Flavius Mauricius : glimpses into the life and career of Roman military official

Author: Honzl, Jiří
Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2020, vol. 25, iss. 2, pp. 99-120
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
Type: Article
A small collection of textual evidence, two papyri, three inscriptions, and three literary testimonia, is brought together and examined. All these pieces of evidence possibly mention the same person, a high military official Flavius Mauricius of the fourth century CE. The individual pieces of written evidence are at first considered separately in their context, with the focus put on particularities possibly significant for the current study. In the next step they are all evaluated for the likelihood of being in fact related to one another. As a consequence, they are sorted into groups of ‘core' evidence, almost certainly belonging together, and ‘peripheral' evidence only possibly related to the rest. Finally, the available evidence is analysed and considered in the context in order to allow at least a partial reconstruction of the background, career, and other bits and pieces of the life of Flavius Mauricius. The best and most certainly documented part of his career is the period of service in the capacity of dux Aegypti, a military commander of the province, which took place no earlier than 368 CE and continued at least until 375 CE and maybe later. Other less certain pieces of evidence possibly allow to also get a glimpse into other stages of Mauricius's life, as he may have taken part in the Persian campaign of emperor Julian and could have been buried in the Macedonian city of Philippi. Quite remarkably, all the contemporary pieces of evidence were written in Latin, either entirely or in combination with Greek. Thus, it is considered separately, what the reasons for the choice of this language were and whether it was a result of Mauricius's personal preference. Overall, like many of his fourth century contemporaries, Flavius Mauricius appears throughout his life to have his identity rooted in the Roman tradition, while concomitantly he was able to embrace some of the ongoing changes in society.
  • The paper was written within the framework of the project 'Continuity, Discontinuity and Change. Adaptation Strategies of Individuals and Communities in Egypt at Times of Internal and External Transformations' supported by the Czech Science Foundation (grant no. 19-07268S). The author would like to express his gratitude to Daniela Urbanová and Filip Coppens for their suggestions, comments, and corrections, and to Ulrike Ehmig, and Rudolf Haensch for valuable consultations.
[1] Adams, J. N. (2003). Bilingualism and the Latin Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[2] Anonymous. (1908). Recent Discoveries in Egypt. Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, 30 (38th Session), 72–74.

[3] Bagnall, R. S. (1993). Egypt in Late Antiquity. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

[4] Bagnall, R. S., & Sheridan, J. A. (1994). Greek and Latin Documents from ‘Abu Sha'ar. The Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists, 31(3–4), 109–120.

[5] Baillet, J. (1926). Inscriptions grecques et latines des tombeaux des rois ou syringes à Thèbes. Le Caire: Imprimerie de l'Institut français d'archéologie orientale.

[6] Baldwin, B. (1982). Some Addenda to the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire. Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, 31(1), 97–111.

[7] Berichtigungsliste der griechischen Papyrusurkunden aus Ägypten. (1922–).

[8] Bernand, A., & Bernand, E. (1960). Les inscriptions grecques et latines du Colosse de Memnon. Paris: Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale.

[9] Bernand, E. (1990). A propos d'une inscription grecque d'Eléphantine. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, 82, 179–181.

[10] Bodnaruk, M. (2019): Production of Distinction: the representation of Senatorial Elites in the Later Roman Empire, 306–395. Ph.D. Thesis. Budapest: Central European University.

[11] Broux, Y. (2019). Life portraits: people of a multicultural generation. In K. Vandorpe (Ed.), A companion to Greco-Roman and late antique Egypt (pp. 395–404). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

[12] Cagnat, R. (1896). Quatre inscriptions latines inédites d'Assouan. Comptes rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 40(1), 37–45.

[13] Carrié, J.-M. (2005). Des Thébains en Occident? Histoire militaire et hagiographie. In O. Wermelinger, P. Bruggisser, B. Näf, & J.-M. Roessli (Eds.), Mauritius und die Thebäische Legion: Akten des internationalen Kolloquiums: Freiburg, Saint-Maurice, Martigny, 17.‒20. September 2003 (pp. 9–35). Fribourg: Academic Press Fribourg.

[14] Chartae Latinae Antiquiores. (1954–).

[15] Clauss, M., Kolb, A., Slaby, W. A., & Woitas, B. (–2020). Epigraphik-Datenbank Clauss - Slaby [online available at: http://db.edcs.eu/epigr/epi.php?s_sprache=en; accessed 23.09.2020].

[16] Coles, R. A. (1966). Reports of Proceedings in Papyri (Papyrologica Bruxellensia, 4). Bruxelles: Fondation Égyptologique Reine Élisabeth.

[17] Colin, F. (2012). La Dédicace de Fondation Latine du Fort. In Idem (Ed.), Baḥariya I: le fort romain de Qaret el-Toub I (pp. 103–117). Le Caire: Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale.

[18] Coppens, F. (2016). Chapter 31: Late Dynastic, Graeco-Roman and Christian Times; Post-New Kingdom Graffiti. In R. H. Wilkinson, & K. R. Weeks (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Valley of the Kings (pp. 469–480). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[19] Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. (1863–).

[20] Cugusi, P. (1992–2002). Corpus epistolarum latinarum papyris tabulis ostracis servatarum (3 vols.). Florence: Gonnelli.

[21] Depauw, M., Baetens, G., Broux, Y., Clarysse, W., Dogaer, N., Gheldof, T., Verreth, H. et al. (2011–2020). Trismegistos database [online available at: http://www.trismegistos.org; accessed 23.09.2020].

[22] Dodson, A. (2016). Royal tombs of the twentieth dynasty. In H. Wilkinson, & K. R. Weeks (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Valley of the Kings (pp. 218–229). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[23] Eide, T., Hägg, T., Holton Pierce, R., & Török, L. (Eds.). (1998). Fontes Historiae Nubiorum, III: From the First to the Sixth Century AD. Bergen: John Grieg AS.

[24] El-Saghir, M., Golvin, J.-C., Reddé, M., Hegazy, S., & Wagner, G. (1986). Le camp romain de Louqsor. Le Caire: Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale.

[25] Feissel, D. (1983). Recueil des inscriptions chrétiennes de Macédoine du IIIe au VIe siècle (Suppléments au Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique, 8). Athènes: École française d'Athènes.

[26] Feissel, D. (2010). Documents, droit, diplomatique de l'Empire romain tardif. Paris: Association des amis du Centre d'histoire et civilisation de Byzance.

[27] Foertmeyer, V. A. (1989). Tourism in Graeco-roman Egypt. Ph.D. Thesis. Princeton: Princeton University.

[28] Gascou, J. (1998). Ducs, praesides, poètes et rhéteurs au Bas-Empire. Antiquité Tardive, 6, 61–64. | DOI 10.1484/J.AT.2.300874

[29] Goffart, W. (1971). Zosimus, The First Historian of Rome's Fall. The American Historical Review, 76(2), 412–441. | DOI 10.2307/1858706

[30] Griechische Urkunden der Papyrussammlung zu Leipzig. (1906–).

[31] Haensch, R. (2016). Die Protokolle der Statthaltergerichte der spätantiken Provinzen Ägyptens. In R. Haensch (Ed.), Recht haben und Recht bekommen im Imperium Romanum (The Journal of Juristic Papyrology, Suppl. XXIV; pp. 299–324). Warszawa: Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw.

[32] Hagedorn, D. (1979). Zwei Neue Leipziger Papyri. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, 34, 101–107.

[33] Hammerstaedt, J. (1997). Photius über einen verlorenen Codex mit Autoren des vierten Jahrhunderts n. Chr. aus Mittel- bzw. Oberägypten. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, 115, 105–116.

[34] Heather, P. (2008). Senators and Senates. In A. Cameron, & P. Garnsey (Eds.), The Cambridge Ancient History, 13: The Late Empire, A.D. 337–425 (pp. 184–210). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[35] Hoddinott, R. F. (1963). Early Byzantine churches in Macedonia and southern Serbia. A Study of the Origins and the Initial Development of East Christian Art. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

[36] Jones, A. H. M. (1964). The Later Roman Empire, 284‒602. A Social, Economic and Administrative Survey (3 vols.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

[37] Jones, A. H. M., Martindale, J. R., & Morris, J. (1971). The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire (Vol. I). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[38] Kaster, R. A. (1988). Guardians of the Language: The Grammarian and Society in Late Antiquity. Berkeley – Los Angeles – London: University of California Press.

[39] L'Année épigraphique. (1888–).

[40] Lacau, P. (1934). Inscriptions latines du temple de Louxor. Annales du Service des Antiquités de l'Égypt, 34, 17–46.

[41] Marcone, A. (2008). Late Roman Social Relations. In A. Cameron, & P. Garnsey (Eds.), The Cambridge Ancient History, 13: The Late Empire, A.D. 337–425 (pp. 338–370). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[42] Mason, H. J. (1974). Greek Terms for Roman Institutions. A Lexicon and Analysis (American Studies in Papyrology, 13). Toronto: Hakkert.

[43] Maxfield, V. A. (2000). The deployment of the Roman auxilia in Upper Egypt and the Eastern Desert during the principate. In E. Birley, G. Alföldy, B. Dobson, & W. Eck (Eds.), Kaiser, Heer und Gesellschaft in der Römischen Kaiserzeit: Gedenkschrift für Eric Birley (pp. 407–444). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

[44] Miguélez Cavero, L. (2008). Poems in Context: Greek Poetry in the Egyptian Thebaid 200–600 AD (Sozomena. Studies in the Recovery of Ancient Texts, 2). Berlin – New York: Walter de Gruyter.

[45] Mitthof, F. (1995). Remigius comes primi ordinis et praefectus Augustalis. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, 109, 113–118.

[46] Ogereau, J. M. (2018). The Social Constituency and Membership of the First Christian Groups at Philippi: A Literary and Epigraphic Survey. In J. R. Harrison, & L. L. Welborn (Eds.), The First Urban Churches 4: Roman Philippi (pp. 79–122). Atlanta: SBL Press.

[47] Oxford Latin Dictionary. (1968–1982).

[48] Palme, B. (2007). The imperial presence: government and army. In R. S. Bagnall (Ed.), Egypt in the Byzantine world, 300‒700 (pp. 244–270). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[49] Palme, B. (2014). Roman litigation: reports of court proceedings. In J. G. Keenan, J. G. Manning, & U. Yiftach-Firanko (Eds.), Law and legal Practice in Egypt from Alexander to the Arab Conquest (pp. 482–502). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[50] Palme, B. (2016). Eingaben an Militärs im spätantiken Ägypten. In R. Haensch (Ed.), Recht haben und Recht bekommen im Imperium Romanum (The Journal of Juristic Papyrology, Suppl. XXIV; pp. 457–482). Warszawa: Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw.

[51] Pauly, A., Wissowa, G., Kroll, W. et al. (Eds). (1894–1980). Paulys Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft. Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler.

[52] Pfeiffer, S. (2015). Griechische und lateinische Inschriften zum Ptolemäerreich und zur römischen Provinz Aegyptus (Einführungen und Quellentexte zur Ägyptologie, 9). Berlin: LIT-Verlag.

[53] Pilhofer, P. (2009). Philippi, II: Katalog der Inschriften von Philippi (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 119). Tübingen: Mohr Seibeck.

[54] Rutherford, I. C. (2012). Travel and Pilgrimage. In C. Riggs (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Roman Egypt (pp. 701–716). Oxford – New York: Oxford University Press.

[55] Salway, B. (1994). What's in a Name? A Survey of Roman Onomastic Practice from c. 700 B.C. to A.D. 700. The Journal of Roman Studies, 84, 124–145. | DOI 10.2307/300873

[56] Scharf, R. (1994). Comites und Comitiva Primi Ordinis. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner.

[57] Schulze, W. (1933). Zur Geschichte lateinischer Eigennamen. Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung.

[58] Skinner, A. (2008). The Early Development of the Senate of Constantinople. Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 32(2), 128–148. | DOI 10.1179/174962508X322641

[59] Solin, H., & Salomies, O. (1994). Repertorium nominum gentilium et cognominum Latinorum (2nd ed.). Hildesheim: Olms-Weidmann.

[60] Southern, P., & Dixon, K. R. (1996). The Late Roman Army. New Haven – London: Yale university Press.

[61] Speidel, M. P. (1988). Nubia's Roman garrison. In H. Temporini (Ed.), Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt (ANRW). Geschichte und Kultur Roms im Spiegel der neueren Forschung / Rise and decline of the Roman world. Teil 2: Principat. Band 10, 1: Politische Geschichte (Provinzen und Randvölker: Afrika und Ägypten) (pp. 767–798). Berlin – New York: Walter de Gruyter.

[62] The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. (1898–).

[63] Vandorpe, K. (2019). Life portraits: people at work. In Idem (Ed.), A companion to Greco-Roman and late antique Egypt (pp. 269–280). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

[64] Wermelinger, O., Bruggisser, P., Näf, B., & Roessli, J.-M. (Eds.). (2005). Mauritius und die Thebäische Legion: Akten des internationalen Kolloquiums: Freiburg, Saint-Maurice, Martigny, 17.‒20. September 2003. Fribourg: Academic Press Frigourg.

[65] Zawadzki, T. (1969). Un nouveau praefectus castrorum en Égypte et deux obélisques érigés par un centurion. Chronique d'Egypte, 44, 106–117. | DOI 10.1484/J.CDE.2.308152

[66] Πελεκανίδης, Σ. (1961). Η ἔξω τειχών παλιοχριστιανική βασιλική τῶν Φιλιππών. Supplement to Aρχαιολογική Εφημερίς 1955, 94, 114–179.

[67] Πελεκανίδης, Σ. (1980). Οι Φίλιπποι και τα χριστιανικά μνημεία τους. In Ν. Κ. Μουτσόπουλος, & Γ. Γιώβος (Eds.), Μακεδονία-Θεσσαλονίκη: αφιέρωμα τεσσαρακονταετηρίδος. Thessaloniki: Εταιρεία Μακεδονικών Σπουδών.