~  CIII  ~

S. P. Scott, The Civil Law, XVII, Cincinnati, 1932 ).

Addressed to John, Most Glorious Praetorian Prefect of the East, twice Consul and Patrician.
  We have already granted greater power to the Governors of other provinces who, formerly deprived of much of their authority, were not capable of acting with energy; We have bestowed upon them the rank of spectabile; We have increased their salaries, as well as those of their assessors and subordinates; and, among all the distinctions which We have conferred upon them We have included that of hearing appeals; We have honored some of them with the title of Proconsul, others with that of Count, others again with that of Praetor, and still others with that of Governor; and We add, so to speak, new ornaments to Our Empire by the splendid appointments which are constantly being introduced. We have especially directed Our attention to the metropolis of Caesarea, the capital of First Palestine, which province should, above all others, enjoy great distinction, for the reason that it was formerly governed by a Proconsul with the title of Prefect, although he was subsequently reduced to an inferior rank. Palestine, at first, only constituted a single province, but when it was divided into three parts, it did not retain the Proconsulate, but was placed under the jurisdiction of an ordinary magistrate (as he is called). Without considering that this capital is very ancient, its name was always celebrated, either because Strato first founded it and constituted it a city; or for the reason that the distinguished Emperor Vespasian, the father of Titus, of pious memory, gave it the name of the Caesars instead of that of the Tower of Strato, which it was formerly called because Strato resided there after the Hebrew victories between the emperors; an act which alone would be sufficient to invest him with the greatest glory.
  (1) We are aware that Palestine is inhabited by a great and estimable people, and forms no inconsiderable part of Our Empire, both because of the amount of taxes which it pays, and by reason of its exceeding loyalty; that it includes cities of great renown; produces good citizens versed in all kinds of knowledge, as well as eminent among the priesthood; and that, finally (which is more important than everything else), Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of the Universe, the Word of God, and the salvation of all the human race, redeemed us in Palestine, and it was there that He designed to become responsible for our sins.
  Therefore, why should We not increase the consideration due to this province, by adding to the dignity of the magistrate who governs it, and why should We not elevate him to the Proconsulate? Why should We not concede to him the title of this office? And this is what We now do, by means of the present Pragmatic Sanction, which We desire to be styled the Privilege of the Caesareans. Hence We hereby create the Governor of Palestine a Proconsul; We confer upon him the rank of spectabile magistrate, and all the attributes peculiar to that office; he shall hear appeals brought before him from every part of both Palestines, where the value of the property involved is not over ten pounds of gold; and his rank will enable him to execute Our orders with more distinction and greater authority. He will assume the venerable and antique Veneta (that is to say, the purple stole), and he will wear it during the sacred monthly festivals; being invested with so much honor, he will render himself agreeable to his subordinates ; he will command a large number of soldiers, and do whatever is most useful to the government and advantageous to Our subjects. We also bestow upon him, by way of salary, twenty pounds of gold, which he shall freely divide between himself, his assessor, and his attendants. He will notify Us of the division to be made of it, in order that We may confirm its distribution by means of an Imperial Pragmatic Sanction, as We are not willing for the Governor of Palestine and his assessor to be paid the moderate emoluments which they formerly received, or that his attendants, who are occupied with such large collections of taxes, and have considerable risk to run on this account, should be deprived of all means of assistance, especially when the Proconsul, his assessor, and the members of his court are well disposed toward Us, diligently collect the public tributes, and abstain from unjust exactions.
  In addition to this, the distinguished military commander of Palestine at the time shall not, in any way, interfere with civil cases, or the disbursement of taxes, but the Proconsul himself shall decide all public and private litigation (as has already been stated) ; he must especially see that the public revenues are paid without delay or loss, and keep his hands clear of all corruption. What We decree will be carefully observed, for Stephen, whom We appoint the first Proconsul of Palestine, is deserving of great praise, and Our experience with him in former times induces Us to believe that he will discharge the duties of this office with wisdom. He must be especially careful to maintain order in the cities, and see that no popular tumult is excited therein. For this was one of his duties when he was invested with the magistracy; and he, having obtained the government of a province prone to sedition due to difference of religion, as well as other causes, pacified it, and entirely delivered it from all kinds of tumults and troubles, which is what We enjoin him to do now. If it should become necessary for him to visit Second Palestine, for the purpose of suppressing disorder, he must not permit anything improper to take place there, and above all, in that part of the province in which We are aware that widespread disturbances exist, the results of which are serious.
  If he should be in need of any soldiers stationed in the province, We hereby place those under his command whose energy We know has been tested as much in protecting the citizens of the town as in preserving peace among the inhabitants of the country, and in collecting the public taxes. We confirm in all its force the Imperial Pragmatic Sanction which was originally promulgated on this subject, and by which the distinguished departmental commander, or the most glorious General of the Army is prohibited from depriving the Proconsul of the military authority conferred upon him, for fear that tumults or sedition may arise in the city. For tumults will never take place while the Proconsul administers the civil magistracy, if he maintains strict discipline among the collectors of tribute, and is careful to provide soldiers ready to execute his commands, whenever this becomes necessary, and suppresses crimes committed by these persons or by others.
  (1) The eminent general of that department, and he who is invested with Proconsular magistracy, shall be entirely distinct from each other, so far as their respective duties are concerned. For the former will have charge of the troops known as limitanei, and foederati, and of the entire body of soldiers in the province, with the exception of those allotted to the service of the Proconsul; while the latter will have jurisdiction over private persons as well as civil matters, and will command the military forces placed at his disposal. No one can evade his jurisdiction in matters relating to public taxes or popular sedition. The Proconsul will command and direct all his subordinates, none of whom shall disobey his rules or orders, or, under any pretext, be permitted to defraud the public, or injure the citizens in any way; the promoter of public sedition shall not avail himself of his rank, his dignity, his sacerdotal character, or any other privilege whatsoever, to enable him to escape the consequences of his acts, but he can only avoid liability and punishment when he has not committed any offence.
  (2) Thus (as We have already stated) We grant these powers to the above-mentioned magistrate, and We desire then to be perpetually recognized by means of this Imperial Pragmatic Sanction. In order that the authority of Your Excellency may be undisputed, We order this Decree to be inscribed upon the registers of your office, so that all the future inhabitants of the province may know that the Proconsular office has been restored to them; that the highest rank of Proconsul has again been established in First Palestine; and that this magistrate, who was formerly deprived of the pomp attaching to the office, is now invested with all due honor and distinction.
Your Excellency will see that what it has pleased Us to enact by this Imperial Law is carried into effect.