Novensia: Studia i Materiały — 15.2004

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Marek Żyromski


The Roman province of Lower Moesia {Moesia Inferior) was the result of
division of Moesia in 86 AD Nevertheless, both Moesian provinces (together
with Dacia and both Pannonian provinces), continued to form one of the most
important frontier regions of the Roman Empire — namely the Lower Danube
provinces. These provinces had the strong military garrisons, contrary to the both
Upper Danube provinces {Noricum, Raetia). Besides, all the Lower Danube
provinces were submitted directly to the Emperor’s power. Moreover, for the
most of Principate’s time these provinces had the highest status in the Roman
imperial administration (consular, insted of praetorian status).
Undoubtedly, the members of the ordo senatorius can be regarded as the elite
of the Roman Empire. The most of definitions of elite describe this notion as the
social aggregate (or even as the social group) sharply distinguished from the rest
of the given society by many criteria — amongst them the great social distance
is perhaps the most important criterium. So, in the case of Roman social system
“senators were separated from equestrians (and to the greater degree from
members of the municipal aristocracy) by the many divergent criteria. The
senatorial material requirement was the highest in Roman society (1 million HS).
Other criteria were, for instance, the highest power and social status and even
the different clothes, the separate row in amphitheatre or lesser penalties. The
social isolation of the ordo senatorius was so great, that we can use the notion of
elite” [Żyromski 1995, 11]. Besides, the notion of elite, which derives from Latin
eligere (which means: ”to make a choice”), implies that the elite will always
form the minority of the given society. ’’Moreover, senators formed the very tiny
minority inside the Roman society. Modern scholars estimate the whole number
of population of the Roman Empire in the first century on at about 50-60 millions
i.e. at about 20% of all world population at that time [Duncan 1974, 2; Hopkins
1978, 1]. The senatorial order was practically limited to the number of seats in
the Senate (at about 600) and the whole stratum — together with women and
children — numbered few thousands people, only. R. MacMullen estimates the
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