AD 201 )

( Johnson, Coleman-Norton & Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes, Austin, 1961, pp. 222-223, n. 272


      The people of Tyras evidently enjoyed certain immunities from taxation which made their citizenship desirable and they apparently had granted this privilege so freely that the imperial revenues were impaired. When the Tyranians were required to prove their claims of special privilege there was a hearing before the emperors, who sent copies of their decision to Tertullus, governor of Lower Moesia, and to Heraclitus, the imperial procurator.
      These documents illustrate a further step in the regimentation of the cities, when they must submit certain decrees to the governor for approval.
      The documents are on a marble tablet, which was found at Ak-Kerman, Bessarabia, Russia, in 1847.


      To Tertullus.
      We send to you a copy of our letter to Heraclitus, from which you may learn our decision about the immunity that the Tyranians claim was granted to them. Although it is not our practice to grant such an immunity without considering carefully the warrant for the privilege and without examining the reason for the immunity, which seems, for some reason, to have been usurped for a long time, we have observed equitable moderation, so that they may not be rudely disturbed in the privileges that they have long enjoyed, but for the future the most distinguished provincial governors shall examine very carefully with their advisers the decrees for the admission of citizens.

      Copy of the letter to Heraclitus.
      Although the Tyranians cannot prove the source of the boon conferred upon them, nor do we readily confirm by prescription of time the privileges that have been usurped either mistakenly or wantonly, nevertheless, since we consider the letters of our father, the deified Pius, and of the imperial brothers as well as of that most strict governor, Antonius Hiberus, which relate to the Tyranians themselves and to those persons admitted by them into the ranks of their citizens in accordance with their laws, it is our will that no change shall be made in their ancient custom. Therefore, they shall keep also their right of privilege, however acquired or appropriated, in goods for sale, which, however, they must remember, must be displayed by ancient custom with declarations to distinguish those goods that are subject to duty.
      But since the revenues of Illyricum properly shall not be diminished by favoritism, the Tyranians shall know that those citizens whom they hereafter admit shall have the privilege of immunity only, if the most distinguished governor, our friend, shall declare by his decree that they deserve the right of citizenship. We believe that they will think that we fully and sufficiently have considered their interests if they will be grateful that we have decreed that their new citizens are deemed worthy of the honor without examining too closely the source of the honor.

      Ovinius Tertullus to the magistrates, the Senate, the people of Tyras, greetings.
      I enclose with this a copy of the godlike letter written to me by our unconquered and most felicitous emperors, that you may know the godlike munificence shown to you and may express your thanks to their exalted Genius.
      I pray you to be in good health and to prosper for many years.
      Accepted on February 15, Leneon 8. Posted in the consulship of Mucian and Fabian, in Year 145 of Tyras, in the archonship of Publius Aelius Calpurnius.