Roger Bagnall's 2019 Prentice Lecture at Princeton University "Roman Names and Roman Citizenship in Egypt" Now Available Online.

By Iris Fernandez

Roger S. Bagnall (Emeritus Professor of Ancient History and Leon Levy Director Emeritus, ISAW) was recently invited to give the 2019 Prentice Lecture at Princeton University. The Princeton Classics department has now published his talk, "Roman Names and Roman Citizenship in Egypt" online. We are pleased to share the link with you below. 

Recording of "Roman Names and Roman Citizenship in Egypt" at Princeton University

Roman Names and Roman Citizenship in Egypt

The documents written on papyrus, stone, and pottery from the 250 years between the Roman conquest of Egypt and the extension of Roman citizenship to everyone in the empire (AD 212) preserve a large number of Roman names. In many cases, a full Roman set of three names is given. The natural assumption that these people were Roman citizens does not always turn out to be right, even though there were laws against falsely claiming to be a citizen. This lecture asks where these names come from, and what we can really learn from them about the spread of citizenship in Egypt. Many were freed slaves of the emperors or retired soldiers, or their descendants, but many weren’t. The vast operations of Roman commerce and quarrying in both Alexandria and the Eastern Desert play an important role; and it seems that even non-citizen soldiers in the Roman army bore Roman names while in service, even though they got citizenship only upon honorable discharge.