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constitution, Antonine

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Is the name given to the edict of Caracalla (Aurelius Antoninus), probably of ad 212, which made all free men and women in the empire Roman citizens. Acc. to Cassius Dio, the emperor's motive was to increase the numbers liable to taxes imposed on citizens such as inheritance tax. A surviving papyrus points to religious motives. In any event the concept of universal citizenship fitted the egalitarian outlook which the Severan dynasty (193–235), rooted in Africa and Syria, shared with such contemporaries as Galen and Ulpian. The new citizens took Roman names and became subject to Roman law. In the long run the effect of the Antonine constitution was profound, since it promoted in both east and west a uniform legal system and a consciousness of being Roman that lasted until the fall of the empire, and sometimes beyond it.

Subjects: Classical studies

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