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DIPLO´MA

DIPLO´MA This word--which, like δίπτυχα, signified two tablets fastened together, as far as mere outward form is concerned--is fully treated of under DIPTYCHA: so here we have to set forth the various kinds of diplomata as regards their tenor They all agreed in being some kind of a governmental grant. The Greeks sometimes called them γράμματα βασιλικά, and they were analogous to our letters-patent or passports (Salmasius ad Suet. Aug. 50). During the civil war Caesar gave diplomata to such as he allowed to enter the city (Cic. Fam. 6.1. 2, 3) or to leave Italy (ib. Att. 10.17, 4). To some of those who were condemned for adultery with Julia, Augustus is said to have given diplomata to ensure their safety (Senec. de Clem. 1.10, 4). But the word is generally applied either to permissions to use the public post, or to the grants of citizenship and rights of marriage to certain veterans.

1. After the establishment of the post by Augustus, diploma was the regular term for the permission granted by the emperor or provincial governor to an individual to use the post (C. I. G. 4956, 25, Plin. Ep. 10.45 (54), 64 (14), 120, 121). In the early empire the Praefectus Praetorio seems to have usurped the right of issuing diplomata when there was no emperor (Plut. Galb. 8), but illegally, for in such a case the chief administration rested with the consuls (Herodian, 2.12, 4; yet cf. Mommsen, Staatsr. ii.2 1064, note 7). In the Constantinian and subsequent ages (see Godefroi, Paratitlon to Cod. Theod. 8.5) the Emperor, the Praefectus Praetorio, and the Magister Officiorum issued permissions to use the post (Lyd. de Magistr. 2.10, 26), but most of the other magistrates could only use it themselves, and that on state service, though certain officials were given the disposal of a limited number of permits each year: e. g. the Magister Militum per Orientem had twenty-five (Böcking, Not. Dig. i. p. xiv.). Another common name for these grants was evectiones. (For the strange terms combinae and tractoriae, see Salmasius on Capitol. Pert. 1.) They only lasted for a certain time (Plin. ll. cc.), and were very sparingly given, the greatest strictness being observed in requiring those who used the post to have them (Dig. 48, 10, 27, 2; Capitol. Pert. 1). On these diplomata the name (Plut. Otho, 3; Suet. Otho 7; Tac. Hist. 2.65) and seal (Suet. Aug. 50; Plut. Galb. 8) of the emperor were essential. After the further extension and development of the postal system under Hadrian, there were regular clerks, who were freedmen, for furnishing the various kinds of diplomata. These clerks were called a diplomatibus (Orelli, 2795), and perhaps formed a department of the scrinium a memoria (Henzen, 6328). The imperial tabellarii appear to have been called diplomarii (Mommsen, I. R. N. 6903). For further details see CURSUS PUBLICUS; Friedländer, 2.14 ff.; and O. Hirschfeld, Verwaltungs-geschichte, 1.103-105; and for the later ages, Cod. Theod. 8.5 and Godefroi's notes.

2. The Military Diplomata were documents granting rights of citizenship and regular marriage to soldiers who had served out their time; hence are frequently called Privilegia Veteranorum de civitate et connubio. Up to the date of the publication of the fifth volume of the Ephemeris Epigraphica, 1884, there are 80 extant, a complete index of 77 being given by Mommsen in that number (pp. 101 ff.). Previously in C. I. L. iii. p. 843 ff., he had given a full text and treatise on the diplomata then discovered. Five of these diplomata (21, 23, 30, 75, 76) are in the British Museum, one (21, of Trajan's time) being in good preservation. The earliest dates from the reign of Claudius, 52 A.D. (Dipl. 1); the latest from that of Diocletian, 301 A.D. (Dipl. 58). In republican times grants of citizenship were made by the people; in imperial times by the emperor (cf. Plin. Ep. 10.5, 6, 7; Suet. Nero 12). The diplomata given to soldiers were always, like laws, cut in brass and posted up (cf. Cic. Fam. 13.3. 6; Phil. 2.36, 92) somewhere, before Domitian's time generally in the Capitol near the temple of Fides, subsequently in muro post templum divi Augusti ad Minervam. But if they were like laws, it was like “leges datae,” not “ rogatae ” (see Mommsen, ad Leges Salp. et Malac. p. 392 ff.), and so Gaius (1.57) rightly classes them among the principum constitutiones. They rest on the right granted to imperatores in the later ages of the republic, by such laws as the Lex Gellia et Cornelia (72 B.C.), a law which enacted that those who got citizenship from Cn. Pompeius with the advice of his council should be valid citizens (Cic. Balb. 8, 19; 14, 32. cf. Reid's introduction, p. 11); a right possessed long previously by certain Triumviri coloniis deducendis (ib. 21, 48, and Reid's note). The diplomata we are considering are copies of the law, and bear special reference to one individual and certain [p. 1.642]of his relations, whose names are inserted at the end after the long preamble of the law, a space being evidently left in some diplomata (e. g. 6, 7, 10) for the name, which was subsequently added, perhaps in the presence of the witnesses, a reference being sometimes made to the actual place in the law where the individual in question will be found alluded to (e. g. in Dipl. 6 we find “Tabula I. pagina v. loco xxxxvi.” ). They bear the names of seven witnesses, who, after comparison of the copy and the law, affixed their seals; a practice arising from the sealing of wills, and afterwards extended to all legal documents. The names of the witnesses are nearly always in the genitive, signifying that it is their seal. These witnesses were mostly in early times friends and compatriots of the beneficiarius, called in by him; from Vespasian's time they were Roman citizens of the lower classes, who were perhaps called in by the brass-cutter and most likely made a business of such attestations, Hence the same name frequently occurs: e. g. Ti. Julius Felix (Dipl. 34, 35, 39, 41, 46). the name of Pullius occurs at least twenty-one times in these inscriptions and they were, Mommsen supposes, freedmen of the Pullii, who for some generations seem to have had an extensive metal-working factory.

It is noticeable that among the legions the only ones to which diplomata are given are I., II. Adjutrices. These were formed for the fleet by Galba and Vespasian. Several are assigned to the praetorian and urban cohorts; but far the most to the auxiliary alae and cohorts, and to the classici. As to the date which is always added to the diplomata, Mommsen notices that in the third century the only dates found are “a. d. v. Kal. Jan.” and “a. d. vii. Id. Jan.” ; the latter being the day of Augustus's establishment of the empire (C. I. L. i. p. 383): yet cf. Dipl. 72 (Eph. Epigr. iv. p. 508), which bears date “a. d. iii. Id. Aug.”

As to the form in which the diplomata were couched, it is best to give a specimen of one. We take No. 16 of the year 93 A.D., now preserved at Florence (C. I. L. iii. p. 859).

Imp(erator) Caesar, divi Vespasiani f. Domitianus Augustus Germanicus pontifex maximus tribunic(ia) potestat(e) xii imp(erator) xxii co(n)s(ul) xvi censor perpetuus, p(ater) p(atriae).

Peditibus et equitibus qui militant in cohorte iii Alpinorum et in viii voluntariorum civium Romanorum, qui peregrinae condicionis probati erant, et sunt in Delmatia sub Q. Pomponio Rufo, qui quina et vicena stipendia aut plura meruerunt, item dimisso honesta missione emeritis stipendiis

Quorum nomina subscripta sunt, ipsis liberis posterisque eorum civitatem dedit et connubium cum uxoribus quas tune habuissent cum est civitas iis data, aut, si qui caelibes essent cum iis quas postea duxissent dumtaxat singuli singulas

A. d. iii. Id. Julias M. Lollio Paullino Valerio Asiatico Saturnino, C. Antio Julio Quadrato co(n)s(ulibus)

Cohort(is) iii, Alpinorum cui praeest C. Vibius Maximus, pediti, Veneto Diti f., Davers(o), et Madenae Plarentis filiae uxori eius Deramist(ae) et Gaio f. eius

Descriptum et recognitum ex tabula aenea quae fixa est Romae in muro post templum divi Aug(usti) ad Minervam.

The names of the seven witnesses are added A. Volumni Expectati, Q. Orfi Cupiti, &c. [As to the difficult question of the marriage of soldiers, some remarks will be found under EXERCITUS]

The tablets were, as we said, of brass. They are generally oblong, about 6 × 4 3/4 inches. They have for the most part four holes, which are indicated in the accompanying figures of the four sides. The tablets were fastened together by two brass rings passed through holes 1 and 2. Accordingly, if you have the outside of tabella prior facing you, the fastenings are on the right side of the tablets. Also a thread (of brass in the case of the diplomata) was fastened three times through the holes 3 and 4, in accordance with the usual usage in official documents.

ZZZ.

Amplissimus ordo decrevit,” says Paulus (Sent. Rec. 5.25, 6), “eas tabulas quae publici vel privati contractus scripturam continent, adhibitis testibus ita signari, ut in summa marginis ad mediam partem perforatae triplici lino constringantur atque impositae [p. 1.643]supra linum cerae signa imprimantur.” (Cf. Suet. Nero 17; Gaius, 2.181; Just. Inst. 2.16, 3.) But after the time of Antoninus Pius the holes 1 and 2 nearly always (e. g. Dipl. 51) do not appear, the only fastening being through 3 and 4 (e. g. Dipl. 51).

ZZZ.

Originally an official document was written only on the inside tablets, the names of the witnesses alone being outside. But later the instrument was written on the outside as well: and such is the case with all our diplomata. The contents are written on the outside of tabella prior (Fig. 1), the lines running along the shorter side of the oblong. On the inside of tabella prior and posterior (Figs. 2 and 3), the diploma is again found in full in larger letters, the lines running along the longer side of the oblong and passing on from one tablet to the other. The writing here was after Trajan's time somewhat careless, with many abbreviations; also the locality where the diploma was fixed was omitted or inadequately specified. The inner side of tabella posterior was not used at all in the diplomata of the third century. Fig. 4 shows the outside of tabella posterior which contained the names of the witnesses. These names were cut at the same time as the rest of the document; and the witnesses gave their attestation by affixing their seals in the vacant space in the middle of the tablet, after comparison of the law and the copy. See Mommsen in C. I. L. iii. p. 902 ff.; Ephemeris Epigraphica, 2.452-466; 4.181-187, 495-515; 5.92-104, 610-617, 652-656.

[L.C.P]

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