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The reappearance of the supra-provincial commands in the late second and early third centuries C.E.: Constitutional and historical considerations

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Chapter Summary

This chapter aims at examining and explaining the nature of some spectacular extraordinary commands from the reign of Marcus Aurelius to the reign of Philippus Arabs (161-249 C.E.). Although the initial plan was to focus primarily on the third century proper, the period between the reigns of Philippus Arabs (244-249) and Diocletian (284-305) is so chaotic that it becomes very hard to distinguish between the ordinary and the exceptional. The chapter provides a brief definition of what is considered an extraordinary command, and surveys a number of relevant precedents from the preceding centuries. It focuses primarily upon what one could perhaps best define as supra-provincial commands, commands which involved the superimposition of one commander-in-chief upon the existing administrations of a well-defined number of regular provinces.

Keywords: Diocletian; Marcus Aurelius; Philippus Arabs; supra-provincial commands; third century



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