Ob Merita: the epigraphic rise and fall of the civic patrona in Roman North Africa Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 21, 2019
  • Bond, Sarah Emily
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • Approximately twelve hundred inscriptions attest to civic patrons within the Roman Empire, but only eighteen indicate that women received the honorary title of ‘patron of the community’ (patrona civitatis). The extant inscriptions are confined geographically to Italy, Africa Proconsularis, and Numidia, and are dated to between A.D. 180 and 350. The epigraphic record is the only evidence for the existence of civic patronae. This paper explores the interrelations, economic capabilities, and political ties of these women, focusing on the North African patronae civitatis. The epigraphic appearance of civic patronae was a product of a change in the institution of patronage to fit the economic needs of certain communities in Italy and North Africa, and their epigraphic disappearance denotes yet another shift in the mediation and commemorations of civic patronage. The ecclesiastical institutions that began to absorb communal responsibilities continued to commemorate female patrons, but in a more inconspicuous manner.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Talbert, Richard J. A.
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

This work has no parents.