Does the data about Apamea and the Ciete support the view that Rome carried out registrations in client kingdoms?

[Draft: May 8, 2016]



This question --about some debate elsewhere -- came in:


"I have a question concerning the examples provided to show how the Roman Empire carried out registrations in client kingdoms.

"How is exactly would you respond to the paragraph Richard Carrier wrote showing how Apamea was conquered by Pompey and was already part of the Roman Republic in 64 BC.

"As for the example given to show a census in Cappadocia, the Roman Empire already controlled Cappadocia as a province in 17 AD, so how would a census in 36 AD imposed on the Cietae tribes show anything?


"Here is the paragraph I refer to from The Date of the Nativity in Luke by Richard Carrier

"Ronald Marchant (in "The Census of Quirinius") proposed that the "census of an Apamenian state" mentioned in the Lapis Venetus (above) proves that independent states could be subject to a census.[11.1] But Marchant has his facts wrong. The state in question was not free at the time of the census, but Roman. The city is not precisely named, and we know of four cities named Apamea that were under Roman influence before the 2nd century A.D., but none were free after 12 B.C., and only two were large enough to have the numbers of citizens stated in the inscription. Of these two, the more famous Apamea on the Orontes is the only one in Syria, and it lost its freedom before the 20's B.C. for having sided with Pompey against Caesar (even though it did so under compulsion, having been captured by Pompey in 64 B.C.). The other, Apamea Celaenae (in Asia Minor), lost its freedom sometime in the 2nd century B.C.[11.2] I can only guess that Marchant mistook a reference to "free inhabitants" as a reference to a free state, but such a mistake would betray a profound ignorance of the basic vocabulary of Roman history. Equally so if Marchant thinks that Apamean coins indicate the city was free, for a great many cities subject to Rome were granted the right to mint their own coins. Likewise, Paul Barnett points to a census revolt that was put down by legions in Cappadocia in 36 A.D. (Tacitus, Annals 6.41), but Cappadocia had already been annexed as a Roman province in 17 A.D. (Annals 2.42, 2.56). So this was a tribal revolt against an ordinary Roman census, not a census conducted outside or independently of Rome."




I will look at this in reverse order--since the Cappadocia/Ciete issue is somewhat 'simpler' , from a documentary point of view (at least Ciete is--we will see some oddness about the Cappadocian issue too).




This situation will show that the categories of 'province' and 'client kingdom' (and the nature of each) are more nuanced than Carrier's remark would lead us to believe. [I am sure Dr. Carrier is familiar with these issues, since he has written on nuanced understandings of 'procuratorship' himself.]


The region entered into Roman influence early, and was a client-kingdom for two centuries (with interruption from wars):


"A region in eastern Asia Minor bounded by Galatia and Lycaonia on the west, Pontus on the north, Armenia on the east, and Cilicia and the Taurus mountains on the south. In ancient times major trade routes passed through this barren, mountainous territory, but it was sparsely populated with only a few cities along the Halys river. --- As early as 1950 B.C. a colony of Assyrian merchants was established at Kanesh (modern Kültepe) and formed an important link in the extensive donkey caravan trade between Anatolia and Assur. The region was incorporated in the Hittite Empire (ca. 1600–1200) and remained under Hittite control until the Assyrians captured Carchemish in 717 (cf. Isa. 10:9). Subsequently it became a Persian satrapy. A native dynasty developed under Seleucid rule, functioning primarily as vassals to that power but enjoying brief independence under Ariarthes III and IV (ca. 255–190). Upon the defeat of the Seleucid king Antiochus III in 190, Cappadocia became a client kingdom of the Roman Empire; when the last Cappadocian king, Archelaus, died in A.D. 17, Tiberius annexed the territory as a Roman province." [Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 191–192.]


Prior to its annexation by Tiberius referred to by Carrier, Cappadocia had long been a client-kingdom of Rome.


" Unlike the coastal regions of Asia Minor which came under strong Greek influence, this region deep within the rugged Anatolian territory perpetuated its Persian tendencies until the Romans made an alliance with King Ariarathes (164; cf. 1 Macc. 15:22). Mark Antony gave Cappadocia to Archelaus to rule as king (36 B.C.E.), a concession perpetuated by Augustus. When Tiberius succeeded Augustus, he called Archelaus to Rome and stripped him of his crown. Cappadocia became a Roman province (17), administered as 10 districts since there were so few towns in the province." [Richard A. Spencer, “Cappadocia,” ed. David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers, and Astrid B. Beck, Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2000), 222.]


A quick synopsis of its history:

·         From its origins, it was under control by the East--Phyrgia, Media, Persia.

·         It came under and consistently rebelled against Seleucid rule.

·         Internally, the aristocracy developed loyalties both toward Rome and Pontus.

·         "In 96BC, the Roman Senate declared the freedom of C.. but at the same time granted to the Cappadocian aristocrats the right to elect a king; at this election, Ariobarzanes succeeded, and was recognized by Rome." [NewPauly]

·         The Mithridatic wars caused turbulence in the kingship, but Ariobarzanes "was finally restored to the throne by Pompey in 66 BC" and this client-king was given additional territories: "In 65/4, he was given the territories of Castabala, Cyzistra up to Derbe, and also of Sophene and Gordyene." [NewPauly]

·         Pompey greatly expanded the number of client kingdoms, creating buffer/border zones: "This extension of Rome's ancient clientele principle to foreign states was nothing new. But Pompey enlarged its application greatly. The client kings were tied to the service of Rome in order to defend its frontiers and serve as listening posts to the outside world. In return, they were supported by the Romans against internal subversive movements and allowed a free hand inside their own counties." [Michael Grant, History of Rome, 196]

·         His 2nd successor (A. III) supported Pompey, but still received from Caesar the western part of Armenia Minor; he was murdered by Cassius in 42 BC. " [New Pauly]

·         "In 36 BC, Antony imposed Archelaus as king of C." [New Pauly]

·         "After the battle of Actium (31 BC), Archelaus went over to the future Augustus and was given parts of Cilicia Tracheia and Armenia in 20 BC." [New Pauly]



So, going forward from 20 BC, we see Archelaus as king over a territory that included Cappadocia, parts of Cilicia Tracheia (home of the Ciete, btw), and parts of Armenia.




As additional background, we should note that the emperors were constantly taking territories and land out of provinces and giving them to client-kings. We noted in the above list such gifts to the client-kings of Cappadocia by Pompey, Caesar, and Octavian.


This was the general pattern actually:


"As regards the kingdoms of which he [Augustus] gained control by right of war, he returned them, apart from a few, to the same kings from whom he had taken them, or to external ones… Nor did he treat any of them [the kinds] other than as members and parts of the Empire" [Suetonius, Life of August, 48]


"We have seen how a network of client states was gradually built up, beginning under Pompey, and how Antony maintained and expanded upon this system, as he had done in Anatolia, in order to govern the less Hellenized areas of Syria. After Antony's final land grants, the province of Syria proper found itself surrounded on all sides by client states that separated it from the other Roman provinces…Besides these kingdoms and principalities that surrounded the province on all sides, there remained within the province itself indigenous principates, entrusted to tetrarchs who were 'friends and allies of the Roman people'--for example, the tetrarchy of Dexandros, an Apamean Greek who was fortunate enough to have a principality carved out for him in the vicinity of his native city." [HI:MEUR, 70,71; Sartre]


"Until after the first Jewish War, it is noticeable that the Romans seemed reluctant to occupy more of the area than was necessary by direct rule, relying instead on local client rulers of various types. The pattern seems to be that areas were at times briefly governed by direct rule, e.g. Commagene, Emesa and the various parts of Herod’s kingdom, when trouble arose, but were given back to local client rulers as soon as a suitable person could be found."  [Robyn Tracey, “Syria,” in The Book of Acts in Its First Century Setting: The Book of Acts in Its Graeco-Roman Setting (ed. David W. J. Gill, Conrad Gempf, and Bruce W. Winter; vol. 2; Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; The Paternoster Press, 1994), 2:246–249.]




And then we come to Tiberius, and the Annales 2.42 passage in Tacitus referenced:


"For the rest, Tiberius, in the name of Germanicus, made a distribution to the populace of three hundred sesterces a man: as his colleague in the consulship he nominated himself. All this, however, won him no credit for genuine affection, and he decided to remove the youth under a show of honour; some of the pretexts he fabricated, others he accepted as chance offered. For fifty years King Archelaus had been in possession of Cappadocia; to Tiberius a hated man, since he had offered him none of the usual attentions during his stay in Rhodes. The omission was due not to insolence, but to advice from the intimates of Augustus; for, as Gaius Caesar was then in his heyday and had been dispatched to settle affairs in the East, the friendship of Tiberius was believed unsafe. When, through the extinction of the Caesarian line, Tiberius attained the empire, he lured Archelaus from Cappadocia by a letter of his mother; who, without dissembling the resentment of her son, offered clemency, if he came to make his petition. Unsuspicious of treachery, or apprehending force, should he be supposed alive to it, he hurried to the capital, was received by an unrelenting sovereign, and shortly afterwards was impeached in the senate. Broken, not by the charges, which were fictitious, but by torturing anxiety, combined with the weariness of age and the fact that to princes even equality — to say nothing of humiliation — is an unfamiliar thing, he ended his days whether deliberately or in the course of nature. His kingdom was converted into a province; and the emperor, announcing that its revenues made feasible a reduction of the one per cent sale-tax, fixed it for the future at one half of this amount. — About the same time, the death of the two kings, Antiochus of Commagene and Philopator of Cilicia, disturbed the peace of their countries, where the majority of men desired a Roman governor, and the minority a monarch. The provinces, too, of Syria and Judaea, exhausted by their burdens, were pressing for a diminution of the tribute." [Tacitus, Publius Cornelius (2014-01-10). Complete Works of Tacitus (Delphi Classics) (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 24) (Kindle Locations 7669-7683). Delphi Classics. Kindle Edition.]


And here is the Latin for the sections in BOLD above:


"… rex Archelaus quinquagesimum annum Cappadocia potiebatur, … mox accusatus in senaturegnum in provinciam redactum est, fructibusque eius levari posse centesimae vectigal professus Caesar ducentesimam in posterum statuit.tributi" [Cornelius Tacitus, Annales (Latin) (ed. Charles Dennis Fisher; Medford, MA: Perseus Digital Library, 1906).]


There are a couple of data points here:


First, Archelaus is called 'rex' and 'possessor' of Cappadocia. Only the emperor (or Senate) could give out the title 'rex', and it was only given to the most loyal of client-kings. [There are only two absolute differences between provinces and client-kingdoms: no province could have a king/rex or tetrarch; and no client-kingdom could make war with other C-Ks ["Sometimes hostilities broke out, but, as in the case of city sates, Rome would not tolerate war between client rulers unless it happened to suit Roman interests."]


"It is thus assumed by Suetonius, as it had been by Strabo, that from the moment of Actium onwards the disposition of the title of king was in the hands of the emperor…" [HI:REWE2,231; Millar]


"The chiefs of these principates normally had the title tetrarch, a term found not only in Pliny's list, in the Gospels, and in Josephus, but also in a quite official inscription in Apamea: L. Iulius Agrippa claims to descend from tetrarchs who were 'friends and allies of the Roman people' on both his mother's and his father's side. The term tetrarch is the only title known for these leaders besides that of king. In stressing the fact that tetrarchies were viewed as kingdoms, Pliny no doubt sought to emphasize their standing as independent states even though they were friends and allies of Rome. We also known, however, that Rome reserved the royal title for its most loyal and most capable allies: in 4 B.C.E., Augustus refused to give the title to Herod's three sons and successors, remarking that time would tell whether or not they were worthy of it." [HI:MEUR, 71; Sartre]


"Herod Antipas, greatly trusted by Tiberius, to the point where he used him in negotiations with Parthia, was mere tetrarch, not a king. He asked Caligula for the title of king, and found himself retired to Spain and his tetrarchy given to the current favourite, Agrippa I. " [Robyn Tracey, “Syria,” in The Book of Acts in Its First Century Setting: The Book of Acts in Its Graeco-Roman Setting (ed. David W. J. Gill, Conrad Gempf, and Bruce W. Winter; vol. 2; Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; The Paternoster Press, 1994), 2:246–249.]


"… the full formulation by which Rome described what has become known as a 'client king' was rex sociusque et amicus. But our sources are notoriously imprecise: such a king is variously referred to as a rex, a socius, an amicus, or any combination of the three… Under the Republic, recognition of a king as rex sociusque et amicus (appellatio) was almost invariably conferred by the Senate… With the Principate…he now needed that (recognition) of the emperor" [Braun, p 25, 26; Rome and the Friendly King--The Character of the Client Kingship, St. Martins:1984]


Thus, the text we have before us indicates that Cappadocia was a client-kingdom at the time of Tiberius' demotion of it.


Note Bene:  There are only two absolute differences between provinces and client-kingdoms:


·         No province could have a king/rex or tetrarch (above); and


·         No client-kingdom could make war with other C-Ks :

o   "Sometimes hostilities broke out, but, as in the case of city sates, Rome would not tolerate war between client rulers unless it happened to suit Roman interests." [HI:RSNE,88; Butcher]

o   "Herod did everything within his power to end the nuisance without overstepping the prerogatives of a client king by going to war…But Areta, whatever provocation he had endured, was technically in the wrong, since, as a client king, he had no right to go to war on his own initiative." [HI:JURR, 96, 186; Smallwood]





Secondly, this client-kingdom seems to have been subject to some kind of 'tax' prior to this change of state, based on the terminology and historical context. [This would not--btw--militate again Carrier's statement about its provincial status. He is not addressing the tax issues in Cappadocia at all. The below is just ME 'springboarding' into another discussion of Roman taxation/tribute monies vis-à-vis client-kingdoms.]


There are two tax-words in the passage, both of which are considered to be 'province-only' in application: vectiglia and centesimae.


Vectiglia is the more general word for 'taxes' and includes a wide-range of tax codes. Scholars disagree on whether they are direct taxes or indirect taxes, but this is probably a terminological issue:


"According to Cicero (In Verrem 3.6.12–15), direct provincial tribute was divided into vectigal certum (or stipendium) and censoria locatio. The stipendium, being a fixed yearly amount, would have been easy to collect by either local authorities or Roman governors and quaestors. When assessed as a percentage of the total valuation of landed property, it was profitable to the Romans but disastrous for farmers in the event of a bad harvest. Tribute in Asia and Sicily was a decuma (“tithe”), a variable percentage of the annual harvest" [Udoh, F. E. (2010). Tribute and Taxes. In (J. J. Collins & D. C. Harlow, Eds.)The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.]


"Tribute had been paid to Rome by the Jewish client kingdom ever since 63 B.C. in the form of a tax on the produce of the land, which had been regulated by Julius Caesar in 47. As a province Judaea continued to pay a land-tax {tribtitum soli). But annexation made the Jews automatically liable also for the tribtitum capitis, the personal tax paid by provincials, as well as for the vectigalia, the indirect taxes paid by the whole empire, of which the most important were the harbour dues (portoria). The first Roman administrative act in the new province was therefore the holding of a census (a land-survey as well as a count of the population) in order to obtain the accurate information about its manpower and financial resources needed for assessing its tax capability." [HI:JURR, 150f]


"Direct taxes, tributa, were collected by the governor of a province and his staff. The main tax in every province was the tributum soli, a tax on agricultural produce paid by those who occupied the land; owners of other forms of property were liable to a tributum capitis (a head tax; cf. kensos or census in Matt. 17:25; 22:19). Of indirect taxes, vectigalia (cf. telos in Matt. 17:25), the frontier dues (portoria) were the most important. They were collected solely for revenue, not to control production or trade." [HI:BOEC, 95]


"vectigal:  a toll, tax, impost paid to the State (cf.: tributum, census, stipendium)" [Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short, Harpers’ Latin Dictionary (New York; Oxford: Harper & Brothers; Clarendon Press, 1891), 1961.]




Centesimae  means 'one percent' and it is generally assumed to be a 'sales tax' (as per the English translation above). Part of the basis for this assumption is that Tiberius applied this one cent to half-a-cent reduction empire-wide and so the identification of this act with his empire-wide act is highly probable.


"CENTESIMA, namely pars, or the hundredth part, also called vectigal rerum venalium, or centesima rerum venalium, was a tax of one per cent, levied at Rome and in Italy upon all goods that were exposed for public sale at auctions. It was collected by persons called coactores. (Cic. ad Brut. 18, pro Rabir. Post. 11; Dig. 1. tit. 16. s. 17. § 2.) This tax, as Tacitus (Ann. i. 78) says, was introduced after the civil wars, though its being mentioned by Cicero shows, that these civil wars cannot have been those between Octavian and Antony, but must be an earlier civil war, perhaps that between Marius and Sulla. Its produce was assigned by Augustus to the aerarium militare. Tiberius reduced the tax to one half per cent. (ducentesima), after he had changed Cappadocia into a province, and had thereby increased the revenue of the empire. (Tac. Ann. ii. 42.) Caligula in the beginning of his reign abolished the tax altogether for Italy, as is attested by Suetonius (Calig. 16) and also by an ancient medal of Caligula on which we find C. C. R. (i.e. ducentesima remissa.) But Dion Cassius (lviii. 16), whose authority on this point cannot outweigh that of Suetonius and Tacitus, states that Tiberius increased the ducentesima to a centesima, and in another passage he agrees with Suetonius in stating that Caligula abolished it altogether (lix. 9; comp. Burmann, De Vectig. Pop. Rom. p. 70)." [Leonhard Schmitz, “CENTE SIMA,” ed. William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1865), 267.]


This one-percent tax is alternately described as a 'sales tax at auction' or 'inheritance tax'. This was initially 1 percent, lowered by Tiberias to 0.5 percent, then raised back to 1% after the death of Sejanus (Dio 58.16.2), and finally abolished by Caligula.



However, it should be noted that a 'one-percent figure' also could apply to a wider range of taxes (in the provinces):


"The tribute imposed upon foreign countries was by far the most important branch of the public revenue during the time of Rome’s greatness. It was sometimes raised at once, sometimes paid by instalments, and sometimes changed into a poll-tax, which was in many cases regulated according to the census. (Cic. c. Verr. ii. 53, 55, &c.; Paus. vii. 16.) In regard to Cilicia and Syria we know that this tax amounted to one per cent, of a person’s census, to which a tax upon houses and slaves was added. (Cic. ad Fam. iii. 8, ad Att. v. 16; Appian, de Reb. Syr. 50.) In some cases the tribute was not paid according to the census, but consisted in a land-tax. (Appian, de Bell. Civil. v. 4; comp. Walter, Gesch. des Röm. Rechts, p. 224, &c.)" [Leonhard Schmitz, “VECTIGA′LIA,” ed. William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1865), 1184.]


But this one-percent might have been a punitive measure, according to Appian, and not the normal levy:


"In this way the Romans, without fighting, came into possession of Cilicia and both inland Syria and Cœle-Syria, Phoenicia, Palestine, and all the other countries bearing the Syrian name from the Euphrates to Egypt and the sea. The Jewish nation still resisted, and Pompey conquered them, sent their king, Aristobulus, to Rome, and destroyed their greatest, and to them holiest, city, Jerusalem, as Ptolemy, the first king of Egypt, had formerly done. It was afterward rebuilt and Vespasian destroyed it again, and Hadrian did the same in our time. On account of these rebellions the tribute imposed upon all Jews is heavier per capita than upon the generality of taxpayers. The annual tax on the Syrians and Cilicians is one per cent of the valuation of the property of each. Pompey put the various nations that had belonged to the Seleucidæ under kings or chiefs of their own. In like manner he confirmed the four chiefs of the Galatians in Asia, who had cooperated with him in the Mithridatic war, in their tetrarchies. Not long afterward they all came gradually under the Roman rule, mostly in the time of Augustus."   [Appian, Syriaca 50, The Foreign Wars (ed. Horace White; Medford, MA: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY, 1899).


But Smallwood believes that--although the Jews might have been 'punished' in this way--the 1% figure itself was not so--it was normative for the region:


"Despite the post-war drop in the population of Palestine and the general economic difficulties of the province, taxation apparently remained at the pre-war level at least.48 Indeed, the tributum capitis may well have been raised by Hadrian as a punishment for the revolt and kept at the higher rate by Antoninus. Appian, writing early in his reign, says that as a result of the Jews' long record of intransigence from Pompey's day to Hadrian's they were currently paying a heavier tributum capitis than tributum soli, and implies that the rate of tributum capitis in Palestine was then the same as that in Cilicia and Syria, namely one per cent. It seems reasonable to infer from this that before 135 Palestine had paid tributum capitis at a lower rate than her neighbours, and that in or soon after 135 there had been an increase in the rate, bringing it into line with the Syrian rate. The exaction of the "Jewish tax" of two drachmae/denarii continued. It is mentioned in passing by Origen, who comments with apparent surprise on the degree of internal autonomy enjoyed by the patriarch "even now, when the Jews are under Roman domination and pay the didracbmon. It would appear from the use of the original technical term that when the tax was reimposed on the province after 135, it was at the same rate as before and that there was no punitive increase, even though the value of the tax to Rome (and concurrently, of course, its burden to the Jews) was being steadily reduced throughout the empire by the fall in the value of money. …" [HI:JURR, 479-480]



But neither of these terms would have been used of pre-province client kingdom (according to many). They would apply AFTER the annexation was finished (and a census taken), but not BEFORE (again, according to many).


But 'the many' does not mean 'majority' or 'consensus'--scholarship is divided as to whether a client-kingdom could be taxed or tribute imposed upon them per se.


·         Some scholars strongly maintain that C-K's could not have paid tribute (they actually make that a definition of province sometimes--e.g. Millar). This group would include Millar and (possibly) Braun.

·         Then a second group would maintain that all 'allied kings' paid tribute--including Judea under Herod (e.g. Smallwood)

·         Then a final group would say that most C-K's paid tribute but Judea didn’t (e.g. Gabba: "According to Gabba, Herod's Judaea was in fact one of the few client states that did not pay any tribute to Rome"--E. Gabba, "The Finances of King Herod", in Greece and Rome in Eretz Israel, Jerusalem:1990, p. 164; cited at [HI:HJ, 54]).


Now, we need to evaluate/verify that this passage states or strongly implies/suggests that this 1% tax was already in force at the time of the annexation, and that, therefore, the 'reduction' to half-percent was connected with this 'demotion'--as a 'softening concession'.


So, we have to parse the wording carefully--but let's start with 4 English translations, to see if their understanding is a 'reduction in an existing tax' or 'levying of a lower-than-normal future tax'.


Here's four translations:


1.       "Caesar, announcing that the income from it could alleviate the one-percent revenue, established one half-percent for the future [AJ Woodman]

2.       "..the emperor, announcing that its revenues made feasible a reduction of the one per cent sale-tax, fixed it for the future at one half of this amount [John Jackson, Delphi Classics]

3.       "..Caesar declared that, with its revenues, the one per cent. tax could be lightened, which, for the future, he fixed at one-half per cent. [A. Church and WJ Brodribb, Dover]

4.       "..and by its revenues Tiberius declared the tax of a hundredth penny would be abated, and reduced it for the future to the two hundredth. [trans. UNK,]


The English words seem to denote a change to an existing tax (alleviate, reduction, lightened, abated), but it is not clear if the existing tax was one experienced by the C's.


A wooden rendition of the phrase in the Latin would look like this:


"by/due to revenue/income, additionally, of it [Cappadocia] , to be lessened/lightened, it is possible--the one-percent tax--announcing Caesar--to a half-percent--for the future, He established/decreed/gave a ruling."



The verb is key here. The verb is levari  -levo, -are; raise, lift up, relieve, make light, alleviate, diminish, weaken, ease; lift/raise/hold up; support; erect, set up; lift off, remove (load); comfort;  undo, take off; release, rid; free from (worry/expense); refresh/restore; lighten, lessen, relieve; reduce in force/potency; bring down (cost/prices); alleviate (condition).


All of these words start from a position/situation of 'discomfort' or 'burden'--as experienced, not just 'forecasted' or 'anticipated'.


This looks more like the lessening of some existing tax-burden, not the imposition of a future 'lighter than expected' burden. The 'normal' words for levying of taxes were: (tax) exigere (Collins); (tribute) tributum imponere, tributum imperare, or vectigal exigere (Cassells). These latter words are 'placement' words: impose, place on top of, to inflict, to assign, to command, to force, to exact, to demand. And the normal words for reducing taxes (apart from complete remission) were (im)minuere or deminuere (Cassells).


But our word here focuses on the 'burden' of the tax (even though the tax itself is the direct object of the 'alleviate' word).


This makes less sense if the client state had not been already experiencing this SPECIFIC tax (at the one-percent level) from Rome, than if they had.


Indeed, even though Millar is obscure on the tax situation they currently experience, he understands the reference to some existing tax situation under which the C's are living:


"Similarly, Cappadocia, until now a kingdom, became a province in the next year; and whatever the system of taxation had been under the last king, taxes were deliberately reduced by the Romans at the moment of the imposition of provincial rule, precisely to reconcile public opinion." [HI:REWE2,238, emphasis mine.]


This 'whatever… under the last king' explanation does NOT mesh well with the verb and the rate precision given in our text. This text itself does not give any indication of what the pre-province tax load was, so, unless it was the 1% figure, then there would be no reason to believe that T was 'reducing' their current tax load (at any meaningful level). As is well-known, when the Romans took over a territory, they left much of the existing structures in place, but they were quick to implement the various provincial taxes.


[Older commentators sometimes said this referred to the pre-existing tax structure, after the model of the Lex Hieronica, a 10% tax on land produce, from the 3rd century BC in Sicily. This pre-provincial law remained in force AFTER annexation.]


So, this looks very much like a tax that was being experienced by the C's which T--in an effort to bolster support from a state who king was recently disgraced by T--reduced by 50%.


But was this a tax load imposed by Rome through the local king--such that it 'looked like' a Roman tax or tribute? The analysis of the terminology would suggest this, but we have another relevant passage in Tacitus that speaks to this, and we have some other considerations to factor in also.


Here's the other passage in Tacitus about this event:


"So it was that Germanicus, in the city of Artaxata, to the approval of the nobles and with a huge crowd around him, placed the royal diadem on Zeno’s head. The whole attendance then paid homage to him, saluting him as ‘King Artaxias’, a title they had conferred on him from the name of the city. (Cappadocia, by contrast, was turned into a province, and was given Quintus Veranius as its governor; and a number of the tributes that had been imposed by the kings were reduced to foster the hope that Roman authority would be more benign. In the case of Commagene, then for the first time put under the jurisdiction of a praetor, Quintus Servaeus* was made governor.) [Ann. II.56]


[56] …. igitur Germanicus in urbe Artaxata adprobantibus nobilibus, circumfusa multitudine, insigne regium capiti eius imposuit. ceteri venerantes regem Artaxiam consalutavere, quod illi vocabulum indiderant ex nomine urbis. at Cappadoces in formam provinciae redacti Q. Veranium legatum accepere; et quaedam ex regiis tributis deminuta quo mitius Romanum imperium speraretur. Commagenis Q. Servaeus praeponitur, tum primum ad ius praetoris translatis.



This passage is describing some of the political upheavals that occurred during this pivotal time.


In the 17-18 AD period, we have a number of kings in the area die (or, be killed, as in the case of Archelaus):


"Now the beginning of the principate of Tiberius saw much disturbance among the nations in the East. The agitation which was to result in Vonones being removed from Armenia in 16 A. D. was doubtless already under way. And it is quite clear that it was not only Armenia which was in a state of turmoil. In discussing the situation in the senate previous to the appointment of Germanicus, Tiberius brought to the attention of the senators disturbances in Commagene and Cilicia occasioned by the deaths of the kings Antiochus and Philopator, while at the same time there was trouble occasioned by taxation in Syria and Judaea. This was the situation in 17, but the unrest must have been continuing for some time previously." [HI:CARPP:13,  Cappadocia as a Roman procuratorial province. William Emmett Gwatkin. Umissouri: 1930.]


So, going into the event of the annexation of Cappadocia, we see Archelaus as king over a territory that included Cappadocia, parts of Cilicia Tracheia (home of the Ciete, btw), and parts of Armenia. And he is very well connected with the political families / dynasts of surrounding countries:


"Archelaus enjoyed a long reign, over half a century from about 36 B.C. to A.D. 17. His father had held the powerful priesthood at Comana, and his grandfather had served as general in the Pontic army. Antony much admired Archelaus’ mother, Glaphyra. … Augustus reconfirmed Archelaus despite his taking Antony’s side at Actium (Dio 51.2). Some internal trouble is recorded (Jos. JW 1.507; Dio 57.17). However, Archelaus became an important king in the East, receiving additional territory to rule in Cilicia Tracheia and Armenia Minor (Dio 54.9; Strabo Honors given him, his mother, or his son and daughter were recorded on stone in Athens, Olympia, Magnesia, Comana, and elsewhere (OGIS 357–63). … To judge from claims exercised by his descendants, Archelaus married a princess from the Armenian royal house. He passed on claims to the throne of Armenia to his grandson, Tigranes V (ex regio genere Armeniorum in the words of Augustus, Res Gestae 27). His daughter, Glaphyra, boasted of descent on her mother’s side from Darius the Great (Jos. JW 1.476). By marrying Queen Pythodoris, widow of Polemo II of Pontus, Archelaus linked two of the East’s largest kingdoms (Strabo Under the rule of this pair now fell a large territory in eastern Asia Minor, running from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean off Syria."  [Richard D. Sullivan, “Cappadocia (Place),” ed. David Noel Freedman, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 871–872.]



Upon his death, suicide, or assassination, his territories are split up:


"The exact result of the trial, as we have seen, is not definitely known. But Archelaus' death soon afterwards allowed the Romans to take over Cappadocia as a province. We might have expected this to meet with opposition from several quarters. But affairs were so settled as to appease all concerned. Tigranes, deprived of his strength, fades from the picture. Pythodoris still possessed Pontus, and if she was conscious of any loss in Cappadocia she was satisfied when Germanicus placed her son Zeno, re-named Artaxias, as the Roman vassal upon the throne of Armenia. The heir of Archelaus, Archelaus II, might have felt aggrieved, but he was left in possession of the part of Cilicia Trachea which seems to have been a favored portion of his father's realm. As for the Cappadocians themselves, there seems to have been no resentment on their part. As will be noticed in the next chapter, the feudal lords of the country doubtless obtained many advantages by the overthrow of the authority of the king, and we have evidence that their taxes were reduced under the Roman administration. Archelaus, indeed, may have had some opposition in times past from members of the feudal aristocracy; we know that he had been summoned to Rome to stand trial on a previous occasion when the charges had been brought by his countrymen (dio 57, 17,3; Suet, Tib 8)" [HI:CARPP:15-16]



So, of the three 'pieces' of Archelaus' client-kingdoms, two remained as client-kingdoms (Armenia and Cilicia Trachea/"Rough Cilicia").

So, let's turn to the two descriptions of the 'tax reduction' events given by Tacitus and compare them.


This second passage (in 2.56) describes a reduction in something. Here are a couple of the English translations of the relevant passage:


·         "…a number of the tributes that had been imposed by the kings were reduced

·         "… Some of the royal tributes were diminished,

·         "… several of the royal taxes were lessened.

·         "… a certain number of the royal tributes were diminished



In the Latin, the relevant words and their English renderings are:

·         quaedam ("a number of", "some of", "several of", "a certain number of")

·         ex regiis ("that had been imposed by the kings"; "royal")

·         tributis ("tributes", "taxes")

·         deminuta (were 'reduced', 'diminished', 'lessened')



Okay, what aspects of these words are 'specific' enough to guide our understanding of what happened here?

·         Quedam would denote 'some but not all' and 'more than one' (being plural)

·         Tributis could identify taxes or tribute (we will discuss some nuances of this in a minute)

·         Ex regiis -- is a prepositional phrase (lit: 'out from kings'), functioning as an adjective describing 'tributis'; it is more descriptive than the many single-word adjectives for 'royal', indicating 'source' of the tributes and not just their authoritative status; and the regiis word is specifically PLURAL -- "out of kings', not 'out of a single king' (of which there should have only been one at a time, so this looks like a reference to a line of kings?). Cappadocia had been a client-kingdom for a century by this time (but often caught in conflicts with Rome's eastern competitors), so the taxation/tribute legislation by each successive king could be 'layered' over those of earlier kings.

·         Deminuta -- this is not a 'repealed' or 'cancelled' word--these 'tributes originated by multiple kings' remained in force, but the amounts/rates/measures of SOME SUBGROUP (quedam) of them were lowered. "Made smaller, lessened, diminished' -- all are reasonable translations of this word/word-form. This would does not mean that the 'number of taxes' were lessoned, but that the 'payment requirements of SOME of them were lowered'.


So, some of the facts we can unpack from this text are:

·         There were multiple taxes on the people at the time of the annexation.

·         These multiple taxes were levied by prior kings.

·         Some of these taxes were retained at the same level (but paid to whom?)

·         The level of some of these taxes were lowered (to curry favor).

·         None of these pre-existing taxes were actually repealed or abolished.


Now, let's note again here the facts from 2.42:

·         The standard 1% taxes levied on provinces was reduced to 1/2 of 1% (at least for Cappadocia).

·         This tax reduction was based (somehow) on the amount of income/revenue Cappadocia produced.

·         This is the ONLY mention of any type of tax relief in the passage.



Now, in considering these passages together--as describing the same set of actions by T--it would be difficult to avoid concluding that the 1% tax was already in force and was levied BY the kings, and was levied by them FOR ROME. This would be the 'surface reconciliation' of those facts.


The alternative construction is that

·         some of the pre-existing tax load was reduced; but that

·         a new tax of 0.5% was added on top of those (!); and that

·         this was somehow supposed to endear the Romans to them!!!


And, lest we think that the half-percent is not that big of a deal, we should remember that the 2.42 passage has Syria and Judea begging for a reduction in the tax, being:


"exhausted by their burdens"


If the 1% provincial tax was a crushing load, then there is no reason to believe that a half-percent tax (when loaded on top of the pre-existing internal tax burdens) will be 'endearing'…



Okay, let's look at some other considerations --and then at a historical precedent of Roman tax relief.


Other considerations: There are other aspects of this passage--and the historical context-- which tend to support this 'provincial style tax in a non-provincial type nation' interpretation.


One: We have to also notice that Tiberius here is aware of their 'revenue'. Somehow, he knows--from either the initial investigations of Augustus on the wealth of the 'empire-plus', and/or he knows from the recent interchanges with the late Archelaus (the elder) and/or he knows from incoming tax receipts!



Two: Unless Tiberius knows that this is a HUGE relief to the C's (which would require detailed knowledge of the tax receipts), this 50% reduction in ONE TYPE OF TAX would be insignificant in light of the NEW taxes which would hit the province:


"With the fall of the Republic more substantial alterations took place in the matter of taxation. Julius Caesar abolished the decumae in Asia and probably also in Sicily, and under Augustus a complete survey was made of the provinces, extending over more than twenty years, and a census taken of their inhabitants; both of which were of the greatest value in adjusting the taxes upon an equitable basis. The vectigal of the ager publicus or domain land was paid into the Aerarium or the Fiscus, according as the province belonged to the senate or to the emperor, until the time of Vespasian, who took the whole of the domain land under his charge. All the provinces seem now to be charged also with annona, a payment from the land in kind, which was applied to supporting the civil and military officials within them; in this form Africa and Egypt supplied in addition enough corn to feed Rome during one-third of the year (Josephus, Bell. Jud. 2.16,4). The old revenue from poll-tax (tributum capitis), mines, and portoria still continued: to them were added under Augustus new imposts in the 5 per cent. duty on legacies, though this was paid only by Roman citizens in Italy, until the edict of Caracalla, the centesima on res venales, levied apparently throughout the Empire, and a tax of 4 percent on all purchases of slaves. " [at; A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. William Smith, LLD. William Wayte. G. E. Marindin. Albemarle Street, London. John Murray. 1890.]


"Both provincial tribute and the various indirect taxes are thought to have been considerable, and they varied widely during the Republic and early Principate. More onerous were the exactions, corvées, and requisitions that were part of the Roman provincial administration. Caesar exempted the Jews from the most notorious of these: billeting, military service, and “molestation” (Ant. 14.204), including the requisition of transport animals for soldiers and officials (angareia), and the confiscation of the temple tax. … According to Cicero (In Verrem 3.6.12–15), direct provincial tribute was divided into vectigal certum (or stipendium) and censoria locatio. The stipendium, being a fixed yearly amount, would have been easy to collect by either local authorities or Roman governors and quaestors. When assessed as a percentage of the total valuation of landed property, it was profitable to the Romans but disastrous for farmers in the event of a bad harvest. Tribute in Asia and Sicily was a decuma (“tithe”), a variable percentage of the annual harvest. " [Udoh, F. E. (2010). Tribute and Taxes. In (J. J. Collins & D. C. Harlow, Eds.)The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.]


"As a province Judaea continued to pay a land-tax {tribtitum soli). But annexation made the Jews automatically liable also for the tribtitum capitis, the personal tax paid by provincials, as well as for the vectigalia, the indirect taxes paid by the whole empire, of which the most important were the harbour dues (portoria)." [HI:JURR, 150f]


That the overall tax burden of the provinces was severe can be seen in the original Tacitus quote:


"The provinces, too, of Syria and Judaea, exhausted by their burdens, were pressing for a diminution of the tribute."


And from descriptions of Cicero of the impact in Asia Minor:


"Let me tell you, then, that with the highest possible reputation I entered, on the 31st of July, into a province in a state of desolation and lasting ruin; that I stayed three days at Laodicea, three at Apamea, the same at Synnada. [Footnote: "The three Asiatic dioceses, joined to the province of Cilicia."] It was the same tale everywhere: they could not pay the poll-tax: everybody’s securities were sold: groans, lamentations, from the towns: acts of savagery worthy of some wild beast, rather than of a man. In short, they are absolutely weary of their life. [Cicero, Letters to Atticus 5.16]


So, if T was trying to gain their goodwill, such a trivial reduction (in a subset of the future tax load) would have been seen as a mockery (or as a 'scrap of food' given to a starving crowd)…


If however, the CK had been paying this all along, then a reduction in load would have been felt IMMEDIATELY (as a relief), and the more difficult future load would have been known to be deferred until such time as a census could be completed (generally taking a long time, unless aided by C-K census figures or records from loyalty oaths).




Three: But the notion of 'huge tax burden, now relieved by the Romans' conflicts with the image of 'so much revenue'. The prosperity of Cappadocia is (apparently) used as the basis for reducing the 1% tax. But this is in the context of the huge tax burdens on the people. The two are not exactly contradictory--the land could be producing vast amounts of good, with most of those goods being removed from the populace by taxation! So, a reduction in taxation might be considered 'relief', without it necessarily implying a poverty of the land. The residents could be poor, while the land produced richly--with the difference being absorbed by the king/taxes.


The historical context, though, argues for an impoverished land. Some 60 years earlier--under the kingship of Ariobarzanes--Cicero wrote this about his kingdom and his royal estate. (Remember, if there is a huge tax load, and if the taxes are not going outside of the country--to the Romans--then the only recipients of this money would be the king/royal estate.).


"Now he [Brutus] gave me a volume of commissions, and you had already spoken with me about the same matters. I have pushed them on with the greatest energy. To begin with, I put such pressure on Ariobarzanes, that he paid him the talents which he promised me. As long as the king was with me, the business was in excellent train: later on he began to be pressed by countless agents of Pompey. Now Pompey has by himself more influence than all the rest put together for many reasons, and especially because there is an idea that he is coming to undertake the Parthian war. However, even he has to put up with the following scale of payment: on every thirtieth day thirty-three Attic talents, and that raised by special taxes: nor is it sufficient for the monthly interest. But our friend Gnaeus is an easy creditor: he stands out of his capital, is content with the interest, and even that not in full. The king neither pays anyone else, nor is capable of doing so: for he has no treasury, no regular income. He levies taxes after the method of Appius. They scarcely produce enough to satisfy Pompey's interest. The king has two or three very rich friends, but they stick to their own as energetically as you or I. For my part, nevertheless, I do not cease sending letters asking, urging, chiding the king. Deiotarus also has informed me that he has sent emissaries to him on Brutus's business: that they have brought him back word that he has not got the money. And, by Hercules, I believe it is the case; nothing can be stripped cleaner than his kingdom, or be more needy than the king." [Cicero, ad Att. 6, 1]


So, in the 50BC time frame, neither Cappadocia nor her king have any wealth at all--nor any means to pay pre-existing debt.


And this was widely known, as evidenced by the proverbial use of this imagery in Horace:


"Don’t be like Cappadocia’s king, rich in slaves. Short of gold." [Epis. 1.6.39]


And notice one of the major sources of taxes on this client-kingdom: the Roman Consul Pompey! He has 'countless agents' in Cappadocia, trying to collect monies and special taxes. And the king levies the special taxes (think of our phrase "tributes arising from kings") on the kingdom--with no results.


There is no real wealth here--in either production or outflow--going into the time of the Caesars.



Four.  Augustus actually placed a procurator in Archelaus kingdom, which Dio ascribed to Archelaus' mental incapacity (!)--Dio 57, 17: "As a matter of fact, he had once lost his mind to such an extent that a guardian [epitropon] was appointed over his domain [arche] by Augustus". This is a strong indication of tight financial responsibilities of Cappadocia to Rome, although it would also serve the private interests of Augustus' land holdings there (like he had in most CK's) and the private interests of Roman creditors.


These were trusted asset managers who looked after SPECIFICALLY financial matters FIRST. (Augustus, remember, had appointed Herod 'procurator' over the province of Syria--which Herod had no official relationship with at the time--as a client-king.)


So, not only is the procurator a source of financial information back to the emperor, but would also have some duties of collection and enforcement. This argues for some level of Roman tribute/taxation etc. during the days of a client king.



Five. We should note an interesting event from the Republican days--which looks a little like this.


In the war with Perseus, king of Macedon, the four regions of Macedonia were under tribute to Perseus. When Rome defeated them, they were split into 4 separate free states. They were not turned into provinces. Yet they paid tribute to Rome--as free states--with a lowering of their tax burden.


Here is Livy's account of the Senate's actions and decrees:


[18] [1] First of all it was voted that the Macedonians and Illyrians should be given their independence, so that it should be clear to all nations that the forces of the Roman People brought not slavery to free peoples, but on the contrary, freedom to the enslaved. [2] The senate wished nations which were free to consider that their freedom was assured and lasting under the protection of the Roman People, and that those who lived under kings should feel for the time being that their rulers were milder and more just under the eye of the Roman People, and, if at any time their kings should make war on the Roman People, that the outcome of the war would bring victory to the Romans, but freedom to themselves. [3] It was also voted to discontinue the leasing of the Macedonian mines, a source of immense revenue, and of rural estates, for these could not be farmed without a contractor, and where there was a contractor, there either the ownership by the state lapsed, or no freedom was left to the allied people. [5] It was impossible, the senate thought, for even the Macedonians to farm these resources; for where there was booty as a prize for administrators, in that state there would never be a lack of reasons for conspiracies and strife. [6] Finally, fearing that if there were a common legislature for the nation, some relentless demagogue would turn the freedom given in healthy moderation into the license which brings ruin, the senate voted to divide Macedonia into four sections, so that each might have its own legislature. [7] It was further resolved that Macedonia should pay to the Roman People half the taxes which they had been accustomed to pay to their kings. Like instructions were given for Illyricum. [8] The details were left to the generals and the commissioners themselves, for which the present discussion would lay a surer foundation of planning.  [Livy, 45.18]


The operative Latin terms are:


"but that Macedonia should be divided into four districts, each of which should have a council [concilium] of its own; and that they should pay to the Roman people half the tribute [dimidium tribute] which they used formerly to pay to their kings [regibus]"


Here are the points of continuity and discontinuity with our situation:

·         This was the outcome of a war, which would normally render the loser into a province.

·         The war in this case produced free peoples (client city-states with local rulers, without a king).

·         There is unquestionably tribute to Rome ordered upon the people, with the exact amount given.

·         The revenues which previously went to the king, now were diverted--half to Rome and half back into the country.

·         The messaging Rome used for other lands was that their kings were still under the 'eyes of the Roman People' (i.e. non-sovereign in the strictest sense).

·         In the Cappadocian situation, the event is not triggered by a war, although some believe that there were suspicions about Archeleus (because of his wide political connections and the absence of power in the neighboring provinces).

·         In the Cappadocian situation, we also have a change of royal taxes, although they remain--but without a king to receive them (perhaps they were funneled into local administrative functions, subsequently set up by the Roman transitional governor).


So the match up is not very close, but it does show that a free peoples could be forced to pay Roman tribute, and that a conquered peoples need not become a province.




Sixth. The last point concerns the financial argument of 'because of income' the taxes would be lower.


There is something very odd about this passage--in context. Commentators often use this passage to argue that Tiberius halved the 1% tax for the ENTIRE EMPIRE at this point -- not just for Cappadocia. If this is the case (and I cannot find a source that disagrees with that universal application perspective), then this means that somehow Cappadocia's 'income' was so great as to make up for a 50% reduction in income empire-wide! In other words, the incremental half-percent income from this SINGLE PROVINCE, would be adequate to (a) fund the Roman infrastructure which was required for it as a province; and (b) make up for a half-cent revenue drop everywhere else. 


Not only would this be quite an economic feat, but it would certainly be viewed by Cappadocians themselves as fairly onerous--especially for a cooperative pro-Roman client-kingdom!


Their 'income' would not be an adequate basis for such a move, but perhaps the empire's income could be. IOW, if 'income' refers to Rome's income, instead of Cappadocia's, then the passage makes a ton more sense. It would read/mean "Because of the abundance and sufficiency of Rome's current income, we need not inflict the 1% on Cappadocia, but they can enjoy the empire-wide reduction too--as a new province".


The problem with this more-logical interpretation is that (a) the grammar of the passage is not very supportive of it, referent-wise; and (b) commentators don’t interpret that way.


So, this oddness should be enough to 'cause pause' in our being sure that our interpretation of the tax changes in Cappadocia are correct.




So, I have to stop here and return later to modeling the economic situation there. We have data later (from a bit later when empowers returned provincial incomes BACK to new client kings!) that can be used to model income, and there are works on tribute (mostly war indemnities) and patrimonium that we shall consider.


But most of the issues which I raised above are not discussed in the commentaries/notes on the passages in any of the main works (e.g. Furneaux, Goodyear). So, I cannot consider this hard evidence for pre-provincial 'taxation' schemes, but it is certainly suggestive and perhaps of more than 51% probability.


So, that is the end of the digression--now back to main issues (Ciete, Apamea)…




The Ciete issue is much simpler -- and much more definitive (I promise a minimum of rabbit-trails)…


So, let's turn to the actual 'revolt' passage (6.41) and see what it says. Specifically, we want to test the interpretation of the passage as referring to 'a tribal revolt' against an 'ordinary Roman (provincial) census'.


Let's start with a few English translations of the passage, then look at the relevant Latin terms (emphasis mine).


·         "During the same period the nation of the Cietae, which was subject to Cappadocian Archelaus withdrew to the ridges of Mount Taurus because it was being driven--in our fashion--to submit returns and to endure taxes. And, given the nature of the locality, they protected themselves against the king's unwarlike forces until the legate M. Trebellius, sent by Vitellius (the governor of Syria) with four thousand legionaries and selected auxiliaries, placed earthworks around the two hills which the barbarians had occupied… [Woodman]

·         " About this date, the Cietae, a tribe subject to Archelaus of Cappadocia, pressed to conform with Roman usage by making a return of their property and submitting to a tribute, migrated to the heights of the Tauric range, and, favoured by the nature of the country, held their own against the unwarlike forces of the king; until the legate Marcus Trebellius, dispatched by Vitellius from his province of Syria with four thousand legionaries and a picked force of auxiliaries, drew his lines round the two hills which the barbarians had occupied (the smaller is known as Cadra, the other as Davara) and reduced them to surrender — those who ventured to make a sally, by the sword, the others by thirst." [Jackson]

·         "At this same time the Clitæ, a tribe subject to the Cappadocian Archelaus, retreated to the heights of Mount Taurus, because they were compelled in Roman fashion to render an account of their revenue and submit to tribute. There they defended themselves by means of the nature of the country against the king’s unwarlike troops, till Marcus Trebellius, whom Vitellius, the governor of Syria, sent as his lieutenant with four thousand legionaries and some picked auxiliaries, surrounded with his lines two hills occupied by the barbarians, the lesser of which was named Cadra, the other Davara. Those who dared to sally out, he reduced to surrender by the sword, the rest by drought." [Church/Brodribb]

·         "At about the same time as this, the Cietae, a tribe subject to Archelaus of Cappadocia, withdrew to the heights of the Taurus range because they were being forced to follow our system of returning census figures and submitting to tribute payment. There, because of the nature of the terrain, they successfully defended themselves against the feeble troops of the king, until the legate Marcus Trebellius was sent by Vitellius, governor of Syria, with four thousand legionaries and some elite auxiliary troops. Trebellius threw earthworks around the two hills that the barbarians had occupied (the smaller called Cadra, the other Davara), and forced them to capitulate— those daring to make a sortie, with the sword, the others, by thirst. [Yardly/Barrett]


To these I will add one from Millar--for purposes of our discussion:


"At about the same time the people of the Cietae, subjected to the rule of the Cappadocian Archelaus, because they were forced to undergo a census of Roman type, and to endure direct taxation, migrated to the heights of the Taurus, and by use of the terrain defended themselves against the weak royal troops, until the legionary commander [legatus] M. Trebellius, dispatched by Vitellius, governor of Syria, with 4,000 legionaries and selected auxiliaries, besieged the two mountains… with the barbari had occupied, and forced them to surrender." [HI:REWE2, 238


And then the Latin:


"Per idem tempus Clitarum natio Cappadoci Archelao subiecta, quia nostrum in modum deferre census, pati tributa adigebatur, in iuga Tauri montis abscessit locorumque ingenio sese contra imbellis regis copias tutabatur, donec M. Trebellius legatus, a Vitellio praeside Syriae cum quattuor milibus legionariorum et delectis auxiliis missus, duos collis quos barbari insederant (minori Cadra, alteri Davara nomen est) operibus circumdedit et erumpere ausos ferro, ceteros siti ad deditionem coegit."


So, the first thing that should stand out in this passage--indicating that this is NOT a Roman provincial issue--is the presence of the word REX / king.


As we noted before, this was NOT a title in use in the Roman empire at all--and it was only given to loyal client-kings. If this Archelaus is called a "REX", then he is not provincial and any territory subject to him is NOT provincial either.


This is a 'stubborn' fact, and is decisive in the interpretation of this passage.


And this seems to be the consensus understanding of the text by commentators.


The only full-length English commentary on Tacitus (The Annals of Tacitus, Henry Furneaux, original editor; HF Pelham and CD Fisher, revised edition; Oxford:1907] gives the interpretation still in force today (Vol 1 643f):


" Cietarum. There can be no doubt that these are the 'agrestium Cilicum nations, quibus Clitarum cognomentum' of 12.55.1 [Tn: "Not long after this the wild Cilician tribes called the Cietae"]…the name KIHTWN is found on coins of the Antiochus of 12.55.3 and on the base of a statue of Hadrian at Athens (…); and such a local name as Kietis would be only another form of the ketis of Ptol. 5.8, 3, comprising considerable part of western Cilicia (…). This part of the dominion of the old king Archelaus (see on 2.42, 2) was allowed to remain to his son, the king here mentioned, when Cappadocia became a province. Gaius transferred this district to Antiochus IV king of Commagene (Dio, 59.8, 2), in whose family it continued till the time of Vespasian: see on 12. 55, 3."


He then continues in explaining the 'Roman fashioned census':


"Nostrum in modum, 'after Roman fashion.' Provincial subjects had to give returns of their property ('deferre census') probably every five years (…), and paid 'tributum' by various modes of assessment. The expression here seems to show, as Schurer points out (…) that this was not an imposition by the Romans of a census and tribute on the kingdom of a 'rex socius,' but an attempt by the king to organize his system of taxation on the Roman model. The rebellion against him; his Roman protectors only intervening by reason of his weakness. Marquardt's view that this people now formed part of the province of Cappadocia, seems contrary to the general sense of this passage; and the coins above cited would show that they belonged to the client kingdom at a later date" [tn: the later date referring to when they were given to Antiochus IV.).


This would obviously be in disagreement with Richard's interpretation of the passage (as given in the single sentence I am using to judge his position!)


The reference to 12.55 connects these Ciete to Antiochus:


"Not long after this the wild Cilician tribes called the Cietae, which had also caused trouble on numerous other occasions, chose some rugged mountains for a camp, under their leader Troxoborus. From there they would sweep down to the coastline or to the cities, where they had the temerity to inflict violence on the country people and urban dwellers, and very frequently on traders and shipowners. The community of Anemurium was blockaded, and a cavalry force sent to its aid from Syria, under the prefect Curtius Severus, was routed; for the harsh terrain in the area, though suited to fighting on foot, was not conducive to cavalry engagements. Then Antiochus, who was the ruler [REX] of that shoreline, broke the unity of the barbarian troops by using inducements on the rank and file and trickery on their leader. After executing Troxoborus and a few of the chiefs, he established peace amongst the others by showing clemency."


Furneaux, pointing out the fact that Rome used the armies stationed in provinces to support their client kings (when things got of hand), connects the Ciete with the client king Antiochus IV:


"Cilicia was perhaps no longer part of that province (cf. 13.8), but had probably to depend on it for troops (cf 6.41)….Antiochus. Antiochus Epiphanes IV, restored by Gaius to Commagene, once the kingdom of his father, and further enriched with this portion of Cilicia (Dio, 59.8), was afterwards deposed by him and restored by Claudius (Id. 60.8). He is afterwards mentioned as rendering service to Rome in the East (13.7; 37.2; 14.26) and to Vespasian in the civil war and against the Jews (H. 2,81,1; 5.1.4), and is there called richest of all the dependent kings. In AD 72 he was deposed on the charge of disaffection, and spent the rest of his life at Rom (Jos. Bell. I.7.7.1) and his kingdom from that time became permanently a province."



The Ciete--the tribe in question--were inhabitants of a section of Cilicia known as 'rough Cilicia' or 'Cilicia Tracheia'. It was an area of land that NEVER was a 'working' part of a Roman province until late in the 1st century AD (Vespasian) or early 2nd (Diocletian).


"CILICIA (Gk. Kilikɩ́a). A country in southern Anatolia, the southeastern coast of Asia Minor. Cilicia has two distinct geographical regions, the rugged western coastlands (Cilicia Aspera) and the fertile plain in the east (Cilicia Campestris). It is ringed with mountains, on the west by its own mountains separating it from Pamphylia, on the north by the Taurus range separating it from Cappadocia and Lycaonia, and on the east by the Amanus range separating it from Syria. In antiquity Cilicia offered the main trade route between Syria and the central sections of Asia Minor. … Because of its strategic location for trade, Cilicia was invaded successively by Hittites, Mycenaean Greeks, Assyrians, Persians (under whom the Cilicians had a degree of autonomy as a satrapy), Alexander the Great, the Seleucid kings, and finally the Romans who made it into a province in 102 B.C.E. In 67 B.C.E. Pompey stamped out piracy which flourished in the rugged coastlands (which were unmanageable and not added to the province until the reign of Vespasian, 69–79 C.E.). In 51–50 B.C.E. Cicero reluctantly tried as governor to correct numerous previous administrative problems. In 36 B.C.E. Mark Antony gave Cyprus and the rugged western coastlands to Cleopatra as a gift. Under Roman rulers the region was at times linked to Syria for governing purposes." [Richard A. Spencer, “Cilicia,” ed. David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers, and Astrid B. Beck, Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2000), 255–256.]


"Cilicia was a region in southeastern Anatolia (modern Turkey), with the Taurus Mountains on the north and west, the Amanus Mountains on the east, the Mediterranean Sea on the south, comprising two major regions: Western Cilicia (Cilicia Aspera or Trachei, ‘rough Cilicia’), a rough, hilly district; and Eastern Cilicia (Cilicia Campestris or Pedias, ‘flat Cilicia’), with its agricultural alluvial plains and main cities of Tarsus and Mersin. From this eastern region three major rivers flowed from the north to the Mediterranean Sea, one of which became famous in ancient times (when they were navigable) as the water route on which the Egyptian queen Cleopatra sailed her boat up to Tarsus to meet the Roman general Anthony in 41 B.C. The important trade routes from Syria on the south up to Central Anatolia on the north extended through this eastern plain (Cilicia Pedias) over the Amanus Mountains through the Syrian Gates, and crossing the Taurus Mountains via the Cilician Gates. [See Bonnie Magnuss-Gardiner, ‘Cilicia,’ OEANE, Vol. 2 (1997), pp. 8–11; J. Daniel Bing, ‘Cilicia,’ ABD, Vol. 1 (1992), pp. 1022–24., cited in W. Harold Mare, New Testament Background Commentary: A New Dictionary of Words, Phrases and Situations in Bible Order (Ross-shire, UK: Mentor, 2004), 183.]


"The western part of it, Cilicia Aspera, was given by Augustus to Archelaus of Cappadocia (25 B.C.), with Elaiussa-Sebaste as capital; and Caligula gave it to Antiochus IV of Commagene. Under Vespasian it was restored to the province of Cilicia. Considering the small extent which the province had under the first emperors, it no doubt was under the jurisdiction of the procurator of Syria. Under Hadrian Cilicia Campestris and Aspera became one imperial province." [Samuel Macauley Jackson, ed., The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge: Embracing Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology and Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Biography from the Earliest Times to the Present Day (New York; London: Funk & Wagnalls, 1908–1914), 317.]



"Nothing is heard of a Cilicia Tracheia from Pompey's suppression of the pirates till the time of Antony. The Teucrid dynasty had then fallen on evil days. Aba, the daughter of Zenophanes, one of the pirate princes, had married into the family, and Zenophanes, by right of his daughter, exercised a protectorate over the principality. Antony confirmed Aba in the principality, but on her death it reverted to the old line. The rest of Tracheia except Seleucia on the Calycadnus, which seems to have been a free city, Antony granted to Cleopatra, to whom it was valuable for its supplies of timber suitable for ship-building. She perhaps left a memorial of her reign in the two cities of Titiopolis and Domitiopolis, which seem to have been named after two of Antony's prominent supporters, Marcus Titius and Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus. After the battle of Actium Cleopatra was naturally dispossessed but Octavian did not reannex the country. It was still unripe for direct Roman rule, a country of unruly tribes and robber chiefs which needed more constant and more intimate supervision than a Roman governor could give to it. Octavian, accordingly, confirmed the Teucrid house, one of whom Ajax, son of Teucer, is found ruling at the end of his reign, and granted the rest to Amyntas, the energetic king of Galatia. When Amyntas died five years later the western part of his Cilician dominions was attached to the province of Galatia. The rest was assigned to Archelaus of Cappadocia, and on his deposition and death in A.D. 17 passed to his son, another Archelaus, who was still reigning in A.D. 36. In A.D. 38 the principality was granted by Gaius to Antiochus IV of Commagene when he restored him to his kingdom, and after his temporary disgrace at the end of Gaius' reign re-granted to him by Claudius in A.D. 41. Antiochus reigned till A.D. 72 when, according to Suetonius, Vespasian 'reduced to the form of a province Cilicia Tracheia and Commagene, which had hitherto been under royal jurisdiction'. Despite Suetonius, however, Antiochus IV was not the last king to rule in Cilicia Tracheia. According to a plausible emendation of the text of Josephus, Vespasian made Alexander, the son-in-law of Antiochus IV, king of 'Cetis in Cilicia'. Nothing else is known of this little kingdom, which probably included only the barbarous interior." [Cities of the Eastern Roman Provinces, AHM Jones, WipfNStock: 1971, pp209+]



There's not a lot of controversy over this position, so it was probably just an oversight on Dr. Carrier's part.


Brill's New Pauly (Brill's New Pauly, Supplements I: Chronologies of the Ancient World, p107f), gives the chronology of the area prior to its final incorporation into the empire:


"In lists of Cappadocian kings (cf. Deissmann 1990; Sullivan 1980), the last king (16) is sometimes listed as "Archelaus I" and followed by an "Archelaus II." In fact, the homonymous son of Archelaus [7] was unable to succeed his father either in Cappadocia or in Lesser Armenia. His kingdom encompassed only the region of Cietis in Cilicia, which had been granted, together with Lesser Armenia, by Augustus to Archelaus [7] Sisines (20 B.C.). After the death of the younger Archelaus (2), Cietis became an extra-territorial possession of the king of Commagene (3). Once the latter had been deposed, Rome acted as it had done after the death of Archelaus (1): Antiochus [18] IV and his sons (Iulius [II 11] and Iulius [II 76]) lost their right to the Commagenean crown forever. Cietis, on the other hand, was once more organised as a theoretically sovereign client state. Its only rulers were Iulius [II 6] Alexander, a descendant of Archelaus Sisines, and his wife Iotape [ij, daughter of the deposed Antiochus [18].









20 B.C.-A.D. 17.

Archelaus [7] I

Son of the priest-king Archelaus [6] II of Comana [2] Pontica

= Archelaus [7] Sisines of Cappadocia;

also ruled Lesser Armenia from 20 B.C. (cf. VI. 2.3., No. 10)


after 17 AD-after 36 AD

Archelaus II

son of 1 (IG II/III2 3434)

Only in Cietis (Tac. Ann. VI.41)


AD 38-72 AD

Antiochus [18]


= Antiochus [18] IV of Commagene (cf. VI. 7., No. 9]; also ruled Cietis (Tac. Ann. XII.55); deposed in 72 AD, imprisoned in Sparta and Rome



Iotape 1

daughter of 3; wife of 4


(on the obverse of coins; depicted with 4 on the reverse)


72 AD-?

Iulius [II 6]


son of Tigranes [7] VI (cf. VI.2.2., No. 23); great-great-grandson of 1; wife: Iotape [1]

Lost his kingdom, probably under Domitianus [1], but was allowed to keep his title; member of the Roman Senate



So, at the time of this revolt, the Ciete region was under the dominion of a client-king.


The 'rex' would not have authority to impose a fully-Roman Census at all, but he could impose a faux-Roman-TYPE census on them--as the phrase "nostrum in modum census" would indicate--and he could appeal to nearby provinces and Roman troops for help.


And, again, this is the consensus understanding of the event:


"It was this last province which gave most trouble to the kings. The tribesmen were quite unused to any form of orderly government, and strongly resented the attempts of the kings to introduce it. In A.D. 36 the efforts of Archelaus II to carry out a census and enforce regular taxation provoked a serious revolt of the Cetae, which was only suppressed by the intervention of the Roman government."  [Cities of the Eastern Roman Provinces, AHM Jones, WipfNStock: 1971, p212]


"Meanwhile, in the year 36, another success, of much less importance, it is true, but involving a military campaign, was achieved by Vitellius through the agency of a legate, Marcus Trebellius. The Cietae, a rugged people living in the rough mountain-country of eastern Cilicia Aspera, had been assigned to King Archelaus II when he succeeded to a portion of his father's dominions. An attempt on his part to reduce them to the position of subjects by ordering them to furnish statements of their property—analogous to the census in Rome—and to pay taxes in accordance with these statements met with bitter resistance. Withdrawing into the inaccessible fastnesses of the region, they defied the King's troops, who were powerless to cope with either the tribesmen or their difficult country. It became necessary, therefore, for Archelaus to appeal to Rome for help, and, since the neighbouring district of Cilicia Campestris was attached to Syria, the governor of which had an army at his disposal, the task of furnishing the required aid devolved upon Vitellius. His legate, therefore, with four thousand legionaries and some auxiliary troops, was sent to Cilicia. Employing the same methods of warfare that Quirinius had used against the Homonadeis, Trebellius blockaded two rebel strongholds, investing them so closely that none could leave them and no relief could be brought. Their water-supply exhausted, the defenders capitulated and with their surrender the rebellion was crushed." [[HI:RRAM] Roman Rule in Asia Minor to the End of the Third Century After Christ. David Magie. Ayer:1988. Vol 1, pp 509f]



Okay, let's do a quick summary and close this piece out. We will have to assess the Apamea situation in the next installment, and probably 'digress' some more on the taxation/economic situation around the annexation of Cappadocia.

We could discuss--with possible profit--WHY Archie 2 would want to DO this, after some twenty years of ruling them without such an attempt….?

To be more specific, this looks a good bit like the case of Herod's situation. The Lukan census was toward the end of Herod's life, and some scholars have suggested that it was triggered/timed by Augustus/Q to assess the financial status of Herod's territories--in preparation for his death. This would be a preliminary step to creation of his will. Although the registration is empire-wide, the timing of each country must have been done on the basis of the availability of resources for it. Although my position is that it was a registration about a loyalty oath, there is no reason for it to exclude this other financial 'assessment' function as well (and it was no doubt covertly used for this purpose everywhere).

In the case of Archie2-vs-Cietis, we have perhaps a similar situation. We know that Archie2 will die within 24 months of this event (when the territory will be given to another client-king), so maybe this was a pre-mortem 'inventory' initiative as well. Maybe such accounting was required by Rome from the client-kings as they approached end-of-life. [In most CK's, remember, the emperor owned significant estates himself.] In Archie2's case, his attempts at the faux-Roman census probably succeeded in the other parts of Rough Cilicia, which was a larger territory than just the mountainous section of the Ciete. It was only the 'problem' of the Ciete that garnered the attention of Tacitus--since it involved Roman resources to resolve.


Okay, onto Apamea




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