Setting the record straight: alternative documents of a protest in the Roman army of Egypt

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Documentation is the trade-mark of the twentieth-century historian. We take it for granted that we must be able to document points we make by reference to our sources. In a more particular sense we mean by 'documents' a certain type of source-material - the papers that belonged to the occasion itself, as distinct from the presentation of it in subsequent literary treatments. This corresponds to the distinction between primary and secondary sources. In the case of Roman history, we typically mean by 'documents' the coins, inscriptions and papyri that survive directly from the time, as distinct from the treatment of the history by ancient writers . By appealing to documents, we hope, we may replace the perspectives of the ancient historians by the more immediate record of what was actually said at the time. It is not often in ancient history that we have the opportunity of comparing a historian's version with the ‘original'. Such a case is provided by the epigraphic copy preserved from Lugdunum (Lyons) of the speech of Claudius in the senate in AD 48, advocating the admission of Roman citizens of Gallic descent into that chamber.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
JournalAncient history : resources for teachers
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Bibliographical note

Publisher version archived with the permission of the Editor, Ancient History : resources for Teachers, Macquarie Ancient History Association, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia. This copy is available for individual, non-commercial use. Permission to reprint/republish this version for other uses must be obtained from the publisher.


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