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Tyre


Septimius Severus. National Museum, Beyrut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering.
Septimius Severus (National Museum, Beyrut)
Tyre (Phoenician רצ, ṣūr, "rock"; Greek Τρος; Latin Tyrus): port in Phoenicia and one of the main cities in the eastern Mediterranean.

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The Roman jurist Ulpian (c.170-228) was born in Tyre, and was proud about it. In his book On Taxes, he commented upon his city's juridical status: its citizens had full Roman citizen rights ("Italian law"). The section is known from Justinian's Digests (50.15.1) and is offered here in the translation of  S.P. Scott. The civil war mentioned is the conflict between Septimius Severus and Pescennius Niger in 193-194.

Ulpian on Tyre's Juridical Status

Ulpian, On Taxes, Book I.

Preface: It should be remembered that there are certain coloniae subject to the Italian Law, as, for example, the magnificent colony of Tyre, in Phoenician Syria (where I was born), the most noble of all, most ancient in point of time, warlike, and most constant in observance of the treaties which it made with the Romans. The divine Severus and Our Emperor conferred upon it the privileges of an Italian city, on account of the extraordinary and distinguished fidelity which it always manifested in its intercourse with the Roman government.
 
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  1. The colony of Berytus, in the same province, through the favor of Augustus, bears the title of an Imperial colony (as the divine Hadrian stated in a certain address), and it also is subject to the Italian Law.
  2. The city of Heliopolis also received the title of an Italian colony from the divine Severus, on account of services rendered during the Civil War.
  3. There is also the colony of Laodicea, in Coele Syria, to which also the divine Severus granted the Italian Law on account of its services in the Civil War. The colony of Ptolemais, which is situated between Phoenicia and Palestine, has nothing but the name of a colony.
  4. Our emperor bestowed upon Emessa, a city of Phoenicia, the title and the rights of an Italian colony.
  5. The city of Palmyra, situated in the province of Phoenicia, and adjoining barbarous peoples and nations, enjoys the same right.
  6. In Palestine there are two colonies, those of Caesarea and Aelia Capitolina; but neither of these enjoy Italian privileges.
  7. The divine Severus also conferred the title of Italian colony upon the city of Sebaste.
  8. In Dacia, the privileges of an Italian city were also conferred by the divine Trajan upon the colony of the Zernensians.
  9. The city of Sarmizegetusa, together with the towns of Napoca, Apulum, and Potaissa also enjoy the same privileges bestowed by the divine Severus.
  10. In Bithynia is the colony of Apamena, and in Pontus, that of Sinope.
  11. The colonies of Seleucia and Trajanopolis are situated in Cilicia.


History Photos Texts
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2012
Revision: 16 Aug. 2012
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