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01 January 2019
Abstract: Augustus and the Introduction of the Epigraphic Habit in Pannonia
von Josip Parat
The Romans conquered the southern part of the province of Pannonia in a series of military campaigns led by the young Octavian, future Augustus, during his struggle for supreme power. The territory was incorporated into the province of Illyricum, and subsequently the Roman province of Pannonia was established. This process coincided with the expansion of the so-called Roman epigraphic habit. As elsewhere in the Empire, the custom of setting up inscribed monuments started to spread during the reign of Augustus, perhaps influenced by the emperor himself. The Roman soldiers in Pannonia remembered their dead by putting up stone monuments with Latin letters, and soon the civilian population followed the costume. The epigraphic habit reached its maximum intensity in the second and third century CE.
Even though there is a modest number of Pannonian inscriptions that surely point to the Augustan period, it is fairly safe to suggest that the first emperor played a key role in the development of the local epigraphic culture. This is observable in almost all types of public and private inscriptions from Pannonia. In fact, in the most famous of all Latin inscriptions, the Res Gestae, the princeps himself proudly announced that he reached the Danube river. The aim of this paper is to investigate Augustus' role in development of literacy and epigraphic culture in the Roman province of Pannonia. I will attempt to demonstrate the extent to which the Roman, i.e. Augustan model of administration, society, and family was adopted, and whether any variations can be discerned within a provincial context.