TRADE GUILDS OF THE LATTER ROMAN EMPIRE
by Freda Utley (MA Thesis at the London School of Economics, 1925)
(Retyped from old manuscript–footnotes deleted after first section)
C H A P T E R VI
P I S T O R E S
In so far as the annona was concerned the collegium of greatest importance, next to the navicularii, was that of the pistores – bakers and millers. This collegium had long existed but only became important at Rome when daily distributions of bread took the place of monthly distributions of corn. Even so it was not of great antiquity; Pliny the Elder states that the trade of baker was only introduced at Rome about 171 B.C. because before that date women and slaves made the bread. In rich families bread was still made at home by slaves in the time of Plautus and many inscriptions of such slaves have been found. Under the Republic the Aediles made contracts with the bakers to ensure that supplies of good bread at a low price were sold to the people. The Emperors encouraged the bakers trade and Trajan seems to have formed them into a collegium or at any rate to have “consolidated” their collegium. Probably Trajan arranged its connection with the annona and established its privileges. Osins and Ulpien speak of the bakers’ privileges as given by Trajan. In 144 A.D. the corpus pistorum at Rome put up a statue to Hadrian. Waltzing also shows that the position of the bakers in the 2nd century was much the same as that of the navicularii: not the whole corpus but the individual members had dealings with the government and some of the members of the corpus were not bakers and had no privileges. Gains and Ulpian show that to receive privileges members must themselves carry on the trade i.e. mill and have cooked at least 100 modii of corn a day and be on a list made out by the administration of the annona. Paul shows that the position was the same at the beginning of the 3rd century. Up to this time the bakers were only occupied in furnishing the public with good cheap bread and they were probably able to buy corn cheaply from the government stores for this purpose. The state was thus sure of the supply of such bread and the whole supply was supervised by the prefect of the annona. The Emperor addresses his decrees to the latter and his name is found on the inscriptions of the pistores, as their patron. When daily distributions of bread took the place of monthly distributions of corn in the period between Alexander Severus and Aurelian, the corporation of bakers suddenly assumed immense importance and in time came entirely under state control seeing that it was indispensable to the annona. Far more bakers were needed and the state had to contract with them to have the corn milled and the bread made. It is at Rome that we know most about them but Constantine endowed Constantinople with the same largesses as old Rome and the corporation of bakers in both capitals assumed its pecular and important character. Symmachus calls them in the 4th century pistores publicae annonae which shows their official character, and in the Theodosian code there is mention of — per quam utilitati annonae publicae providetur.
It does not appear that any actual payments were made to the pistores for baking the public bread. They were however compensated to some extent in other ways. They were provided by the state with the “pistrina” where they worked and they could buy cheap corn to make bread for sale apart from the bread which they made for the free distributions. The pistrina were not only bakehouses where the bread was kneaded and baked; they were also establishments where the grain itself was turned into flour i.e. they were both mills and bakehouses. The question as to when watermills were introduced into Rome and how far they came into general use is one of some difficulty. They were used in Pontus in the days of —- dates and were subsequently well known in Italy. The centre of the breadmaking trqade is said to have been in the —— region by Daremberg et Saglio although the forum pistelium was on the other side of the river. Palladius, in the 4th century according to the same authority, recommends their use to economics —– and animal effort.
On the monument of Eurysoces in the first century B.C. pictures are shown of grain being milled by human labour and the inscription of the pictures to —-, already mentioned, has a picture of —– full of corn on the side and of a hand or arm mill on the other.
In the Theodosian Code no mention of the millers as distinct from the pistores in ——— till the year 398 A.D. when Honorius indignantly refuses the positions of certain people who have dared to ask for conduit pipes of the waters of the Mills which supply important provisions to the venerable city.
The only inscription relating to the millers (molendinarii) dates from the year 405 and to an edict of the prefect of the City prohibiting the use of false weights and measures by the millers and fixing their salary at 3 numes per modium.
Mills are still referred to as part of the normal equipment of a bakehouse in 364 or 367 A.D. and the fact that the patrons are told to hand the bakehouses over intact to their successors with the mills and other equipment proves that they were not water mills; water mills could not well have been moved and no special injunction would have been necessary. Furthermore the bakehouses were not all in one part of the city.
All the evidence seems to point to the fact that, however long before water mills may have been known and used elsewhere, they were not in general use at Rome till well on in the 4th century. Waltzing quotes Marquandt to show that they were not introduced till the 4th century and that when introduced they were set up at Rome at the food of the Mons Jeniculum, and worked by the aquaduct which passed over that hill. He does not consider the question of how long water mills had been known and used elsewhere. As however he is fairly certain that the molendarii did not exist as Rome before the late 4th century and as the only evidence available is of a date beyond the period of this study they may be dismissed. The pistores dealt with in this chapter are both millers and bakers though it is possible that a few of the bakehouses had watermills attached in place of mills worked by slaves and animals.
The work done in the pistrina was therefore mainly the milling and sifting of the grain, the kneading and the baking of the bread. Two sorts of bread were made: the panis graddis for free distribution and the panis fiscalis or Ostiensis for sale to the people at cheap prices.
The bakers were responsible for the distribution of the one as for the sale of the other; the whole question of the procedure and regulations for the free distributions of bread etc. has been dealt with in Chapter III.
—- are only concerned with it from the point of view of the bakers themselves. They received the grain for the free bread — from the keepers of the state granaries where the “canon frumentarius” was stored and it is expressly stated that the canon frumentarius is to be delivered entire to the bakers. Indeed the bakers were responsible for any thefts made from these storehouses “on them the whole blame of the crime was laid”; if it could not be paid back in kind the falue of the theft had to be made good in any —- in bronze or lead or any other payment.
For the manis fiscalis or Ostiensis the bakers received their grain at a cheap price from the patrons of the caudicarii and the mansores. It is decreed that the grain supplied is to be good and unspoilt and for Rome at any rate the amount is specified in 364 i.e. 200,000 modii “in accordance with the ancient custom”. It is however true that the last words quoted may only refer to the supply not to the quantity. Presumably the bakers made a decent profit on this latter bread else it is difficult to see how they can have lived at all. But it must also be noted that the pistina provided by the government for the use of the bakers were not mere workshops with mills ovens and — instruments for breadmaking, they were also equipped with animals and slaves and even endowed lands . In fact the pistrimma was in reality a fully equipped —— with funds of its own and animal and human —– to perform the hard labor. The words sometimes used for a baker and for the bakehouse i.e. —— and —– seem to imply that originally the bakers and the ——— state in these pistrina. The word —– may mean baker simply or may mean a patron of the bakers, but in any case it seems to imply the original renting of pistrina by bakers or their patrons. Mancipes of the —– and salt depots are also met with.
The important point is that the bakehouses being provided with “instrumenti” in the shape of machines, animals and slaves, and further being endowed with lands or other properties, must not only have provided for their own expenses but also have enjoyed a revenue from endowments which might in part compensate with pistores for their labours. That the government did regard the income from these endowed lands as some sort of compensation for the bakers we can see from Th. XIV.8.19. in which they are referred to as lands”ques comum componi solacis cert a preabebant”. The government also took care that the supply of labour in the pistrina was kept up.
Although 15 decrees relate to the privileges of the navicularii there are none relating to those of the bakers. One law, it is true, condemns to service in the bakeries any man or official who shall injure a baker by secret fraud but all the others relate to the regulations for keeping bakers and their heirs at their work, to their property and to the recruiting of new bakers. Thus althoughj next in importance to the navicularii the pistores were in a far less enviable position and many of them tried to escapt from their —– calling. The only privileges they received were —— those “which on account of reverence for the eternal city humanity has favoured various corporations of men by the authority either of ancient laws or of previous princes . . . .” i.e. they enjoyed the same privileges as various other corporations of the city of Rome. It must of course be remembered that the inhabitants of Rome paid little in the shape of taxation and that, since the central government administers local affairs, there were no local expenses to pay for as in the Municipalities. What were the privileges of the corporations of Rome mentioned above is not precisely known, but a summary has been given at the beginning of Part I.
The taxes and duties from which the navicularii are exempted are mainly those which would fall on them as men whose property made them liable to curial service in the Municipalities and these of course would not touch the pistores at Rome. From munera sordida et extra ordinaris the pistores like the other corpora at Rome, were exempt. Nor would the pistores be concerned with custom duties. Lastly it must be emphasised that the navicularii, situated all over the Empire as they were, would have been subject to vexations and exactions from all sorts of officials, vexations and exactions which would never befall the pistores who were resident at Rome; therefore little special legislation was needed to safeguard the latter. There is however one decree of late date which deals specially with the safeguarding of the bakers’ interests. Any public servant (apparitor) belonging to the suite of the illustrious prefect of the city or of the prefect of the annona, who shall injure a baker by secret fraud, when accused and convicted is to become a hereditary baker.
The bakers were bound to their work by much stricter regulations than the navicularii, or indeed, than the members of any other collegia.
Their hereditary liability to the “bread making function” was a strictly personal one. One might have imagined that they were only compelled to provide for the expenses of the service without themselves exercising the trade. But instead of this the laws refer constantly to the baker’s person being “pistrini consortio obnoxius” or “obnoxius functioni”. A baker did not excape from his connection with a bakehouse if he lost his property. If anyone transferred his possessions to others, “in order that after he had collected his property into a hiding place, he might show himself unfit and should think another would have to be enrolled in his place, he is to get no profit from his disimulation”. He is to remain obliged to perform the duty of a baker without any excuse nor is he to recover his lost possessions. Presumably, having lost his property such a pistor would be complelled to serve in the bakehouse in some menial capacity and would bitterly regret his attempt to escape from his duties.
If a man married the daughter of a baker and tried to break her connection with the collegium of bakers by dissipating her fortune he himself became a member of the collegium and had to work as a baker just as if he were one by his origin.
With one exception a baker could never become free of his obligations. The exception is the case of those wealthy pistores who became senators. These have to choose between their property and the dignity offered them. If they choose to become senators they must first enrol relatives fitted to be pistores by the possession of property equal in amount to that which they themselves possessed when they were bakers. Thus the prospective Senator lost his property to the corporation of bakers and a new member with the same amount of property, took his place; the corporation therefore increased its resources. It would howeverr seem impossible for the ex-baker to have lived as a Senator without his property; it would only be possible for those appointed to high positions in the civil service who would be able to accept; offices such as Aedile carrying no pay but involving heavy expenditure would be impossible of acceptance.
Apart from this one case it was impossible for a baker ever to get free of his bakehouse. Valentinian decreed that he might not even enter the Church. If he has done so he is to be recalled to the company of bakers “the privilege of Christianity being taken from him.”
Even the patrons of the bakers are never to be called away to perform other functions “so that free from all necessities they may perform their own duty with the energies of a free mind.” However the first of the patrons are to be free from their obligations after five years service as such.
No one is to leave the corporation under any pretext even if all the bakers want him to be released and he seems to deserve it. The prefect of the city is advised to be on the lookout that none may escape in this manner.
Not only are the relatives of bakers who succeed to this property forced to serve in the bakehouses. After 403 anyone who marries the daughter of a baker is to become a member of their corporation and is to submit to their ‘onera’. In 372 Valentinian had already decreed that if a man married to a baker’s daughter who dissipated his wife’s property he was to become a baker. Thus the government provided that the “public necessity” should be served even if a baker had no son to take his place after death; a son-in-law would do just as well.
In 403 Honorius even forbade the bakers to marry whom they pleased. Neither they nor their children might marry private persons or actresses or those connected with charioteering, even though all the bakers agreed to the marriage and the imperial rescript had been procured by underhand means. If anyone did so he was to be scourged and deported and his possessions attached to a bakery. If the Prefect of the annona did not discover the marriage before it took place a fine of 10 lbs. was to be imposed on each family in such a way that “eae quoque personae cum patrimonio ad debitum officium revocentur quae per hujusmodi nuptias in simili consortio fuerunt.” The decree concludes by saying that all who have chosen the daughters of bakers in marriage, either belonging themselves to the actors or charioteers or to any private station are to be attached to the corporation of bakers.
If this law means that bakers were to marry no one but bakers why does it specially mention Actresses and charioteers after private persons? Yet if not, why are private persons forbidden, seeing that marriage with such would obviously be less harmful to the public interest than marriage to the daughters of members of other collegia and would increase the number of bakers by making such private persons into bakers? Surely it was preferable that the daughters of bakers whould marry private persons rather than members of other collegia or corporations. This point is very obscure and needs further investigation. The law is usually taken to mean that bakers could not marry outside their collegium at all.
Before dealing with the general question of the recruitment of the pistores it will be well to consider the hereditary and inalienable character of their possessions. First it is important to distinguish between the individual properties of individual bakers and those endowed properties (fundis dotalibus) which were part of the equipment of a pistrina.
The endowed lands were obviously not the property of the bakers themselves and were absolutely inalienable and indivisible. Not only this, but the government even saw to it that the rents from such endowed lands and farms were not lost to the corporation of bakers by fraud. In 396 Honorius to prevent individual piatores from takeing the profits of these lands themselves to the hurt of the corporation, commands that in future a trustworthy man is to be sent out to survey such lands “as are under obligation to the corporation of bakers” and to see that the rents are paid and that such profits from the property given them long ago are handed over to the bakers as of old.
Elsewhere these lands are spoken of as having been given to the corporations’ inoriginum’. Perhaps they were given by Frajan when he reorganised their collegium, but as corn, not bread, was still distributed in his time it seems more likely that they were given by the Emperor who first began the bread distributions.
The endowments were, according to Causiodorus, all over the world: “dignitati quoque tues pistorum jura famulats sunt, quae par diversas mundi partas possessione letissima tendebuntur.”
They were apparently administered by the patroni of the pistores but the prefect of the annona had to guard them against hurt. We have seen that in 396 A.D. Honorius told them to appoint a suitable agent to look after the properties. The patrons being occupied with the direction of the pistrina themselves could not be travelling about and looking after the endowments. If they did not appoint a trustworthy man the corporation would be robbed. The intention of Honorius’ law may have been to let the praetorian prefect supervise the appointment of the agent or bailiff.
There were some eventualities in which the baker’s own land was confiscated to become the common property of his corporation and so was added to the endowed lands.
If a baker died and left his property to a shipowner the latter, as we have seen, could accept the legacy and become liable to bear the burdens both of a navicularius and of a shipowner or they could give up such “fortuitous heredity” to relatives of the deceased or to the corporation of bakers, in which latter eventuality, the said corporation would become the direct owner of such land. The same rule probably held good in the case of legacies to members of other collegia than those of the navicularii.
In the case of those bakers who tried to marry private persons or actresses or circus riders against the law, their property was confiscated and attached to a bakehouse, they themselves having been scourged and deported.
It would also seem that if anyone “by prayers to our Majesty” had obtained release from his trade of baking, his property was confiscated to the corporation of bakers, but the law does not make it clear whether this was the case or whether it was confiscated to the Treasury. It mearly states that such a man shall be punished by loss of his goods.
Thus as a result of the confiscations the common property of the corporation of bakers was likely to increase rather than to diminish.
But this common property was appartnely attached rather to the pistrinum than to the collegium. It is referred to as part of the equipment of a pistrinum as we have seen. It is questionable whether the collegium owned it or merely enjoyed possession of it, the property remaining in the ownership of the state. In theory at any rate it may have vaguely resembled later feudal tenure of lands on condition of service.
The above cases relate to direct confiscations the former owner or heir losing all rights to, and profit in, such lands. But the distinction between the corporate endowed lands and the individual properties of the pistores is sometimes hard to perceive, the latter lands being so tightly and inalienable bound to the use of the corporation that they are sometimes also referred to as belonging to it.
In 369 Valendinian I decrees as follows: “there belong to the bakery not only those properties which were assigned originally to the corporation and which now still retain the name and appearance of an endowment, but also those which are known to have passed to their heirs or to others by the Wills of bakers. In such cases it can obviously be seen that they cannot be alienated.” He goes on to say that the members of this corporation cannot freely dispose of the property they have obtained by the will or generosity of a stranger, or by marriage, on in any other way, and even this property can only be transmitted to one of their associates i.e. to a baker! The law ends by saying that if these properties are left in their estate they will be treated like the rest of what they possess as endowments (dotis nomine ot titulo), because the piatrinus must have the benefit of that which belonged to a baker during his lifetime.
In fact whatever a baker touched became tinged with the atmosphere of the bakehouse. In other words any property acquired by a baker beyond his patrimony became ipso facto “obnoxius paneficium functio”.
More remarkable still is the fact that Valentinian here regards both sorts of property – endowments proper and the properties which were divisible and were handed on to the children or other legitimate heirs of the deceased baker – as equally the property of the corpora of bakers. There was little distinction between the two sorts: both were inalienable but one, that given long ago as endowment, was indivisible and was administered by the corporation, whilst the other, the property, albeit in a limited sense of the word, of the individual bakers, was divisible and was held as his personal property by the baker although he could not alienate it or will it away.
The government had not always been so strict. Before 319 it seems that the bakers had been allowed to dispose of their property as they pleased, for in that year, Constantine rerfers to frauds of bakers who transferred their property to others in order to enjoy it, free of burdens, in the name of another. The fraud seems to have been something like that of a modern bankrupt who has transferred his property earlier to his wife or relatives in order that he may live on it after his bankruptcy. The fact that bakers could so defraud the government shows that before this time (319 A.D.) bakers could legally and freely dispose of their property.
Subsequently it was found that it was not enough for the law to prevent pretended alienations of property; even real alienations by bakers were prejudicial to the “public necessity” and apparently some bakers preferred to lose their goods rather than perform the hated work at the bakehouse. So in 364 Valentinian began to place restrictions on the alienation of bakers’ property. Property is not to be sold, or given, or left by will, by bakers, to senators and officials under any circumstances, or to strangers unless the latter will willingly undertake the duty of a baker. Senators and officials could not obviously become bakers themselves and must therefore under no circumstances obtain property “obnoxina functio pistoria”.
Finally in 369 comes the decree referred to above which amounts to a complete prohibition of sales, gifts or legacies by a baker to anyone but a baker.
The hereditary character of the property of bakers is more marked then that of any other collegium of which we have information. After Valentinian there is little distinction between the endowed lands and the private property of the bakers, both alike are inalienable, the latter being only transferable from one baker to another, i.e. within the corporation, and there being no provision for the holding of bakers lands without being or becoming a baker as there is in the case of the navicularii. The seeming exceptions of navicularii and senators are probably explained by the fact that the law about the former did not hold good after Valentinian’s decrees had been issued and that as already suggested, the Senators referred to in 370 as holding property tied to bakehouses were Senators made before 364.
RECRUITMENT OF BAKERS
However tightly the bonds by which bakers were bound to their duty might be drawn and however strictly their sons and daughters and those who inherited from them, might be held to their hereditary liability, the supply of bakers was insufficient. As in all other trades the ranks dwindled as the supply of manpower was indeed dwindling all over the Empire.
As no one would obviously become a baker voluntarily there was a special method of recruitment in their case. There is a law of Valentinian of 370 A.D. and one of Gratian of 380 A.D. which give us details of this recruitment.
The former speaks of an “officium” in Africa attached to the corporation of bakers by which bakers are consigned to Rome every five years. As h owever nothing is known of this officium and it is not clear exactly that it was or by whom administered it will be well to quote the law in full before commenting on it.
“Secundum parentis nostri Constantini divale praeceptum omnibus lustris
pistores in officio, quod ei corpori constat addictum, ad urbem sacratissimam
destinentur. In quo “illud convenit praecaveri, ne quis baue, quae personalis est
1 functionem pretio putet ease taxandam”. Veniant suo tempore, quos causa
constringit et its Veniant, ut sos officium, quod tibinaret, pistorum patronis
adque annonae prefecto aput publica monumenta consignet. Quod si quis judicum
statuto tempore personam, quae est destinanda, non miscrit, ipse profecto
remanebit obnoxius functioni, qui subtraxisse probatur obnoxium. In officium
quoque poena competeus exeretur, quod aut dissimulatione neglexerit aut fraude
subtraxerit judicem suum super vi legis et consuetudinis admonere.”
Gothofredus in his commentary shows that there is here a distinction between the officium which obeys the proconsul of Africa and the officium which is “addictum” top the corpus of pistores. Therefore perhaps the latter was the officium of the lesser African judges who were only clarissimi not spectabili and who were under the authority of the Proconsul or Vicar of Africa.
It is impossible to say whether there was a special bureau in Africa to deal with the recruitment of bakers or not but it seems much more likely that the bureau of the governors of Africa (judicis Africae) is meant. These latter were at any rate compelled to send the persons due every fiveyears. Waltzing says the persons enrolled had to be sent by the bu reaus of the African Governors to the prefect of the Annona and the patrons of the pistrina but the law seems to state that the recruits are to be consigned by the bureau of the proconsul of Africa (ut eos officium, quod tibi paret – – – consignet). The procedure seems clearly to have been for the local Governors to enrol the recruits every five years, to send them up to the proconsul of Africa and for the latter to send them on to Rome to the praefectus annonae and the patrons of the bakehouses.
Who were the victims of this forced recruitment is more obscure and more important. We know from C.Th.VIII 40 3. that Constantine consigned to the bakehouses at Rome those convicted of light offences (quicumque cohercitionem mereri ex causis non gravibus videbuntur, in urbis Romae pistrina dedantur) and we find Valentinian confirming this sentence. These laws are addressed to the prefect of the city at Rome to the governor of and or in case of Constantine’s and to the Praeses of Sardinia. There is no evidence to show that this sentence was applied elsewhere. The law of Valentinian which I have quoted with its use of the words: “quos causa corestringit” does not lead one to infer that these recruits for the corpus of pistores were criminals. They were obviously not very poor people since the law forbids them to avoid their liability by a money payment. When the judges are threatened with being condemned to serve as bakers themselves if they do not send up the destined person within the prescribed time the use of the word destinanda implies persons picked upon to serve rather than criminals. Presumably the word condemned would have been used if criminals had been referred to.
It is however impossible to say how these bakers were recruited every five years. There is a law of 389 ordering the Prefect of the City of Rome to add to the “functia mancipatus,” anyone found suitable among the members of the small corpora. It may be presumed that these governors had to levy a sufficient number at the appointed time from amongst any persons who were free of a particular obligation to the state (vacui, orotiosi) and the choice was purely arbitrary and a matter of luck; this would explain the words “quos causa constringit”. In any case there would be few unburdened individuals with sufficient property to make themselves useful to the bakehouses, and there would be little choice for the governor to make. His difficulty in finding the recruits is obvious from the penalties imposed on him and his office when he failed to do so.
The other law dealing with these African recruits to the corpus of pistores i.e. that of Gratian in 380 merely tells the Vicar of Africa to terrify the African judges by telling them that if the bakers due for the use of Rome are not forthcoming at the appointed time, the said governors and their office are to be fined 50 lbs silver each. This may be a merciful amending of Valentinian’s law consigning such judges to be bakers but it may be that the latter sentence had never been carried out.
Whether all these forced recruits from Africa were men with property or whether some of them were poor men who would have to perform the hardest physical labour in the pistrina it is impossible to say.
Another law which shows how arbitrary and regardless of liberty the government could be, is that of Valentinian in 364 which decrees that when the sons of bakers are too young to be made bakers at their fathers’ death, others are to be enrolled in their place. When such children grow up they are to take up their fathers duty in the bakehouse at the age of 21, but their substitutes during the period of their minority are to remain bakers.
The case of the man who married a bakers daughter and became henceforth a baker himself has already been dealt with. Another law decrees that a freedman who received anything by will or gift from his master which was “obnoxius pistrinum” was to become a baker himself. If such freedmen thought themselves members of other corporations, they were to be taken out and attached to the bakers. If the legacy or gift they received belonged to a senator they were non the less to become bakers but they were to pay the glebalis tax from the lands subject to it although these same lands were now to benefit the corpus of pistores. There can have been little left for the poor freedmen to enjoy. It is also worth noting that it is this same year that Valentinian enrols in the corpus of Cotabolenaes all freedmen whose total fortune is assessed at 30 lbs of silver. It will be noted that both these decrees were issued in 370 a few months before the one concerning the recruitment of pistores in Africa, and may give us the explanation of the method used to obtain the recruits there. There is of course no proof that these two decrees, addressed to the praefectus urbi at Rome, also applied in Africa but it does at any rate throw some light on the sort of means by which new pistores were enrolled.
It is also interesting to find that it is Valentinian who issued nearly all the laws relating to bakers and their property. Of the 21 laws which relate to the pistores (No. 9 of the 22 in Book XIV. Section 3 relates to catabolenses only) 8 are of Valentinian alone, 4 of Valentinian and Valens and they all concern the pistores of Rome. Valentinian and Valens also issued all the laws but one consigning criminals to the pistrina. There is one other decree referring to those forcibly enrolled as bakers. The explanation lies perhaps in the fact that it was Valentinian who had re-established distribution of free bread in the preceding year i.e. 369. In 398 at the time of the subjection of Africa to Gildo Honorius refers to those “edscripti aemel per sententiam judicis ordini pistorio” and forbids them appealing or obtaining release by stolen imperial rescripts.
Those who do so are to pay a fine of 5 lbs of gold to the fisce and if the release was obtained by bribing the judge who gave sentence, the latter, and his office also if cognisant of the misdemeanour is to pay 50 lbs to the aererium.
Obviously from the terms of this law people could be made hereditary bakers by the judges but whether it was done on account of some petty crime committed, or arbitrarily to quite innocent people, is not shown.
It is probable that the latter is the case as the wrongdoers convicted of slight offences were unlikely to be in a position to bribe the judges and their cases are dealt with separately in another part of the Code.
The above were not the only means by which the numbers of the bakers were increased. The slaves of Senators who illegally took part in the free distribution of bread were condemned to work in chains in the bakehouses. Poor citizens who committed the same crime were also condemned to work in the bakehouses, whilst men of substance found themselves and their possessions tied to the service of the bakehouse they had defrauded.
An appariter of the praetorian prefect or of the offices of the palace who allowed himself to be confided with a fiscal mission in his native province or in the province where he lived was also punished by being made a pistor.
The case of the employee of the praefectus annonae or of the praefectus urbi who was condemned to the functio pistorio if he caused vexations to the bakers has been mentioned elsewhere.
Generally speaking the pistrina were the receptacles for all the evildoers or light offenders who would conveniently be sent there. Yet in spite of all the measures of the government the bakehouses were insufficiently supplied with labour and the bakers tried to obtain men to do the hardest work by secret devices. There is a very interesting passage in — Socrates which tells us something of these ssecret devices and which is worth quoting in full as it is useful evidence on other points than this and will be subsequently referred to.
“. . . . there were buildings of immense magnitude, erected in ancient Rome in former times, in which bread was made for distribution among the people. Those who had charge of these edifices who were called Nencipes in the Latin language, in process of time converted them into receptacles for thieves. Now as the bakehouses in these structures were placed underneath, they built taverns at the side of each where they kept prostitutes; by which means they entrapped many of those who went thither either for the sake of refreshment, or to gratify their lusts, for by a certain mechanical contrivance they precipitated them from the tavern into the bakehouse below. This was practised chiefly upon strangers; and such as were in this way kidnapped were compelled to work in the bakehouses where many of them were immured till old age, not being allowed to go out and giving the impression to their friends that they were dead. It happened that one of the soldiers of the Emperor Theodosius fell into this snare; who being shut up in the bakehouse, and hindered from going out, drew a dagger which he wore and killed those who stood in his way; the rest being terrified, suffered him to escape. When the Emperor was made acquainted with the circumstance he punished the Nencipes, and ordered these haunts of lawless and abandoned characters to be pulled down. This was one of the disgraceful nuisances of which the Emperor purged the imperial city.
GENERAL CONDITION AND STATUS OF THE BAKERS
No doubt the special harshness and strictness of the prohibitions against the alienation of the lands of the bakers and the strictly personal lien by which they were bound to the service of the state, were due to the objectionable nature of the work due from the bakers. No doubt also it explains the special measures taken to recruit new bakers which have been surveyed in the last section. It is important here to try to distinguish the different duties performed by various classes of bakers although no obvious distinction is made in the laws. It is impossible to believe that rich proprietors were forced actually to go and grind corn and bake bread in the pistrins or to admit that criminals were in the same case as hereditary bakers and new bakers enrolled from amongst small landed proprietors.
We have seen that the bakehouses were furnished with slaves as part of their equipment (officinam cum animalibus servis, moliss, fundis dotalibus pistrinorum, postremo omnem euthecam.) There were furthermore the criminals condemned to the bakehouses and these and the slaves were obviously forced to perform the hard manual labour such as turning the mill stones to grind the corn. They must also have been in part employed in kneading the dough and baking the bread. What work was therefore done by the owners of land who were bakers by heredity and where personal service was always insisted upon. They were not all patroni who managed the bakehouses and who were released after five years service as senior patron of a bakehouse. Still many bakers must have been needed to oversee the work in the bakehouse and to arrange the free distributions of bread on the steps of the bakehouses.
The overseeing of the work done by the slaves, the criminals and the lower class bakers would not be wither an easy or a pleasant task. Many must have hated the brutality which they were bound to employ in order to keep these miserable creatures at their work. Of the terrible conditions in a mill or bakehouse we have some idea from ancient authors such as Apuloins, and the cnditions of work must have been much the same in the 4th Century as in the 2nd. But in the 4th Century slaves were very much harder to obtain, and we have seen in the preceding section that the bakers kidnapped strangers and immured them for life in the bakehouses. Here presumably they worked like slaves in chains under the lash turning the millstones or lifting the loaves in and out of the hot ovens. Possibly the kneading of the dough was performed by actual pistores since it needed some slight skill. The criminals would obviously be treated like the slaves. It cannot be thought that the richer pistores were not allowed to hire others to do their work or to employ slaves, and yet if so, why was the personal obligation of service made such a point of?
It must be that such a one could use slaves to perform all the manual work but he had to supervise them and was responsible for the production of a sufficient number of loaves for distribution and sale. The patron of the cavdicarii or mensores who was in charge of the stores at Ostia and who lost his property through fraudulent dealings was called back to the lowest service in a bakery, although he might haave had the title of Comes bestowed on him if he had not betrayed his trust. This shows that a moderately wealthy man who had served in a responsible capacity could be put to the most menial labour once he had lost his patrimony. Presumably therefore the work in the pistrina was portioned out according to the income of the pistores in it. The richest would supervise the work and hold the positions of responsibility, the poor ones without property would do some of the manual labour and would be only a degree removed from the slaves and those condemned to the pistrina on account of petty crimes. Perhaps the personal lien was insisted upon so strictly just because of the increasing difficulty of obtaining slave labour. If the pistores could not obtain slaves to do all the hardest work they would have to do it themselves.
Again even if not doing the hardest work it must have been extremely unpleasant to supervise the work of others in a hot bakehouse in the summer nights nor would people like having to be up all night at all. Further the cruelty exercised on the helpless slaves must have revolted many a man compelled to exercise such cruelty. These seem sufficient reasons for the desire of the pistores to escape from their obligations even in the case of those wealthy enought not to have to perform the actual hard labour; even these may well have wished to alienate their property and be free of the bakehouse.
If the reasons stated above seem insufficient it must also be recognised that there may have been many pistores with just enough property to live on who, forced to ‘bear the burdens’ of pistores, were not rich enough to hire or buy others to work for them and did actually labour in the istrina making and baking bread, being just able to live and keep their families on their patrimony.
If there were many such, the imperial laws are much easier to understand for such men one can see would very readily try to escape their burdens and abandoning their property take on some other work where they could see some prospect of an improvement in their condition. Whereas in a bakehouse however hard a man worked he evidently got little profit from it. He lived on his property and worked all the year round for practically nothing. Like many others they would try to escape and enter the Civil Service e.g. those who had escaped into the decuria of aparitors were recalled by Valentinian. The endowments of the bakeries may only have provided for their upkeep, for the feeding of the slaves and animals and so forth. What little extra profit came from them together with that derived from the sale of the panis fiscalis or ostiensis was presumably divided up in proportion to the status of the pistores and the poorer ones would have received very little. In any case the profits from sales must have been very small.
That even the more affluent pistores found their position unenviable is evinced by the prohibition against their patrons or contractors (mancipes) “going over to the decuriae in order to avoid the functio pistoris (“mancipatus” taken by Gothofredus to mean the functio pistoris). In the case of the navicularii as we saw curiales had finally to be forbidden to become navicularii; in the case of the pistores the prohibition is the other way round. However this law might be taken to refer to all contractors and seems to be a general prohibition against their giving up their administration of state workshops of any sort although it is placed among the laws about the pistores. These ‘Mancipes’ were apparently the patrons of the pistores and were responsible for the running of the various bakeries. They may have risen to that position by successive tenures of the various positions in the collegium or they may have been appointed merely on account of their wealth. At any rate they were released after five years as a senior patron but patrons would also have their property confiscated and be relegated to menial bail in the bakery if they abused their position of trust just as other pistores who defrauded the state of their property were kept to menial duty in a pistrinum.
The pistores were also liable to have losses incurred at the granaries made good from their properties. Presumably these loaves were made good by the patrons who would be the responsible people in charge.
That people of substance were required as pistores is shown not only by the laws against those who pretended to alienate their possessions or, who dissipated th em to avoid doing duty as a baker but also by a law of Gratian in 377 forbidding the filling up of the ranks of the bakers by those thrown over. The latter are obviously bankrupts since at the end reference is made to provision against the vice of being a spendthrift or bankrupt (decoctor) and for the needs of the annone publica. It seems strange that those who went bankrupt should not have been forced to work in the bakehouses, like those whose property was confiscated for misbehaviour or like those who pretended to alienate it. Gothofreedus thinks that this law refers only to the patrons of bakehouses and this seems the most likely explanation.
It is noticeable that all the decrees about the bakers refer to Rome. Were those at Constantinople in a more enviable position? Perhaps there, plenty of the inhabitants were wealthy merchants who bought good bread in the bakehouses and enabled the bakers to make substantial profits. At Rome those who did not live on the free distribution were mainly aristocrats whose slaves made their bread at home.
Before concluding the section on the pistores I should like to make another suggestion as to the possible explanation of the desire of so many bakers to leave their work. It is not at all certain whether all the bakers were sharers in the profits as well as the duties of the bakehouse. Some, although possessing some little personal property, may have worked for a wage in a bakehouse. The Tariff of Diocletian lays down 50 deniers as the wage of a baker and although this may only refer to the East it may possibly be a normal wage elsewhere. At any rate it is one of the lowest in the Tariff. What if the pistores were paid a wage in the bakehouse and had no part in the endowments and profits of the bakehouse, those benefitting only the patrons. If merely an employee the baker could find himself in much the same hopeless position as the colonus: bound to his work by law and therefore compelled to accept any wage the patron might give him, just as the colonus was boud to his farm by law but forced to pay rent at whatever rate his landlord pleased.
The fact that the baker was forbidden to transfer from one workshop to another seems to support this theory: his only likely reason for desiring to transfer can have been the hope of better wages.
That poor people had hired themselves out in previous centuries to grind corn in bakehouses or in provate fmailies we know from Aulus Cellus account of Plantus, who is supposed to have written his early comedies in his intervals of rest whilst earning his living turning a mill.
If many of the pistores were thus hired at a wage in the 4th century it is easy to understand how intolerable their position must have been and how eagerly they must have sought to escape. The fact that they possessed a little private property such as a house, does not seem to me to disprove this theory. If on further investigation of the evidence it were found to be true for the pistores it would go far to explaining the increasing desire of the members of many other collegia to escapt from their performances of their “functio originaria”.
CATABOLENSES – CARRIERE
Closely allied to the pistores and referred to in the same set of laws are the Catabolenses. Little is known about them or their precise function: Uessidorus calls the people who transported marble at Ravenna catabolenses. It is certain that they were at Rome attached to the annona and under the authority of the prefect of the City. It is to the latter that the 2 laws referring to them (in Bk. XIV, section 3) are addressed. Uothofreedus conjectures that they were conductors of draught animals or wagoners who transported the corn from the Tiber to the barns and from the barns to the bakehouses, and, after the establishment of water mills, the flour from the mills to the bakehouses, and the bread to the places of distribution. On a cup of the IV or Vth Century a man is depicted pulling a little loaded wagon and others are conducting wagons drawn by horses. They are probably catabolenses.
To recruit new catabolenses Valentianian decreed that freedmen whose total fortune was assessed at 30 lbs of silver were to be made members of the corpus of Catabolences whether they possessed that sum in cash or any other species or in buildings or fields. Gothefreedus takes it that freedmen were to be made members of this corpus if their possessions exceeded 30 lbs of silver and if they had received anything from their masters by donation or testament. For the other law referring to them shows that freedmen who received from th eir masters legacies free of all ties to a ‘corpus’ were “to serve the needs of the Catabolenses”. Even if they already belonged to another Collegium they were to be taken out and made into catabolenses.
Thus even the muleteers or wagoners had to be men of some substances whose property would provide them with sustenance while they worked for the state. Of course they would have some free time in which to act as carriers on their own account.
C H A P T E R VII
COLLEGIA CONNECTED WITH THE MEAT SUPPLY
AND THE WINE SUPPLY
S E C T I O N I
Meat Deals: Suarii, pecuarii, bourii.
In Republican times the butchers formed a collegium presided over by two Magistrates that this collegium is not found later. The mutton merchants associated at Praeneste probably also had a college at Rome but there is no trace of it.
The Digest shows that under the Empire the prefect of the city had to ensure the supply of cheap meat and the purveyors of meat were thus naturally included amongst the privileged merchants useful to the annona. They formed 3 separate collegia: Boarii – beef dealers
Pecuarii (pequarii) – mutton dealers
Suarii – pork dealers
Since pork was the more usual diet of the Romans and the most east to obtain the suarii were naturally the most important of the three – Waltzing quotes a fragment of Ulpian to show that Severus and Caracalla accorded exemption from the “tutella” to all those who did business in the pig market, an immunity stated to be already enjoyed by all those who served the annona. They had however to devote two thirds of their fortune to this commerce. The authorities had a list of the people who fulfilled the necessary conditions and who had accordingly been given a certificate by the praefectus urbi. “sed et quii in foro saurio negotiantur, si duabus partibus bonorum annonam juvent, habent excusiationem litteris allatis (a praefecto) urbis testimonialibus negotiationis; ut imperator noster et divus Severus Manilio Cereali rescripserunt; quo rescripto declaratur, ante eos non habisse immunitatem, sed nunc cis dari eam, quae date est his, qui annonam populi Romani juvant.”
Symmachus counts the three collegia which supplied meat amongst those regular corporations of the capital which served the public needs of Rome.
It was naturally the Suarii who became indispensable after the institution by Aurelian of free distributions of lard.
SERVICES RENDERED BY THE SUARII
The suarii were not mere shopkeepers who sold pork and lard in the market place, in that case their importance would not have been so great. They were wholesalers as well as retailers and were responsible for the collection and transport of necessary supplies.
Since pork was distributed free by the government to the people of Rome one is not surprised to find that it was supplied gratis by someone. It was supplied by the Landowners of Campania, Lucania, and Bruttium, Samnium and even occasionally Sardinia. In fact it was supplied by most of the Italian possessers south of Rome as part of their taxes to the state; these were the lands which grew little in the way of grain and were chiefly used for vine growing and for rearing of cattle, pigs and other livestock.
The suarii had at first the duty of actually collecting the pigs due from the landowners to the government. Naturally this involved a great deal of labour and trouble. Furthermore losses occurred in transit owing to the diminishing value of the pigs, which lost weight as they walked to Rome or even on the shorter journey from their homes to the market towns where they were collected and killed. For this reaon the suarii seem before the time of Constantine to have demanded money from the landowners in place of actual pigs and to have been allowed to do so. For in 324 Constantine tells the prefect of the City that the possessor shall have the option of not paying money to the suarius, as allowed heretofore, lest in estimating the weight of the pigs license is allowed to the suarii, i.e. to guard against the suarius putting too high a price on the pigs. The suarius for example, in the case of a man whose contribution was a pig weighing 114 lbs. could estimate the money due from him at the rate of 2 denarii per lb. when the price current in the district was in reality only 1 denarius per lb.
The law goes on to say that when the suarius estimates correctly the value of the meat due the “possessor” can have the choice of paying his tax either in kind or in money. In collecting the money the suarius and the possessor are to estimate the value of the pork at the current market price of the district. Further since the “forma pretiorum” are not the same at all times and in all places, prices are to be given in the current specie unless pork itself is produced.
To precluce all confusion or unfairness Constantine also decrrrs that the governors of the regions are to report each year to the prefect of the City what are the current prices of pork in the different localities; the prefect is to examine the reports and to inform the suarii. The latter are then to set out and collect the moneys in the different districts, the prefect will know from the reports he has received and from the number of pounds due from the various landowners (presumably written down in the Census) just what amount the suarii are to collect. In this way it will be no concern of the suarii to “compare dear and cheap”, the amount they are to collect from each “possessor” being fixed. They will thus have no cause to grumble. The “possessores” will under this scheme be moderate in the prices they demand when they retail their pork locally, knowing that if they put up the prices in their district, they will have to pay more in taxation when the suarii come round to collect.
It would seem at first sight that the government was using a needlessly complicated System in the collection of its taxes. Why not have assessed each landowner at so much cash per head and collected it direct? Although so much simpler this method would actually have been less fair seeing that it would have taken no account of fluctuations in the price of pigs from year to year. A regular amount might have meant great hardship one year when the price of pork was low and loss to the government another year when the price was high.
It might have been thought that such elaborate regulations would have achieved the desired result, i.e. that the government should always receive a sufficient amount, that the suarii should not oppress the landowners nor grumble at their losses in collecting; that the landowners should not be too heavily assessed when paying money in place of taxes in kind, and that the price of pork should be kept low in the local markets.
However the system established by Constantine does not seem to have worked perfectly or at any rate Julian thought he could improve upon it in the case of Campania. In 362 or 363 the latter Emperor took from the possessores of Campania the choice of paying in kind or in money. Henceforth “adaeratio” is compulsory and it is to be made, as before, at the cu rrent price in Campania, the possessores are to pay money for each lb. of pork due valued at the price current in the public markets in Campania. The collection is to be taken away from the suarii and is not to be made by the officials of the urban prefecture but by the officials of the Governor of Campani. The curiales and the ordinqary “judices” are to do the collecting “because the officials of the more powerful are wont to oppress the provincials”.
The governor of Campania has been told that the officials of the urban prefecture and the suarii have had the duty of collection taken from them and that he himself shall henceforth bear all the responsibility of the collection. He is threatened with grave penalties if any fraud is practised in transmitting the moneys. The moneys transmitted are to be handed over to the suarii at Rome who although they no longer collect the sums due, are held responsible for the supply of sufficient quantities of pork to the people of Rome.
It should be noted that this decree of Julian makes it seem likely that the system previously had been for the suarii to be helped or supervised in their annual collection of pigs and money by the officials of the Urban prefecture of Rome.
Although Campania alone is dealt with it may be that the collection was taken away from the suarii in Southern Italy also by other decrees. The one extant is addressed to the pr. urbi and Campania being joined to his administration may have been the only district where his officials had taken part in the collections.
Further changes in the method of collection were made by Valentinian in 367. He gave back to the landowners the right to choose whether they would supply meat or compound by a money payment for the amount due. But if they choose to make a money payment it would seem the ‘adaeratio’ was made at the price current in the Roman Market, since that was the rate considered as “legitimate” when the suarii received the money from the collectors. If so this would be unfavourable to the landowners as compared with the previous arrangement seeing that the price at Rome would obviously be higher than the local price. It would however be an advantage to the suarii since they would receive more money with which to buy the pigs or pork with which they had to supply the people of Rome.
If the landowners chose to pay in kind a stricter method of estimating the weight of a pig is instituted by this decree. It is to be ascertained by test of a weighing balance and not by guessing from the look of the animals even when the owner agrees to the estimate thus arrived at. Furthermore the owner is to give the pig in question nothing to eat from the night before its delivery so that it shall not be weighed at the favourable moment just after it has eaten and be estimated at a greater weight than it will sink to after some hours in transit!
The collection is now done by an “ordo suarius”. This cannot be the suarii themselves for the “ordo” hands over to the suarii the moneys and meat collected and yet the saurii are spoken of as estimating the weight of the pigs. But it is the “ordo” which is to decide the price in cases of adseratio.
Waltzing thinks this ordo saurius must be the employees of the governor who collected the pigs and the money and who may have formed themselves into a special ordo in the office of the governors.
This “ordo” is also mentioned in the edict of Apronianus who was prefect of the City at the time of Julian’s edict about the saurii and whose edict is referred to with approval by Valentinian.
A decessore tuo salubriter institutun ast “au jus modum non prives ponderatione certa deciderit saurius”. Why then are the saurii still referred to in 367 as taking part in the estimation of the weight of pigs? I have found no explanation attempted. Were they perhaps still sent round, but now under the superintendence and control of the local governor, to judge the weight and quality of the pigs delivered by the possesores? Perhaps experts were needed for this whereas in the case of adaeratio no expert knowledge of pig flesh was necessary and the collection could easily be done by the employees of the governor, i.e. the “ordo saurius”. For in the latter case it was known how many lbs a possessor had to deliver and it was simple arithmetic merely to calculate what so many lbs cost at the Roman Market price and to collect that sum from the landowner.
In the case of pigs the saurii himself was perhaps less likely to be cheated as regards quality and weight since he had expert knowledge of pig flesh. Of course it may be that the word saurius in Latin quoted means a member of the ordo saurius.
Beyond our period, i.e. in the time of Valentinian II in 452 A.D. yet another means of collection was instituted. The patrons of the saurii were given the choice between two methods of collection. Either it was to be done by the office of the praetorian prefecture helped by 5 saurii, or by the saurii themselves under the supervision of the govenror of the province who was himself responsible. This arrangement however does not concern us here except to prove how often the government or the saurii must have found the method adopted for procuring the necessary pork to have been unsatisfactory and so to have sought to establish a better system.
The saurii were therefore responsible for the supply of pork at Rome and were under the authority of the primiscrinii of the prefect of the City and of those of his vicar. The latter was under the prefect of the City; the governors of the provinces concerned, e.g., Campania and the S. of Italy generally, were under the vicar. The primiscrinii referred to were held responsible with their property if the saurii did not do their duty, “ut es propriis facultatibus debits sauriae functionis praebeatur”. It must be noted that this may only have been after 419 when there was still so much confusion after the invasion of ——-.
The saurii had also to prepare the pigs flesh collected and we find them called corpus sauriorum et confectuariorum in the year 337 A.D.
This inscription shows that the said collegium set up a statue some time after Diveletian to their worthy patron B. Aroadius Valeria Proculus and it gives a list of the offices held by the said Proculus ending with “praefecto urbi vice saors iterum judicanti; consuli ordinario”.
The collegium of “swinedealers and pork butchers” was probably in the habit of choosing the praefectus urbi as their patron seeing that he controlled their activities for the government and would be useful to them; he would be pleased with the honour of having a statue put up to him. Such honours were accorded to high officials by the collegia either to propitiate them or in grateful recognition of consideration received.
PRIVILEGES AND PROTECTION
It has already been mentioned in the resume of the history of the Saurii, pecuarii and boarii previous to the 4th Century A.D. that they were specifically exempted from the tutela as well as being granted the other privileges allowed to all the collegia at Rome qui annonam populi Romani juvant”.
They do not appear to have received exemption from the munera sordida at extraordinarie” until the time of Gratian for when Valentinian II in 369 confirmed them in the enmoyment of this privilege “cum parvigilem laborem populi Romani commodis exhibeant”, he refers to it as granted by Gratian “id se divae memoriae Cratiani beneficio mermiore proponunt, ne sordidis umquan munaribus subjacerent”. The prefect of the City is to impress upon his office i.e. his subordinate that they must respect the Concession. This privilege h ad been awarded to the navicularii as early as 329 but perhaps it was more necessary in their case as suchmunere extraordinarie et sordide would be more frequent and more onerous in the provincial cities than at Rome where most public needs were provided for by the central government. In the case of the other collecia of Rome, apart from general references to their privileges there is no mention of this specific privilege till 391. In the case of the pistores it is not mentioned at all though presumably they must have been exempt before 391.
Although only the three senior patrons of other collegia were immune from corporal punishment at the hands of the prefect of the annona and cold receive it by order of the prefect of the City. Suarii were all declared immune from such punishment by Honorius in 419; “nulle tamen cos corponis injurise formide percelat”.
This concession, it is true, was granted at the time when Honorius was re-establishing the collegia after the sack of Rome by Alario; he was on the one hand re-calling the members of the Collegia to their duties and on the other hand coaxing them back by concessions.
Valentinian III in 452 forbids the apoaritoes to inflict injury or exactions on the saurii.
Another concession of a peculiar sort which we find mentioned in the laws as granted to the saurii is being allowed to use horses when engaged on their own business (qui propreis officis occupantur). The use of horses had been forbidden in 364. Picenum, Flaminia, Apulia, Calobris, Lucanis and Samnium except in the case of certain provileged persons. The object was to prevent robberies, violence and so forth in those districts; presumably evildoers could not escape if they were on foot. Waltzing speaks of the saurii as being allowed to use horses “dans les courses qu’ils devaient faire pour parcevoir les 4 especes porcines. The words used in the Code are “qui proprius officis occupantur” so that it does not refer to collection from the inhabitants as might be supposed by the phrase used by Waltzing. The saurii were at this date, as we have seen, only allowed to receive the money or pigs flesh from the officials who levied the tax. Their work, for which they needed to ride, was that of going round to the depots in the various districts and collecting the money. With this money, they would, it may be supposed, buy pigs or pork in the South and take them to Rome. The pork which they had to supply to the people of Rome could obviously be bought more cheaply in the South than near Rome.
In 419 Honorius granted the title of Count of the third order to the three principle men of the corpus of Saurii (tres nujus corporis principales); these are presumably their three quinquennales or corresponding highest officials. They are not called patrons in the law – the word used in the case of the head men amongst the pistores presumably because the patrons of the saurii were honorary and chosen amongst high officials or senators e.g. the pr. urbi.
The saurius was as we have seen protected against fluctuations in the price of pork so that he was always to receive enough meat from the landowners of S. Italy to supply the people of Rome with their free allowance of prok, or to receive enough money with which to buy pigs or pork for this purpose.
They were in addition given some payment for this service in much the same way as the navicularii.
Firstly they were allowed 5% on the goods collected to cover their expenses. Whether they received this payment of 5% when they received the collections in money is doubtful. The law lays down that the 8% extra is not to be paid by the possessores who pay their tax in cash. This may refer to an extra 5% levied for the benefit of the ordo saurius and may not affect the saurii. Apart from this they were compensated for the loss which “necessarily occurs between the collection and the delivery” by an allowance of wine. This last concession was confirmed by Valentinian in 367 but it had originally been granted a few years before by that Apronianus who had been prefect of the City at the time of Julian’s law of 362 and to whose edict reference has already been made. In this edict he had decided to take out of the public stores 25,000 amphorae of the wine supplied as taxes by the same landowners of S. Italy who supplied the pork, and to give two thirds of it to the saurii (i.e. 16,666) amphorae and the remaining 1/3rd to the “ordines qui saurium faciant or recognuscunt”.
Valentinian is confirming the edict lays down the amount of wine to be collected for the saurii as 17,000 amphora making a round sum of Apronian’s 16,666 amphora. The Ordo saurius is later referred to as receiving the payment of wine in common with the saurii.
As regards the value of the wine it is difficult to decide although necessary, if we are to guage in any way the amount realised by the sauri from the sale of the wine for we cannot supplse that the saurii sat down to drink the 17,000 amphora of wine.
Waddington referring to Valentinian III’s law of 445 says that 70 lbs of meat were then recokoned as the price of an amphora of good wine so that soldiers could buy 1 lb. of meat for 1/270 solidus (on the authority of XIV. 4 . 3 which shows 1 lb. of pig taxed at 6 folles = 1/48 solidus). He recognises however that this price is impossibly low and thinks there must be some error in the text.
It should be noted that Valentinian’s law of 367 although it allows a sort of adaeratio of 70 lbs. of meat in place of wine, in the case of the landowners of Luccania and Bruttium who were affected by the loss of the long transit, does not say how many amphora 70 lbs. of meat took the place of. If Waddington is really referring to this law it seems that he has no warrant for taking 70 lbs as equal to one amphora of wine only. Waltzing takes it in this sense, though he does not give h is reasons.
HEREDITARY TIE A) PERSONAL B) OF POSSESSIONS
Although the hereditary obligation on the properties of saurii is absolute the hereditary personal obligation is not so strongly enforced as that of the pistores and there are less drastic measures taken for the securing of new members. This does not mean necessarily that the profession of a saurius was enviable or that people did not seek to escape from it and were not ruthlessly recalled.
Already in 334 Constantine states that the corpus of Saurii has become very small and he orders an enquiry to be instituted. The saurii are to state in open court 9edetante populo Romano) to whom they have granted exemption from their duties and by whom these duties ought to be performed, they are to be treated in the same way as the navicularii.
therefore they are to realise that their possessions are bound to the duty of the saurii (obnoxias muneri sauriorum) and of two alternatives they may choose one; either they shall keep the possessions “quae sauriae functioni destricts sunt” and themselves do duty as saurii or they are to appoint substitutes who will perform the necessary duty. Prresumably substitutes would not be obtainable unless the original saurii gave up their possessions to them; at any rate the implication of the whole clause is that in the second alternative the saurii lost their hereditary possessions.
Constantine further makes it clear that no one is to escape his cuty as a saurius by obtaining office i.e. by entering the civil service, nor can he escape by cunning. Such men who attempt to evade their duties in these ways are to be recalled and put back into the collegium a judicial enquiry being held before the Roman people and the Emperor being consulted above them in order that he may be cognisant of those who make use of this subterfuge. In a word no one is to have exemption and whoever manages to slide out shall be liable to punishment.
The most important thing to note h ere is that under Constantine a saurius could escape if he gave up his possessions and could provide a substitute. Although harsh the law did not force a man to remain a saurius after the loss or sale or gift of his inheritance.
In spite of the restrictions of the above law Valentinian found in 389 that the means of the saurii had decayed because their lands and farms had been made over to strangers ‘by many sorts of donation”. He adopts stronger measures than Constantine who was content to bind the descendants of Saurii and decrees that it is “full of equity and lawful” for the prefect of the city to force them to take up the name and duty of their ancestry. “Consanguineos quoque eorum veloriginalos ut memoratorium nomini functionique juboas adjungi, plonum et açquitatis et juris est”.
In 397 Honorius speaks of those “quem successio generis adstringit” as distinct from him “quem possessio tenet” implying that descent compells a man to be a saurius whether he holds property “obnoxius functio suariorum” or not. The saurii are not to lose those “adtributos” to their ordo nor are they to seek foreign and distant possessions free from these burdens in place of their own possessions and customary rents.
A few years later Honorius makes it clear exactly what manner of persons are hereditarily bound to serve as suarii. He begins in this decree by recalling to their original obligation (pristinas munus) whosoever from the corpus of suarii are known to have refused the service to which they are bound by their origin; whether they have done so by means of a petition or by anyone’s help or through holding office or by “adnotatios” or rescripts from the Emperor. All are to be recalled whether they are bound by the maternal or the paternal relationship (tam qui paterno quam qui materno genere inveniuntur obnoxii).
No suarius may enter the civil or the military service even if he has obtained special permission by begging from the Emperor and obtaining a rescript; howsoever permission has been obtained it is invalid).
In one respect only does Honorius treat the Suarii more leniently than the pistores: those who have entered the ranks of the clergy can remain there is they hand back their patromony to the collegium of suarii. It will be remembered that the pistores were not allowed to enter the Church under any condition.
Shortly after the sack of Rome by Alaric Honorius joined the pecuarii to the suarii and at the same time had an enquiry instituted to recall the members who had abandoned their duties. or whatever other work they might be performing.
As regards their properties we have already seen Constantine’s arrangement. Valentinian, in addition to his measures for recalling those personally bound by their heredity in 389, decreed that those (strangers’ who had obtained lands and farms by any sort of donation from suarii were to give them up or if they refused, they were to be made suarii themselves since they held property bound to the service of the suarii. Hence the acquirers of property once owned by suarii must become suarii unless they give it up; no compensation is given to them and there is no mention of their being allowed just to bear the burden of a suarius in proportion to the amount of land they held. Honorius in 397 again states the same principle and does not even give the option of giving up their property to such strangers. Whether the nation refers to persons or things “he is not to be held less tied whom possession holds than whom the succession of race compells.”
Again in 408 Honorius repeats that those who hold lands tied to the collegium, having claimed them either by purchase or donation, or by any other title, are to acknowledge their obligation or give up their possessions “for the public good”.
In the law of 419 when Horius in reconstituting the collegium of suarii after the sack of Rome he speaks of the restitution of the persons of suariitogether with their possessions.
To conclude it seems clear (a) that by the time of Valentinian at any rate all suarii are hereditarily bound to do personal service as suarii, (b) that all possessions of suarii remain for ever bound to bear the burdens of the suarii.
But whether or not suarii were allowed to sell their lands to strangers or leave them by will is not certain, strangers evidently did get possession of such lands occasionally whether they ought to have done or not. If they did they became suarii themselves unless they give up the said lands.
Whether alienation was permisable or not there are no such definite laws against it as in the case of the pistores, who were eventually forbidden to transfer lands to any but bakers.
However in the circumstances given above it is unlikely that a suarius would be able to find anyone to buy his burdened lands, nor would he want to if he still had to serve as a suarius for presumably a suarius without land was given the most objectionable work to do, such as the cutting up and preparing of the pork and bacon so in actual fact the position of the suarii cannot have been much more favorable than that of the pistores.
Beyond the roping in of strangers who had acquired “Suarian” lands and who holding their personal service of the descendants of suarii on both the maternal and paternal side, we know of only one means by which the numbers of the suarii were increased. This is the joining to the collegium of the collegium of the pecuarii by Honorius in 419. This was obviously a special measure taken at a difficult time when many of the inhabitants of Rome had fled and it did not last. In 452 the suarii pecuarii and boarii are again in three distinct collegia.
PECUARII AND BOARII
The two collegia of the mutton dealers and beef dealers are fitly dealt with here as they supplied Rome with the rest of her meat supply. As there was no free distribution mutton and beef there is no question of their being specially burdened with a state service but as the adequate supply of the Roman market was of great importance they were also under the supervision of the praefectus Urbi and were given the same general privileges as the collegia which served the annona. They bought sheep and bullocks which they sold in the mutton market and the beef market under the control of the state. These animals came mostly from the south of Italy and there is no question of sea transport.
We do not know if the sales were made at cheap rates and subsidized by the government but it is improbable as there is no record of such subsidies. The only information we have comes from a second edict of the Apronian whose edict about the suarii has already been referred to. It is dated 353 and concerns the pecuarii only.
It relates to the procedure to be adopted in the weighing of the animals: the parts to be weighed and charged to the buyer and the payment of the butcher who does the killing; he is to be given the head and feet of the animal.
SUARII, PECUARII AND BOARII
There is no reference to suarii becoming senators. Although they seem quite often to have held offices of some sort, and we have seen that some of the municipal ones reached the title of Count of the 3rd order. Most of the pecuarii and boarii must have been men of middle ranks needing some capital to buy the animals which they sold as meat. The killing of the livestock was evidently often done by a man who was not himself a suarius, pecuariua or boarius.
The members of the collegia probably hired low class persons to do the unpleasant work of preparing the meat and they must also have had slaves for this purpose. There is an inscription from Rome of a pork and mutton dealer called Marcus Antonius Claudia Teranius by origin from the city of Misonum who performed all the duties and held all the offices of his native town. This shows that in a provincial town a meat dealer might easily make an equal with the middle class landowners who sat in the curia. In Rome there is of course no question of service in the curia (the senate being the curia of Rome) but on the analogy of the position in the provinces and in view of the evidence of the code as to their properties the meat dealers must have been men of middle class but are unlikely to have included men of such high rank and wealth as the Navicularii.
It would be interesting to know if the suarii pecuarii or boarii were in any sense a limited corporation and formed any sort of meat trust. There is naturally no evidence on this point and for all we know anyone may have been able to buy and sell meat in the Roman Market. The state at any rate would have prevented the meat dealers raising the price of meat too high.
Seemingly from the edict of Apronian the pecuarii and presumably also the boarii, bought their meat at Rome and did not go South like the suarii to obtain it. They were probably retailers as well as wholesale buyers; seeing that the suarii seem to have been responsible for the distribution of pork to the people they must have been accustomed to prepare small pieces for sale and thus have been retailers. The suarii must have had a monopoly of seling in the Roman market and have thereby derived some benefit from their state service. Furthermore, nothing was to stop them buying pigs in the South of Italy on their own account whilst collecting the money and pigs flesh due to the government. This they could sell at a profit to those who received no free allowance and to those who could pay for more than they received gratis.
S E C T I O N II
THE PERSONNEL CONNECTED WITH THE WINE SUPPLY
It has been seen in the preceeding pages that wine was paid to the suarii and collected from the landowners in the lands south of Rome. A little further consideration of the wine supply is necessary.
There was a special area vinaris at Rome in ch arge of a rationales vinorum. The wine itself was obtained from the landowners of southern Italy who had to bring their quote to the Campus Martius at Rome. Here it was received by the susceptores vini who formed a special collegium. There is a very interesting inscription extant which throws some light on the methods of collecting and checking of the supplies and which, incidentally, furnishes an example of the waste of effort and the unnecessary expense involved by the large number of people concerned in the transaction.
It is on the fragment of a marble tablet and provides for the following payments to be made to various people: “To the haustores (those who fill the casks of wine) 30 nummi.
To the Tabularii: 20 nummi for each receipt they give out.
To the Exasciator (he who opens and shuts the barrels): 10 nummi per cupa.
To the Palancarii (who are wont to carry the casks from the place called “Ciconias nixas” to the temple (of the sun) — nummi.
To the guardians of the casks (custodes cuparum) — nummi.
The inscription further states that after the degustatio the ampullao, (i.e. the vessels for carrying the wine) are to be given back to the possessores and the latter are to receive 120 scaterces per cask in payment.
Hence, apart from the growers of the wine, that is the possessores, 5 classes of people received payment: the hanstores, the tabularii, the Reasciator, and the Palancarii and the costodes cuparum.
In 400 Honorius endeavoured to stop the frauds which were occurring. He found th at the “possessores” were guiltless and he forced the susceptores to make good the deficits.
Part of the wine in the area finaris was sold cheap to the people of Rome, part was used for the payments made to officials and to members of certain collegia: the suarii dealt with in the last chapter and the lime burners dealt with in the next.
Since the law is the Theodosian Code dealing with the susceptores vini is recalled in the Justinian Code it may be inferred that wine was also sold to the inhabitants of Constantinople below the market price.
C H A P T E R VIII
COLLEGIA CONNECTED WITH THE OTHER PUBLIC NEEDS OF ROME AND CONSTANTINOPLE
SECTION I. The Public baths and their upkeep.
SECTION II. The limeburners etc.
C H A P T E R VIII
THE PUBLIC BATHS AND THEIR MAINTENANCE
The Roman people had to be provided not only with free food and amusements but with hot baths at a nominal fee. The public “therms” were magnificent establishments where people went to bathe, to rest, to meet their friends and generally to enjoy themselves. According to the Notitia there were 856 at Rome.
It is obvious that since the cost of entry was nominal, some class of persons would have the duty of providing for their upkeep. The people who thus “served the Roman people” were called Mancipes thermarum or mancipes salinarum.
Symmachus speaks of them in the following terms: “Invendi sunt mancipes sulinarum, qui splendori atque usui patrias sommanis inservlunt” and “mancipes salinarum, qui exercent lavacra lignorum praebitions”, and in the Theodosian code the Salinae (salt depots) are spoken of as serving the baths of the Roman people “salinie stiam omnibus praeter mancipum quae populi Romani lavaoris inserviunt”j.
The explanation is almost certainly to be found in the fact that three “mancipes” had formerly rented the salinae at Rome from the State, and were subsequently allowed to exploit them free of charge to compensate them for their services in supplying the baths.
These salinas were store houses or depots where the merchants were compelled by law to deposit all the salt sold at Rome. The Justinian Code shows that salt sold without passing through the storehouses leased out to the mancipes, had to be sold for the latter’s profit, i.e. the mancipes had the right to levy a sort of toll on all salt sold at Rome: “si quis sine persona mancipum, id est salinarum conductorum, sales emarit venderave tentaverit, sive propria audacia sive nostro munitus craculo, sales ipsi una cum eorum pretio mancipibus addicantur”.
Thus in origin the mancipes salinarum were just farmers of part of the “Vectigalia”; when the proceeds of the “salt duty” were assigned to the upkeep of the baths they became mancipes thermarum as well as mancipes salinarum. In other words the mancipes thermarum supplied the baths with necessaries (chiefly wood), being compensated for this service by their exploitation of the salinae.
Waltzing states that Gebhardt explains otherwise the connection between the mancipes thermarum and the salinae but I have not been able to obtain Gebhardt to ascertain what is his theory. The language of the one law in the Theodosian Code “De Mancipibus thermaum urbis et subvectione lignorum” seems to leave little doubt as to the truth of the usual explanation. It was addressed to the praefectus Urbi in 368 or 370 and runs as follows: “Quidquid erga mancipes qui thermarum exhibitioni Romaao curant, in exercitio conpendiisque salinarum scitis priorum principum cautum est, aeterna sanctione firmamus”.
The reference to profits (compendiis) from the salinae at the same time as to the care of the baths seems to make no other explantion possible.
The words “qui thermarum exhibitionem Romao curant” imply that the mancipes thermarum were alone responsible for the heating of the baths and their general upkeep.
For part of the supply of the necessary wood for this purpose the navicularii were called in to convey from Africa “lignea idonoa publicis necessitatibus”. These latter are probably the “navicularii lignarii” met with on an inscription from Ostia and, I have already mentioned them in the Chapter on the Navicularii. This is however not the only way in which the collegia of navicularii helped. There is a somewhat obscure decree of the year 369 which says that 60 of the whole body of navicularii (presumably the navicularii of Rome as the decree is addressed to the Prefect of the City) are to be held liable to the present need. The decree further provides that nothing more is to be demanded from anyone of them, “than the needs of the baths demand or than the long prescribed form lays down.”
This decree is explained by a letter of Symmachus of the year 384. In it he speaks at some length of the means taken to fill up the ranks of the mancipes salinarum when their numbers were so reduced that they could not perform their public services. He is recalling to their collegium such mancipes salinarum as had left it on the intervention of a certain Macedonius, and he suggests that the said collegium (vacantes). He goes on to mention the “navicularii seque lignorum obnoxius functioni”, who, rather than cooperate entirely with the mancipes thermarum, had given up a certain number of their members to the latter.
He can only be referring to the 60 navicularii “held liable to the present need” in 369 and his letter shows that these 60 navicularii ceased to be navicularii and became “mancipes thermarum” themselves.
Symmachus’ proposal to the Emperor to fill up the ranks of the corpus of mancipes salinarum from the “vacantibus” and from other corpora seems to have been agreed to a few years later, for in 389 Valentinian enrolled members of the little collegia (miniscula corpora) and men with no definite duties (otiosi) among the mancipes. This decree may refer to the bakers as well as to the mancipes salinarum but there is little doubt that it does refer to the latter.
Gothfredus shows in his commentary on XIV.5. of the Theodosian Code that there was need of three things for the baths: lights or lamps, heating or wood, and people to run them, i.e. mancipes, The lights were collected from the payments made by the houses constructed by private individuals in the doorways of the baths. As regards heating, the wood was not all supplied from Africa as part of the taxes of that province. Part was supplied from the revenues of the city as was also the case in Constantinople.
For the conveyance of these supplies of wood or “wood duty” (functio lignaria) the mancipes thermarum and the navicularii were responsible. Gothfredus thinks that the African navicularii conveyed such supplies as came from Africa to Portus; from thence the ‘litrones’ and other navicularii conveyed it to Rome. The mancipes also undertook the general management of the baths.
SECTION II. THE LIMEBURNERS – CONVEYERS OF LIME
(Calcis coctores & Vectuarii)
The upkeep of the public buildings of Rome was all part of the “necessary service” rendered by certain collegia to Rome; it was in the same category as the supplying of food and of wood for the baths. Indeed the consideration of the mancipes thermarum leads on directly to the study of certain other collegia which helped to keep up the public buildings of all sorts. The series of laws following the solitary one about the mancipes thermarum urbis et subvectionis lignorumconcerns the Calcis coctores: Limeburners of Rome and Constantinople.
The lime was of course required for the upkeep of the public buildings in both cities and the burning of it was performed by the collegium of Calcis coctoressometimes called “Calesrienses” who were held specially to this service.
Associated with them in the same series of law are the vectuarii or vectores, the waggoners who carried the lime to Rome in their carts. Both collegia were under the authority of the urban prefect of Rome to whom or to the vicar, his subordinate, all the laws concerning them are addressed. According to Cessiodorus both the limeburners and the waggoners who transported the lime were under a prepositus calois who was himself under the urban prefecture. Although their —- were obviously similar, collegia at Constantinople, witness the title of the series of laws, they are not referred to except in the last decree of the series dealt with at the end of this section.
The lime for burning was furnished in the case of Rome by certain regions in the vicinity long specially held to the duty of supplying in “praediis, quae jam-dudum praestationi calcis coeperunt obnoxio adtineri”. These lands were in Etruria and Campania. Not more than 3000 smaller cartloads (minores vehes) are to be demanded annually says Valentinian in 365, but since we have no information about the number of limeburners the information does not help in ascertaining how much work was required of either the limeburners or waggoners. The law further lays down “that the distribution principle of the transport is to be the following: 1500 cartloads to be delivered annually for the aqueducts (formis) and the other 1500 for the repairing of the public buildings.
The collection of the lime was evidently performed by the curiales of the municipalities; Valentinian’s law of 365 speaks of the curiales of Tuscany being excused the 900 cartloads which they had formerly been required to furnish yearly, provided that when necessity arose, that is when new works or repairs were needed, they themselves reported the fact to the authorities (presumably the prefect of Rome) with suggestions as to how much was required.
It cannot be seen whether the 900 cartloads from Tuscany are part of the 3000 total mentioned previously. Presumably they were, as the decree goes on to say that from the above mentioned number of cartloads, half is to be used for repair of public buildings and the other half to be written down separately in order that the prefect of the City shall realise that the responsibility of the repairs rests with him.
The important point to notice is that the limeburners did not themselves collect the lime from the landowners who had to supply it; they were supplied by the curiales who did the collecting. the limeburners burnt it and handed it over to the Vectuarii to transport it to the Capital.
The only duty of the limeburners was therefore to burn the lime supplied to them.
PRIVILEGES AND PAYMENT
The calcis coctores had a monopoly of limeburning in the environs of Rome; or, at any rate, no one else could supply the government with the lime it needed, and punishments were threatened against governors or officials who burnt it themselves “its ut nulli judicum seu officiorum exeoquendae calcis licentie relinquatur, sub eo statuto, ut qui, in hac usurpetione fuerit, susteritatem vigoris publici ferre cognatur”.
In 364 Valentinian confirmed the privileges “of those who are held to the duty of cooking lime” and of the vectores, but does not mention what they were. They were presumably the same as those of the other collegia who served the needs of Rome.
About the payments made to both collegia there is definite information. Those were as usual in kind.
First under Constantius the limeburners were paid one amphora of wine per 3 cartloads of lime and vecturarii one amphora per each 2,900 lbs. of lime carried to Rome. The vectuarii, were furthermore given three hundred oxen but this was naturally only special measure to help them, and would not be repeated each year. It is to be noted that these supplies of wine and oxen, from which the limeburners and carriers were paid, were furnished by the same lands which supplied the limestone. The government itself did not pay them from its ordinary resources.
In 365 Valentinian “desiring to restore the ‘status’ of the eternal city and to provide for the dignity of the public walls” raised the “wages” of the limeburners and carriers. Both are henceforth to receive one solidus for each cartload in place of the wone formerly given to them. Three-fourths of the sum necessary for this is to be supplied by the possessores and one quarter is to be assumed as the price of the wine which it has been customary to give out of the “area vineria”. This must mean that the “possessores” are still to go on supplying the wine as before and in addition are to pay twice 3/4 of a solidus, i.e. 1-1/2 solidi for every cartload transported. For presumably the decree means that the limeburners and carriers are each to receive a solidus; this, however, is not certain, for the terms micht mean this, or, might mean one solidus between them. The words used are “ut calcis coctoribus vectoribusque per singulas vehes singuli solidi praebeantur”.
The lime supplied was to be strictly applied to the purpose for which it was furnished, that is for “the needs of all the public buildings and structures of Rome. No individual is to demand any of it even if armed with an order from the Emperor, unless it should be found that the amount supplied is in excess of the needs of the public buildings.
I have referred to the fact that one decree in the series refers to the limeburners at Constantinople though only indirectly. In 419 Theodosius II ordered all the furneses “in all the space which extends along the seashore, between the amphitheatre and the gate of the divine Julius, to be removed on account of the health of the broad city (i.e., Constantinople)” and the neighbourhood of the Emperor’s palace. Permission is to be given to no one to burn lime in these places.
This decree shows that at Constantinople the limestone was burnt in the city and so there was probably no collegium of vectuarii in the new Capital. The limeburners may be supposed to have moved just outside the city after this decree. The smoke of their furnaces then no longer dirtied the city buildings or offended the delicate nostrils of the Emperor and his household.
This law shows that the work of a limeburner was far from pleasant; but there are no special laws dealing with his hereditary status and his obligation to burn lime. Perhaps being paid in wine he remained more contented than the workers in other trades.
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