Appendix VI: Late Witnesses of Auxiliary and Fleet Diplomata
CIL XVI 133 was issued to a member of the XIllth mban cohort at Lyon but the witnesses are those who nonnally signed diplomas of the auxilia and the fleets. It is clear that the same witnesses, whatever their status (as private fmns of individuals working under contract (R. Haensch, forthcoming) or as officials in some minor state department) were used over long periods to attest the authenticity of diplomas of those units which were considered to recruit from provincial sources, even though some or all of their members could be of Roman citizen status. These units were presumably treated as a separate group as far as registration in records held in Rome were concerned. On the other hand, men of the praetorian and Rome mban cohorts, many of whom were of Danubian (particularly Thracian) origin in 3rd C., had their diplomas witnessed by individuals whose names occur only once. It bas been suggested that these latter witnesses were fellow praetoriani or urbaniciani, although there is no absolute proof of this, and there are relatively few diplomas of this class in total, and even fewer where tabella II is preserved. (Now however, see RMD 195b note 8.) Whatever the status of these witnesses may have been, the division between provincial and city troops in the eyes of the Roman authorities is underlined, to the point of maintaining the fiction of
truly Roman origin for Thracians and the like; cr. Feldmann (1980) on this point Thus tradition was conveniently maintained. New evidence arising from the witness lists of RMD 158 and 198 shows that for purposes of records in Rome members of the equites singulares Augusti were classed with the auxilia, from which they had been selected, in spite of their high standing in Rome The list of RMD 198 is particularly helpful in ascertaining the continuity of the system, which was set up towards the end of the reign of Hadrian, whereby, an established order of signatures was maintained until the first witness retired, when a new member was recruited into last place in the group and the others all moved up one place. An unpublished fleet diploma of AD 221 provides a link between RMD 192 and 198 and shows this progression in an intermediate stage. The table above also demonstrates that, in so far as the witness lists may be used to date material, CIL XVI 127 may definitely be assigned after AD 192 and before 218. The lists are unchanged between 206 and 212 so that any time within that period offers the best option. A firm date may only be secured through prosopography or perhaps the fmding of a complete companion diploma. See 78* 127 in Further Notes on the Chronology.