Shaping the Empire: Agrimensores, Emperors and the Creation of the Roman Provincial Identities.
thesisposted on 17.08.2016, 12:16 by Jason Morris
From the time of Augustus, the Roman agrimensores or land surveyors provided an important connection between those who administrated the Empire on the one hand, and the territories and peoples they controlled on the other. This work is an investigation into the surveyors’ use of the cultural capital of Roman society to fashion their own identity as experts in the organisation and regulation of land, and their influence on the shape of discourse about Empire. The study focuses on four questions: 1) What was the nature of the relationship between the agrimensores or surveyors and the Roman provincial administration? 2) What was the nature of the relationship between the agrimensores and the people of the Empire whose lands they surveyed? An emphasis will be placed on the population of Italy and the Roman provinces away from the city of Rome itself. 3) How did the surveyors validate their activities as technical specialists, and under what circumstances did the agrimensores undertake surveying work? The thesis will focus on practical and theoretical practices implemented by surveyors in the field to structure the discourse between land-holders and administrators. The topics of boundary disputes and the issue of whether or not the agrimensores were involved in the collection of cartographic information will also be considered here. 4) How and to what extent did the activities of the surveyors influence the provincial populations’ understanding of the Empire by shaping their experience of the imperial administration?