AD 293-305 )

( Johnson, Coleman-Norton & Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes, Austin, 1961, p. 234, n. 297


      The imperial favor toward athletes and actors is revealed in Egypt from Claudius to Diocletian (BGU 4, 1074). In the third century A.D. athletes were especially honored at Hermopolis (Frank, Econ. Surv. 2, 697) and Gallien and Aurelian found time to confirm their privileges. Apparently the members of the guilds took advantage of their honors to claim exemption from all their civic duties and Diocletian allows such exemption only to a limited number (CJ 10, 54, I).
      The papyrus containing this rescript was reported in 1906.


      Emperors Diocletian and Maximian, Augusti, and Constantius and Maximian, most noble Caesars, to the guild of athletes, actors, et al.
      It is our custom to preserve intact and unimpaired the privileges that the constitutions of our deified ancestors, the Augusti, grant to their subjects in their several ordinances.
      But lest all persons should use the pretext of crowns to claim that it gives them the right to decline civil compulsory public services, we proclaim by this rescript, given in answer to your supplications, that immunity from civil and personal compulsory public services rightfully belongs only to those persons who through the whole period of their prime have devoted themselves to the contests of their profession without any recent attempt to win crowns by bribery or collusion intervening . . . provided that they have won not less than three crowns in a noteworthy contest, among which are victories won at Rome or at the traditional Greek games or in a contest of comedy established by our Divinity. . . . This kind of privilege is limited to the individual who himself has won the crowns and it is not meant to reward the descendants with a favor of this kind . . . unless this person in a contest has won for himself the privilege accorded to his parents.
      This decision shall be observed universally.