( AD 375 )


( Johnson, Coleman-Norton & Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes, Austin, 1961, p. 252, n. 318


    In 1904 at Ephesus in Asia Minor were discovered three metal plates with the following letter inscribed in Latin and in Greek, of which the former, presumably the original, is translated.
    At this period the provincial games were celebrated in four principal cities of the province of Asia. By this rescript the emperors permitted citizens of the other cities of Asia, who were ambitious for the distinction of giving games in these four cities, whose citizens only were ordinarily eligible for this liturgy, to sponsor such spectacles, provided that the aspirants had performed the regular liturgies in their native communities.

D. D.] D. n. n. n. Auggg. Valen[t]inianus, Valens, Gratia[n]us
Our Lords the Augusti, Valentinian, Valens, Gratian.
[Hab(e)?] Feste, [car(issim)e n]ob(is).
Hail, Festus, most dear to us !
Honorem Asiae ac totius provinci[a]e dignitatem quae   ex   iudicantis   pendebat  arbitrio,  [ex]emplo Illyri[ci]      a[d]que      [It]alarum     urbium     recte perspexi[mus] ° esse firmatum. Nec enim utile videbatur, u[t po]npa conventus publici unius arbitrio gereretur, qu[a]m consuet[u]dinis instaurata deberet solemnitas ° exhibere.
The honor of Asia and the dignity of the whole province, which used to depend on the governor's judgment, we perceive has been rightly strengthened by the example of Illyricum and of the Italian cities. For it does not appear advantageous that the procession of a public assembly should be controlled by the decision of one single person, which procession the repeated celebration of custom is bound to exhibit.
Ex sententia deni[q]ue factum est, quod divisis officiis   per   quattuor  civitates,  quae  met[r]opolis apu[d]      Asiam    nominantur,    lustralis    cernitur edi[tio?] ° constituta, ut, dum a singulis ex[hi]bitio postulatur,   non   desit   provinciae   coronatus  nec gr[a]vis cuiquam erogatio sit futura, cum servatis vicibus qu[in]°to anno civitas praebeat editorem. Nam et [illu]d quoque libenter admisimus quod in minoribus m[u]nicipiis generatis, quos popularis animi gloria maior ° attollit, facultatem tribui edendi mu[ner]is postulasti, videlicet ut in metropoli Efesena a[lia] e civi<ta>te asiarchae sive alytarchae pro[ceda]n[t ac] s[ic] ° officiis melioribus nobilitate contend[an]t.
In accord with our opinion, therefore, it is established, because the established quinquennial exhibition is apportioned by division of duties throughout the four communities that are called the metropolises in Asia, that, while an exhibition is demanded from each community, the province shall not lack a crowned victor and that the apportionment shall not be burdensome to any one, since, when the turns have been observed, a community provides an exhibitor in its fifth year. For we also willingly allow this, which you have asked, that the opportunity to exhibit a show shall be granted to those persons born in the smaller municipalities, whom a greater ambition for a popular affection exalts, namely, that in the Ephesian metropolis asiarchs or alytarchs from another community may appear in procession and thus may vie in fame by better duties.
Unde   qui   desideriis   sub   seculi   nostri felicitate ferv[entib]us     gaudiorum   debeamus   f[om]en[t]a [p]raes[t]are cele ° brandae editionis dedimus potestat[e]m, adversum id solum voluntatem contrariam   ref[. . . .]tes,   ne   suae   civitatis  obliti e[i]us in qua ediderin[t] ° munera, cu[ria]e socientur, Feste carissime ac iucundissime.
Wherefore, we, who ought to provide encouragement to the eager yearnings for pleasures in the felicity of our time, grant the right to celebrate an exhibition, mentioning a contrary desire in opposition to this only, dearest and most agreeable Festus, lest they, forgetful of their own community, should be joined to the senate of another community in which they have exhibited shows.
Lauda<ta> ergo experientia tua n(ost)ri potius praecepta   sequatur arbitrii, ut omn[es] ° qui ad hos h[on]ores transire festinant, c[u]nctas primitus civitatis suae restituant functiones, u[t p]eractis curiae muneribus a[d h]onorem totiu[s] ° provinciae debito fabore festinent p[er]cepturi postmodum, si tamen     voluerint,   senato[r]iam   dignitatem,   [ita tam]en, ut satisfacien[te]s legi in locis s[uis] ° alteros dese<r>ant substitutos. Ceterum nequaquam ad commodum credimus esse iustitiae, ut expensis rebus suis laboribusque transactis ° veluti novus tiro ad curiam transeat alienam, cum rectius honoribus fultus in sua debeat vivere civitate.
Therefore, your laudable Experience shall follow rather the orders of our judgment, that all persons who hasten to pass over to these honors first perform all the compulsory public services of their own community, in order that, after the compulsory public services of their own senate have been completed, they may hasten to the honor of the entire province with due favor, and they shall receive afterward, if, however, they so desire, the senatorial rank, but, nevertheless, on this condition, that in satisfying the law they leave other persons as substitutes in their own places. However, we believe that it is not at all to the advantage of justice that, after any person's means have been spent and his labors have been completed, he, just as a new beginner, shall enter into another senate, since, fortified by honors, one more properly ought to live in one's own community.