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Open Access Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores administration, appointment policies and social hierarchies in the period between AD 193 to 284, in order to define changing status and power relations between the highest ranking representatives of imperial power at the central level. The appointment of the emperor Pertinax, successor of Commodus, in 193 forms the starting point of the analysis; the accession of Diocletian in 284 marks the end. Before proceeding to delineate the relevant source material and the methodology applied, the concepts 'power' and 'status' must be defined as they are used in the context of this study. Roman imperial power at the central level was mediated by men belonging to the upper strata of Roman society. The available source material for this study can be divided into three main categories: 1. 'memorial epigraphy'; 2. historiographic evidence; 3. administrative documents and writings.

Keywords: Commodus; Diocletian; emperor Pertinax; memorial epigraphy; Roman imperial power



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