Salvia Marcellina and the Collegium of Aesculapius and Hygia in Rome Some Remarks on the Lex collegii Aesculapii et Hygiae (CIL VI 10234)

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Przemyslaw Wojciechowski



Lex collegii Aesculapii et Hygiae is one of the most frequently cited source texts concerning the Roman private corporations. In this article I try to verify the traditional interpretation of this inscription. Firstly, the analysis of the provisions included in the lex collegii Aesculapii et Hygiae leads to the conclusion that what we have here is not the organisation’s statute but an agreement between the collegium and Salvia Marcellina and her brother-in-law, P. Aelius Zeno. Secondly, quite common conviction that the collegium Aesculapii et Hygiae was a funerary one is based on a very meagre source material. The term funeraticium used by the authors of the lex collegii with the utmost certainty is insufficient to claim that it was a collegium funeraticium. The statement that the college owned a graveyard is also based on an erroneous interpretation of the words defunctorum loca, found in the lex collegii, which supposedly meant places in the corporate graveyard, while in fact they referred to the membership of the college (members’ places in the college). Moreover, the commemorative services, collegial feasts and distributions which are mentioned in lex collegii should be considered in a wider social context. For members of the collegium the participation in these ceremonies was first of all an opportunity to demonstrate their position within the college and in the urban community. The same applies to patrons and benefactors of the collegium.


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