The issue of continuity is best approached through an examination of the decision-making machinery of the Roman city as revealed — mostly — through inscriptions. The great bulk of these inscriptions belongs to the period between the Flavians and the later Severans — that is, between the re-establishment of ‘republican’ government following the fall of Spartiaticus under Nero and the troubles of local government in the third century. Roman taxation brings us to the function of local government at Sparta which from the Roman point of view must have been the most essential: the administration of Roman demands. Leaving aside the administration of cults and festivals and the ‘Lycurgan customs’, the two essential functions of local government, about which the texts permit some comment, were the food-supply and the administration of justice. The language of the inscriptions conveys an ideal of civic service and does not necessarily reflect the true appetite among the wealthy for the burdens of public office.