Towns and governors under Diocletian: revisiting the building inscriptions of T. Aurelius Aristobulus and C. Macrinius Sossianus in Africa Proconsularis and Numidia
"Towns and governors under Diocletian: revisiting the building inscriptions of T. Aurelius Aristobulus and C. Macrinius Sossianus in Africa Proconsularis and Numidia" by Monica Hellström
The talk revolves around a striking dossier of building inscriptions dating to the early 290’s CE that feature African governors serving under Diocletian and Maximan, interpreted against the wider practice of mediating construction in the region. The material provides a snapshot of the administration at work, at a time when some of its most impactful reforms were conceived and implemented. The analysis indicates a close understanding of the local social fabric on the part of the provincial administration, and the ability to adapt policies in accordance with it. It can inform our knowledge of both the area and the administration, at multiple levels: how provincial governors worked with emperors and laterally with each other, as well as a variety of local social strata; how both rhetoric and active measures framed the imperial government as the defender of independent civic life; how the most powerful elites became privileged, but also circumscribed.
Dr. Monica Hellström has been employed as a Departmental Lecturer at University of Oxford, where she is a Research Associate of Corpus Christi College since 2020. She completed her PhD in Classical Studies at Columbia University in 2014, under the supervision of Roger Bagnall, Alan Cameron, and Natalie Kampen. She has since held postdocs in Rome and the UK, including the Fondazione Famiglia Rausing fellowship at the Swedish Institute for Classical Studies in Rome, and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the department of Classics and Ancient History at Durham University. Her research interests include the cultural, social, and political history of the Later Roman Empire, with a particular focus on the reign of Diocletian. She has published on diverse subjects, from ancient historiography to church architecture, but a particular research focus has been inscriptions, notably from Roman North Africa, which formed the main material for her PhD thesis.