies: in 4 B.C.E., Augustus refused to give the title to Herod's three sons and successors, remarking that time would tell whether or not they were worthy of it." [HI:MEUR,70-72]
"The major dynasts, as 'friends' of Rome,
may not have had to provide tribute at all, although at least one found it prudent to bribe Pompey to
retain his throne. At this early stage Rome had not yet established for
certain who were friends and who were enemies [HI:RSNE,22f]
· "As Rome expanded as an imperial power she encountered monarchies. Ultimately it was at the expense of these monarchies that Rome built her empire: in one way or another all of the provinces of Rome had been, wholly or partly, monarchies before the Roman conquest. But the relationships between Rome and these monarchies were not simply relationships between conqueror and conquered. There was also diplomacy and what the ancients call 'friendship'. Rome was only able to build and keep her empire because she was able to build and keep -- for some time at lease -- 'friendship' with the monarchies of her world….The monarchies under discussion are many and varied. Most significant are the differences between those monarchies of the Hellenistic type, largely situated in the east, which approximate to modern notions of monarchy and kingship, and, on the other hand, the monarchies of tribal societies which are neared to modern notions of chiefships and where, as Tacitus appreciated, the term 'king' needs qualification. How far the Romans distinguished between the two remains a problem, but it seems clear enough that, in formal terms at least, they drew fewer distinctions than we must……the full formulation by which Rome described what has become known as 'client king' was rex sociusque et amicus. .." (Braun, Rome and the Friendly King: The Character of the Client Kingship, p5, 6, 23).
Civitates were always in search of 'freedom'-- which meant various things to various constituencies. The terms used to describe their relative freedom or type of freedom were varied:
· "As for titles and privileges cities sought, like cities elsewhere, to be granted freedom, asylia (exemption from reprisals or legal pursuit), autonomy (the right to live according to its own laws), the title hiera (holy), and the rank of metropolis or even colony, a rank that could be counted as an honor once the provincials themselves began claiming it. According to Pliny the Elder, Antioch, Laodicea, and Seleucia were free cities (tn: libera) ,but the same title appeared on coins of Scythopolis under Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. Cities that continued to mint their own silver coins may have enjoyed the same privilege: Seleucia until 6 c.e. and Antioch until 38; Sidon until 44, Tyre until 58, and Laodicea until 124. However, most Syrian cities did not produce coins until later; hence we can deduce nothing from the coins regarding the cities' eventual freedom." [HI:MEUR,184]
As noted above, the most distinctive trait of a civitas was its right to mint civic coins. But this was--under Roman domination--a 'grant of authority' by the Roman state or (mostly) the Emperor. Thus this coinage--being allowed or prohibited--generally implies an autonomous or semi-autonomous civitas (city-state).
· "As in all the provinces of the eastern Mediterranean, cities retained the right to issue their own coins with the consent of the emperor; these have been called "imperial Greeks" since the publication of a seminal article by T. B. Jones, but more recent scholars correctly prefer the title provincial coins, placing them on the same level as coins issued by the provincial koina and other groups. These were generally bronze, rarely silver. Most of the issues were sporadic, sometimes in quite small quantities, and they peaked under the Severi in the sense that a record number of mints is attested during that period. … Only the largest cities on the Syrian coast were able to continue minting silver coins as late as the middle of the first century c.e.: Seleucia until 6 c.e., Antioch until 38, Sidon to 43-44 (but only in small numbers), Tyre until 66 (if in fact the issues attributed to that city up to the first century c.e. actually came from Tyre and not from Jerusalem), and Laodicea until 124. Once silver minting ceased in these workshops, there were only occasional issues, notably during the reigns of Caracalla and Macrinus. In northern Syria, these civic issues, which existed only by imperial privilege, began to display portraits of emperors quite late—starting only in 4-3 B.C.e. in Apamaea, in 6 c.e. in Seleucia, and during the reign of Caligula in Laodicea. By contrast, imperial images were featured regularly on the coins issued in the cities of the Decapolis." [HI:MEUR,254]
Scholars routinely accept the principle that the beginning of coinage is a marker of freedom for a city. The absence of coinage does not argue the contrary (since not all cities wanted the cost/load of minting), but the presence of coinage is used as evidence of freedom. Sample statements include:
· "The policy of urbanization was carried on by Epiphanes' successors; Cyrrhus, for instance, began to strike coins with the royal effigy under Alexander Balas." [HI:COERP, 253]
· "Most of the coastal cities at this time obtained formal recognition of their freedom. Sidon and Tripolis inaugurated new eras in 111 B.C., Seleucia in 108 B.C., Ascalon in 104 B.C.; Berytus followed some years later in 80 B.C. Gabala seems also to have started a new era about this time; coins of Gabala of the early first century dated in the year 28 survive. These eras certainly represent the formal grant of freedom… Other cities began to issue autonomous coins without starting a new era, and therefore probably without having been formally freed, for instance, Orthosia (dating by the Seleucid era) and Epiphaneia (dating by the Aradian era). Larissa revolted from Apamea—the war of independence is described in terms of ridicule by Poseidonius—and began to issue her own coinage in 85 B.C. (by the Seleucid era). … It [Damascus] obtained under them a very belated municipal independence and struck coins under the name of Demetrias bearing the effigies of these kings." [HI:COERP, 255]
· "He punished it [Arad] by freeing Balaneae, which began to coin once more under him… Marathus, on the mainland opposite Arad, and Paltus, north of Balaneae, were also probably freed at this time from Aradian dominion; Marathus began to coin early in the reign of Augustus, Paltus not till much later; both used the Aradian era" [HI:COERP, 261-2]
· "For the cities of the Phoenician coast and the tetrapolis Pliny does not use the official sources, save that he mentions the Leucadii, that is Balaneae, by mistake in the list of 'the rest of Syria'. The coins here fill the gap. Of the Phoenician cities Arad and Marathus, Balaneae (under the style of Leucas) and Gabala all coined during the early principate; Paltus did not begin to issue till the reign of Septimius Severus. All four cities of the tetrapolis coined during the early principate. Antioch, Laodicea, and Seleucia were, according to Pliny, free cities. On the upper Orontes, Larissa, Epiphaneia, Arethusa, Emesa, and Laodicea by Libanus and, in the mountains west of Emesa, Mariamme all figured in the official register; Seleucia ad Belum may have done so—it is in Pliny's list of Coele Syria. Of these cities only Laodicea and Emesa coined, and even these only from the latter part of the second century. The mention of Emesa incidentally fixes the date of the official register, for it was until 30 B.C. ruled by Iamblichus, son of Samsigeramus, and in 20 B.C. the dynasty was restored and lasted till A.D. 72 at least. Emesa would thus have been registered as a city only during the first ten years of Augustus' reign. [HI:COERP, 263]
· "Chalcis when it began to coin used an era dating from A.D. 92, which implies that it was freed from a dynast—perhaps Aristobulus, son of Herod— at that date. [HI:COERP, 264]
Freedom for a city could be 'sought with money' (e.g. bought) by its leadership (from either Rome or the pre-Roman Seleucid rulers), or argued for on the basis of its organization:
· "There may also have been a complex interplay of personal relations, balances of power, and even financial interests: we can recall that even Pompey himself preferred to recognize the Ituraean brigand chieftain Ptolemy, son of Mennaios, in exchange for one thousand talents, rather than annex his territory. How many local leaders, installed on their own initiative during the time of the last Seleucids, bought their political survival in the same way? We shall probably never know." [HI:MEUR,70-72]
· "Now the author of the second book of Maccabees states that the Jews paid a very large sum for the privilege of having Jerusalem recognized a city. This suggests that Epiphanes may have thought that the sale of charters to towns was a more politic way of raising money than the seizure of temple treasures. The policy also appealed to his rather theatrical philhellenism; the grant of the two cities of Tarsus and Mopsuhestia to his concubine Antiochis suggests that he did not really hold city autonomy very sacred.26
· Be that as it may, his policy was warmly welcomed by his sub-jects. He was only giving official sanction to a movement which had long been in progress. The beginnings of hellenization date from before the Macedonian conquest of Syria. [HI:COERP,248f]
· "What is clear in two well-known cases is that an imperial decision to grant the status of city to an existing community could be a response to initiative from below. Hence the letter, in Latin, addressed to a governor by an emperor whose name is lost, agreeing that Tymandus in Pisidia has fulfilled the criteria for achieving city status; in this case the availability of sufficient persons (fifty, initially) to act as decuriones (members of a local senate), pass decrees, and elect magistrates." [Millar, RGWE]
The three levels of 'free entities' were the client-kingdom, the tetrarchy, and the city-state. Tetrarchies were dynastic as were the client-kingdoms, but the city-state (civitas) was under some form of constitution of the people. All were 'free' in various ways and levels, although they were still under the authority of Rome (who could depose kings, and turn provinces into client-kingdoms).
· "Inevitably the spread of Greek culture brought with it the spread of Greek political ideas, and it became the ambition of the native communities to convert themselves into republican city states on the Greek model. The city had long been the regular political unit in many parts of Syria, and the germs of republican institutions had existed before the Macedonian conquest. In these cities the only change required was the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a republican constitution, and this change had already taken place in Tyre and Sidon about the middle of the third century, where eras of 'the people of Tyre' and 'the people of Sidon' mark the establishment of democracy. At Bambyce too the priestly dynasty had been deposed by Seleucus Nicator, and the town organized as a city under the style of Hierapolis." [HI:COERP, 250f]
· "Beroea, Hierapolis, Chalcis, Cyrrhus, and Zeugma from the reign of Trajan, Antioch on the Euphrates from that of Marcus Aurelius; Europus issued no coins. Except for Beroea we cannot be certain that any of them had city rank in the early principate; they may have been still, as in the early first century B.C., ruled by dynasts, and have been included among 'the seventeen tetrarchies with barbarian names distributed into kingdoms' which Pliny found in the official register” [HI:COERP, 264]
· "In addition to these names Pliny quotes from the official register many others which, to the best of our knowledge, never were cities. Such are the Gazetae, the Gindareni, the Gabeni, the Hylatae, the Penelenitae, the Tardytenses. He also mentions besides the seventeen unnamed tetrarchies the tetrarchy of the Nazerini, two of the Tigranucometae (to accept the current emendation), and another called Mammisea. These are certainly from the official list; more doubtful are the races of the Ituraeans and their neighbours the Baethaemi, which may be derived from a literary source. It thus appears that northern Syria was by no means entirely occupied by the territories of the cities; a large area was occupied by village and tribal communities and small principalities. Unfortunately very few of these can be located definitely. …The two tetrarchies of the Tigranocometae were perhaps the Arab tribes which Tigranes planted on the eastern slopes of mount Amanus. The tetrarchy of the Nazerini is stated by Pliny to have adjoined the territory of Apamea; the Nazerini must therefore be the ancestors of the modern Nusairi who inhabit the mountains behind Laodicea. " [HI:COERP, 264]
Two: Roman policy and perspective toward cities generally
Rome was very pro-civitas. They promoted civitas status consistently--largely for practical reasons. When the moved into border countries, they were eager to strengthen/use the city-states to be their buffer against foreign invasions, a buffer against the power of the kings/dynasts, and in some cases, to reduce the power of the Roman provincial governors. Some level of freedom, autonomy, and self-rule was necessary to the stability of the empire.
Throughout our period Rome was very pro-city, and the cities they dealt with were often 'upgraded' to various levels of autonomy.
· It is impossible to know if Pompeius had decided on his approach to Syria before he arrived, or whether he made up his mind once he got there. During the previous year he had been busy establishing cities in Pontos in place of the kingdom of Mithridates, and he had reconciled many of the pirates to the loss of their freedom by placing them in cities. And he was a Roman, with a built-in prejudice for cities as against kings. There were plenty of cities in Syria. Yet only one of those cities had ever demonstrated any eagerness for autonomy, and a king had been proved to be necessary for the cities to survive. So, if the cities were to be presented with their unsought autonomy, they had also to be protected against the manifold enemies around them. The kings in and around Syria had demonstrated their willingness, indeed their eagerness, to acquire the lands and riches of the cities. They could scarcely be trusted to refrain from continuing their attacks once Pompeius had gone home. [HI:COSS,192-193]
· The distinction between Roman rule through indirect control of client rulers and direct control of the cities is to some degree misleading. Both forms of rule were indirect, because Rome was unable to dominate her empire through intensive direct government. There were simply too few state representatives to perform such a task, so she resorted to a form of control using local political entities, great and small. Local governments were expected to maintain order in the areas under their jurisdiction, arrange for the collection of taxes, and oversee the production and distribution of foodstuffs in their territories. Of all forms of local government, the Romans had a marked preference for the city state, and in the eastern Mediterranean the model for this was the Greek polis. Effectively the polis was the definition of a city. By declaring the cities of Syria 'free', Pompey linked the notion of the Greek-style city state with Roman rule in the new province from the very beginning. Cities in particular were fundamental to the structure of Roman power and the fabric of provincial space." [HI:RSNE,98-99]
· "Pompey did, however, favour the cities as against the dynasts inasmuch as he generally freed cities which had fallen into the power of dynasts. This policy was based on both sentimental and practical motives. On the one hand, Pompey fancied himself as a missionary of Greek civilization; he was carrying forward the traditional policy of the Roman republic, which had always been the friend of free peoples against kings, and he was himself a second Alexander, a founder of cities and a promoter of Hellenism." [HI:COERP, 258]
Of course, this position of 'pro-civitas' was also a strategy--to keep the larger dynasts and kings from becoming too powerful via consolidation of the individual cities into their kingdoms. The altruism of 'we want people to be free of kings' is as much a pro-people statement as it is an anti-king one! Plus, in exchange for their 'status quo' autonomy, they would be the true practical infrastructure of the province (e.g. 'outsourcing' of day-to-day workloads).
· "Pompey's settlement was based, on the whole, on the status quo. He naturally made no attempt to revive the centralized administration of the Seleucids, which had long since ceased to exist and which was quite unsuited to a Roman province. Nor did he try to partition all Syria into city states, as he had done in Pontus; many parts of Syria were too backward for republican government, and it was better to leave the simple villagers and wild tribesmen of the mountains and deserts under the authority of dynasts whom they respected than to attach them to cities which would be too weak to control them, or to convert them into republican communities which would soon break down. Pompey did, however, favour the cities as against the dynasts inasmuch as he generally freed cities which had fallen into the power of dynasts. … … On the practical side, the freeing of cities was a convenient way of weakening the native kingdoms which had grown over-powerful, and in general cities were better subjects of the Roman people than dynasts. Dynasts intrigued and fought against one another, died leaving disputed successions or heirs who were minors, and in general required constant supervision; cities went on forever and were generally content to maintain their privileges. [HI:COERP, 258]
· "When he was deciding the future of Syria, Pompey was pressured on two fronts, neither of which could be easily overlooked. First, Rome realized that it could not install an efficient administration in the newly conquered territory through the efforts of its agents alone. The province of Asia, created in 129, had remained notoriously under-administered, and the creation of Bithynia, Cilicia, Pontus, and now Syria, within just a few years, worsened the problems of governance. Moreover, Rome's custom was not to increase the number of its representatives, but rather to depend upon local communities, in particular the Greek city-states—assuming there were any. Second, many of the practices adopted in Syria during the long decline of the Seleucid monarchy could not be easily changed from one day to the next: dynasties, city-states, and emirs had all grown accustomed to an autonomy that might prove advantageous to Rome in the long run. In a sense, the second difficulty could be used to alleviate the first.
· Indeed, the city-states of Syria formed the very backbone of the province; these were located in the former Seleukis and Phoenicia, plus there were a few groups of more or less isolated city-states in the Transjordan region or on the Palestinian coast. All the others remained in the hands of client kings. In the province itself (which, owing to this dispersion, did not constitute a single geographic unit), Pompey nurtured the development of the region's real infrastructure, the city-states, to fill the gap left by the almost nonexistent provincial administration. We have seen that many cities were emancipated during the long crisis in the Seleucid kingdom. Pompey did not reverse this situation, and it may have been during this period that some city-states saw their territory increase (Arados, for example, may have grown at the expense of Baitokaike). Many city-states had suffered from the Seleucid wars, from banditry, or from the Hasmonaean expansion, or even from all three at once. It was important to help them rebuild. [HI:MEUR,42]
So, Pompey's strategy was to strengthen the city-states, increasing their autonomy (especially freedom from the dynasts), and protecting them from those dynasts going forward. This was the reason for the creation of the provincial structure in Syria. It was to be a 'peacekeeping officer' to enforce the decentralization required for this to work.
Grainger describes the situation and outcome:
"It is impossible to know if Pompeius had decided on his approach to Syria before he arrived, or whether he made up his mind once he got there. During the previous year he had been busy establishing cities in Pontos in place of the kingdom of Mithridates, and he had reconciled many of the pirates to the loss of their freedom by placing them in cities. And he was a Roman, with a built-in prejudice for cities as against kings. There were plenty of cities in Syria. Yet only one of those cities had ever demonstrated any eagerness for autonomy, and a king had been proved to be necessary for the cities to survive. So, if the cities were to be presented with their unsought autonomy, they had also to be protected against the manifold enemies around them. The kings in and around Syria had demonstrated their willingness, indeed their eagerness, to acquire the lands and riches of the cities. They could scarcely be trusted to refrain from continuing their attacks once Pompeius had gone home. [HI:COSS,192-193]
"This left Pompeius with the need to establish the cities and principalities as autonomous states, and, since they were incapable in most cases of maintaining their authority alone, they had to be protected. "This now had to be done by Rome, since no other authority had the military and political power required, and that in turn meant the creation of a province, with a governor and an army. And, given a province, the various constituent parts of Syria would have to be reduced toa fairly uniform size, with no single entity being predominant over the rest. … When Pompeius set off southwards through Syria, therefore, dealing out justice right and left, the cities received the most favoured treatment, at least in Pompeius' view. The five great cities were given autonomy, or had their existing autonomy confirmed. Seleukeia-in-Pieria was granted autonomy, Pompeius apparently remarking that the city was too strong to be attacked.96 Maybe it really was too strong, but there is no sign of Pompeius wishing to attack it, nor would there be any reason for him to do so, unless perhaps it had continued to stand by the Seleukids. But Antiochos XIII had been the city's man, and he soon vanished, murdered at last, it seems, by Samsigeramos, to whom his usefulness was now ended.97 So Seleukeia's autonomy was confirmed, this time with perhaps rather more sincerity than the kings had displayed. Antioch, inevitably, became formally autonomous, and adopted a Pompeian era.98 Apamea's fort was razed by Pompeius as he passed, and this is clearly a sign of increased local authority for the city,99 but it is also a sign of the essential impotence of the city as compared with either a royal or a Roman dynast. Laodikeia-ad-Mare and Arados were both secure and strong, and both had their autonomy confirmed, by implication if not by an actual known grant. Arados, uncharacteristically, was sufficiently grateful to Pom¬peius to fall foul of Caesar fifteen years later. [HI:COSS,194-195]
"Again, there were both cities and principalities to deal with, while the sheer size of Apamea's original territory meant that the independent fragments of it were more numerous. The Gabeni, the Mariamnitai, the Tardytenses, and probably other fragments were in this area. The fact that they were in Pliny's list means that Pompeius recognised their effective autonomy. Samsigeramos was restricted to a defined territory which included the urban centres of Emesa and Arethusa, but his rural desert lands could not be so easily defined.108 The territory of Arados was unaffected, which means that Pompeius confirmed it. The overall result was a patchwork of varying political entities, kings, tetrarchs, cities, and autonomous village communities. [HI:COSS,197]
Some of these small client-states were tetrarchies, with the chief leader being a 'friend and ally' of the Roman people--the same term used for client kings.
"Besides these kingdoms and principalities that surrounded the provincia on all sides, there remained within the province itself indigenous principates, entrusted to tetrarchs who were "friends and allies of the Roman people"—for example, the tetrarchy of Dexandros, an Apamaean Greek who was fortunate enough to have a principality carved out for him in the vicinity of his native city. The principalities of Lebanon and the Anti-Lebanon (Chalcis of Lebanon, Area, Abila of Lysanias) were among the largest, but there were others in the mountain and steppe regions. Pliny names several in the Alouite mountains (Jebel Ansarie), such as the tetrarchy of the Nazareni, separated from Apamaea by the Orontes, the two tetrarchies of the Granucometai, and that of Mammisea; and he reports that there were seventeen other "tetrarchies divided into kingdoms and bearing barbarian names," probably in the mountainous regions of northern and central Syria. A more precise geography of the principates would probably enable us to understand better why these kingdoms were maintained, but Pliny does not see fit to name them or to situate them, even roughly. … The chiefs of these principates normally had the title tetrarch, a term found not only in Pliny's list, in the Gospels, and in Josephus, but also in a quite official inscription in Apamaea: L. Iulius Agrippa claims to descend from tetrarchs who were "friends and allies of the Roman people" on both his mother's and his father's side.137 The term tetrarch is the only title known for these leaders besides that of king. In stressing the fact that tetrarchies were viewed as kingdoms, Pliny no doubt sought to emphasize their standing as independent states even though they were friends and allies of Rome. We also know, however, that Rome reserved the royal title for its most loyal and most capable allies: in 4 B.C.E., Augustus refused to give the title to Herod's three sons and successors, remarking that time would tell whether or not they were worthy of it." [HI:MEUR,70-72]
But if we had to describe the actions of the Roman authorities relative to the freedom and status of the cities, as they passed through in conquest, re-conquest, or attempts to stabilize the region, we would basically use to phrases: "no real change" and "increasing autonomy". The literature consistently points out that the Roman authorities maintained the status quo, with only minor 'interruptions' in dynastic 'dreams'! Many of the larger cities (like Apamea) were already free before Rome came, and most of them saw their status affirmed or even elevated (sometimes with larger territory).
To see this clearly, we can step through the historical 'actors on stage'…
Three: Outline of historical events and the impact on the cities of the region
Before Rome: As the Seleucid empire crumbled, the cities in Syria declared their independence from it, and Syria devolved into a loose collection of independent city-states. Some of this was actually a royal initiative of Antiochus IV Ephiphanes (175-164 BC), and some was just 'attrition' due to the civil wars.
Here is the account given by Jones (long quote):
"It is also very difficult to say how many of these foundations were genuine cities, possessing autonomy and a territory. A papyrus of the middle of the third century speaks of 'the priests, the magistrates, and the other citizens' at Seleucia, and 'the priests and the boards of magistrates and all the young men of the gymnasium' at Antioch. Further light has been thrown on the constitution of the cities and their relation to the royal power by a recently discovered letter of Seleucus IV to Seleucia in Pieria, and a decree of the city, dated 186 B.C., in response to the letter, granting the citizenship to Amphilochus, one of the king's 'honoured friends', and erecting a statue of him sent by the king. These documents show that the city was subject to a royal governor; the decree is passed by the people 'on the proposal of Theophilus the governor and the magistrates', and even so trivial a matter as the choice of a place for the statue is to be decided by the governor and magistrates. The importance of the governor's position is emphasized in the address of Seleucus' letter, 'To Theophilus and the magistrates and city of the Seleuceis in Pieria.' The city makes no attempt to conceal its subjection to the royal power; the preamble of the decree begins 'Whereas an order had been received from the king concerning Amphilochus, one of his honoured friends' and then rather lamely recapitulates the other motives for the decree—the desire of Amphilochus to settle in the city, his goodwill towards it, and so forth. But the inscription does prove that Seleucia enjoyed formal autonomy, possessing an assembly which could pass decrees and magistrates who could execute them. It also proves incidentally that, as might have been expected, the citizens were divided into demes and tribes; Amphilochus is registered in the deme Olympieus and the tribe Laodicis. Apamea is known to have possessed a territory in the second century; Tryphon is said to have been born in 'Casiana, a fort in the land of the Apamenes', and Strabo says that Larissa, Casiana, Megara, and Apollonia 'used (in Tryphon's day) to be attached to Apamea'. [HI:COERP,246f]
"Under Antiochus Epiphanes the urbanization of Syria received a marked impetus. Antiochus has the reputation of being a keen philhellene and a missionary of Greek culture. It may be doubted, however, whether his sole motive in granting autonomy to so many cities was his desire to promote Hellenism. The Seleucid kings had been in chronic financial difficulties since the treaty of Apamea, as the very impolitic attempts of Seleucus IV and Antio¬chus IV to seize the temple treasure of Jerusalem and Elymais show. Now the author of the second book of Maccabees states that the Jews paid a very large sum for the privilege of having Jerusalem recognized a city. This suggests that Epiphanes may have thought that the sale of charters to towns was a more politic way of raising money than the seizure of temple treasures. The policy also appealed to his rather theatrical philhellenism; the grant of the two cities of Tarsus and Mopsuhestia to his concubine Antiochis suggests that he did not really hold city autonomy very sacred.26
Be that as it may, his policy was warmly welcomed by his sub-jects. He was only giving official sanction to a movement which had long been in progress. The beginnings of hellenization date from before the Macedonian conquest of Syria. [HI:COERP,248f]
"Inevitably the spread of Greek culture brought with it the spread of Greek political ideas, and it became the ambition of the native communities to convert themselves into republican city states on the Greek model. The city had long been the regular political unit in many parts of Syria, and the germs of republican institutions had existed before the Macedonian conquest. In these cities the only change required was the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a republican constitution, and this change had already taken place in Tyre and Sidon about the middle of the third century, where eras of 'the people of Tyre' and 'the people of Sidon' mark the establishment of democracy. At Bambyce too the priestly dynasty had been deposed by Seleucus Nicator, and the town organized as a city under the style of Hierapolis.
The more important of the native cities and of the Greek colonies received additional privileges from Epiphanes. We have unfortunately no literary record of what they were, save that it was Antiochus Epiphanes who built the council-chamber of Antioch. This can hardly mean that it was he who first granted councils to the cities of the tetrapolis; there is it is true no earlier evidence of city councils—the papyrus of 246 B.C. mentions only the boards of magistrates, and the decree of 186 B.C. speaks only of the magistrates and the people—but other Seleucid foundations, such as Antioch in Persis, already possessed councils under Antiochus III. It was more probably what would nowadays be described as a 'gesture', and implies the grant of wider autonomy to the city authorities. The only privilege of which we can be certain is the right of coinage. Antiochus gave this in two degrees: some cities were allowed to issue coins bearing the royal effigy only, some had to add the royal superscription. In the former and more privileged class were Antioch, Apamea, Seleucia, and Loadicea, and three native cities, Hierapolis, Tripolis, and Ptolemais, renamed Antioch in Ptolemais. In the lower class were the Phoenician cities of Tyre, Sidon, Byblus, Ascalon, and Berytus, which had been renamed, probably by Seleucus IV, Laodicea in Phoenice. Arad, which had long been a free city, also altered the style of her coinage at the beginning of Epiphanes' reign, inscribing her name in full instead of using a monogram; the motive of this change must have been a desire to assert her superiority over her sister Phoenician cities. [HI:COERP, 250f]
"Antiochus Epiphanes thus promoted, or at any rate, sanctioned, for as I have shown the initiative seems to have come from below, the decentralization of his kingdom. The new cities seem to have possessed territorial jurisdiction; this is implied by the decree of Demetrius I declaring 'the city of the Hierosoly-mites to be holy and inviolable and free as far as its boundaries'. They still paid the same taxes to the royal treasury that their districts had hitherto paid—these are specified at length in Demetrius' decree, the salt-tax, the crown-tax, the third of the crops, the half of the fruit-tree crops, the poll-tax. It is possible that these taxes were now collected by the city authorities, but the survival of the office of 'strategus and meridarch', that is, military and civil governor of the district, implies that the central government still maintained an active control over the administration of the city territory.32
The policy of urbanization was carried on by Epiphanes' successors; Cyrrhus, for instance, began to strike coins with the royal effigy under Alexander Balas. The later Seleucid kings had, however, little choice in the matter. During the second half of the second century the dynasty was weakened by almost chronic civil war between rival claimants to the throne. Each successive struggle involved a corresponding diminution of the royal power; rival candidates outbid one another in offering privileges to the various communities in the hope of winning their support, and in the general confusion cities declared their independence and fought and conquered one another, and in the more backward regions dynasts arose and began to carve out kingdoms for themselves. Syria thus eventually became a mosaic of kingdoms, principalities, and free cities, while the kings became little better than rival condottieri.33
"The prolonged civil war between Antiochus VIII Grypus and Antiochus IX Cyzicenus, which dragged on from 116 to 96 B.C., led to further disintegration. Most of the coastal cities at this time obtained formal recognition of their freedom. Sidon and Tripolis inaugurated new eras in 111 B.C., Seleucia in 108 B.C., Ascalon in 104 B.C.; Berytus followed some years later in 80 B.C. Gabala seems also to have started a new era about this time; coins of Gabala of the early first century dated in the year 28 survive. These eras certainly represent the formal grant of freedom; in one case, that of Seleucia, we possess the actual letter of the king, Antiochus VIII probably, announcing to the magistrates, council, and people of the city, which was already 'holy and inviolable', that he had granted it freedom, and enclosing copies of similar letters which he had sent to Ptolemy, king of Cyprus, and the Roman senate. Other cities began to issue autonomous coins without starting a new era, and therefore probably without having been formally freed, for instance, Orthosia (dating by the Seleucid era) and Epiphaneia (dating by the Aradian era). Larissa revolted from Apamea—the war of independence is described in terms of ridicule by Poseidonius—and began to issue her own coinage in 85 B.C. (by the Seleucid era). Almost the only city which still recognized the Seleucids was Damascus, where Demetrius III and Antiochus XII still managed to maintain themselves down to about 83 B.C. It obtained under them a very belated municipal independence and struck coins under the name of Demetrias bearing the effigies of these kings.36 [HI:COERP, 255]
Pompey: The advent, conquest, and programs of Pompey actually accelerated the independence of the cities--in keeping with the political necessity for Rome's position. Most of the time it was a simple "preserve the status quo" (i.e. the autonomy of the city-states vis-à-vis the monarchs, and relative political power relations) but in some cases it was an expansion of freedom and privilege of the city-states.
"Pompey's settlement was based, on the whole, on the status quo. He naturally made no attempt to revive the centralized administration of the Seleucids, which had long since ceased to exist and which was quite unsuited to a Roman province. Nor did he try to partition all Syria into city states, as he had done in Pontus; many parts of Syria were too backward for republican government, and it was better to leave the simple villagers and wild tribesmen of the mountains and deserts under the authority of dynasts whom they respected than to attach them to cities which would be too weak to control them, or to convert them into republican communities which would soon break down. Pompey did, however, favour the cities as against the dynasts inasmuch as he generally freed cities which had fallen into the power of dynasts. [HI:COERP, 258]
"In northern Syria the details of Pompey's settlement are not known. Josephus' history does not cover this area, and we have thus only scattered notes to go upon. Pompey recognized the freedom of Seleucia in Pieria, and seems to have conferred some benefit on Gabala, which adopted a new era at this time. He executed Silas the Jew, but does not seem to have suppressed his principality, Lysias, which still survived in Caesar's time. Cicero twits Pompey with his friendship with Samsigeramus, who retained his principality of Emesa and Arethusa in Caesar's day. His neighbours Alchaedamnus of the Rhambaei, and Gambarus and Themella were also still in power at that time. Pompey also confirmed Antiochus of Commagene in his kingdom and presented him with a piece of Mesopotamia. In general Pompey seems thus to have preserved the status quo unaltered. [HI:COERP, 261-2]
"In the spring of 63 BC Pompey left Antioch and marched south with an army, extorting money, executing 'tyrants', and reducing the power of some of the native principalities. He seems to have posed as the champion of the Greek-style city states, 'liberating' them from the rule of tyrants and dynasts. … Pompey had not greatly altered the political makeup of Syria, although the fact of Roman rule now meant that the status of a community was decided by Rome rather than through the community's independent interactions with its neighbours. The more powerful could negotiate better deals, but Roman control of status, favours and obligations could not be challenged except through open rebellion. For the city states, 'freedom' presumably came at a cost, in the form of tribute to Rome. The major dynasts, as 'friends' of Rome, may not have had to provide tribute at all, although at least one found it prudent to bribe Pompey to retain his throne. At this early stage Rome had not yet established for certain who were friends and who were enemies [HI:RSNE,22f; Note: the 'presumably' word shows that there is no read data to support the statement that 'free cities' had to pay tribute--as the definition of civitas libera MEANS!]
Caesar: After the death of Pompey in 49 BC, Caesar visited Syria, but made very little changes, most of which were for INCREASED freedom for cities.
· "Pompey seems thus to have preserved the status quo unaltered. For a complete picture of northern Syria we must go down to the beginning of Augustus' reign. Conditions had probably changed very little in the interval. Caesar freed Antioch and probably Laodicea on Sea, which assumed the surname of Julia; he also apparently gave additional privileges to Gabala." [HI:COERP, 261-2]
· "Caesar toured the east shortly after Pompey's death. The civil war was over, but the Roman world was still polarized into pro- and anti-Caesarian factions. The great general honoured cities such as Laodicea and Antioch, and his compacts with local dynasts requested that they should consider it their duty to safeguard Roman interests in Syria. But which Roman interests, given that there were two camps? … The republicans also initiated negotiations with the Parthian king, sending an envoy, Quintus Aetius Labienus, to the Parthian court to ask for military assistance. Cassius withdrew most of the Roman troops to join the republican forces in Macedonia for the final confrontation with Caesar's supporters. The defeat of the republican forces at Philippi in 42 led to a temporary peace in the Roman empire, but the two principal beneficiaries of the victory at Philippi, Mark Antony and Caesar's heir Octavian, soon began to quarrel. Antony placed two of the defeated republican legions in Syria, which, as it turned out, was an error of judgement." [HI:RSNE,36- 38]
The Bassus incident at Apamea: During this civil war in the empire, a supporter of one of the anti-Caesar factions rebelled and based his rebellion in Apamea. He used the fortress of Apamea to successfully resist huge provincial armies and was able to step down gracefully. Apamea's big fortress (of Seleucid 'elephant' fame) had been destroyed by Pompey twenty years earlier, but apparently another one had been built. But there is no evidence that the city was destroyed or affected negatively in any way from this.
· "In the summer of 46 BC a rumour circulated that Caesar was dead, and this was sufficient to provoke a renegade Pompeian called Caecilius Bassus to demonstrate where his sympathies lay. In the aftermath of Pompey's defeat Bassus had fled to Tyre, a city which he now seized. From there he managed to win over the Syrian legions and engineered the murder of Caesar's nephew Sextus, who had been appointed governor. Bassus gained the support of local dynasts and the Parthians. He established his headquarters in the fortress of Apamea and resisted Caesarian attempts to overthrow him. In 44 the governors of two provinces in Asia Minor arrived with huge armies and besieged Bassus at Apamea, without success. But in the same year Julius Caesar was assassinated in Rome, and his 'republican' murderers began organizing their armies for a struggle against Caesar's supporters. One of these republicans, Gaius Cassius Longinus, arrived in Syria in 43. He had governed the province after the death of Crassus, and may have been able to make use of old connections there to secure his power base. Cassius won over both rebel and Caesarian legions and Bassus was able to step down without losing face." [HI:RSNE,36- 38]
The Parthian Invasion of 40BC: After the defeat of the republican armies, two of those legions (now demoralized) were assigned to Syria. In this post-conflict vacuum, Parthia arose again--under the leadership of republican Roman officers--and captured Syria--including Apamea--and gave THEIR version of 'autonomy' to some of the cities--including Apamea
"But in the same year Julius Caesar was assassinated in Rome, and his 'republican' murderers began organizing their armies for a struggle against Caesar's supporters. One of these republicans, Gaius Cassius Longinus, arrived in Syria in 43. He had governed the province after the death of Crassus, and may have been able to make use of old connections there to secure his power base. Cassius won over both rebel and Caesarian legions and Bassus (tn: from the above incident at Apamea] was able to step down without losing face. The republicans also initiated negotiations with the Parthian king, sending an envoy, Quintus Aetius Labienus, to the Parthian court to ask for military assistance. --- Cassius withdrew most of the Roman troops to join the republican forces in Macedonia for the final confrontation with Caesar's supporters. The defeat of the republican forces at Philippi in 42 led to a temporary peace in the Roman empire, but the two principal beneficiaries of the victory at Philippi, Mark Antony and Caesar's heir Octavian, soon began to quarrel. Antony placed two of the defeated republican legions in Syria, which, as it turned out, was an error of judgement. At the Parthian court, Cassius' envoy Labienus and King Orodes decided to launch an invasion of Syria, to be led by the Roman commander and the king's son Pacorus. They overwhelmed the republican legions (some of whom deserted), and while Labienus led an expedition west into Asia Minor, Pacorus took his armies south, accepting the submission of Syrian states as he went. The Roman province was lost to the Parthians (40 BC), who now acquired their outlet on the Mediterranean. --- Tangible evidence of the invasion is sparse. Coins issued at Antioch and Apamea during the Parthian occupation show that the cities abandoned new dating systems which had been adopted under the Romans and reverted to dating by the Seleucid era (which they had used prior to the Roman annexation). … Overall the rapid disintegration of Roman control illustrates the precarious nature of their rule in Syria at this time; but the subsequent collapse of Parthian domination does not suggest that the invaders were any more secure. Antony had problems dealing with the increasingly hostile machinations of Octavian, but in 39 he sent a deputy, Publius Ventidius Bassus, with an army to recover the east. Ventidius' campaign was remarkably successful; in the engagements Labienus and Pacorus were killed, and the Parthian army was forced to withdraw. The Roman commander then set about restoring Roman control of the Syrian province. This proved to be a complex task; many states and dynasts now had reason to oppose Rome, being either Parthian appointees, such as the Hasmonaean Antigonus in Judaea, or had conspicuously aided the Parthians, such as the Phoenician island state of Aradus, and Antiochus I, king of Commagene. [HI:RSNE,89-90]
Antony: Although Antony did not seem to have the management savvy of either Pompey or the later Augustus, he nevertheless continued preserving the status quo and continued growth the number and strength of the free cities.
· "We have seen how a network of client states was gradually built up, beginning under Pompey, and how Antony maintained and expanded upon this system, as he had done in Anatolia, in order to govern the less Hellenized areas of Syria.134 After Antony's final land grants, the province of Syria proper found itself surrounded on all sides by client states that separated it from the other Roman provinces" [HI:MEUR,70-72]
· "Syria enjoyed a number of years of peace under Antony's government. However, the new ruler of the east pursued policies that led to profound territorial changes throughout the Near East. Antony apparently sought to retain as much of the system of indirect administration as he could, by means of a network of client princes that had proved itself in Anatolia and Asia Minor as well as in Syria. Not only did he leave in place existing principalities, such as those of Malichos I of Nabataea, Sampsigeramos of Emesa and Arethusa, Tarcondimotos in the Amanus region, and Ptolemy's son Lysanias in the Anti-Lebanon, but he contributed to further partitioning as well." [HI:MEUR,52]
· "Since its creation by Pompey, the province of Syria had undergone only a few minor changes, resulting from Antony's gifts to some of his clients; for example, two cities of the Decapolis, Gadara and Hippos, were given to Herod. For the most part, however, all of the former Seleukis, as well as Phoenicia from Arados to Dora, Damascus, and the Transjordan cities of the Decapolis, continued to be part of the province. Its territories were fragmented because a few minor client states remained, some in close proximity to the most urbanized sectors, and they governed populations that were only slightly Hellenized, if at all, and not very urban." [HI:MEUR,55-56]
Octavian/Augustus: The Syrians generally supported Antony (a logical choice since was de facto their quasi-rule), so when Octavian visit Syria after the defeat of Antony we might have expected some reprisals--but they are few and far between and were mostly reversed shortly thereafter. In fact, there seem to have been several cases of 'enhanced' freedom.
· "The only change recorded of Augustus himself is the deposition of Alexander the son of Samsigeramus. Antioch and Seleucia of the tetrapolis adopted the Actian era. [HI:COERP, 261-2]
· "For the cities of the Phoenician coast and the tetrapolis Pliny does not use the official sources, save that he mentions the Leucadii, that is Balaneae, by mistake in the list of 'the rest of Syria'. The coins here fill the gap. Of the Phoenician cities Arad and Marathus, Balaneae (under the style of Leucas) and Gabala all coined during the early principate; Paltus did not begin to issue till the reign of Septimius Severus. All four cities of the tetrapolis coined during the early principate. Antioch, Laodicea, and Seleucia were, according to Pliny, free cities. On the upper Orontes, Larissa, Epiphaneia, Arethusa, Emesa, and Laodicea by Libanus and, in the mountains west of Emesa, Mariamme all figured in the official register; Seleucia ad Belum may have done so—it is in Pliny's list of Coele Syria. Of these cities only Laodicea and Emesa coined, and even these only from the latter part of the second century. The mention of Emesa incidentally fixes the date of the official register, for it was until 30 B.C. ruled by Iamblichus, son of Samsigeramus, and in 20 B.C. the dynasty was restored and lasted till A.D. 72 at least. Emesa would thus have been registered as a city only during the first ten years of Augustus' reign. [HI:COERP, 263]
· "As in all the provinces of the eastern Mediterranean, cities retained the right to issue their own coins with the consent of the emperor; these have been called "imperial Greeks" since the publication of a seminal article by T. B. Jones, but more recent scholars correctly prefer the title provincial coins, placing them on the same level as coins issued by the provincial koina and other groups. These were generally bronze, rarely silver.… In northern Syria, these civic issues, which existed only by imperial privilege [tn: i.e, by Augustus' approval of statements of freedom by the cities], began to display portraits of emperors quite late—starting only in 4-3 B.C.e. in Apamaea, in 6 c.e. in Seleucia, and during the reign of Caligula in Laodicea. By contrast, imperial images were featured regularly on the coins issued in the cities of the Decapolis.137 [HI:MEUR,254]
· "Apart from a few modifications, some of which were short-lived, Octavian—who had virtually no support in Syria—retained the basic organization set up by Pompey and later by Antony. In 30 B.C.e. he annexed the kingdom of Tarcondimotos I in the Amanus region, in eastern Cilicia, and also the principality of Iamblichos of Emesa. Tarcondimotos had been one of Antony's most faithful allies: on coins he is called Philantonios, and he perished in the service of the triumvir at Actium. His son Tarcondimotos II immediately succeeded him but made the mistake of allowing groups of gladiators trying to rejoin Antony in Egypt to pass through unopposed. As for Iamblichos of Emesa, he had been executed by Antony, who suspected him of treason, and his brother Alexander (or Alexas) had replaced him; we do not know exactly what Alexander did to displease Augustus, but he was deposed, displayed in Augustus's triumphal procession, and later executed.7 Ultimately, all these annexations proved premature. Given Rome's inability to administer the outlying regions, Octavian (who had become Augustus in the interim) gave the two states back to members of local dynasties in 20 B.C.e. Tarcondimotos II Philopator regained his kingdom, and Iamblichos, the son of the homonymous dynast who had been executed in 31, replaced his uncle Alexander at Emesa. The only annexed territory the province of Syria retained was Cilicia Campestris (Cilicia-on-the-Plain, which had been annexed in 30 B.C.e.). … Other minor annexations were carried out as well, such as those of Seleucia on the Euphrates (Zeugma), and also perhaps Doliche; these were removed from the kingdom of Commagene for strategic reasons, and at the time of Herod's death in 4 b.C.E., Gaza, Gadara, and Hippos were also annexed." [HI:MEUR,55-56]
· "When Antony was defeated at Actium in 31 BC, Syria fell into the hands of Octavian. Late in 30 BC, with Antony and Cleopatra dead and Egypt annexed to the empire, Octavian arrived in the province, and local communities had to negotiate their status with yet another Roman warlord. Among them were the dynasts who had supported Antony. Of these some, like Herod, were successful in convincing Octavian of their value to his regime; others were not so successful, and were deposed. However, once the situation in the east had stabilized, the deposed dynasties were restored. This was a clear indication that eastern dynasts were reliant on imperial favour, and that the emperor could depose or instate kings at will. But it was also a sign that Rome would respect some of the existing configurations of power — for the moment. --- Favours were also extended to or retracted from cities. During his later visit to Syria in 20 BC Octavian, now styled Augustus, deprived Sidon and Tyre of their liberty 'for dishonouring the treaties which they had struck with Rome… Aside from the major client states, we also catch occasional glimpses of other, smaller or less powerful non-civic communities, particularly in northern Syria during the first centuries BC and AD. These are thought to be a product of the instability of the late Seleucid period, when nomads moved in and began to encroach upon the settled regions and weakened the authority of the cities there. An inscription from Apamea honouring a second-century ad civic notable, Lucius Julius Agrippa, describes him as the descendant of a tetrarch called Dexandros. first high priest of the provincial imperial cult under Augustus. His tetrarchy was presumably in the vicinity of Apamea, and it is noteworthy that such non-civic communities could be found interspersed between the great Hellenistic foundations of northern Syria. " [HI:RSNE,89-90]
So, with minor exceptions of demotion that 'stuck'--offset by a greater number of promotions that lasted well past Augustus--the political situation of independent city-states, tetrarchies, and client-kingdoms that 'went into the Roman Empire' also 'came out' by the end of our period (i.e. at the death of Augustus--well after the census at Apamea).
So, in the absence of contrary data, if Apamea was free when Pompey arrived, then it is more probable than not that its freedom was maintained or even improved at the time of the death of Augustus. Each of the main figures in this stream of history (including the Parthians) increased the autonomy-level of the majority of city-states in North Syria.
The demotions that DID occur--and we have them in the records--were generally reversed by the time Augustus died.
Four: Specific Data about Apamea
Let's turn now to the specific data about Apamea and see if the data indicates a 'reversal of fortune' for it, or whether it gives us more reason to believe that it was a 'free city' at the alleged time of the Census there.
As a reminder of what we are looking for--in order to establish its civic status as that of a 'civitas' (independent city-state, polis, exempt from 'normal' provincial taxes)--we are looking for evidence that any/some/all of these criteria were met:
1. It was actually called a civitas in the historical record, or
2. Had a treaty with Rome or a decree from the emperor, or
3. Issued civic coins, or
4. Celebrated Greek festivals, or
5. Had a territory in which there were villages (komai), and
6. Was not itself dependent on another city.
To the extent we find evidence of these, to that extent we can conclude that they were 'free'. If there are multiple strands of evidence (i.e. more than one of these present), then the case is even stronger.
What data do we have?
1. The census inscription under discussion
2. Pliny's description of Syria
3. Strabo's description of Syria
4. The L. Julius Agrippa inscription from Apamea (and the role of the imperial cult)
5. Information about the cities dependent on Apamea (e.g. the Poseidonius reference, the gifts of Antony)
6. Coinage: A first look (with perhaps more discussion/interaction with authorities in the last section)
7. Historical summary of the data from the above
One: The census inscription under discussion.
This is the document that was under discussion in the original document, with Dr. Carrier disagreeing as to the interpretation of it. I don’t need to discuss background, since that is easily found.
Here's a translation of the 22 lines that make up the inscription:
Q. Aemilius Quinti filius
Q[uintus] Aemilius Secundus s[on] of Q[uintus],
Palatina Secundus, in
of the tribe Palatina, who served in
castris Diui Augusti sub
the camps of the divine Aug[ustus] under
P. Sulpicio Quirinio legato
P. Sulpicius Quirinius, legate of
Caesaris Syriae honori-
Caesar in Syria, decorated with honorary
bus decoratus, praefectus
distinctions, prefect of the
cohortis Augustae I, praefectus
1st cohort Aug[usta], prefect of the
cohortis II classicae. Idem
cohort II Classica. Besides,
iussu Quirini censum egi
by order of Quirinius I made the census in
Apamenae ciuitatis mil-
the city-state of Apamea of citizens
lium hominum ciuium CXVII.
male 117 thousand.
Idem missu Quirini aduersus
Besides, sent on mission by Quirinius, against
Ituraeos in Libano monte
the Itureans, on Mount Lebanon
castellum eorum cepi. Et ante
I took their citadel. And prior
militiem praefectus fabrum
military service, (I was) Prefect of the workers,
delatus a duobus consulibus ad ae-
detached by two co[nsul]s at the ‘aerarium
rarium, et in colonia
[The State Treasury]’. And in the colony,
quaestor, aedilis II, duumuir II,
quaestor, aedile twice, duumvir twice,
Ibi positi sunt Q. Aemilius Q. f. Pal.
Here were deposited Q[uintus] Aemilius Secundus s[on] of Q[uintus], of the tribe
Secundus filius et Aemilia Chia liberta.
Pal[atina], (my) s[on] and Aemilia Chia (my) freed.
Hoc monumentum amplius heredes non sequetur.
This m[onument] is excluded from the inh[eritance].
In a study on the demographics of Syria, David Kennedy describes and discusses this inscription (David Kennedy, "Demography, the Population of Syria and the Census of Q. Aemilius Secudus", in LEVANT 38, 2006, pp 109-124):
"Apamea was one of the four cities ... of the so-called Syrian Tetrapolis. It had been the former Seleucid military capital and is commonly regarded as being second only to Antioch in size and therefore one of the two or three largest in all of Syria…The key part of this inscription is the appointment by P. Sulpicius Quirinius - the same Syrian governor as in the Gospel of Luke above - of Q. Aemiliuss Secundus, Prefect of an auxiliary regiment, the Cohors II Classica, as censitor for the Civitas Apamenorum. The relevant lines read: 'having been instructed by Quirinius to conduct a census in the city state of Apamea, counted 117,000 citizens.' … What can we do with the number? First, there is a consensus that the count at Apamea involved both the town and the territory that constituted the State of Apamea. That seems obvious enough -- even at its greatest extent in later generations, an area within the walls of 250 ha would not have supported a population of 117,000 free inhabitants plus an unknown number of resident non-citizens and slaves… Nor has anyone doubted the number as reported; although it has plainly been rounded, it is only to the nearest thousand." [p113, 114]
What do we get out of this inscription?
We get two major things:
· It was explicitly called a civitas (Criterion 1) and
· It had a territory (Criterion 5).
[Of course, we really only need Criterion 1 (being called a civitas in the historical record) to prove it was 'called a civitas'… but it never hurts to assemble as much as possible--in case some piece of data is ambiguous or controversial.]
Two: Pliny's description of Syria
Pliny the Elder is writing his Natural History circa 77 AD. As he moves through the various geographies of the Roman world, he describes the Syrian element in this way [NH 5.18ff]:
"Here Phœnicia ends, and Syria recommences. The towns [oppida] are, Carne, Balanea, Paltos, and Gabale; then the promontory upon which is situated free [libera] Laodicea; and then Diospolis, Heraclea, Charadrus, and Posidium.
"(21.) We then come to the Promontory of Syria Antiochia. In the interior is free [libera] Antiochia itself, surnamed Epidaphnes, and divided by the river Orontes. On the promontory is free [libera] Seleucia, called Pieria. (22.) Beyond it lies Mount Casius … Upon this coast there is the river Orontes, which takes its rise near Heliopolis, between the range of Libanus and Antilibanus. The towns [oppida] are Rhosos, and, behind it, the Gates of Syria, lying in the space between the chain of the Rhosian mountains and that of Taurus. On the coast there is the town [oppidum] of Myriandros, and Mount Amanus, upon which is the town [oppidum] of Bomitæ. This mountain separates Cilicia from Syria.
"We must now speak of the interior of Syria. Cœle Syria has Apamea, divided by the river Marsyas from the Tetrarchy of the Nazerini; Bambyx, the other name of which is Hierapolis, but by the Syrians called Mabog, (here the monster Atargatis, called Derceto by the Greeks, is worshipped); and the place called Chalcis on the Belus, from which the region of Chalcidene, the most fertile part of Syria, takes its name. We here find also Cyrrhestice, with Cyrrhum, the Gazatæ, the Gindareni, the Gabeni, the two Tetrarchies called Granucomatæ, the Emeseni, the Hylatæ, the nation (gentem) of the Ituræi, and a branch of them, called the Bætarreni; the Mariamitani, the Tetrarchy known as Marnmisea, Paradisus, Pagræ, the Pinaritæ, two Seleucia's, besides the one already mentioned, the one Seleucia on the Euphrates, and the other Seleucia on the Belus, and the Cardytenses. The remaining part of Syria (except those parts which will be spoken of in conjunction with the Euphrates) contains the Arethusii, the Berœenses, and the Epiphanæenses; and on the east, the Laodiceni, who are called the Laodiceni on the Libanus, the Leucadii, and the Larissæi, besides seventeen other Tetrarchies, divided into kingdoms [regna] and bearing barbarous names."
We do know that Pliny was a little confused here, working from both official lists of Augustus (the 'Counting Guy' as I pointed out elsewhere…xyz) and literary sources. He is known to be wrong in some cases.
Jones describes Pliny's approach and information:
"Our knowledge of northern Syria at the beginning of the reign of Augustus is derived from the official lists of the time. These have been partly preserved, in a very mangled form, in Pliny. Pliny gives two lists, both arranged in alphabetical order, one of which he heads 'Coele Syria', the other 'the rest of Syria'. The names in the second list are certainly all derived from an official register; they are all given in the ethnic. The official register evidently included all northern Syria; it included, Pliny states, cities on the Euphrates, which he did not transcribe; the names he did transcribe include Beroea in Cyrrhestice, Larissa, Epiphaneia, Arethusa, and Laodicea by Libanus on the Orontes, and Leucas, which, though Pliny was unaware of the fact, since he catalogued Balaneae separately, was on the coast. The other list, though it contains official elements—some names are given in the ethnic—was evidently concocted by Pliny himself. The alphabetical order is certainly Pliny's, for he places Bambyce under B, whereas its official name was Hierapolis; the 'Granucomatitae' also are placed under G, although the name is probably a blunder for Tigranucometae; both the blunder and the place of the name in the list must then be Pliny's. The distinction between Coele Syria and 'the rest of Syria' is also quite fantastic; the cities of the two lists are inextricably confused; Bambyce and Chalcis are in Coele, Beroea in 'the rest', Arethusa and Laodicea by Libanus are in 'the rest', Emesa in Coele. Furthermore, the list of Coele Syria contains some elements drawn from literary sources, such as, for instance, the notes on the Seleucid satrapies of Cyrrhestice and Chalcidene. The explanation of this muddle is probably as follows. Pliny had before him an official list of the reign of Augustus, headed 'Syria' simply, and various Greek literary sources, some of which used the term Coele Syria. Pliny made up a list of all the places which were placed in Coele Syria by the literary authorities; some of these were mentioned in the official list also, and these he put down sometimes in the form in which he found them in the official list, that is, in the ethnic, sometimes in the literary form. Those names which he did not find in the literary sources, or which at any rate were not assigned in them to Coele Syria, he added as a separate list, 'the rest of Syria'; 'the rest of Syria' therefore includes 'seventeen tetrarchies with barbarian names' which were naturally not noted in the literary sources. If this analysis is correct, the only names which certainly were from the official list are those in the list of 'the rest of Syria', and those given in the ethnic in the list of Coele Syria; other names in the Coele Syria list must be judged on their merits; they may have occurred in both the official and literary sources, or only in the literary. The coins, unfortunately, give little help in this region, for many cities issued no coins during the principate. Even the important city of Apamea on the Orontes made one issue only, on the occasion of its receiving the surname of Claudia from the emperor Claudius [TN: this seems to be incorrect-- We have coins from 12 of the 43 years of Octavius/Augustus and from the first year of Tiberius]. Epiphaneia and Larissa did not coin at all under the principate, though both had done so before the Roman occupation.47
"For the cities of the Phoenician coast and the tetrapolis Pliny does not use the official sources, save that he mentions the Leucadii, that is Balaneae, by mistake in the list of 'the rest of Syria'. The coins here fill the gap. Of the Phoenician cities Arad and Marathus, Balaneae (under the style of Leucas) and Gabala all coined during the early principate; Paltus did not begin to issue till the reign of Septimius Severus. All four cities of the tetrapolis coined during the early principate. Antioch, Laodicea, and Seleucia were, according to Pliny, free cities. On the upper Orontes, Larissa, Epiphaneia, Arethusa, Emesa, and Laodicea by Libanus and, in the mountains west of Emesa, Mariamme all figured in the official register; Seleucia ad Belum may have done so—it is in Pliny's list of Coele Syria. Of these cities only Laodicea and Emesa coined, and even these only from the latter part of the second century. The mention of Emesa incidentally fixes the date of the official register, for it was until 30 B.C. ruled by Iamblichus, son of Samsigeramus, and in 20 B.C. the dynasty was restored and lasted till A.D. 72 at least. Emesa would thus have been registered as a city only during the first ten years of Augustus' reign.
"East of the Orontes Pliny gives only one city from the official register, Beroea. He also mentions in the Coele Syria list, Bambyce also called Hierapolis, Chalcis ad Belum, Cyrrhus, and Seleucia on the Euphrates. The last is also mentioned under the form of Zeugma in his survey of the Euphrates, where he gives two other names, Antioch on the Euphrates and Europus. Many of these cities coined later, Beroea, Hierapolis, Chalcis, Cyrrhus, and Zeugma from the reign of Trajan, Antioch on the Euphrates from that of Marcus Aurelius; Europus issued no coins. Except for Beroea we cannot be certain that any of them had city rank in the early principate; they may have been still, as in the early first century B.C., ruled by dynasts, and have been included among 'the seventeen tetrarchies with barbarian names distributed into kingdoms' which Pliny found in the official register. Chalcis when it began to coin used an era dating from A.D. 92, which implies that it was freed from a dynast—perhaps Aristobulus, son of Herod— at that date. Pliny omits Nicopolis; the reason perhaps is that being under a dynast it did not appear on the official list, and in Pliny's literary authorities it was placed in Cilicia, as it is by Strabo and Ptolemy.
"In addition to these names Pliny quotes from the official register many others which, to the best of our knowledge, never were cities. Such are the Gazetae, the Gindareni, the Gabeni, the Hylatae, the Penelenitae, the Tardytenses. He also mentions besides the seventeen unnamed tetrarchies the tetrarchy of the Nazerini, two of the Tigranucometae (to accept the current emendation), and another called Mammisea. These are certainly from the official list; more doubtful are the races of the Ituraeans and their neighbours the Baethaemi, which may be derived from a literary source. It thus appears that northern Syria was by no means entirely occupied by the territories of the cities; a large area was occupied by village and tribal communities and small principalities. Unfortunately very few of these can be located definitely. ... The tetrarchy of the Nazerini is stated by Pliny to have adjoined the territory of Apamea; the Nazerini must therefore be the ancestors of the modern Nusairi who inhabit the mountains behind Laodicea. … Some, at any rate, of the villages, tribes, and tetrarchies, and quite a large number of them, if the tentative identifications suggested above are correct, were interspersed among the great cities of the western part of the Seleucia; the majority lay, no doubt, in the less civilized eastern part, where cities were scarce and nomadic life prevailed.48 [HI:COERP, 2632-265]
What can we learn from Pliny?
Probably nothing—he doesn’t call it a non-civic ‘town’ (oppidum) or free city (liber) or colonia or urbe or civitas or anything… it is separated from a tetrarchy by a river which MIGHT imply it was the district, but we know from Strabo (below) that the city itself was on a peninsula (which would also fit this description).
But we might raise an objection from Pliny—the city Apamea was one of the tetrapolis with Antioch, Laodicea, and Seleucia. Those three cities were called ‘libera’ (free from taxation cities) in the previous section, where he discussed the Phoenician/Coast areas. Could we argue from silence, that since he did NOT use ‘liber’ to describe Apamea, that it was not such?
Probably not. Even though he seems to try to note any special privileges of the urban cities, he is clearly not consistent nor comprehensive: "The lists of Pliny, however, are evidently incomplete, especially as regards the province of Asia, where, except for the islands and Ilium, only the district of Caria seems to have been taken into consideration. There is no reason to suppose that Pergamum and Ephesus, which had obtained their freedom from the younger Servilius Isauricus, or Miletus, which had been recognized as independent in 39/8 BC, or even Phocaea, declared free by Pompey a decade earlier, had been deprived of this status" [David Magie, Roman Rule in Asia Minor: To the End of the Third Century after ChristPrincetonUP:1950, vol 1, page 474]. And if Apamea was a reference to the city-with-the-district, then it would be inappropriate to refer to it by a ‘city-only’ category.
Let’s try Strabo next…
Three: Strabo's description of Syria
Strabo gives a bit more information for us:
 “In (the district of) Apameia is a city (polis) well-fortified in almost every part. For it consists of a well-fortified hill, situated in a hollow plain, and almost surrounded by the Orontes, which, passing by a large lake in the neighbourhood, flows through wide-spread marshes and meadows of vast extent, affording pasture for cattle and horses. The city (polis) is thus securely situated, and received the name Cherrhonesus (or the peninsula) from the nature of its position. It is well supplied from a very large fertile tract of country, through which the Orontes flows with numerous windings. Seleucus Nicator, and succeeding kings, kept there five hundred elephants, and the greater part of their army.
“It was formerly called Pella by the first Macedonians, because most of the soldiers of the Macedonian army had settled there; for Pella, the native place of Philip and Alexander, was held to be the metropolis (metropolis) of the Macedonians. Here also the soldiers were mustered, and the breed of horses kept up. There were in the royal stud more than thirty thousand brood mares and three hundred stallions. Here were employed colt-breakers, instructors in the method of fighting in heavy armour, and all who were paid to teach the arts of war.
“The power Trypho, surnamed Diodotus, acquired is a proof of the influence of this place; for when he aimed at the empire of Syria, he made Apameia the centre of his operations. He was born at Casiana, a strong fortress in the Apameian district (τῆς Ἀπαμέων γῆς), and educated in Apameia; he was a favourite of the king and the persons about the court. When he attempted to effect a revolution in the state, he obtained his supplies from Apameia and from the neighbouring cities [ περιοικίδων: neighboring or dependent towns, not poleis], Larisa, Casiana, Megara, Apollonia, and others like them, all of which were reckoned to belong to the district of Apameia. He was proclaimed king (basileus) of this country (chora), and maintained his sovereignty for a long time. Cæcilius Bassus, at the head of two legions, caused Apameia to revolt, and was besieged by two large Roman armies, but his resistance was so vigorous and long that he only surrendered voluntarily and on his own conditions. For the country (chora) supplied his army with provisions, and a great many of the chiefs of the neighbouring tribes (ethnos) were his allies, who possessed strongholds, among which was Lysias, situated above the lake, near Apameia, Arethusa, belonging to Sampsiceramus and Iamblichus his son, chiefs of the tribe of the Emeseni. At no great distance were Heliopolis and Chalcis, which were subject to Ptolemy, son of Mennæus, who possessed the Massyas and the mountainous country of the Ituræans. Among the auxiliaries of Bassus was Alchædamnus, king of the Rhambæi, a tribe of the Nomades on this side of the Euphrates. He was a friend (philos) of the Romans, but, considering himself as having been unjustly treated by their governors, he retired to Mesopotamia, and then became a tributary of Bassus. Poseidonius the Stoic was a native of this place, a man of the most extensive learning among the philosophers of our times. “
This description contributes several items:
· Apamea is a district (ges) and a city (polis).
· The district of Apamea had multiple fortresses (i.e. not just in the city Apamea).
· Apamea was an educational center for the elite.
· The Apamene district had at least 6 dependent towns in it.
This is very helpful, and is also decisive in identifying the city Apamea as in the privileged class of civites/polis under Rome. It hits multiple criteria of an independent city-state (i.e., polis, dependent cities, territory).
Four: The L. Julius Agrippa inscription from Apamea
This is an inscription found in Apamea, dated to after the devastating earthquake of 115 A.D.
Here is the text itself:
[…] with the rights of his ancestors and his own exemption from liturgy attested publicly [deloumenon] together with other honours by bronze tablets on the Capitol in Rome, he had fulfilled for his city [patridi, fatherland--not poleis--but 'home town', place of origin] magistracies [arches], liturgies and generosities; he has been priest [hierasamenon]; agoranomos with generosity, supplying for six months the wheat distributions contributing with a sum of x silver denarii; he provided oil for unguents and constructed the aqueduct […] for many miles; he was secretary of the city [poleos] in an exceptional way, having himself demanded the authorisation, for one year, having himself decided his colleagues in the magistracy, and within the same year he was commissioner of the peace and of the wheat distribution and he built the baths and the porticos in front (along the street) and the basilica attached donating all the land bought at his own expenses and consecrating within the baths bronze works: the Theseus and Minotaur group, the Apollo Marsyas and Scythia group. He had often [pollakis] acted as embassy [presbeusanta] to the Emperors in Rome and to the governors [hegemonas]; he has also, both on his father and mother’s side, famous and generous ancestors, tetrarchs, and people who had received royal [basilikon] honours, mainly Dexandros, the first [protos] of the province [eparcheias] who was high-priest [hierasamenos], his great-grandfather who was listed [anegraphe] by Augustus in the Capitol bronze tablets as a sign of friendship and alliance [philos kai summachos] toward the Romans [Romaion demon]; in these tablets were also publicly attested [delountai] the other exceptional honours that he and his family [genei] received; of these tablets an excerpt has been deposited among these archives here. Year […] 28 Xandikos; he was honoured [dogmati] by the city [hemeteras poleos, 'our city'], by the council [boule] and the community [demous] in the month of Peritios, the third day before the end of the month, in the decree […]
1. This 2nd-3rd century (L. Julius Agrippa) individual had rights/exemptions accorded to him from Rome, recorded in Rome’s records.
2. These same records recorded rights/exemptions from Rome extended to his ancestors.
3. He was a from Apamea (hometown, native country), suggesting citizenship.
4. Apamea was a city (polis) at the time of the inscription, with the standard features of a city: boule, grammaticus, other officials.
5. He held several public and civic roles (some of which required citizenship):
e. Agoranomos with generosity (e.g. wheat, oil, aqueduct)
6. He ‘demanded’ some authorization and appointed fellow magistrates (what can this mean in a polis?)
7. Acted as embassy to emperor and to governors (provincial)
8. His paternal and material ancestors were famous, generous, and included tetrarchs.
9. Some of these ancestors had received ‘royal’ honours (from what kings?)
10. One of these honoured ancestors was Dexandros.
11. Dexy was the first high-priest (of something) in the province (presumably Syria). [Note: I cannot see where he is described as an 'arch-priest' (i.e., high-priest) as others such as Millar maintain. ]
12. Dexy was his great-grandfather.
13. Dexy was listed by Augustus in the Capital bronze tablets as ‘friend and ally of the Roman people’ (the standard foedus/covenant language of allied client kings).
14. There were other honours given to ‘his family’ in those tablets in Rome.
15. Some of the excerpts were deposited in the records of Apamea.
Another inscription refers again to Agrippa’s ancestry:
“For the safety of Emperor Nerva Trajan Caesar Augustus, conqueror of the Germans, conqueror of the Dacians. Lucius Julius Agrippa, son of Gaius of the Fabian tribe, with royal [basilikas] honours and ancestors [progonous] listed [anagegrammenous] on the bronze tablets on the Capitol as allies [summachous] of the Romans, with exemption from liturgies, having fulfilled [ektelesas] all his generosity to perfection, spontaneously, having bought at his own expenses the location and having founded the baths, the basilica in them, the porticoes in front of these buildings, with all their decorations and all their bronze works that are located there, dedicated those to his city [tei patridi, 'the'--not 'his'--fatherland, not polis--but 'hometown' implies 'his' anyway, without the personal pronoun], under Julius Bassus, consular provincial governor."
1. The individual is named in this inscription and is said to be of the Fabian tribe (a citizenship—not biological connection).
2. He has a Roman name, and is perhaps connected to M. Agrippa.
3. His royal honors were listed in the Capitoline bronze tablets.
4. This tablets also contained a record of his ancestors.
5. His ancestors were recorded as ‘allies of the Romans’.
6. His ancestors/family were exempted from liturgies.
7. The building projects were dedicated to ‘his fatherland’ (patridi).
8. He was a native of and citizen of Apamea.
9. Dexy is not named in this one.
Here are some scholar comments on these documents (with my notes):
“But to gain any real impression of the now lost city life of this region, we can best turn to a remarkable set of inscriptions from Apamea, the only one of all these cities where large-scale excavation has been carried out. On the one hand the city remained within the circuit of its Hellenistic walls, reinforced in the third century, and retained its original chequer-board street-pattern. But what is actually visible of the urban structure of the city belongs to the second century ad and after, and more specifically to extensive and elaborate re-building after the great earthquake of ad 115, which so profoundly affected Antioch. It is from this phase that we happen to have some inscriptions, from the baths constructed near the Great Colonnade, which perfectly encapsulate the evolution of a Hellenistic-Roman city in Syria, and the values which informed city life. They refer to the benefactions of a citizen of Apamea who was also a Roman citizen, and had a fully Roman name, L. Iulius Agrippa. Looking back over a century, one of the inscriptions records that Agrippa's great-grandfather, Dexandros, had been recorded on bronze tablets on the Capitol at Rome, at the instance of Augustus, as a friend of the Roman People. Whether or not Dexandros had actually been a local dynast operating outside the bounds of a city framework, as has been suggested, is not certain. But he had clearly fulfilled some important individual role in the troubled period before the province settled down under Imperial rule. The inscription also, concordantly with that, records that Dexandros had been the first High Priest (archiereus), evidently of the province of Syria. This is in fact the first indication that a league (koinon) of the cities of Syria had come into existence already under Augustus, and had performed the quickly established role of conducting the worship of the Emperor. Nothing is known of the temple, or temples, of the cult; but the games of the koinon of Syria are attested in the first century, and took place at Antioch.” [RNE,261]
Notes on Millar’s quote:
1. LJA is called a citizen of Apamea.
2. LJA is called a Roman citizen with a fully Roman name.
3. LJA’s great-grandfather was Dexy.
4. Dexy had been recorded on bronze tablets in Rome.
5. This recording was ‘at Augustus’ insistence’.
6. Dexy is recorded as being a ‘friend of the Roman people’.
7. (Oddly, Millar is ‘not certain’ that Dexy was a ‘local dynast’ – in spite of the terms ‘tetrarch’ and the friend/ally terminology???)
8. In spite of him not being ‘certain’ about the correctness of the inscription's use of the term tetrarch, Millar is ‘certain’ of the correctness of the inscription’s use of the term (arch)iereus.[which, btw, I cannot find in the text. I can find priest, but not 'high-priest' so far]
9. So, he accepts that Dexy is the ‘first high priest’ (‘evidently of Syria’).
10. Millar goes on to say that this is the first indication of a ‘league/koinon’ in Syria.
I see no reason to accept Millar’s acceptance of archiereus and rejection of tetrarch… no evidence for this choice is given, and I see nothing in the text or context to argue otherwise (the Pliny references to a plethora of tetrarchies in the area should be enough to cast this rejection aside.)
“Besides these kingdoms and principalities that surrounded the provincia on all sides, there remained within the province itself indigenous principates, entrusted to tetrarchs who were "friends and allies of the Roman people"—for example, the tetrarchy of Dexandros, an Apamaean Greek who was fortunate enough to have a principality carved out for him in the vicinity of his native city. The principalities of Lebanon and the Anti-Lebanon (Chalcis of Lebanon, Area, Abila of Lysanias) were among the largest, but there were others in the mountain and steppe regions. Pliny names several in the Alouite mountains (Jebel Ansarie), such as the tetrarchy of the Nazareni, separated from Apamaea by the Orontes, the two tetrarchies of the Granucometai, and that of Mammisea; and he reports that there were seventeen other "tetrarchies divided into kingdoms and bearing barbarian names," probably in the mountainous regions of northern and central Syria. …The chiefs of these principates normally had the title tetrarch, a term found not only in Pliny's list, in the Gospels, and in Josephus, but also in a quite official inscription in Apamaea: L. Iulius Agrippa claims to descend from tetrarchs who were "friends and allies of the Roman people" on both his mother's and his father's side. The term tetrarch is the only title known for these leaders besides that of king. In stressing the fact that tetrarchies were viewed as kingdoms, Pliny no doubt sought to emphasize their standing as independent states even though they were friends and allies of Rome. … The fact that Rome maintained these client states is usually attributed to the specific characteristics of rural and mountainous regions; Rome no doubt believed it had more to lose than to gain by administering these regions directly. This same situation turns up again in northern Syria, since tetrarchies continued to exist not far from Apamaea or Antioch. It appears, then, that the proximity of the large Greek cities did not suffice, after three centuries of uninterrupted presence, to integrate enough indigenous leaders for them to be able to act as relays for the Roman government. “ [HI:MEUR,70-72]
“Apamea, Second and Third Centuries (192-194)… Apamaea was ruled by an urban Greek or Macedonian aristocracy that included the same Dexandros who, under Augustus, became the first high priest of the imperial cult for all of Syria. The members of this group were large landholders who managed to carve out for themselves, from the declining Seleucid kingdom, principalities that Rome quickly recognized as client states before it consolidated administrative power over all of the newly conquered country. At the beginning of the second century the descendants of these tetrarchs continued to possess wealth and prestige, as documented by L. Iulius Agrippa in 115.” [HI:MEUR,184]
Notes on Sartre:
1. He accepts Dexy as an 'example' of an indigenous principate, with the status of 'friend and ally of the Roman people"
2. Dexy's tetrarchy was 'carved out for him' (by somebody--Augustus?).
3. This tetrarchy was not IN the city, nor EMCOMPASSING the city, but was 'in the vicinity of' the city. [It could be in the district of Apamea and satisfy most of the constraints of the inscriptions.]
4. Pliny was emphasizing that the tetrarchs were 'king-like' in independence.
5. Rome did not administer these tetrarchies.
6. Apamea was a 'large Greek city', but it did not integrate enough local indigenous leaders into its way of life to be able to act as 'relays for the Roman government'.
7. Apamea was 'ruled' by an aristocracy of large local landholders, during the second and third centuries.
8. Dexy was a member of this aristocracy.
9. Dexy became the first high priest of Syria, under Augustus, of the imperial cult.
10. This aristocracy 'carved out for themselves' small principalities, from the Seleucid kingdom.
11. These principalities were quickly recognized by Rome as client-states.
12. Dexy's descendants still held power and prestige into the 2nd century (no break in Roman recognition).
“Aside from the major client states, we also catch occasional glimpses of other, smaller or less powerful non-civic communities, particularly in northern Syria during the first centuries BC and AD. These are thought to be a product of the instability of the late Seleucid period, when nomads moved in and began to encroach upon the settled regions and weakened the authority of the cities there. An inscription from Apamea honouring a second-century ad civic notable, Lucius Julius Agrippa, describes him as the descendant of a tetrarch called Dexandros. first high priest of the provincial imperial cult under Augustus. His tetrarchy was presumably in the vicinity of Apamea, and it is noteworthy that such non-civic communities could be found interspersed between the great Hellenistic foundations of northern Syria. Many of these communities seem to have been small tribal states — for example many of those mentioned in his description of Syria by Pliny the Elder, who ended one of his lists of Syrian peoples with a dismissive 'plus seventeen tetrarchies divided into kingdoms and bearing barbarian names'” [HI:RSNE,89-90]
Notes on Butcher:
1. L.J. Agrippa was a 'civic noble' (i.e. a citizen of Apamea)
2. Dexy was first high-priest of provincial imperial cult.
3. Dexy's tetrarchy was 'in the vicinity' of Apamea.
4. A tetrarchy was a 'non-civic' community (i.e. not a civites)
5. Dexy's tetrarchy might have been a 'small tribal state' (like other tetrarchies in the region).
“The province of Syria created by Pompey is another example of one with which allied kingdoms were integrated. After the death of Herod the Great in 4 BC, when Gaza and its surrounding territory were once more made part of Syria, it stretched from the mons Amanus at the south-eastern end of Cilicia in the north as far as Egypt in the south. This included a number of tetrarchies and petty kingdoms, including Apamea, which a recently discovered inscription has shown to have been the possession of one Dexandros (he combined his position there with that of being the first flamen, provincial high-priest, of the cult of Rome and Augustus in Syria).” [Lintott, Andrew. Imperium Romanum: Politics and Administration (p. 25). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition. Page 25.]
Notes on Lintott:
1. Apamea is considered to be either a tetrarchy or a 'petty kingdom'.
2. He considers the 'petty kingdoms' and tetrarchies to be examples of 'allied kingdoms'.
3. This Apamea (either tetrarchy or 'petty kingdom') was the 'possession' of Dexy.
4. Dexy was simultaneously tetrarchy and the first provincial high-priest of the imperial cult.
“Lucius Julius Agrippa, a leading civic councilor and a Roman citizen, funded vast building projects in Apamea's northern section. As two inscriptions show, he built a bath complex, the basilica that it contained, and components of the vast colonnade along the cardo before it. A statue and its Greek-inscribed base commemorated his contributions. Although one inscription and therefore its author's identity do not survive completely intact, its inscription was certainly produced by Apamea's boule. It references how Agrippa's ancestor Dexander had been honored by “our city through the decree of the council and people” and was therefore raised by a collective claiming to represent the corporate interests of Apamea and valuing the council's previous history in issuing decrees. 23 Along with the boule’s inscription, Agrippa left his own, proclaiming that “Lucius Julius Agrippa, son of Gaius, of the Fabian tribe… dedicated [these works] to his fatherland.” 24 Both these inscriptions honored Agrippa as an exemplary benefactor before a civic audience. While commemorating his specific building projects, they also celebrated how he had provided grain for citizens, water for aqueducts, and bronze statues of Greek mythical figures for the baths. 25 The council's inscription further noted that Agrippa had held “magisterial positions,” which included numerous terms as archon, priest, grammateus (civic secretary), and agoranomos. 26 It mentioned that Agrippa was a descendent of Dexander, a local “tetrarch” or dynast who had acquired Roman citizenship under Augustus. This Dexander had held the priesthood of Augustus and Rome, and he had been “grand priest,” perhaps of the Syrian koinon and the imperial cult. 27 Because Agrippa's family had for so long befriended the Roman people, as bronze tablets on the Capitoline hill of Rome attested, he was exempt from liturgies. But empowered by his extraction of agrarian wealth, he performed them anyway. 28” [Andrade, Nathanael J.. Syrian Identity in the Greco-Roman World (Greek Culture in the Roman World) (pp. 155-156). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.]
Footnotes. 23: The inscription was found in the baths along the central colonnade in the city's northern sector. Rey-Coquais (1973) 42– 43 = Choix 3. Rey-Coquais (1973) 40– 41, 49– 51 and Choix define the inscription as a decree of Apamea.
24 Rey-Coquais (1973) 40– 41 = Choix 2. This inscription (found redeployed) decorated the lintel of the monumental gate into Agrippa's baths.
25 Agrippa's inscription, lines 7– 12; the council's, lines 5– 23.
26 The council's inscription, lines 6– 8.
27 Rey-Coquais (1973) 48, 63; Millar (1993a) 261– 62.
28 The council's inscription, lines 2– 6, 29– 36; Agrippa's, lines 6– 9.
Notes on Andrade:
1. LJA was a civic counselor and also a Roman citizen.
2. The inscriptions at Apamea were produced by Apamea's boule.
3. The boule of LJA's time expressed its continuity with the boule of Dexy's time.
4. LJA's dedication was to 'his fatherland' -- implying native origin and a connection between his ancestors and himself.
5. Dexy was a local tetrarch or dynast.
6. Dexy had acquired Roman citizenship under Augustus.
7. Dexy had held the priesthood of Augustus and was 'grand priest'.
8. Dexy's priesthood MIGHT have been of the Syrian koinan of the imperial cult.
9. LJA's family/progenitors had long befriended Rome (same terminology as 'friends and allies').
10. LJA was exempt from liturgies (e.g. expensive task/ projects paid for by themselves, for Roman interests).
11. LJA's wealth base was agrarian.
"A famous inscription of Apamea, concerning Lucius Julius Agrippa, mentions his great-grandfather, Dexandros, Tetrarch and first priest of the imperial cult in Syria under Augustus. It seems as is the tetrarchy of Dexandros, which may be located south of the Jebel Zawiye, had been incorporated finally into the territory of Apamea. It is debatable if other tetrarchies were not tribal territories, chiefdoms, precisely in the steppe and if there also, these territories have not been integrated at the beginning of the 1st century AD to cities." [Gatier Pierre-Louis. « Grande » ou « petite Syrie Seconde » ? Pour une géographie historique de la Syrie intérieure protobyzantine. In: Conquête de la steppe et appropriation des terres sur les marges arides du Croissant fertile. Lyon : Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée Jean Pouilloux, 2001. pp. 91-109.]
Notes on Gatier:
1. He believes that the tetrarchy of Dexy had been 'incorporated' into the territory of Apamea by the time of LJA.
2. He suggests that some of the tetrarchies might have disappeared (being absorbed into the cities) in the beginning of the 1st century. (But note that Pliny's list of the many tetrarchies in the region was written late in the 1st century, so that would suggest that incorporation must have been later--unless Pliny's data was out of date at the time he wrote. But Pliny was writing under Vespasian, but using official sources from the time of Augustus. His wide experience in the East would have shown him if this data was out of date--but there is not a hint of that in his description of northern Syria. Were the tetrarchies still in place--or restored under Nero, as he did with so many other principates?]
"The first high-priest of Asia that we know by name clearly shows this connection [between local dynasts and the imperial families]:
· C. lulius Epikrates, first Archiereus of Asia, was a friend of Octavian's and was made a citizen by the first emperor. His family had already had close ties with Caesar since the early first century BC.
· The first high-priest of the Syrian Koinon, a man named Dexandros, descendant of a local dynasty, was close to Marcus Agrippa. Dexandros' family took the Roman name lulius Agrippa before 12 BC, which could have been a consequence of close relations formed with Marcus Agrippa during his eastern campaign of 23-21 BC.
· The situation in Galatia is quite similar. One of the first priests of the Galatian Koinon. Pylaimenes, was a descendant of the last Galatian king, Amyntas. Pylaimenes was good friends with the Roman governor of the year 15 BC, L. Calpurnius Piso.
· The final example comes from the western provinces. The first high-priest of the concilium trium Galliarum was C. lulius Vercondaridubnus. Once more, his name mirrors great intimacy with the Julian family.
"It can therefore be concluded that amicitia and patronal relationships with emperors or Roman magistrates were dominant in the selection of provincial assembly officials in the early history of the provincial assemblies." ["The Provincial Elite in the Provincial Assemblies: Eastern Koina and their Influence on Provincial Identity" by Babett Edelmann-Singer, in Classica et Mediaevalia, volume 65., p 229]
Notes on Edelmann-Singer:
1. High-priests are shown to have had close ties to the emperors and elites.
2. Dexandros is said to be a 'descendent of a local dynasty'.
3. He was close to Marcus Agrippa and actually took the family name Julius Agrippa.
4. It is conjectured that Dexy worked together with M. Agrippa during the eastern campaign of 23-21 BC.
5. This would imply that a direct relationship with Augustus (accepted by many other writers) would not have been required for the recording of his name/his families name as 'friend and ally of the Roman people' on the bronze tablets.
"Dexandros, a former Tetrarch in northern Syria, immortalised on bronze tablets in the Capitol by the deified Augustus ‘because of his friendship and loyalty towards the people of Rome as amicus et socius’, appears in the honorary inscription of one of his great-grandsons in Apamea on the Orontes (today’s Qalʾat al-Mudik) from the time of Emperor Trajan as ‘the first [chronologically, M.V.] priest of the eparchy’ (ὁ πρῶτος τῆς ἐπαρχείας ἱερασάμενος). It seems likely that the official title used here corresponded to the wording of the bronze tablets on the Capitol, that is, the usage of the Augustan period." "[‘Priest’—‘Eparchy-arch’—‘Speaker of the ethnos’: The Areas of Responsibility of the Highest Officials of the Eastern Provincial Imperial Cult" by Marco Vitale, in Mnemosyne (2014) p19.]
Notes on Vitale:
1. He believes that Dexy somehow gave up his tetrarch title when he became the high-priest.
2. He states that the bronze tablets had the standard terminology of independent / client-kings (amicus et socius).
3. He states that the title inscribed in Rome was that of 'first priest of the province'.
Hmm… this has a ton of data in it, but we will have to see how relevant it is…
The critical issue is this: what is the relationship between the 1st century city of Apamea (at the time of Augustus) and Dexandros (tetrarch of a region in/of Apamea, and high-priest of Augustinian cult)?
Four: Information about the cities dependent on Apamea (e.g. the Poseidonius reference, gifts of Antony)
Strabo (above) had referred to some cities in the 'district of Apamea' in his account of the exploits of Tryphon:
“The power Trypho, surnamed Diodotus, acquired is a proof of the influence of this place; for when he aimed at the empire of Syria, he made Apameia the centre of his operations. He was born at Casiana, a strong fortress in the Apameian district (τῆς Ἀπαμέων γῆς), and educated in Apameia; he was a favourite of the king and the persons about the court. When he attempted to effect a revolution in the state, he obtained his supplies from Apameia and from the neighbouring cities [ περιοικίδων: neighboring or dependent towns, not poleis], Larisa, Casiana, Megara, Apollonia, and others like them, all of which were reckoned to belong to the district of Apameia."
Of these Larissa/Larisa was the subject of a comment a philosopher from Apamea--Poseidonius/Posidonius--as recorded in Athenaeus:
"And Poseidonius the Stoic philosopher, in the third book of his Histories, speaking of the war of the Apameans against the Larisseans, writes as follows [ Fr_2 ] - "Having taken short daggers sticking in their waists, and small lances covered with rust and dirt, and having put veils and curtains over their heads which produce a shade but do not hinder the wind from getting to their necks, dragging on asses laden with wine and every sort of meat, by the side of which were packed little photinges and little monauli, instruments of revelry, not of war." [Athenaeus, The Deipnosophists, 4.78/186]
Posidonius (alt. Poseidonios; c.135 - c.50 BC) was a native of Apamea (and was so noted in Strabo's account).
"P- of Apamea in Syria, historian, scientist, and philosopher, who spent most of his life at Rhodes and became head of the Stoic school there. … His fifty-two books of history were a continuation of the history of Polybius, from 146 BC to the dictatorship of Sulla (81 BC). Very few fragments survive, but Sallust, Caesar, Tacitus, and Plutarch all made use of it in different ways. The wars of Pompey, of whom P- was a great admirer, seem to have been dealt with in an appendix…In 78 Cicero was taught by him in Rhodes, and often paid tribute to him in his writings. In different ways Cicero, Lucretius, Virgil, Manilius, Seneca the Younger, and the Elder Pliny, as well as the historians mentioned above, were all indebted to him." [The Concise Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, s.v. "Posidonius"]
He was close friends with Pompey:
"While there [Rome] Posidonius became friends with Pompey the Great who had been educated in the Greek tradition. Pompey the Great kept up his friendship with Posidonius and visited him in Rhodes on a number of later occasions when on his military campaigns." [http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/Biographies/Posidonius.html]
"…he was a friend of Pompey, who made an expedition against the Iberians and the Albanians, from sea to sea on either side, both the Caspian and the Colchian Seas. At any rate, it is said that Pompey, upon arriving at Rhodes on his expedition against the pirates (immediately thereafter he was to set out against both Mithridates and the tribes which extended as far as the Caspian Sea), happened to attend one of the lectures of Poseidonius, and that when he went out he asked Poseidonius whether he had any orders to give, and that Poseidonius replied: 'Ever bravest be, and preeminent o'er others.' -- Add to this that among other works he wrote also the history of Pompey…" [Strabo, Ed. H. L. Jones, The Geography of Strabo (Medford, MA: Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, Ltd., 1924).]
"The celebrated Stoic philosopher and historian Posidonius, from Apamea in Syria, lived chiefly in Rhodes, where he founded a Stoic School. He is hence called “the Rhodian.” Since he was also a scholar of Panätius, who at latest must have died B.C. 110, he cannot have been born later than B.C. 130. In the seventh consulship of Marius, B.C. 86, he went as ambassador to Rome, and there saw Marius shortly before his death (Plutarch’s Marius, chap. xlv.). Immediately after Sulla’s death (B.C. 78), Cicero heard him in Rhodes (Plutarch’s Cicero, chap. iv.). Pompey visited him there repeatedly. During the consulship of Marius Marcellus, B.C. 51, he went once more to Rome (Suidas, Lexicon, art. Ποσειδώνιος). He may therefore be described as having flourished between B.C. 90 and B.C. 50. According to Lucian. Macrob. chap. xx. he lived to the great age of eighty-four years. Of his numerous writings, it is his great historical work that here interests us. It is frequently quoted in the historical sketches of Athenäus, Strabo, Plutarch, and others." [Emil Schürer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, First Division. (vol. 1; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1890), 47–48.]
And he was very familiar with the lives of Syrians and their nobles--mostly in disparagement. For examples:
"But Poseidonius, in the sixteenth book of his Histories [ Fr_10 ], speaking of the cities [poleon] in Syria, and saying how luxurious they were, writes as follows:- "The inhabitants of the towns [polesin], on account of the great fertility of the land, used to derive great revenues from their estates, and after their labours for necessary things used to celebrate frequent entertainments, at which they feasted incessantly, using their gymnasia for baths, and anointing themselves with very costly oils and perfumes; and they passed all their time in their γραμματεῖα, for that was the name which they gave to their public banqueting-rooms, as if they had been their own private houses; and the greater part of the day they remained in them, filling their bellies with meat and drink, so as even to carry away a good deal to eat at home; and they delighted their ears with the music of a noisy lyre, so that whole cities resounded with such noises." [Athenaeus, The Deipnosophists,12.35]
"But when I was reading the twenty-eighth book of the History of Poseidonius [Fr_20], I observed, my friends, a very pleasant thing which was said about unguents, and which is not at all foreign to our present discussion. For the philosopher says- "In Syria, at the royal banquets, when the garlands are given to the guests, some slaves come in, with little pouches full of Babylonian perfumes, and going round the room at a little distance from the guests, they bedew their garlands with the perfumes, sprinkling nothing else." [Athenaeus, The Deipnosophists, 15.46]
It is not clear who the 'king' would have been at the 'royal banquets', since it could have been any of the final Seleucid kings (there were apprx 9 during his writing/adult life) or even the client-states perhaps (after Pompey).
We don’t have a historical referent for Posy's remark about the 'war' between Apamea and Larisa, but we do have some background materials.
First we should note that both Apamea and Larissa were created/founded by the Seleucids, from Macedonian soldiers left over from Alexander. We noted that Strabo had made the connection between Apamea and Macedonia:
“It [Apamea] was formerly called Pella by the first Macedonians, because most of the soldiers of the Macedonian army had settled there; for Pella, the native place of Philip and Alexander, was held to be the metropolis (metropolis) of the Macedonians. Here also the soldiers were mustered, and the breed of horses kept up. "
And it was still so in the new millennium:
"Apamaea was ruled by an urban Greek or Macedonian aristocracy that included the same Dexandros who, under Augustus, became the first high priest of the imperial cult for all of Syria. The members of this group were large landholders who managed to carve out for themselves, from the declining Seleucid kingdom, principalities that Rome quickly recognized as client states before it consolidated administrative power over all of the newly conquered country. At the beginning of the second century the descendants of these tetrarchs continued to possess wealth and prestige, as documented by L. Iulius Agrippa in 115.” [HI:MEUR,184]
Larisa is said to be settled by Thessalonian soldiers:
"Larissa was settled by colonists from the Larissa in Thessaly and was famous for horse breeding and formed part of the Seleucid cavalry.40 Larissa fell under Apamea’s sphere of influence,41 but later a war broke out between the two. The precise date of the battle is unknown, but it most likely took place in the mid second century BC, during the conflict between Demetrius II and Tryphon." [Unpublished dissertation by Jack Antoine Nurpetlian, "COINAGE IN LATE HELLENISTIC AND ROMAN SYRIA: THE ORONTES VALLEY (1ST CENTURY BC - 3RD CENTURY AD)", UnivWarwick:2013, p10]
Grainer has much of the material on the background of these two cities--and their relationships. He draws out their common Macedonian background and possible causes of the revolt of Larisa against Apamea:
"Seleukos founded his new city of Apamea at a place which already had a Macedonian name, Pella,which it retained in parallel with Apamea for some time. Apamea's foundation took place within a year or so of Seleukos' acquisition of the land. Given the short time between Seleukos' annexation and the foundation of Apamea, the name Pella clearly dates from before Seleukos' foundation; it is therefore the name given to the place by pre-Seleukid Macedonian settlers. --- The second place was Larissa, south of Apamea, on the Orontes. Its people always remembered that they were descended from a regiment of Thessalian cavalry, which can only have been one of Alexander's regiments. Neither Antigonos nor Seleukos could have recruited troops in Thessaly, the former because it was under the control of his enemy Kassandros all during his reign, the latter because he was too far away from Thessaly until 301, after which it was under the control of one or other of his enemies. Alexander's Thessalians were a tough, elite corps, often in the forefront of his battles, and they can only have survived by a cast-iron esprit de corps. By the time peace returned to Syria they had been away from their homeland for twenty years; a communal settlement by the whole regiment will have been agreeable to all parties: the soldiers received homes and land, the ruler (probably Antigonos) acquired a stable settlement on a major communications route, and he also deprived his competitors of their services and those of their children." [HI:COSS, pp39-40]
"Larissa would seem to have grown from its original fourth order size. It had been a dependent town of Apamea until it rebelled. This event caused a good deal of amusement to Poseidonios, who remarked sarcastically on the manner of the Apameans going to war. We do not actually know the result of the war, or its date, but the fact that Larissa was capable of mounting such a challenge to Apamea implies that the difference in size between the two was by then considerably less than it had been at their foundations. Apamea had perhaps declined somewhat with the end of its central role in Seleukid military affairs, but Larissa will also have grown." [HI:COSS, p130]
Some believe that the event which triggered (or hastened) the split between the two cities was the civil war which raged in 145-140BC, between Demetrius II and Diodotos. This war was essentially won by someone else(!)--Antiochus VI:
"In Antioch the troops which Demetrios II had recruited to reconquer his patrimony from Balas were, in 145, loosed on the riotous Antiochenes. Casualties were heavy but the main effect was to disperse refugees to all the Syrian cities within reach. The discontent which the Antiochenes felt was thus spread. The refugee officer, Diodotos, acting in the name of Balas' son, Antiochos VI, linked up with the Arab chieftain Iamblichos and together they seized control of the city of Ghalkis. Larissa, Apamea and Antioch joined him [Dio 33.4a; 1 Macc 11:56]. Seleukeia-in-Pieria was kept loyal to Demetrios by the presence there of his wife, Kleopatra Thea; Laodikeia-ad-Mare was held by the presence of the king himself: Demetrios is recorded to have perpetrated 'random outrages' on the citizens [Jos. AJ 13. 7. 1]." [HI:COSS, p159]
"The significance of the civil war of Demetrios II and Diodotos is that each city was individually made to decide which side to join. The process seems to be illustrated by Demetrios' problems at Laodikeia, where, because the king was present, decisive action could be taken which prevented the city's defection. Thus the second phase of this long crisis (i.e. 145-138) now directly involved the individual cities, dividing them one from another and also dividing them internally. Seleukeia and Antioch, having been 'brother-peoples' in 148-147, were on opposite sides five years later. Larissa independently joined Diodotos while the city on which it depended, Apamea, did so only later.[Diod 33.9, sic] And yet the royal authority, even when it was divided between contending kings, was still the more powerful element of the royal-civic partnership. There is no sign of a move on the part of any city to go its own way into actual independence. At Laodikeia the 'random outrages' of Demetrios kept the city loyal to him, but the only possible alternative was to join Diodotos. It may be that some cities chose a particular side in reaction against the choice of a neighbour. Larissa's decision to join Diodotos independently of Apamea may be such a move, though there is no proof, other than the fact that later Larissa did enforce its separation from Apamea, and even at some time fought a war against Apamea." [HI:COSS, p160a]
Trypho was from Apamea, and in resisting him, Larisa could easily have been disenfranchised from Apamea--although both ended up being used by Trypho:
"In the time of the usurpation of Tryphon, who came from Apamea, war broke out between the two neighbors, and both cities came to be used as bases by Tryphon." [HI:ATIHW, 500; note that Rigsby here dates the war much earlier than the coinage appears in 85 BC.]
But this reference to Apamea probably refers to the district, since Strabo places Trypho in Kasiana:
"Strabo (16.2.10) who is our sole source of information for Kasiana, describes it as the birthplace of Diodotos Tryphon and a fortress (phrourion) in the territory of Apamea on the Axios. He also says that Kasiana, along with Larisa, Megara, Apollonia, and other towns was a perioikis of Apamea on the Axios. He adds that these towns, which provided supplies to Tryphon, were tributary to Apameia." [The Hellenistic Settlements in Syria, the Red Sea Basin, and North Africa. Getzel M. Cohen. Page 45 (Google books).
“Strabo says (16.2.4) that Seleukis was divided into four satrapies; Apameia was the seat of the Apamene satrapy (RC 70.7) and had a number of towns and fortresses in its territory. Among these were LARISA, KASIANA, MEGARA, and APOLLONIA (Strabo 16.2.10). Strabo says these, as well as other towns, were dependencies of Apameia and paid tribute to it. It is interesting to note, incidentally, that Strabo describes Diodotos Tryphon as a native of Kasiana; Athenaeus (8.333c) simply says he was from Apameia. When Tryphon rebelled these towns supported him. Ultimately Tryphon was besieged, captured, and put to death at Apameia (Jos. AJ 13.224). Later Antiochos IX Kyzikenos built a citadel at Apameia. which Pompey subsequently destroyed (Jos. AJ 14.38). [HI:HSSRSB; 41]
Trypho was forced back to his homeland Apamea, where he reigned as king for a couple of years:
"As Antiochus was now come to Seleucia, and his forces increased every day, he marched to fight Trypho; and having beaten him in the battle, he ejected him out of the Upper Syria into Phoenicia, and pursued him thither, and besieged him in Dora, which was a fortress hard to be taken, whither he had fled. He also sent ambassadors to Simon the Jewish high priest, about a league of friendship and mutual assistance; (224) who readily accepted of the invitation, and sent to Antiochus great sums of money and provisions for those that besieged Dora, and thereby supplied them very plentifully, so that for a little while he was looked upon as one of his most intimate friends; but still Trypho fled from Dora to Apamia, where he was taken during the siege, and put to death, when he had reigned three years" [Flavius Josephus, AJ 13.7.2; William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987).
Jones maintained that the war was one of revolt:
"Other cities began to issue autonomous coins without starting a new era, and therefore probably without having been formally freed, for instance, Orthosia (dating by the Seleucid era) and Epiphaneia (dating by the Aradian era). Larissa revolted from Apamea—the war of independence is described in terms of ridicule by Poseidonius—and began to issue her own coinage in 85 B.C." [HI:COERP, 255]
The primary narrative of these events is in Diodorus Siculus, Book 33:
"In Syria, king Alexander, being completely unfit to govern a kingdom, on account of his feebleness of spirit, gave up the government of Antioch to Hierax and Diodotus.
"Now that the kingdom of Egypt had been brought low, Demetrius, as the only surviving member of the Syrian royal family, believed himself to be out of all danger, and disregarded the conduct of the former kings, who had ingratiated themselves into the good opinion of their people by their affable behaviour. But he, growing every day more and more insufferable, fell at length to downright cruelty, and all sorts of heinous enormities. The cause of this is not only to be attributed to his own corrupt disposition, but also to one of his friends, who had the management of all the affairs of the kingdom; for being an impious and rash fellow, by his flattery he incited the young man to all manner of wickedness. 2 At first therefore, he punished all that had sided against him in the war, with unusual sorts of cruelty. Afterwards, when the Antiochians taunted and jeered at him, in their usual manner, he got together a company of mercenary soldiers against them, and commanded that the citizens should be disarmed. Since the Antiochians refused to hand over their weapons, he killed some of them as they fell into his hands, and others he murdered in their own houses, together with their wives and children. When this caused a great uproar in the city, he burnt down most of the city to the ground. 3 Many that were accused of leading this commotion, were put to death; their property was confiscated, and given to the royal treasury. Therefore many of the citizens, out of both fear and hatred of Demetrius, fled out of the city and wandered up and down all Syria, watching for a fit time and an opportunity for revenge. In the meantime Demetrius, hated by everybody, raged notwithstanding in slaughters, banishments, and confiscations, far exceeding even his father in cruelty; 4 for his father, instead of ruling with royal clemency and kindness, had exercised a tyrannical and arbitrary power, oppressing his subjects with most grievous and unbearable calamities. As a result, the kings of this family, for their oppressions, were hated by all, while those of the other were as much beloved for their moderation and clemency; so that the mutual plots of the leaders of both these families, one against another, filled Syria was with continual wars and commotions. The common people themselves were so affected by the flattery and fair promises of those kings, who sought to succeed the others that they still delighted in change.
" A certain Diodotus, called Tryphon, who had a high reputation amongst the friends of the king, when he saw the fervour of the masses and how they hated their ruler, defected from Demetrius and soon found many others to share in his enterprise. [He gained the support of] the men of Larissa, who were noted for their courage and had been allowed to dwell in this place as a reward for their brave conduct. They were settlers from Larissa in Thessaly, and had served as allies to the kings from Seleucus Nicator onwards, in the first ranks of the cavalry force . . . He also made an alliance with Iamblichus, a chieftain of Arabia, who happened to have been entrusted with the care of Antiochus, called Epiphanes; this Antiochus was the son of Alexander, and still a child. Tryphon placed a diadem on the boy's head, and gave him a retinue suitable for a king, with the intention of restoring him to his ancestral throne. For he assumed (which was reasonable) that the masses were eager for a change, and would willingly receive back the boy, because of the virtuous conduct of the [previous] kings and the lawlessness of the current ruler. And first, after collecting a moderate number of men, he encamped near the city of Chalcis, which was situated on the borders of Arabia, and was capable of supporting a force staying there in safety. Using this place as a base, he won over the neighbouring peoples and prepared all the necessary supplies for war."
If the cause of the revolt was the difference in policy toward Demetrius, the revolt itself would not have occurred until the 90's or 80's--when we have our first evidence of Larisa's independence:
"Larissa revolted from Apamea—the war of independence is described in terms of ridicule by Poseidonius—and began to issue her own coinage in 85 B.C." [HI:COERP, 255]
By the time Ptolemy wrote his geographical work (late 2nd century AD), Larissa might have been outside of Apamene territory (although he is clearly confused in putting Coele-syria and the Decapolis together). He gives this description of the Apamene territory:
“The towns in Apamene are Nazama, and toward the east from the Orontes river, Thelmenissus, Apamea, Emisa”
And Larissa is listed (oddly) with the Casiotis:
“The towns in Casiotis are Antiochia on the Orontes river, Daphne, Bacatailli, Lydia, Seleucia near Belum, Larissa, Epiphanea, Raphaneae, Third Legion, Antaradus, Marathus, Mariame, Mamuga”.
So, we will need to reconstruct the history of the ‘disagreement’ (if we can) to see to what extent Apamea still had dependent towns at the time of the census under question.
But we have a couple of more datapoints to consider: the Antoine gifts of Cole-syria to Cleopatra, and the work of Agrippa in the East and for the imperial cult.
Antony’s gift of Coele-Syria to Cleopatra.
Between the time that Antony and Octavian defeated the forces of Pompey, and the time that Octavian defeated the forces of Antony (at Actium), there were a series of ‘city grants’ made by Antony to Cleopatra.
Cleaopatra was of the lineage of the Ptolemies, and had during the various dynastic disputes within that line over Egypt, had come into the orbit/intersection with the Roman power. Julius Caesar had granted Cyprus to her, Octavian had given parts of Cilicia to her, and Antony followed in their path. Strictly speaking, this was normal for Rome/independent ruler relationships: Rome could take the power away from a ‘friendly dynast’ or could expand it by granting authority over additional territories—whatever made the most practical sense to the Roman in power at the time.
Focusing in our case on Northern Syria or Coele-Syria, there were several donations of Antony which affect our discussion—two of which were donations to Cleopatra.
As Antony was trying to gear up for another Parthian initiatives, and as he became influenced by the arguments of Cleopatra (and her apparent desire to rebuild the Ptolemaic authority), he gave certain lands in Syria to her but kept strategic areas out of her hands. Apamea was given to her as part of Coele-Syria, but Larisa was given to other Parthian nobles who were estranged from the Parthian leadership at the time.
“Antonius’ political and romantic interests, however, now lay in Alexandria. A key financial backer of his wars was Queen Kleopatra of Egypt. He had met her for the first time in 47 BCE when Iulius Caesar backed her claim and, after the Alexandrine War, put the then 22-year-old woman on the throne. Caesar was famously seduced by her sensual charms and sharp intellect and she bore him a son she named Caesarion. In 41 BCE Antonius had summoned the queen to be with him at Tarsus. ‘And when she arrived,’ writes Plutarch, ‘he made her a present of no slight or insignificant addition to her dominions, namely, Phoenicia, Coele Syria, Cyprus, and a large part of Cilicia; and still further, the balsam-producing part of Iudaea, and all that part of Arabia Nabataea which slopes toward the outer sea’. 21 He joined her in Egypt later that year. The two eloped and a romance blossomed between the couple – and soon there were children.” [Powell, Lindsay. Marcus Agrippa: Right-hand Man of Caesar Augustus (Kindle Locations 2386-2392). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.]
“Controversially, a few days after the parade (34 BC), Antonius reassigned several of the Roman protectorates in the East to members of his new family in what became known as the Donations of Alexandria. 26 It is reported that ‘he used to say that the greatness of the Roman empire was made manifest, not by what the Romans received, but by what they bestowed; and that noble families were extended by the successive begettings of many kings’. 27 He added, ‘in this way, at any rate, his own progenitor was begotten by Herakles, who did not confine his succession to a single womb, nor stand in awe of laws like Solon’s for the regulation of conception, but gave free course to nature, and left behind him the beginnings and foundations of many families’. 28 The distributions of land were accompanied by an excessive spectacle of lavish sets and flamboyant costumes. 29 The 13-year-old Caesarion, now bearing the majestic Egyptian name Ptolemaeus XIV Philopator Philomētor Caesar, was recognized as co-regent of Egypt and Iulius Caesar’s legitimate son and heir. 30 Cyprus, Coele-Syria and Libya were given to the pharaohs, while Armenia, Media (following its annexation) and Parthia reaching as far as India were created as new realms for Kleopatra’s eldest son, the 6-year-old Alexander Helios. His twin sister, Kleopatra Selene, received Crete and Cyrenaica. To the youngest son, the 2-year-old Ptolemaeus Philadelphus, was granted Cilicia, Phoenicia and Syria. Antonius was within his legal remit to make such settlements as these were not fully-fledged Roman provinces. 31 Indeed, he sent official documents for the transfers to the Senate in Rome to ratify his decision. The response there was consternation. ‘He was hated, too,’ writes Plutarch, ‘for the distribution which he made to his children in Alexandria; it was seen to be theatrical and arrogant, and to evince hatred of Rome.’ 32 His recognition of Caesarion as ‘King of Kings’ and as Iulius Caesar’s true heir by blood, however, was seemingly calculated to antagonize one man in particular: his former co-triumvir and the man claiming to be ‘Son of the Divine Iulius’.” [Powell, Lindsay. Marcus Agrippa: Right-hand Man of Caesar Augustus (Kindle Locations 2411-2423). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.]
“Herod wrote an account of these things; and enlarged upon the other honors which he had received from Antony: how he sat by him at his hearing causes, and took his diet with him every day, and that he enjoyed those favors from him, notwithstanding the reproaches that Cleopatra so severely laid against him, who having a great desire of his country, and earnestly entreating Antony that the kingdom might be given to her, labored with her utmost diligence to have him out of the way; (78) but that he still found Antony just to him, and had no longer any apprehensions of hard treatment from him; and that he was soon upon his return, with a firmer additional assurance of his favor to him, in his reigning and managing public affairs; (79) and that there was no longer any hope for Cleopatra’s covetous temper, since Antony had given her Celesyria instead of what she desired; by which means he had at once pacified her, and got clear of the entreaties which she made him to have Judea bestowed upon her.” [Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987).aj 15.77-79]
“(88) Now at this time the affairs of Syria were in confusion by Cleopatra’s constant persuasions to Antony to make an attempt upon everybody’s dominions; for she persuaded him to take those dominions away from their several princes, and bestow them upon her; and she had a mighty influence upon him, by reason of his being enslaved to her by his affections. (89) … yet did not all this suffice so extravagant a woman, who was a slave to her lusts, but she still imagined that she wanted everything she could think of, and did her utmost to gain it; for which reason she hurried Antony on perpetually to deprive others of their dominions, and give them to her; and as she went over Syria with him, she contrived to get it into her possession; (92) so he slew Lysanias, the son of Ptolemy, accusing him of his bringing the Parthians upon those countries. She also petitioned Antony to give her Judea and Arabia: and in order thereto desired him to take these countries away from their present governors. (93) As for Antony, he was so entirely overcome by this woman, that one would not think her conversation only could do it, but that he was some way or other bewitched to do whatsoever she would have him; yet did the grossest parts of her injustice make him so ashamed, that he would not always hearken to her to do those flagrant enormities she would have persuaded him to. (94) That therefore he might not totally deny her, nor by doing everything which she enjoined him, appear openly to be an ill man, he took some parts of each of those countries away from their former governors, and gave them to her. (95) Thus he gave her the cities that were within the river Eleutherus, as far as Egypt, excepting Tyre and Sidon, which he knew to have been free cities from their ancestors, although she pressed him very often to bestow those on her also.
2. (96) When Cleopatra had obtained thus much, and had accompanied Antony in his expedition to Armenia, as far as Euphrates, she returned back, and came to Apamea and Damascus, and passed on to Judea; where Herod met her, and farmed of her parts of Arabia, and those revenues that came to her from the region about Jericho” [Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987). (15.88-96)]
37. And now Phraates put Hyrodes his father to death [36 BC] and took possession of his kingdom,1 other Parthians ran away in great numbers, and particularly Monaeses, a man of distinction and power, who came in flight to Antony. Antony likened the fortunes of the fugitive to those of Themistocles,2 compared his own abundant resources and magnanimity to those of the Persian kings, and gave him three cities, Larissa, Arethusa, and Hierapolis, which used to be called Bambycé.  But when the Parthian king made an offer of friendship to Monaeses, Antony gladly sent Monaeses back to him, determined to deceive Phraates with a prospect of peace, and demanding back the standards captured in the campaign of Crassus, together with such of his men as still survived. Antony himself, however, after sending Cleopatra back to Egypt, proceeded through  Arabia and Armenia to the place where his forces were assembled, together with those of the allied kings. These kings were very many in number, but the greatest of them all was Artavasdes, king of Armenia, who furnished six thousand horse and seven thousand foot. Here Antony reviewed his army. There were, of the Romans themselves, sixty thousand foot-soldiers, together with the cavalry classed as Roman, namely, ten thousand Iberians and Celts; of the other nations there were thirty thousand, counting alike horsemen and light-armed troops.” [Plutarch, Antony, 37]
The role of Marcus V. Agrippa in the East.
We have noted earlier that some scholars recognize the role of MVA as being key to the promotion of the cult of Caesar and the imperial cult (for Augustus) in the early empire. He is associated with both the priest-level of the cult (e.g. lares) as well as the ‘lower class’ version of it (e.g. the gerousia and collegia of Aug.).
We have noted in the piece on the census in Luke how these censuses in the empire might have been related to an oath of loyalty (in connection with the imperial cult). This was noted to have been feverishly at work in the two decades before the census in Apamea.
Agrippa served as the supreme authority in the East from 18-12 BC, ruling from Antioch on the Orontes. Antioch was one of the four cities in the Syrian Tetrapolis with Apamea, and—as has been suggested by scholars cited above—the interactions with Dexy of Apamea could have resulted in both Dexy’s priesthood and in Dexy’s adoption of Agrippa’s family name.
Okay, let’s now put the chronology together for this area:
· 300-200 Bc. We get the foundation of these cities. Larissa is founded by ex-Alexandrian solders/cavalrymen. The site is named after Larissa in Thessaly. Apamea was created by Seleucis specifically as a military control point. It was at this time both a city and a district. The district had several tributary towns in it, including Larissa. Apamea was an educational city.
· 145-140 BC. We see the revolt of Tryphon and the area. At the time Larissa is still subject to Apamea, and the district has several forts in it (mostly along the river). Tryphon’s revolt fails and he dies in Apamea (after reigning as a ‘king’ for 3 years).
· 135 BC. Poseidonius of Apamea born. Before he dies in 50 BC, he writes accounts of Tryphon’s revolt and of Apamea’s war against Larisa. Only fragments are left, but it is clear from this that the war / revolt of Larissa against Apamea would have been earlier than 50 BC.
· 86 BC. Posy is in Rome as an embassy of Rhodes where he is a famous teacher. (He is known to have been from Apamea originally, as noted by Strabo). Apamea would have gained a great reputation from this notable citizen.
· 85 BC. Larissa coins as an independent city-state. This is presumably the result of the war against Apamea. We don’t have any reason to believe any of the other dependent towns gained autonomy during this time, since at least one of them shows up in Ptolemy’s geographic description of the land.
· 78 BC. Cicero studies under Posy in Rhodes, and is influenced positively – like many other historians of the time.
· 77 BC. Apamea begins coining as 'holy' and 'asylia'.
· 67 BC. Pompey attends a lecture of Posy in Rhodes—on his way to deal with the pirates of Cilicia. He probably met Py earlier, but we know he is influenced heavily by Posy.
· 63 BC. Pompey conquers Syria and strengthens the cities. Given the status of Apamea at the time (both as a district leader polis) and as the home of Posy, there can be a reasonable presumption that Apamea might have been strengthened in its autonomy by Pompey (as noted above, as being a result of the destruction of the fortress—but not the city itself [as noted by Jones]).
· 60 BC. Apamea continues coining as 'holy' and 'asylia' (under Pompey)
· 50 BC. Poseidonius dies.
· 48 BC. Pompey dies.
· 46 BC. Bassus revolts (involving Apamea)
· 44 BC. Apamea continues coining as 'holy' and 'asylia' (under Bassus)
· 41 BC. Julius Caesar dies.
· 41 BC. Apamea continues coining as 'holy' and 'asylia' (under Antony)
· 40 BC. Parthians invade Syria and take it over.
· 48 BC. Apamea coins as 'holy' and 'autonomous'--not 'asylia' (under Antony/etc., thru 31 BC)
· 39 BC. Antony retakes Syria.
· 40 BC. Apamea coins as 'holy' and 'autonomous'--not 'asylia' (under Parthians)
· 36 BC. Antony gives Coele-syria to Cleopatra and other cites to other nobles.
· 31 BC. Battle of Actium. Antony defeated by Octavian. He and Cleopatra commit suicide.
· 30 BC. Octavius tours the East - makes almost no changes to the current arrangements
· 30 BC. Apamea continues coins as 'holy' and 'autonomous'--and also 'asylia' (under Octavius, through 18 BC; then HOLY+ASYLIA to 4 BC. Then nothing else.)
BC. Agrippa campaigns in the East, and sends legates to Syria. Promotes
· 20 BC. Octavius (now Augustus) tours the East - makes almost no changes to the current arrangements, and reverses most of the ones made on his first visit.
· 18-12 BC. Agrippa over the East, ruling from Antioch. Promoting imperial cults.
· 12-6 BC. Dexy established as independent dynast (of area around Apamea) and high priest of the imperial cult.
· 7 BC. Strabo writes his geography work; describes Apamea as polis with dependent tribute-owing towns (including Larisa), and was considered a kingdom in the 145-140 BC period (Trypho was called basileus)
· circa. 6 AD. A census taken under Quirinius.(of Apamea's territory presumably)
· 14 AD. Apamea resumes coining as HOLY+ASYLIA (Tiberius).
· 77ish AD. Pliny describes Apamea neither as polis or oppidum (i.e. no data one way or another).
· Late 100's AD. Ptolemy describes Apamea as a territory (with cities), but without Larissa. Larissa is listed in another district.
Okay, now let’s deal with one of the pushbacks…
Five: Was there some kind of punishment in civic status of Apamea prior to the census of Q?
Was Apamea ‘punished’ by one of the Roman leaders for supporting an opposing leader—by being demoted from an independent free civitas/polis into being a simple tax-paying, census-bearing provincial city.
I can find only a few statements that this was the case—all in the contemporary literature, and none in the ancient sources.
* There is the statement by Richard:
“Of these two, the more famous Apamea on the Orontes is the only one in Syria, and it lost its freedom before the 20's B.C. for having sided with Pompey against Caesar (even though it did so under compulsion, having been captured by Pompey in 64 B.C.).”
Richard apparently considers this Apamea to have been free before the 20s [in the 30's?], but to have had its freedom revoked by (presumably?) Octavian for supporting Pompey against Julius Caesar.
* The entry on Apamea in the Tufts/Perseus library refers to something like this too:
"One of the four great cities founded by Seleucus I Nicator (301-281 B.C.) in N Syria, Apamea on the Orontes was a citadel of the Seleucid kings, their treasury, and their horse-breeding center. In the 1st c. B.C. Pompey destroyed the fortress and Augustus punished the city for having sided with Anthony. Reestablished in the 1st c. A.D. under the name Claudia Apamea, in the Late Empire it was the seat of famous schools of philosophy." [The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites. Stillwell, Richard. MacDonald, William L. McAlister, Marian Holland. Princeton, N.J. Princeton University Press. 1976. The article is written by J-P Rey-Coquais, one of the leading authorities on the site.]
This entry contradicts Richard's statement, obviously, by attributing the 'offense' to supporting Antony instead of Pompey. All of the references in the article are in French, and most seem to be about archeology.
* A current multi-volume monograph on early Christian history makes this claim:
“Pompey destroyed the fortress. Augustus punished the city, which had supported Mark Antony. The city was refounded in the first century A.D. as Claudia Apamea; it controlled a good number of dependent cities and continued to be most important urban center between Damascus and Antioch (Strabo 16.2.10). The population is estimated at 117,000 people.” [Eckhard J. Schnabel, Early Christian Mission & 2 (vol. 1; Downers Grove, IL; Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press; Apollos, 2004), 1051.]
This source gives no reference for the assertion, yet sides with Perseus against Richard in naming Antony instead of Pompey.
The New Pauly entry doesn’t discuss its history, and only references Balty's work Apame der Syrie, I, ANRW I 2.8, 1977, 104-134.
Balty's work seems to speculate a 'punishment' as well, based on Seyrig's numismatic research. In the section on "Of the Republic to the Empire: Monetary History and Privileges" we read:
"…the coinage of Apamea often sheds new light on principal phases of its history at that time, and appears from a remarkable study due to H. SEYRIG… It is under Tigranes of Armenia that the part of Syria which was Apamea obtained its monetary privileges (hiera kai asylos; holy and inviolate)… He [Pompey] also destroyed the citadel during the campaign he led in the spring of 63 … and restored its privileges after some time … and after a new gap of 51/50 to 44/43, [we] even see a complete renewal of currency types and modules, still unexplained to this day… … immediately beyond [the Roman re-taking of Apamea after the Parthian invasion/hold in 41/40], no doubt (note: san doute) in reward of resistance that the citadel then opposed the invader before succumbing [footnote 77], issues which take report of autonomy (hiera kai autonomos, holy and autonomous) she received from Antony [footnote 78] and held until 30/29 when Octave, no doubt (note: san doute) because of the favors she had had of his rival, reduced to the privilege of asylia [footnote 79] that had been hers since Tigranes and will now keep it. These emissions continue, fairly regularly, despite the inauguration of a new module, again until 5/4 BCE."
One of the things I have learned over the decades of reading scholarly works is that when a scholar uses the phrase 'no doubt' (or equivalent) is means "I cannot substantiate this from the data"! Often these 'un-substantiated' positions are reasonable, and 'no doubt' (lol) often true, but that just cannot stand unchallenged.
In this case, there are at least footnotes to see if there are indications of the veracity of the presumption or speculation.
· Footnote 77 would appear to be about Antony granting autonomy to Apamea as a 'reward', based upon its placement in the text. Here is footnote 77:
"77. Dion Cassius, XLVIII, 25, 1-4: (1) pros ten Apameian proselasas tou men teichous apekrousthe (sc. Ho Labienos) et, plus tard, apres la deroute de Saxa [trans: "and later, after the rout of Saxa"], (4) ten te Apameian, ouden eti hos kay rethneotos autou antarasan, elabe."
Here's the passage from Dio Cassius:
"By such words Labienus persuaded Orodes to wage war and the king entrusted to him a large force and his son Pacorus, and with them invaded Phoenicia. They marched to Apamea and were repulsed from the wall, but won over the garrisons in the country without resistance. These had belonged to the troops that followed Brutus and Cassius. Antony had incorporated them in his own forces and at this time had assigned them to garrison Syria because they knew the country. So Labienus easily won over these men, since they were well acquainted with, him, all except Saxa, their temporary leader. He was a brother of the general and was quaestor, and hence he alone refused to join the Parthian invaders. Saxa the general was conquered in a set battle through the numbers and ability of the cavalry, and when later by night he made a dash from his entrenchments to get away, he was pursued. His flight was due to his fear that his associates might take up with the cause of Labienus, who labored to prevail upon them by shooting various pamphlets into the camp. Labienus took possession of these men and slew the greater part, then captured Apamea, which no longer resisted when Saxa had fled into Antioch, since he was believed to be dead; he later captured Antioch, which the fugitive had abandoned, and at last, pursuing him in his flight into Cilicia, seized the man himself and killed him. [Foster]
Okay--anything in here about Antony rewarding Apamea for resisting? Not a whisper-- Is it reasonable to suppose he did this as a reward? Of course. Is that a speculation? "No doubt" it is… Are there other cases we know of where cities are rewarded with new privileges for helping such? Absolutely YES. Does that give us enough warrant for a 'no doubt' in this case? Absolutely NO. There were plenty of cities which helped in the various wars, and freedom was often given--in various forms. But we know this from LITERARY texts--none of which exist in this case of Apamea.
This footnote only shows that Apamea resisted, and nothing of any results of reward.
· Footnote 78 is only a reference to Seyrig's documentation of the coinage with 'autonomous' on it. Nothing about the historical context.
· Footnote 79 would appear to intend to support the 'punishment' motif, but it only refers again back to the coinage work of Seyrig (same page as footnote 78).
The Seyrig resource--which seems to be the only trailhead source for some of these interpretations--also uses the 'no doubt' phrase for some of this..
On the grant of autonomy:
"Soon after, between 41 and 39, the town receives its autonomy. Here again, the date allows a conclusion the clearest [des plus claires]: this privilege is a concession of Antoine, probably [san doute] destiny reward opposite resistance by Apamea at the Parthians before being forced a surrender" (p. 19)
Again, only the date of the coin is used to reach this 'clearest conclusion' that is 'no doubt' the case.
Here is Seyrig's comment on the use of the word autonomy on their coins after Antony:
"But … autonomy was shown/mentioned [on the coinage] until 30-29, the year in which the city suddenly was private and had to go back to his old title of hiera kai asylios. For what reason was this decrease [diminution] imposed [infligee]? It cannot be by chance that it coincides with the passage of Octavian in Syria after the battle of Actium. A review of privileges would have place in this opportunity, and the fact that the Apamenians had received freedom from Antony had not recommended them to his rival. We see once more currencies offer new views of the little-known vicissitudes, cities of Syria in the troubles of the first century before Christ"
At least Seyrig doesn’t use the 'no doubt' phrase, the terminology of 'It cannot be by chance' is pretty close to it. Whether Octavian had an issue with Apamea because of Antony's benefactions or not, there is just nothing link that to changes in the coinage at this time.
His next statement shows how little we know about what actually happened at that time:
"However coinage follows its normal course, and there is even as the city of the first months of this decline, inaugurates a new currency, a module superior to the previous ones, adorned by unique Dionysus (style). The reasons for this remarkable innovation escape us."
None of the above assertions give a reference to an ancient source documenting this—and I can find no such data myself.
Remember, we DO have such statements about OTHER cities, and in similar circumstances:
From Cassius Dio (54.6-7):
"Augustus after settling various affairs in Sicily and making Syracuse together with certain other cities Roman colonies crossed over into Greece. The Lacedæmonians he honored by giving them Cythera and attending their Public Mess, because Livia, when she fled from Italy with her husband and son, passed some time there. From the Athenians, as some say [note: Dio is disclaiming the historicity of this himself!], he took away Ægina and Eretria, the produce of which they were enjoying, because they had espoused the cause of Antony. Moreover he forbade them to make any one a citizen for money… As for Augustus, after setting the Greek world in order, he sailed to Samos, passed the winter there, and in the spring when Marcus Apuleius and Publius Silius became consuls proceeded to Asia and gave his attention to matters there and in Bithynia. Though these and the foregoing provinces were regarded as belonging to the people, he did not make light of them, but accorded them the very best of care, as if they were his own. He instituted all reforms that seemed desirable and made a present of money to some, while others he instructed to collect an amount in excess of the tribute. The people of Cyzicus he reduced to slavery because during an uprising they had flogged and put to death some Romans. And when he reached Syria he took the same action in the case of the people of Tyre and Sidon on account of their factious quarrelling."
Note that the demotion of the Cyzicus, Tyre and Sidon were connected with uprisings -- not their connection to Antony. Dio has to couch the Antoine-connection with Athens in a disclaimer-- "as some say" even.
Butcher is even more precise, attributing the demotion to 'treaty breaking' (and not 'uprising' in the 'revolt' sense):
"Favours were also extended to or retracted from cities. During his later visit to Syria in 20 BC Octavian, now styled Augustus, deprived Sidon and Tyre of their liberty 'for dishonouring the treaties which they had struck with Rome'.' Rewards and punishments had been meted out to cities under the republican generals, and the demands of loyalty would see the same happen under the emperors."
But there are scholarly statements which give their basis for believing in the 'demotion' as being that pattern in the coinage.
For example, Jack Nurpetlian (in his dissertation written under Butcher) makes a statement that the disappearance of the term autonomous from Apamean coinage under Augustus might be explained as a ‘punishment’, but moves from this statement from ‘conjecture’ to ‘assertion of fact’ without any indication of what supports such an increase in certainty!
Here is the progression (notice the 'level of certainty' words I highlight in bold and colors):
"Apparently, in 40/39 BC Apamea was granted the status of autonomy by Antony. This new title is reflected in the inscriptions of the coins, which then read APAMEON TES HIERAS KAI AUTONOMOU. (p 116)
"This three-denominational system employing the title of autonomy was continued until 31/30 BC (with a gap noted between 35/34 and 32/31 BC) when, as a result of Octavian’s victory over Antony in Actium, changes appeared in Apamea’s coinage represented by Group 2b… the title of autonomy was no longer inscribed on the coins; instead, Apamea returned to using the traditional title.. Thus, it seems that Octavian’s passage through Syria on his way to Egypt had caused swift changes in Apamea’s allegiance; the city was stripped of its autonomy granted by Octavian’s rival Antony." (p116-117).
"In 4/3 BC Apamea minted coins bearing the portrait of Augustus. Two reverse types, Nike advancing and bust of Tyche, were minted concurrently in year 28 of the Actian era. Interestingly, although the Nike type has the usual legend of APAMEON TES HIERAS KAI ASYLOY, the Tyche type reads on ly APAMEON TES HIERAX. This does not seem to have been a deliberate omission by the issuing authorities, implying that the title of ‘Inviolate’ was stripped from the city, because both types were minted in the same year. The use of the ‘shorter’ legend is also not accidental, since this type is known thus far by four dies, all of which were engraved with the same legend" (118)
"This delay [in resuming coining activities] may be explained by the fact that the Roman general [Pompey] razed the citadel of Apamea, which would have interrupted the city’s minting for a period of time, with output resuming in the seventh year of the Roman presence. These issues were dated by a Pompeian era, similar to Antioch (121)
"In 44/43 BC there was a complete change in the types issued in Apamea. The initiation of a new coinage seems to be indirectly linked to Caesar’s arrival in the area. Although other prominent mints in Syria reflect the Roman’s presence in the region, it seems that Apamea and its currency was not influenced by him, keeping in mind that from 46 to 44 BC Bassus, a follower of Pompey, defended the city against the Caesareans. This observation is coupled with the fact that the new issues did not use the Caesarean era, but rather continue the Pompeian ... Although the Pompeian era continued to be in use for the new issues of Group 2 initially, in 41/40 BC the dating system reverted to the Seleucid era –a trend which is also seen in Antioch– due to the Parthian invasion under the leadership of Pacorus I of Parthia and Q. Labienus. The above-mentioned changes of the coinage at Apamea brought about by the Parthian invasion seem to have been short-lived (as it is attested by issues of a single year only) due to Antony’s arrival. The Roman seems to have been congenial towards Apamea, and granted the city autonomy as supported by the legends on the coins starting in 40/39 BC and continuing through 31/30 BC....Antony’s presence in the region brought some changes to the coinage of Antioch, which reduced the modules of the bronzes. In the case of Apamea the coinage remained unchanged with the exception of an ‘Antonian era’ initiated there ... It seems that the Apamenes considered their liberation to have taken place in 41/40 BC, since in that year they abandoned the use of the Pompeian era in favour of a Seleucid one, even though the coins of that year continue to use the title of ‘Inviolate’. This may imply that it was not until the second year that the city was granted autonomy by Antony for its allegiance in the battle to repel the Parthian forces. (122-123)
"The next notable change that took place in the coinage of Apamea is related to the turn of events brought about by Actium and Octavian’s visit to Syria in 31/30 BC. No major changes were made to the coinage in northern Syria, with the issues at Apamea also generally continuing from the pre-Actian period. However, some changes are noted: a) the title of autonomy at Apamea was stripped and the coinage reverted to using the traditional legend, referring to the city as being ‘Inviolate’ starting in 30/29 BC….. These issues continued quite uniformly until 18/17 BC. (124)
"Octavian’s victory over Antony in Actium brought about changes in the coinage of Apamea, represented by Group 2b, by which in 30/29 BC a new heavier type, Dionysus/thyrsus (Cat. no. 5), was added to the above three denominations. Thus, four denominations were now used, each represented by a different type. The coins of Group 2b, which were all dated by the Seleucid era, continued to be minted until 18/17 BC. (p197)
"With the appearance of the civic issues of Apamea in the 70s BC, the legend used on the coins for all denominations invariably reads APAMEON TES HIERAS KAI ASYLOY, proclaiming the city’s holy and inviolable status. The title on the coins was later converted to APAMEON TES HIERAS KAI AUTONOMOY in 40/39 BC, following the granting of autonomy by Antony. This title was consistently used on the coins for a period of ten years without any significant changes introduced in the types. … Following the defeat of Antony in Actium, in 30/29 BC Apamea reverted to using its original title of being ‘inviolable’ and no longer boasted its ‘autonomous’ status. The change of titles was apparently sudden, since the Athena/Nike type issued in this year was recorded with both legend varieties (asylia and autonomous). After this transition, the city continued using the title APAMEA THE HOLY AND INVIOLATE (asylia) on its civic coins until the last decade of the first century BC.” [233-234]
Nurpetlian makes the best argument for an Augustinian 'punishment', but there's just too much contrary data about the logic to assign it anything more than 'interesting' or 'plausible'.
The 'absence of data' is just not that strong. Consider a counter-example, from one of Butcher's works:
"Rhosus uses hiera kai asylos from its earliest issues, struck before 42 BC. Autonomos is added on its issues after 42, so that the coins attest Rhosus as hiera kai asylos kai autonomos. These issues end about AD 30/31, but the title reappears on coins of the reigns of Trajan and Antoninus Pius or Commodus." [HI:CRSNS, 222]
Rigby assigns this to a benefaction by Antony:
"The sporadic later coinage shows that Rhosus inaugurated a civic era in 42/1 BC; this would reflect a benefaction by Antony, who arrived in Syria in 41. And two documents dating soon after reveal that autonomy has been added, surely the benefaction commemorated by the era of 42/1" [HI:ATIHW, 473]
But if we used the 'timing' argument of Nurpetlian, we would not be able to account for the two documents Rigsby adduces:
· Octavian wrote to Rhosus about citizenship for a naval officer, addressing the letter to "Rhosus the holy and inviolate and autonomous" (Seyrig dates this to 35 BC, Millar puts it in 31BC--neither date is one in which a benefaction by Antony might make sense…)
· A bronze coin dated 27/6 BC with a legend of "Rhosus the holy and inviolate and autonomous"--clearly after the alleged 'de-autonomizing' of cities so privileged by Antony.
The first might be chalked off to 'diplomacy' (if in 35 BC, as a pre-emptive move to supplant Antony's stature), but the second cannot be explained away. Rhosus stands as a strong counter-example to the explanations given for the cessation of 'autonomy' on Apamean coinage.
[If one argues against this counter-example as being an exception--due to the close relationship of Octavian with his naval officer Seleucus of Rhosus, I would counter with the close relationship of Augustus with Dexandros of Apamea.]
Perhaps the strongest assertion of ‘punishment’ is in the work by Rigsby on Asylia (REF here):
“The first series [of coins] runs from 76/5 to 68/7, with most years represented. Then after a hiatus of a generation, coins are extant again from 43/2 and continue sporadically into the 20s BC. Thereafter they are less and less frequent, ceasing entirely in the early years of Tiberius… Thus the right to coin was granted by Tigranes of Armenia and then canceled by Pompey, whom Apamea resisted in 65/4. The privilege was restored by Caesar, whose era is seen on the two issues extant before the Parthian invasion (43/2 and 42/1)…
"Thus the city was declared sacred and inviolable in or before 76/5 BC… When in the 60s the city lost the right to coin, it may have lost the right of inviolability as well--we are without evidence from the generation that follows. If asylia was abolished, Caesar restored it in the 40s. In 40, Antony added autonomy, as reward to the Apameans for resisting the Parthian invasion. In 20 Octavian canceled what Antony had added but no more (compare his treatment of Ephesus). " [HI:ATIHW, 503, 504]
But I have noticed how many of the specialists in this field use the 'argument from silence' in ways that look suspiciously convenient. In the work by Rigsby, his text is filled with phrases like:
· "…it is merely the sporadic character of striking that explains the absence of coins from 67/6 to the personal arrival of Pompey early in 64" (p503, note 111)
Ascalon was declared sacred and inviolable by Antiochus VIII in 112/1,
autonomous by Ptolemy Lathyrus in 103. In seems that autonomy was abolished in
the settlement of Pompey in the 60s. Possibly
inviolability was abolished in the 30s by Antony or Octavian; but the silence
of the coins should not be trusted. In the case of Ascalon, no titles
appear on coins of imperial date, even though the papyrus of 359 reveals both
'free' and 'colony'…" (p521).
· "Was this [commissioning of a statue] a renewal of asylia? On the title the civic coins had been silent for 300 years; but such silence is not unusual and need not prove that the status had lapsed since the Hellenistic age and was only now renewed by Gordian--especially given the silence of all coins about the autonomy mentioned in the inscription" (p.523)
If we take this methodological 'skepticism' seriously, any change of legend on a series of coinage--however abrupt--cannot be made to carry much weight, in the absence of some other historical evidence to give direction to the interpretation. Note that in the latter case, we have inscriptional data of status (and none on the coinage) and that in the cases of the three 'free cities' of Pliny in the Syrian tetrapolis, we have literary data of status (but none on the coinage of 2 of the 3).
There are just too many other factors that can subvert an argument from silence on such matters.
And as for the argument that Pompey cancelled their right to coin (after resisting him in 65/4), the extant coinage contradicts that. We have identical Zeus/Elephant type coins dated 68 and 70, repeated again starting in 60 (just changing the date to the arrival of 'new owner'). If the coinage was stopped by Pompey's decree (arguing from silence), it would have been in 67, before he got there. It is so much easier to attribute the pause of a city's minting activity to "preparations for, and interruption from war" than it is to something that happened later…
This is how Nurpetlian interpreted this gap:
"Perhaps the fact that Pompey razed the citadel of Apamea in 64 BC, where the main mint of the city most probably would have been located, resulted in the cessation of minting until few years later, by which time the Pompeian era was used." [p.115-116]
Butcher himself notes the problem of silence-interpretation in his criticism of Seyrig's 'speculation':
"Apamea did not strike until year seven (60/59 BC), and like Antioch its coinage was dated by a 'Pompeian' era. Seyrig thought that this gap in production might have been a result of Pompey's treatment of Apamea (the city was besieged by him in 63 BC), but it is clear that a break in production of coinage is not a very good indicator of the humiliation of a city." [HI:CRSNS, 26]
He gives as an example of the misuse of a gap in an argument on page 41:
"As Antioch had supported Pescennius and Laodicea had defected to Septimius, the victor reputedly made Laodicea the capital of Syria and demoted Antioch to a kome -- a village -- of Laodicea. There is no numismatic evidence for the punishment of Antioch by Septimius, and any that has been cited is based on a misinterpretation of the materials. It has been stated that Septimius withdrew Antioch's permission to strike coinage. This statement is based on the observation that no SC bronze was issued for Severus, whereas bronze was produced at Laodicea, and a prolific series of Severan tetradrachms and denarii have been attributed to Laodicea. There are several faults in the hypothesis. No bronze coinage was produced at Antioch under Severus, but that had also been the case during the sole reign of Commodus. Continued inactivity can hardly be used as evidence of a deliberate suppression of Antioch's coinage by Septimius."
Apart from the problems with assigning this removal of autonomous from the coins to a 'punishment', there is the additional problem of ambiguous data.
If you type in all the Apamean coinage from Nurpetlain, and rank them by year of issue, you can notice that the word 'autonomy' shows up on coinage whose range of dates fall into the Augustan period, but yet the coins themselves have no date (all references are to his work--spreadsheet is mine, constructing from some of his data):
Here is an image from the larger spreadsheet:
This shows the introduction of the word Autonomous onto the Athena/Nike coins of Group 2 (cat number 6). It looks as if the Autonomy actually shows up under the Parthians--since it also involves dating to the Seleucid era.
Then we have the cutover from Antony to Octavian:
You can see what looks like a 'dropping' of Authomous, but it is on a new coin (Dionysus/thyrsus) and not the older one (Athena/Nike).
Then, when you get back to the older coins again--autonomy is still there--
These coins are clearly in the Augustan period, contemporaneous with 'non-auto' coins.
Then most things seem to go back to the 'regular' titles of "holy and inviolate" (with a 3 year break in there):
Since--after the break--the issues that resume are of a different type, the break might be related to a retooling of the mint for the new items.
But then there are pockets -- in even the newer coins -- that have 'autonomy' on them, but because the date is 'worn' on the coin, it can only be dated to the RANGE that that style was produced in. Here are some of those pockets:
Notice that the first diagram shows a 'Demeter/three corn ears' coin, in a group of coins which range in dates from 38/37 to 21/20. Thus the one RED-Y could be pre-Augustus or Post-Antony. Coins of this type with clear dates on them with AUTONOMY on them have dates of 38/37 (3x), 36/35, and 31/30. The ones with clear dates WITHOUT autonomy on them have dates of 30/29 (3x) and 21/20 (3x).
And the second set of RED-Ys are in the Athena/Nike class, of which we have 127 specimens ranging in dates from 43/42 (under Bassus) to 18/17 (under Augustus)--so they could fall into any number of periods. Of the 43 that we know fall into the Octavian period, 10 of them have autonomy and 33 do not, so the odds are still pretty high (1 in 3) that they are in the Octavian period too.
If these are interpreted on the basis of the 'punishment theory' , then they would be assigned to the pre-Augustian issues. But if on the basis of probabilities, they could easily be otherwise.
But something is changing here, since the 'Athena standing' type only starts showing up in the Augustan period, and only after the second visit of Octavian (in 20-19ish). New coins are starting to show up--but there's no indication that it is a 'delayed punishment' or 'punishment' at all. It could easily just be a matter of a change in coinage 'policy' being implemented by a mint with 'limited resources' (i.e. can't do all of them as usual, so focus on the new stuff)…
Then we get regular issues, but with a couple of breaks (17-13 BC) and 12-11BC, followed by fairly radical changes in coinage--e.g. new types and images.
Then it is 'business as usual' until we start getting some additional changes in types (and our first 'imperial' coinage with Augustus on it)--after another break (8-5):
And finally we get the cessation under Augustus, and the resumption under Tiberius:
One might argue from the (1) removal of even 'inviolate' from that las batch of coins and (2) the cessation altogether, that Apamea had been stripped of EVERYTHING, but that would just be speculative--based on the silence problem. In fact, the 'with-inviolate' and 'without-inviolate' legends existed on the same coins in the same years, so something else was a play (we will discuss this in a minute).
So, I cannot find any data (ancient or modern) to support the theory of a punishment here.
And, on the contrary, this would have been counter to way Augustus handled such matters, at the turn of power:
· "To those regents who had supported Antonius, after Actium Imperator Caesar had taken a lenient approach – to act punitively would have injected uncertainty, even chaos, to the region." [Powell, Lindsay. Marcus Agrippa: Right-hand Man of Caesar Augustus (Kindle Locations 3740-3741). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.]
· "On the whole, Romans treated kings who had fought for their political opponents in civila war with considerable lenience…" [Braund, page 68]
· "The eastern part of the Augustan Empire had been, for a short but dangerous season, the preserve of Antonius. Through judicious compromise and the diplomatic arts of well placed partisans, Augustus swiftly managed to ensure the smooth incorporation of Antonius' realm into the larger Roman world, but vestiges of hostility remained. It was not only that many had to bear the burden of public adherence to a vanquished cause: the Greeks had been obliged to endure the depredations of Roman soldiers, who used Greece as their base for the three greatest battles in the civil wars of the late Republic. At the battle of Actium in 31 BC, only Mantinea and Sparta had had the foresight - or perhaps, it rnust have seemed at the time, the folly - to come to the aid of the future Augustus.. It is well recognized that Augustus' success in administering the Antonian portion of his Empire was due in large measure to the winning of allegiance from the affluent and well placed citizens of those regions. In two major missions to the East, Augustus' general, Marcus Agrippa, brought the message of the Augustan peace, and between the years 27 and 19 BC, Augustus himself journeyed from Greece to Syria. [Bowersock, "Augustus and the East: The Problem of Succession", in [HI:CA7, 169]
Bowersock gives an extended discussion of the transition from Antony to Augustus in chapter 4 of his work [HI:AATGW] Augustus and the Greek World. GW Bowersock. Oxford/Clarendon: 1965:
"With the fall of Alexandria, Octavian found himself the heir to an empire. Both within it and at its borders in the East were the men whom Antony had elevated to power or supported in a power they already held. A few of these, observing before the final blow that they were espousing a losing cause, deserted to the camp of Octavian. … But desertions play an insignificant role in the policy of Octavian toward the kings and dynasts of the East. Antony's conqueror might have been expected to uproot the eastern Antonians from high position, to honour the deserters, and to raise up new client rulers, if he did not intend directly to annex a region stripped of its king. But Octavian was too shrewd. He knew that un-relenting Antonians could not be tolerated in his empire; they would be sources of discontent and turbulence. And some Antonian favourites would have to fall together with the man who favoured them simply in proof of the victor's newly won authority. However, there was an abundance of petty prince-lings who could easily be sacrificed without disrupting the major arrangements of Antony. Octavian recognized that the system of client kingship rested upon a foundation of mutual advantage, and to a Roman just entering upon the possession of a vast empire that system was indispensable for maintaining an equilibrium in the periphery of the eastern provinces. In the larger kingdoms Antony's arrangements were eminently satisfactory. If Octavian was willing to overlook their past and favour them as his own clients, the kings and tyrants had much to gain from transferring their allegiance and nothing to lose; they would shine the more resplendently for not having betrayed their previous patron at a time of crisis. It was clear how to perpetuate Antony's eastern settlement, and in broad outline that is what Octavian chose to do. … First, however, a conqueror must uncover and remove his enemy's supporters: conquerors are expected to do that, if they are not to be thought weak and lacking in initiative. A succession of local dynasts would suffice for Octavian's victims. A few had to be eliminated anyway because they were courageous enough to remain loyal to a man defeated and dead." [43-44]
Comment: Here Bowersock discusses these 'eliminations'. The locations given are Amisus, Heraclea Pontica, and Cos--no mention of Apamea (or others).
"Certain minor dynasties of the East exhibit a remarkable similarity in their history at this time. Each was ruled by an Antonian, and each was deprived of its ruler by Antony's rival. These were to be in areas which would pay the price of supporting the wrong side, for Octavian had seen the least risk in sacrificing the minor princes. But he miscalculated; it was not long before he appreciated Antony's sagacity in providing dynasts for these places. In three instances Augustus was obliged to re-establish the Antonian houses he had over-thrown; in a fourth he installed an Antonian prince whom he had removed from power elsewhere. And in a fifth he provided his own tyrant." 
Comment: Here Bowersock discusses these 'depose/re-instate' cases. The locations given are Level Cilicia, Emesa in Syria, Tarsus, Potic Comana, and Obla in Rough Cilicia--no mention of Apamea (or others).
"Almost in spite of himself, the heir of Caesar was unable to do away with the petty tyrannies of Hierapolis-Castabala, Emesa, Tarsus, Pontic Comana, and Olba. In one instance he allowed a tyranny to continue, controlled by the offspring of a lady he deposed; in two instances a hiatus of ten years convinced him of the need to reinstate the tyrannies. He found himself obliged to rely in four principalities upon dynastic houses which had once enjoyed the favour of Antony. The removal of dynasts after Actium was only a small part of the eastern arrangements of Octavian. Augustus realized that it ought to have been even smaller. --- As it was, Octavian had left several petty tyrannies undisturbed. One was that of Cleon, the brigand chieftain, who had betrayed Antony before Actium and received the priesthood of Pontic Comana among the rewards he had so little time to enjoy. His own territory in Mysia was enlarged, and he was presented with the priesthood of Zeus Abrettene. A traitor once might be a traitor twice, as Octavian intimated to Herod of Judaea but that worry never led to the dishonour of a man who went over to the winning side. Cleon acknowledged his closeness to the Emperor by giving Gordioucome the new name of Juliopolis. Perhaps the Emperor, on his part, had augmented Cleon's name through a bestowal of the citizenship." 
Comment: Notice that giving a minor ruler a priesthood (or multiples) was in fact honoring and/or empowering their rule over their mini-kingdom. We will come back to this in minute in considering Dexandros of Apamea.
"The petty tyrannies reveal the modest attempts of a victor to expel his rival's partisans, but they also reveal a remarkable satisfaction with the arrangements he inherited. The final Augustan settlement of the minor dynasts is distinguished by its similarities to the Antonian, not only in the distribution of dynasties but in the dynastic houses themselves. The history of the larger client kingdoms provides even more conclusive evidence of Augustus' satisfaction with the triumviral pattern. The greater kings were too important and too useful to be sacrificed to Antony's conqueror, as a few smaller rulers had been. --- Augustus maintained precisely six of the major kings who had ruled under Antony. Of these, five had been active Antonian partisans. Octavian deposed only two of the greater triumviral kings, and one of them was a man whose unreliability had given Antony himself good reason to depose him." 
What should be clear from both the historical assessment and from the detailed cases given, that Octavian was more likely to court the approval of a pro-Antony city than to demote it. Even if we assume that Apamea would have been 'actively pro-Antony' (and there may be reason to doubt that, if Cole-Syria was really given to Cleopatra like it was something disposable!), the behavior of Octavian would strong suggest that no 'punishment' could be inferred, where explicit data was not present.
So there is a prima facie case AGAINST the punishment-was-the-cause-of-de-autonomizing theory, and there is not strong evidence for it. The simple change of legends -- in between the visits of Octavian to the region--is not compelling enough to warrant that.
So, in answer to the question we started with--
1. It does not look like the inclusion of Apamea into the province of Syria damaged its 'freedom' (it was an enclave like so many other free cities were).
2. There does not seem to be any clear indication that that status was reduced by Octavian.
3. Its status seems to have improved over time somewhat and it had substantial privileges over provincial cities.
4. It was very well connected with the key players in the theater, through several of its leading citizens: Poseidonius/Pompey, Dexandros/Augustus, Lucius Agrippa/Marcus Agrippa.
5. Through the connection with Dexy, at least the territory would have been a civitas foedus.
As such, it should NOT have been subject to a 'traditional' Roman taxation-oriented provincial census.
So, if our understanding of the relationship of 'free cities' and 'provincial taxation' is correct (see next discussion installment), then this would be a case (like that alleged of the Lucan census) of a Roman census being taken/imposed on a 'free city/ client-city state'.
There are still unanswered questions here--e.g. was the census of the city, of its territory, or both? (since the cities were responsible for the collection of taxes). Was the tetrarchy of Dexandros merged with the territory of the city itself--or part of it--or vice versa? Why did the city coin so little after 5 BC - ish, even when exalted in the early 2nd century?
More importantly, though, we have to test the proposition that 'as a free city, it was exempt from the taxation schemes that required a census'. Braund (Friendly Kings) maintained that client-kings did not pay taxes, but did pay 'reparations' and 'indemnity tribute'--neither of which required a census.
Of course, the position I have argued all along that the census activities of Q were not taxation-centric; they were oath-of-loyalty, 'population/resource metrics', and imperial-cult-expansion devices (which could and would later serve as economic and control devices). In my understanding,
It is too easy to forget that our knowledge of the Roman census praxis is murky. In a study on the demographics of Syria, David Kennedy describes and discusses this inscription (David Kennedy, "Demography, the Population of Syria and the Census of Q. Aemilius Secudus", in LEVANT 38, 2006, pp 109-124) and pointed out that:
"Josephus’ references to Quirinius explicitly report that both in Syria and in the Judaean ethnarchy of Archelaus, his remit was to make a census of property (AJ XVII.355–XVIII.1-4; cf. BJ II.111; VII.253). The Secundus text reveals, however, that this man undertook a census of people. It seems likely that in fact the two registrations went hand in hand and were common throughout the province of Syria. The key questions are, therefore: What was the purpose of the census of people at Apamea? Whom exactly was Secundus sent to count? How might Secundus’ enumerators have got from their raw data to his number of 117,000? In fact we do not know from any direct evidence what the purpose of a census of people was. As Bagnall and Frier (1994, 26) observed for Egypt: “Neither any imperial order, nor prefectural edict, nor internal correspondence of the Roman government assists us in understanding why the census [of Egypt] was ordered or what use it was put to by the authorities.” Instead we must infer from the uses to which the declarations were put what the intention was. In the case." (p115)
The phenomena that has surfaced in this analysis on Apamea suggests (to me) a confluence of historical movements:
Agrippa is there --pushing the imperial cult in Antioch -- at the time the coinage is changing in Apamea, and at the time Dexandros is taking the high-priesthood of that cult. Dexy 'becomes' an Agrippa (and citizen) which puts him into the Augustan family. Antioch is the key mouthpiece for the emperor and their coinage begins to change with the rise of Augustus outreach. Dexy is high-priest, but Antioch is the 'seat' of the cult koinon of Syria. The very year Apamea stops coining (prior to Tiberius) is the same year Antioch begins coining its 'archieratic coinage'--with Augustus on one side and the word 'archierus' (high priest) on the other. Coins ran from 5/4 to 2/1. The last coinage in Apamea was an issue in 4BC with its first use of the image of Augustus on it, with the word 'holy' (not 'holy and inviolate') on it--perhaps a pointer to the priesthood aspect of Apamea's relationship to the emperor (via Dexy?).
In his discussion of Coinage in Syria, Butcher describes the processes intersecting here (28-29):
"Antonius' power was broken at Actium (September 31 BC), and Octavian visited Syria in 31/30 BC. No apparent changes were made to the coinage of northern Syria in the early years of Augustus' rule. In the reorganised scheme of Augustus' empire Syria was made an imperial province, governed by a legatus, of consular rank, appointed by the emperor for an indeterminate period and dismissed at the emperor's pleasure. In 20 BC the emperor paid a second visit to Syria.
Over a period of years, probably beginning no earlier than the penultimate decade of the first century BC, an entirely new coinage was introduced at Antioch. All traditional types on the Antiochene coinage with ethnics were abandoned c. 19/18 BC (or perhaps 17/16 BC, Cat. no. 37), and never revived. [TankNote how this corresponds to one of the breaks at Apamea--it was a system-wide change/initiative, not a 'punishment'] A new group of denominations was introduced, a sestertius-sized coin (a denomination not struck subsequently) and two smaller denominations, one group bearing the letters SC and the other CA (Group 1, Cat. nos. 38-42). CA coins were also issued at an uncertain mint or mints in Asia, suggesting that there was an attempt in this period to produce some sort of standardised provincial imperial coinage for several provinces, but the SC coinage was not issued in Asia. The legends of both SC and CA issues were in Latin and they bore Augustus' portrait. Their exact date is uncertain. Assuming that their attribution to Antioch is correct, they must date to 5/4 BC or earlier, for from that date on there is a secure stylistic sequence for Antiochene coinage until the end of Augustus' reign. Their imperial titulature shows that they belong after 23 BC. Burnett and Amandry have suggested a date between 20 and 10 BC (RPC I, 4101-5). It is tempting to link the end of the traditional bronze coinage of Antioch and the introduction of these provincial imperial coins with the imperium of Agrippa in the east, 23-21 BC (when he did not visit Syria), and again in 17/6 - 13 BC, or perhaps in connection with Augustus' visit to the east in 20. An important figure, superior to the governor of Syria, would likewise have been in a position to introduce the SC type in Cyprus.24 Perhaps it is to this period, or maybe a little later, that the denomination with the reverse bearing the title AVGVSTVS in a wreath belongs (Cat. no. 43). Like the CA coinage, parallel AVGVSTVS issues seem to have been struck in Asia.25 However, this first issue of SC and CA coinage may be as late as 5 BC (see Catalogue), and is perhaps to be associated with the legate P. Quinctilius Varus.26 A second issue of SC coinage began in about 5/4 BC (Cat. nos. 44-46), or perhaps shortly after. A very small issue of CA coins seem to be associated with these SC coins (no. 47). Varus may have been responsible for the beginning of this issue, but they may equally belong to the governorship of Varus' unidentified successor.27 One obverse die bears a Greek legend and is surrounded by a filletted border, characteristic of contemporary tetradrachms, rather than a dotted one.28 There were only two denominations of this imperial coinage, but smaller coins bearing the Antiochene ethnic were reintroduced, although they bear types different from those prior to 19/18 BC. They were first produced under Varus, and the larger of these minor denominations bears his name. There was also an issue of bronze coins of the same sizes and weights as the SC coins, and probably intended to be the same denominations, which bear the portrait of Augustus on the obverse and the wreath of an archiereus on the reverse, with the legend APXIEPATIKON ANTIOXEE, accompanied by a date according to the Actian era. This so-called 'archieratic coinage', issued over four years, 5/4 - 2/1 BC, seems to be a dedication by the Antiochenes to Augustus as High Priest, perhaps of the imperial cult at Antioch. It appears to be roughly contemporary with the second issue of SC coinage. The dating and groupings of issues of SC bronze and related coinages is discussed in more detail in the Catalogue.
"The SC coins were to remain the standard bronze coinage for Antioch and circulated widely in Roman Syria for the next two centuries. This looks like a determined attempt to create a provincial imperial bronze coinage for Syria, something that could be used by many cities and political entities."
The imperial cult was very pronounced in the East and included Agrippa (as a member of the imperial family as son-in-law of Augustus):
"But the cult of Augustus… was now being transformed into worship of the house of Augustus, in short into a cult of a dynasty. Inevitably, highly placed members of Augustus; family travelling in the East received the usual honours, some divine…" [Bowersock, Augustus and the Greek World, 118; he points the reader to the list of honors documented in Taylor's The Divinity of the Roman Emperor, pp 270ff--for Agrippa, Julia, Augustus, Gaius, etc.]
This is an alternative 'speculation' -- a different explanation for both the (a) removal of AUTONOMY from some of the coins [the last appearance of that word is on Antiochene issues in 11/12 AD with Augustus image on them--silver tetradrachms; (b) the gaps in the coinage under Octavian (retooling and coordination with Antioch); and (b) the new types/forms of coinage during that time--promotion of imperial cult and standardization.
But this doesn’t need to be proven for this article--the data we surfaced is enough to substantiate that Apamea should not have been 'naturally' or 'legally' required to do a census.
So, let's move on now to the final (I hope) questions: to what extent did 'free cities' like Apamea have to pay Roman taxes (of the traditional sort). tax4kings3.html (someday)