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The regional level: province, emperor worship, and the koinon

Søren Lund Sørensen , supervised by Tønnes Bekker-Nielsen

Roman provincial organisation allowed for a degree of urban autonomy, leaving the cities to settle most of their affairs with little direct interference from the central power. The ideological bonds between the imperial house on the one hand, the citizens, the city, and the region respectively on the other, were reinforced through institutions such as the civic oath, the worship of emperors, and the koinon of provincial cities.

According to the magisterial work of Jürgen Deininger (1965), provincial administration, the cult of the emperor, and the  koinon formed complementary and integrated parts of a single system of provincial control. This "unitary" theory has, however, been challenged for Galatia (Marek 1993, 75-77), Asia (Friesen 1999), and Bithynia (Fernoux 2004, 353; Bekker-Nielsen 2008, 84-86). Deininger's study also excludes a fourth element in the equation, the civic oath to the emmperor, of which two complete examples have been preserved: one from Assos in western Asia Minor, the other from Neoklaudiopolis (LeGall 1985). The time is overdue for a re-assessment of all channels of ideological communication and their inter-relationship.

References:
Bekker-Nielsen, T. 2008. Urban Life and Local Politics in Roman Bithynia: The Small World of Dion Chrysostomos (Black Sea Studies, 7). Aarhus.
Deininger, J. 1965. Die Provinziallandtage der römischen Kaiserzeit von Augustus bis zum Ende des dritten Jahrhunderts n.Chr. (Vestigia, 6). Munich.
Fernoux, H.-L. 2004. Notables et élites des cités de Bithynie aux époques hellénistique et romaine (IIIe siècle av.J.C. – IIIe siècle ap.J.C.): Essai d'historie sociale. Paris.
Friesen, S.J. 1999. "Highpriests of Asia and Asiarchs: Farewell to the Identification of Theory", in P. Scherrer et. al. (ed.) Steine und Wege: Festschrift für D. Knibbe. Vienna, 303-7.
LeGall, J. 1985. "Le serment à l'empereur: une base méconnue de la tyrannie i¨mpériale sous le Haut-Empire?", Latomus 44, 767-83.
Marek, C. 1993. Stadt, Ära und Territorium in Pontus-Bithynia und Nord-Galatia (Istanbuler Forschungen, 39). Tübingen.